While your best bet is to not lose your thumb drive in the first place, yesterday our readers expanded our tip to name your thumb drive with your phone number with several pretty clever ideas.
Tweak Your Autorun Message
To start off, our favourite, from reader TuxRug involves editing the autorun.inf file at the root of your thumb drive which will display an "if lost, return to" message (in this case, a phone number) anytime someone plugs the drive:
Add or modify the autorun.inf file at the root of the drive to have this line at top:
And this line somewhere below it:
label=Call (xxx) xxx-xxxx
So if your autorun.inf file looks like this (only the first and last lines matter in this example):
Label=Call (xxx) xxx-xxxxThen when you plug it into a Windows PC, it should look something like the screenshot above.
To expand on the idea above, reader lemmor points out:
I just want to add that the max length of the label is 32 characters, including spaces. So you could label it "If found call (xxx)xxx-xxxx" which is 27 characters.
I do something similar to this, but I also have a .txt and .rtf file with the title, "Read if Found" that has my contact information.
Play to Porn
We've highlighted clever photo messages for the finder in the past, but reader ddmeightball plays to our seedier impulses:
Seriously though, label a folder PORN and put a a bunch of image files in there with raunchy sounding file names, and on each one leave your contact information in there.
I guarantee the majority of the male population would look.
For Cameras, Store Images in Onboard Memory
On the digital camera front, reader theamazingpete suggests putting images in your camera's onboard memory (if it has it) as proof the camera is yours is you ever happen to hunt down the culprit:
If my digital camera is stolen I have two photographs in the onboard memory. One is a picture of me, the other is a photo of my "if found please return to address". It's not infallible, but it's pretty good proof the camera is mine if it's stolen. I'm assuming most potential thieves will hit delete, which deletes memory card pix, leaving my face and contact details untouched. Good enough for the cops I think.
Just Use a Sticker Already
Last, but certainly not least, several readers pointed out that you can't get a much better first line of defence than a good old-fashioned, real-life label:
I use a Brother label maker to print physical labels (with my name, email address, and phone number) for my portable devices.
Or more adamantly:
Are we really going to do this again, people? STICKER. MAKE A STICKER. SERIOUSLY, JUST MAKE A STICKER.
Sorry, but these elaborate systems for launching a public key encryption keyring that decodes a holographic steganographic internet message board avatar into your birth-mother's MySpace handle are an utter waste of time. If a technophobe (most people) or technophile finds it, they (respectively) can't or won't read the drive. They'll either throw it out or format it.
Stickers, last time I checked, can be read by most people. Seriously, make a damn sticker. :-)