Two days ago my main work machine (an excellent Macbook Pro) was stolen.

The experience helped me realise that my work machine setup could do with a few changes, which are:

  • Encrypt the hard drive. A simple password-protection of my account isn’t going to disable somebody from accessing the data I have on the drive.

  • Run the OS off a flash drive. I’m planning on being Ubuntu-exclusive when it comes to actual work. This will enable me to have my machine run off a USB flash drive that I can encrypt and attach to my keychain - it goes where I go. If I’m on a Macbook, I can use a virtual machine to run Ubuntu inside of MacOS.

  • Consider more cloud services. A while back I remember coming across a tool that stored your bash command history in the cloud. I dismissed it at the time but I might revisit it and see if that suits me. If I had great internet everywhere (highly unlikely) I would consider getting a full-blown cloud server that I could remotely login to. Earlier I was debating having a headless cloud server but that will undoubtedly fall short when it comes to many of my tasks.

I think that after carrying out the above steps, even if my work machine is stolen, I should be able to easily start work on a new laptop without having to setup all projects from scratch.

Additionally, I had two non-work related steps which I’ll be taking:

  • Upload all data of personal / sentimental value to the cloud. This includes things like family pictures, document scans, etc.

  • Look into thief-discovery techniques. In total, the thief took 2 Macbooks, 1 smartphone, and some other valuables from the apartment that I am living in. I don’t want the person who did this to get away. Unfortunately, this happens all too often in London (I’m told) and the thief is rarely caught. I plan on looking into device-location apps - I know thieves are now smart enough to not connect grabbed devices to the internet before they’ve wiped the drives but you never know. Also, I might setup a private webcam feed upload of my apartment / room when I’m out of the place. A combination of these things might help me, at the very least, to know immediately when my devices are stolen.