<p>How many laptop or mobile phone users have ever had that sinking feeling when you realize your precious device isn't where you thought it was. Your phone isn't in your pocket or your laptop disappears from your bag on a crowded train.</p> <p></p> <p>If you've planned ahead and installed a small bit of software from <a href="http://preyproject.com/">the Prey Project</a> then you can do more than pray&hellip;</p> <p></p> <p><a href="http://preyproject.com/" title="\&quot;&gt;&lt;span style="><span style="color:windowtext;text-decoration:none;"><div class='p_embed p_image_embed'> <img alt="Image001" height="62" src="/images/2011/05/image001.png?w=300" width="310" />

</div> </span></a></p> <p></p> <p>Prey is a small utility that hides itself away (on Windows, OSX, Linux and many different types of smartphone) and, most of the time, does nothing.</p> <p></p> <p>However if it receives an instruction to wake up and go to work (for computers that’s via the web control panel you can access from anywhere, for smartphones it’s via an SMS message) any thief will be in for a surprise…</p> <p></p> <p>When activated Prey will collect as much information as it can to help you track it down – GPS location, IP address, available wifi networks and, if it has a webcam, it’ll even take a picture of its surroundings. All this information gets bundled up and send to the web console every 20 minutes (or however often you set it for) until you gather enough information to either have law enforcement go and pick it up (or sheepishly go back to Starbucks to collect it).</p> <p></p> <p>Prey is open source and free for basic use, but they do have a more powerful commercial version (Prey Pro) available if you need more features or the ability to manage a large number of devices.</p>