How it works
When you activate tracking, Hidden will locate your stolen computer anywhere on the planet, collect photos of the thief and screen shots of the computer in use. (We also collect lots of nerdy network information, but we won’t bore you with the details!)
The Hidden team will also help you work with the police when recovering your stolen computer.
Quick bit of housekeeping before I begin. Based on the volume of e-mail and comments I’ve received lately, there’s something important I need to repeat.
I have no control over prices. I have no control over a vendor’s inventory. I don’t sell anything directly, nor does CNET (with a few exceptions).
What I do is write up the best daily deal I can find, then publish it around 10 a.m. ET. CNET sends out a newsletter version at 1 p.m. ET (which, FYI, is several hours earlier than it used to go out).
Sometimes, the deal mentioned in that e-mail is already sold out. Or the vendor has raised the price. I know this is frustrating, but I ask you to bear in mind: I have no control over this. If you need to vent by sending me nasty letters, accusing me of “bait and switch,” and all that, go right ahead. Hopefully it’ll make you feel better, because, quite frankly, it makes me feel rotten.
While you’re at it, why not send some hate mail to the weatherman who forecasted sun and got rain? Or you could just try to remember: he has no control over the weather. And he’s just as frustrated as you are.
Thanks for listening. I know most of you understand this. But an increasingly vocal few just don’t seem to.
Today’s deal won’t sell out (though it will end in a couple weeks). It’s called Hidden, and it’s a tracking utility and service for Mac systems. Normally it costs $20, but you can get a Hidden license free until Jan. 1, 2011.
Just to clarify, the license doesn’t expire on Jan. 1–the offer does. Once you’ve installed and registered the software, it’s yours to keep for life. No subscriptions, no renewals, no Hidden (pun intended) charges.
I’m not a Mac user myself, so I can’t offer any hands-on opinions of the software. But it works like this: you install it, configure it, then forget about it. If your Mac goes missing, you find another computer, sign into your Hidden account, and activate tracking.
At that point, the software transmits the location of the machine, along with photos of the thief (mwa ha ha) and screenshots of the computer in use. The Hidden team will even help you work with police to recover the system.
Looking for a similar theft-recovery freebie for your Windows laptop? Try LockItTight. For your iOS device, find out how to use Apple’s newly free Find My iPhone app. And for about a buck a month, iHound offers a robust tracking solution for Android phones.
- Do you provide a test mode so I can check its working?
- Can you explain the information that has been collected?
- I’m using another theft recovery application, can I upgrade to Hidden?
- Can I delete the information Hidden has collected?
- Does Hidden collect information when my computer has not been stolen?
- How can I prevent the thief from wiping my computer and reinstalling OS X?
- What if my user account has a password? Will Hidden still work?
- Does Hidden work in my country?
- Can Hidden be uninstalled by a thief?
- Can I uninstall Hidden from my computer?
- Are there any extra costs?
- Do you offer bulk discounts?
- Does Hidden tie up my computers resources?
- Why can’t I see a map in my tracking updates?
- Does installing Hidden affect my Mac’s Warranty?
- What versions of OS X does Hidden work with?
- Does Hidden work with Little Snitch?
- Why does my control panel say verifying installation?
- I’ve sold my computer, how do I remove the serial from my account?
- I’ve bought a new Mac, can I change my serial number?
Q. Do you provide a test mode so I can check its working?
A. Yes, Click ‘Edit Device’ in your control panel and change the status to ‘Test Mode’ then click save. The status will automatically change back after test data has been collected.
Q. Can you explain the information that has been collected?
Q. I’m using another theft recovery application, can I upgrade to Hidden?
A. Yes! Send us proof of your previous purchase and we will give you a 10% discount.
Q. Can I delete the information Hidden has collected?
A. Yes, you can delete all of the updates collected in your tracking control panel.
Q. Does Hidden collect information when my computer has not been stolen?
A. No! Absolutely not. Hidden will not collect any information whatsoever from your computer until you inform us that it has been stolen in your tracking control panel.
Q. How can I prevent the thief from wiping my computer and reinstalling OS X?
A. We strongly suggest all Hidden users set up a Firmware Password to prevent a clean installation of OS X.
Q. What if my user account has a password? Will Hidden still work?
A. Yes. Hidden will still work, although we strongly suggest all hidden users set up a Guest Account. This will encourage the thief to use your computer before trying to sell it.
Q. Does Hidden work in my country?
A. Yes, Hidden works across the globe.
Q. Can Hidden be uninstalled by a thief?
A. No, You can only uninstall Hidden if you have the administrator password for the stolen computer.
Q. Can I uninstall Hidden from my computer?
A. Yes, you can uninstall Hidden by following the instructions below. These instructions require the administrator password making them useless to a thief.
- Navigate to: /Library/LaunchDaemons
- Delete com.Hidden.daemon.plist
- Choose Go To Folder from the Finder Go menu
- Enter the following path: /usr/local
- Remove the folder called Hidden from this folder
- Restart your computer
If you are using Hidden 1.0 or earlier:
- Open Finder and navigate to: /Library/LaunchAgents
- Delete com.Hidden.startup.plist
Q. Are there any extra costs?
A. No, Hidden costs $20 per computer, there are no subscription or recurring payments.
Q. Do you offer bulk discounts?
A. Depending on the circumstance we may offer bulk discounts. Please contact email@example.com to see if you are eligible.
Q. Does Hidden tie up resources on my computer?
A. Absolutely not, Hidden is extremely lightweight using barely any memory or CPU power.
Q. Why can’t I see a map in my tracking updates?
The map information is provided by a company called Skyhook Wireless. You can view their network coverage in your area at the following page: http://www.skyhookwireless.com/howitworks/coverage.php.
The fact that you are unable to view the map does not impact greatly on the retrieval of your computer, the most important information is the public IP address and traceroute.
Q. Does installing Hidden affect my Mac’s Warranty?
A. No, installing Hidden has absolutely no effect on your warranty with Apple.
Q. What versions of OS X does Hidden work with?
A. Hidden works with OS X 10.5 and 10.6.
Q. Does Hidden work with Little Snitch?
A. Yes, You should change the status of your computer to ‘Stolen’ in your tracking control panel and when Hidden tries to connect to hiddenapp.com Little Snitch will ask you what to do.
Select ‘Allow connections forever’ and set the condition to ‘Any connection’. After changing Little Snitch settings, make sure to lock the settings by clicking the lock icon.
If there are multiple user accounts on the computer when using Little Snitch you will have to enable ‘Global Policies’ in Little Snitch preferences.
When you’re finished you can change the status of your computer back to ‘Not Stolen’ in your tracking control panel and delete the collected information.
Q. Why does my control panel say verifying installation?
Q. I’ve sold my computer, how do I remove the serial from my account?
A. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org containing your old serial number, asking us to remove it from your account.
Q. I’ve bought a new Mac, can I change my serial number?
Yes, click on the device name in your tracking control panel to edit the device.