James O'Neill's Blog

September 30, 2009

My life in a bag

Filed under: Uncategorized — jamesone111 @ 7:59 am

I have became a crime statistic.
It was only a bag. And I didn’t realize the significance it had until it was gone. Jerry gave out laptop bags as a thank you: working with him and that group of people was the best aspect of that stage of my life, so the bag itself embodied a happy memory. On one of my diving trips it picked up a sticker going through security; I never peeled it off and that too was a reminder of happy times. My web cam lived in the front pocket – Peter gave me that as a thank you for helping out on a Unified communications tour in Asia: just being asked to do that made me feel like I was someone again after my self-esteem had taken a pounding. I gave away better webcams because I liked having that one with me. My presenter mouse lived beside the webcam and that too had been a thank-you gift. Was it Slovenia? or was it Belgium? Both involved crazy travel and I’m sure both gave me the mouse with a laser inside. I gave one away as a prize and kept the other – which reminded me of both trips. In the top pocket was a collection of USB connectors I’d built up of the years, a set of headphones with a bullet mic I’d picked up at one of our events and the comfortable headphones which I’d had for 4 or 5 years.  Then there were memory sticks – I’ve never bought one and each of those had their story.

In the main pocket was my laptop: a 2 ½ year old Dell which had seen better days. I care less about the thieving bastards getting that loyal old workhorse than the sticker on it saying “well done”. That came from a supply teacher at my daughter’s school: she had expected to find PowerPoint on the computer in the classroom but it wasn’t there, and I conjured up a copy of the PowerPoint viewer: another good memory. And I’m cross as hell they got the memory card from my camera which was still plugged into the laptop. I’m not sure which pictures were only on the laptop or the card and nowhere else: those memories are gone.

What makes me crosser still is the vermin took my fleece. It was a crappy give away fleece: I guess they were hoping for something in the pocket – my battered old phone wouldn’t have been worth much, but I had that with me, along with all my cash and credit cards. They got my keys, which is pretty inconvenient (as I typed the draft of this, a locksmith was getting to work just in case they work out where I live – replacing car keys is even more hassle), but in the other pocket was my Microsoft security badge. If you’ve seen me wearing my badge there’s about 50:50 chance you saw the side which said Yoda. Lorie got those badges for a group of us who were known as her Jedi. It was a talking point, an ice breaker, and yes, the embodiment of a memory. A little oblong bit of cheap plastic is really the thing I’m most upset about losing.

Moral of the story ? There isn’t one really. Even at Microsoft event someone can walk in and steal something while your back is turned… Using bit locker reduces the data risk in these cases … the thing that amazes me is how much of my life was in one bag.  I wish I could adapt that Shakespeare quote about stealing someone’s good name , the one which begins  Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; but I can’t. I just needed to write about that sense of loss. Thanks for reading.

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This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

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