More lessons from my lost and found Treo

When I thought I lost my (now found) Treo 650 mobile phone and all my personal data, I was a little panicked that I had put all of my data into the hands of a stranger. Several readers let me know about Butler, which has a facility to lock or

When I thought I lost my (now found) Treo 650 mobile phone and all my personal data, I was a little panicked that I had put all of my data into the hands of a stranger. Several readers let me know about Butler, which has a facility to lock or erase data from a handheld after getting an SMS message with a predetermined code. Thanks for all the calls and letters! I was running an older version of Butler (a fantastic piece of software that I use every day to keep track of appointments).

Lessons learned:

1. Be less aggressive in marking vendor e-mail about application upgrades as spam. It turns out that I really DID want the new features in Butler. And if I had been updating all along, I probably wouldn't have had to buy the product again to get the new features I wanted when I discovered that I needed them.

2. Using my password protected Treo for the last week has been only mildly annoying. Seven keystrokes and I'm into my data. A stronger password would be super annoying and would make me want to stop using the device. That's the line we all walk in balancing security with convenience.

The case for single sign-on tools like v-Go from Passlogix, that make it easy for users to manage a single password that enables them to get to all the applications they need to use, while enforcing impossibly strong password strength to access these applications, just got made again. The thing I like about v-Go is that when an employee leaves the organization, administrators only need to disable the single sign-on password since users never even know the passwords that v-Go uses to access the applications on their behalf. I don't think v-Go has a version that manages phone access, but applications that are accessed from the phone are covered.

3. Now that I have remote lock and wipe, I'm keeping the password protection but dumping the $100 reward for the safe return of my device. Here's my thinking: if the phone is stolen then $100 isn't going to help me anyway. If it's lost (and I'm pretty sure I'll notice that inside a couple of hours, tops) here's the most likely scenario: I issue the SMS message to wipe the data and then I deactivate the phone. I'd rather spend $100 at that point on a cool new iPhone (although the iPhone still can't accept outside applications like Butler, so maybe just an uncool, but eminently useful new Treo) than on trudging around trying to find lost-and-found or meeting somewhere to get back my phone.

My colleague Andrew Garcia gets a real chuckle out of my "I lost my wallet/keys/phone/driver license" stories. I'm hoping that as I get older these lost items don't start to increase in frequency, but I'm afraid that's exactly what's going to happen. Fortunately, as readers of this blog will note, I've always left my "lost" items somewhere perfectly safe and under my control. Maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something.

Is your subconscious trying to tell you something? Let me know here or send me an e-mail at csturdevant@eweek.com.