Net Buzz: Quiz Time

Some low-life just snatched your laptop and is sprinting away with your livelihood tucked under his arm while you stand there slack-jawed.

Do you a) Dial 911 to report the theft? b) Dial 911 to ask for an EMT to restart your heart? or c) Fling your cell phone at the fleeing miscreant?

Granted, these are not attractive options.

Soon you may have a fourth choice, however, courtesy of a startup called Lucira Technologies that is set to debut its Secure PC technology this week. Lucira founder Ravi Hariprasad wants you to resist that long-shot temptation to toss your phone in favor of using it to call his company, which will activate the Secure PC tracking system that you had the foresight to install on your machine before it was stolen.

Once the theft is reported to Lucira, the company's Cyber Recovery Center starts monitoring for any sign that the machine has been connected to the Internet. When a connection is detected, both the laptop owner and local police are notified.

But that's not the most interesting aspect of Secure PC, which has competitors such as CompuTrace and CyberAngel that also track stolen machines.

Refocus on that exact moment when you realized your computer was leaving the building without you. Chances are it wasn't the loss of the laptop, per se, that had you in need of a defibrillator. It's data loss that causes cardiac arrest.

Secure PC promises to help get your data back - or at least make sure it isn't misappropriated - regardless of what happens to the laptop. While this feature won't be available until year-end, users will be able to visit the Lucira Web site and predefine what they would like to happen to their data if the system succeeds in locating the stolen laptop.

"You define whether you want that data encrypted, compressed and then uploaded to our servers for your retrieval, or just deleted," Hariprasad says.

Ah, but won't the thief catch on that he's been busted?

"It's completely invisible," Hariprasad says of the data liberation, "to the point where if they start writing an e-mail and try to send it and that requires some element of uploading, our system backs off and let's them do it and then comes back for the data."

OK, I'll try that instead of throwing the phone.

In two years this dump will be replaced by a facility that will carry the CMGI Inc. name in exchange for a US$7.6 million annual payment to the Patriots: less than what quarterback Drew Bledsoe earns, but still real money, even by Internet standards.

"CMGI believes that this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to further enhance the overall brand of the company," boasts a new Web site devoted solely to the stadium (www.cmgifield.com).

They've got smart money managers at CMGI, an Internet investment company in Andover, Mass. But you can rest assured that many Patriots fans will question the wisdom of the firm's latest funding decision. After all, this team hasn't won a championship in well ... well, ever.

Before last week's announcement from CMGI, there had been reports that another Internet company - job-search site Monster.com - was angling for the naming rights.

Too bad that didn't pan out. Monster Stadium would be a much cooler name than CMGI Field.

Comments, tips and speculation about a Patriots Super Bowl victory go to buzz@nww.com.

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