The Intermittent Kevin

As rarely and randomly updated as most blogs

Find My iPhone works, and it is awesome.

with 576 comments

(Note: some screenshots are quite obviously simulated.)
(Note 2: this is my first blog post in over three years, feel free to read my ancient history if you like.)
(Note 3: All said and done, the comments and Internet-fame have been awesome. I’m moving on though. If you’re interested, check back for more blog entries from me, or check my website at

Myself and two compadres, Ryan and Mark, are in Chicago (each of us for the first time) to attend Brickworld, the world’s largest Lego convention. Yes we’re a bunch of dorks. Yes you totally wish you were here too.

Last night, after seeing Second City improv, we ate at a pleasantly sketchy dive bar in uptown Chicago, where the food was mediocre and the characters were questionable. I definitely had my iPhone while at our table, and I definitely did NOT have it (whoops!) when we were 100 feet down the street.

I raced back into the bar, not even particularly concerned, but it was gone like baby. In less than five minutes, with very few people in the small place, my beloved JesusPhone had managed to vanish into a black hole. Our waitress was sympathetic, and I left a number, but I was immediately glum about my prospects of seeing it again.

So I felt like about zero cents, but then we giddily realized that I had *just* activated the brand-new Find My iPhone service. Even better, Mark had a Sprint (yes, Sprint) USB dongle giving him Internet access over 3G on his MacBook Pro. Excited to try it out, we hopped onto and clicked the Find My iPhone link.

“Your iPhone is not connected to a data network or does not have Find My iPhone enabled.”

Well, crap. I guess all bets are off if the thieving person has the bright idea to turn the iPhone off. Oddly the phone still rang when we called it, suggesting it wasn’t off; but, one way or the other, it was unable to broadcast itself to Apple so I could track it down. We sent a message to the phone – “CALL 512-796-xxxx” – but no luck. The MobileMe website said it would send me an email when the message had been displayed, but no email arrived.

Dejected, we prowled the bar one more time, but it wasn’t that big a place and there weren’t any places for the phone to be hiding. Game over. We went back to the hotel and I was disconsolate. This morning we checked again with no additional luck, and when Mark tried dialing the phone around noon, it *did* go straight to voicemail. The odds of ever seeing the phone again were slim to say the least.

After lunch, while at the Lego convention, I checked my email…

Holy crap! I jumped back to and clicked Find My iPhone again, and to my absolute shock and amazement, it displayed Google Maps and drew a circle around Medill St.:

The block was about four or five miles west of the bar. It was too perfect to be a random glitch.

I sent a second message to the phone, slightly more to the point: “This phone is missing. Please call 512-796-xxxx to return it. $50 reward.” Almost immediately I received a second confirmation email that it had been displayed on the phone. And yet, the minutes ticked by and no call was coming. I kept refreshing the location, and though the circle varied in size, it kept floating around that same block, five miles west of the bar.

The Lego convention was drawing to a close and it was time for the closing ceremony. But I wasn’t about to spend an hour sitting through awards and Lego-themed thank-you speeches while my poor lost iPhone sat in some random Chicago neighborhood. So we packed my Lego creations, tossed them in the rental car, and drove from Wheeling back into town. Mark reestablished his trusty Sprint connection and as we drove, every five minutes, he refreshed the location. The phone wasn’t moving. It appeared to be in a row of buildings on the north side of Medill St.

We parked along Medill and hopped out. It was a Puerto Rican neighborhood. On the south side of the street, an outdoor birthday fiesta was convening, and some of the participants eyed us three honkeys questioningly. Now at this point I had no fricking clue how we would find the phone; did I think I’d find it under a bush? I certainly didn’t plan to go door-to-door, nor did I expect the cops to regard a blue circle around the entire block as sufficient cause for a search warrant. I sent a third message to the phone that I’d been formulating in my head: “We have tracked the phone to Medill St. and are locating it. Please call 512-796-xxxx to help us and claim a reward.” Short version: WE KNOW WHERE YOU ARE.

In a burst of inspiration, I took Mark’s computer with me as we walked down the block, figuring the recipient of the message might see us prowling the area with an open laptop and realize we meant business. I kept refreshing; the circle kept hovering; but it still stretched across the entire block, and worse, this included a big apartment building.

Suddenly Mark called my number – the umpteenth time he’d tried – and to our shock, somebody answered! He immediately passed the phone to me, but by the time I could say hello, the person on the other side had hung up. DAMMIT! I knew we were on the trail, but as we walked up and down that block of Medill for the third time, I had no idea how we’d get any closer. I pictured the possibility of driving away from the neighborhood knowing my iPhone was around. It was more frustrating than having had no idea where it was. I pulled up Google Translate, and sent a 4th message to the phone: “Por favor, devuelva el telΓ©fono o nos pondremos en contacto con la policΓ­a.” The email confirmations were arriving immediately in my Inbox, meaning our threats were showing on the phone’s screen in real time.

Then an amazingly lucky thing happened. I refreshed the iPhone location and the circle moved, to the corner of the block, and shrunk in size to maybe 100 feet across. I waited a minute and refreshed again. The small circle had shifted southward down Washtenaw.


Us three skinny white guys walked at a rapid pace in the direction of the circle. We moved past the birthday party, curious if one of the participants might be culpable, but the circle again shifted farther south. I was ready to break for our car if the phone started moving away faster than we could catch it, but it hovered at the very end of the street, at the corner of Washtenaw and Milwaukee:

Ryan and Mark raced ahead, literally making a flanking maneuver to the left and right, as I approached the intersection.

I clicked Refresh. The circle moved again. It was directly over the bus stop on the south side of Milwaukee Avenue.

I yelled and pointed.

Now, put yourself in the shoes of the iPhone thiever who will momentarily be entering the story. You might have told yourself, “Hey, free iPhone!” the night before. You might have seen the gently-threatening messages and ignored them, maybe even scoffed. Then the phone told you it was on Medill St. It talked to you in Spanish. And you saw three skinny white guys prowling in the street with a laptop computer open.

So you take off down the road, and to your shock and horror, the honkeys follow you. You stand at your local bus stop, expecting to lose them. And they converge on your location from across the intersection, the bald one with the laptop yelling and pointing at you. You probably think the angels of death have found you.

He sheepishly waved me over.

“Have you got it?” I asked as I marched up to the guy, acting far more intimidating than I felt. Our iPhone-pilfering friend apparently works at the sketchy bar, and as he fished around in his bag, he gave a questionable alibi about having found the phone, intending to return it, but being intimidated by “all these scary-looking messages” that kept popping up on the display. “Um, yeah, those were from me,” I replied curtly. He pulled my phone out, totally unharmed, and handed it over. I resisted the urge to giggle.

I shook his hand – Lord knows why I did that – and the three of us walked off. We laughed triumphantly, adrenaline racing, feeling like the Jack Bauer trio. (Disregard the fact that we’d just left a Lego convention.)

I’d been amazed that the phone had enough battery life to make it through the night and still beam its location; the moment its battery was dead, then it would be game over for our little scavenger hunt. I unlocked my phone and saw almost 20 missed calls. And then, at that very moment, the iPhone shut down and displayed the “Connect to power” icon. My phone’s battery literally hung on until the second it was in my hand. I wuv you, iPhone.

All said and done, it was almost worth losing the phone just for the thrill of finding it like this. We want to pitch a reality show to the Discovery Channel: “Phone Hunters.” It certainly felt like we were in one there for a second.

And that, my friends, is why the MobileMe service is worth the damn money. It’s been around for just over seven years and it FINALLY got a killer feature.

A few thoughts on our successful effort:
– If the man hadn’t made a break for it down the street, we probably never would have been able to find him. Oh well, his loss.
– Yes, we sent a real number, not actually 512-796-xxxx.

A few bugs we found with the Find My iPhone process:
– Even though iPhone’s alert notification plays whether it’s on vibrate or not, it still obeys the ringer volume – so you can still, regrettably, keep it from playing. Also it’s a lighter daintier sound effect than we’d prefer for locating something by sound. Hell, I’d prefer it if I could take pictures, play my iTunes library, and tase whoever was holding it.
– There’s no real reason MobileMe shouldn’t push the location to us; needing to refresh the location repeatedly on the webpage was silly.
– None of this would have been possible without Mark’s 3G USB dongle for his MacBook. The biggest single problem is that you can’t use from the iPhone, meaning you can’t find one iPhone using another. Hopefully Apple realizes this.

Responses to some of the comments made:
– The references to race are for two purposes:
First, to be self-deprecating about how little we actually looked like a bad-ass iPhone tracking team;
Second, to establish how much we stood out in this particular neighborhood.
Besides a bit of self-mockery, I don’t think I said or implied a single negative thing about anyone’s race.
– Yeah, we could have called the cops, and they probably would have yawned. Granted, in retrospect, chasing after a thief isn’t the MOST prudent thing to do, but in the moment we had our adrenaline going and sure as hell weren’t just going to watch the little circle recede into the distance.


Written by Kevin Miller

June 21, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

576 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. former chicagoan

    great story, glad you got your phone back. you’re lucky you didn’t get shot in the face.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:25 am

  2. Weaved

    Yeah, I’m a bit worried someone is going to get shot using this feature, and then there will be lawsuits against Apple, and it will be turned off.

    It’s main purpose I think is to help you find lost phones, but not track down and retrieve them by force.

    I fear this feature is going to get removed real fast because someone is going to get injured, then sue Apple. 😦


    June 22, 2009 at 3:03 pm

  3. Call the police next time

    …you can call 911. Well, only if you have another phone;)


    June 22, 2009 at 3:20 pm

  4. Re: Weaved

    Nah, watch it come with stern warnings telling you not to try to play the hero yourself – same as if you’re working at a store and somebody comes in and holds the place up.


    June 22, 2009 at 3:22 pm

  5. Good story

    Although slightly bigoted.


    June 22, 2009 at 3:24 pm

  6. %)*)% lawyers

    When you accept the terms for mobileme, there’s probably some fine print in there that’s a CYA for Apple in the event someone is injured while retrieving their lost phone. Anyway, glad you got yours back without a problem. I’ve kinda been on the fence about getting mobileme, and I think your experience just shoved me over to the “get it” side. Thanks.


    June 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm

  7. traced ibook via pop3 log

    Same situation i had with daughter ibook.
    We discovered it was stolen but was still being used to get email.
    Since i do the admin for my own pop3 email server, i enabled debug and waited for the incoming ip information from pop3 requests.

    Spoke to NTL( fibre provider in UK) and then spoke to police about which subscriber was using the end NTL device.
    However Police never gave me feedback as to outcome 😦


    June 22, 2009 at 3:27 pm

  8. Oh my god…

    This is priceless… hahaha
    (Randomly came across this article from Slashdot. You guys rule!!!)


    June 22, 2009 at 3:30 pm

  9. very nice indeed!

    I can see Apple adding onto this feature instead of removing it. Imagine if you left your iPhone in your car and it was stolen (the car).

    You have your very own personal lojack.. “iPhone, what do you want to track today?”


    June 22, 2009 at 3:30 pm

  10. dangerous but..

    I think this helps to highlight the fact that a lot of crimes are crimes of opportunity. There aren’t a small group of people continually stealing up all the little bits and pieces out there, but chances are a lot of people you know have acted similarly in a situation where they feel morally justified taking from someone they don’t (or do) know.

    You don’t know why you shook his hand? Well, he returned your phone, why not? Granted, it would never have happened without the mobileme feature, but still, it could have gone a lot worse.

    I have a feeling that Apple will find a way to limit this feature in order to avoid such real time pursuits, except in the case of law enforcement, and rightfully so maybe.


    June 22, 2009 at 3:34 pm

  11. Re: Weaved

    Yeah but the problem is you think, oh I must have left it at the bar because you see that block circled. Then you go there calling it like these guys did only to find that it is at the bar but in the pocket of the guy that snatched it from you yesterday. Hard to avoid accidentally finding the thief if they are dumb enough to be found somewhere that you might have left it.


    June 22, 2009 at 3:35 pm

  12. Tethering

    “The biggest single problem is that you can’t use from the iPhone, meaning you can’t find one iPhone using another. Hopefully Apple realizes this.”

    You can use tethering, assuming you still have a laptop handy, and don’t live in the USA.


    June 22, 2009 at 3:36 pm

  13. thank you to restaurant

    You should send a “thank you” to the restaurant owner, telling him that his employee “rescued” your phone for you.


    June 22, 2009 at 3:41 pm

  14. @3:24 Anonymous

    Bigoted? Why, because the victim was white and the criminal was probably not? Take your politically correct bullsh1t and stuff it straight up your @$$.


    June 22, 2009 at 3:43 pm

  15. ive got a story for you

    It’s similar to what you’ve posted. I’ll email it to you tonight.

    — Joe
    Middletown, NJ


    June 22, 2009 at 3:46 pm

  16. Re: Call the police next time

    Bad idea, moron. 911 is for life-threatening emergencies, not: “I accidentally left my phone at a bar and someone took it.”


    June 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm

  17. Re: Weaved

    The police sure wouldn’t have cared. They’d have filed a report and told him to go buy a new phone. There’s nothing wrong with taking things into your own hands–the thief sure did.


    June 22, 2009 at 3:50 pm

  18. lol

    actually it is. The self deprecating term, the indication of language. subtle but present. I am cool with political incorrectness, just don’t feign the nature of the tone.


    June 22, 2009 at 3:52 pm

  19. build upon

    I think it could be a real good feature if apple added a explicit “i’m stolen” feature that you could active.

    It could put your phone in a sort of dummy mode, like I dunno, perhaps always call a certain number, no matter what you type in.
    Hide all your personal stuff,


    June 22, 2009 at 3:56 pm

  20. Remember: Not all iPhone thieves are non-violent

    A friend of mine confronted some thieves who stole his iPhone during a bus ride in Seattle. They clubbed him over the head repeatedly with a skateboard. If you think that’s funny, well it wasn’t. You should have seen the photos. Pretty grim. My advice is to not confront criminals unless you have some hope of being able to defend yourself.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:00 pm

  21. Re: Call the police next time

    BWAHAHAAHAH…. you’re clearly not from Chicago. The odds of the cops actually doing something other than saying “Call your insurance *click*” are remote, to say the least.

    In Chicago, someone needs to actually be shooting at someone to get the cops involved. Even then, it depends on the neighborhood.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:02 pm

  22. Re: Call the police next time

    Actually….. speaking as a 9-1-1 dispatcher myself the number is for anyone who is experiencing an “emergency” which really can be as simple and stupid as my cat is stuck in a tree. An emergency is perceived differently from one person to the next.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:04 pm

  23. Awesome story!!!

    Man you have the balls of a big bull!!! Glad you got the bastard. I would have grabbed whatever was on the street and punch the fucker on the knee cap!!! after that I would have search his wallet get all his money and buy a new IPhone 3GS. πŸ™‚ Just kidding!!!

    Great job!!!


    June 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm

  24. Re: lol

    Jesus, dude, what planet do you live on where you’re allowed to do that? If he’d said something racially deprecating about any group *other* than his own, he’d be regarded as the evil Anti-Christ.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm

  25. hey

    Hey! I used to live less than a block from there… with a shady roommate that worked at a bar…


    June 22, 2009 at 4:10 pm

  26. find my iphone.

    great story πŸ™‚


    June 22, 2009 at 4:14 pm

  27. Re: lol

    Actually, it isn’t. Actually, it’s accurate. Actually, you are an over-sensitive politically correct putz.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:15 pm

  28. Sketchy Puerto Ricans

    Why must CmdrTaco call the streets Kevin wandered “sketchy”?

    As far as I could tell, Kevin said there were Puerto Ricans, someone held a birthday party, and there was a tall apartment building there–as well as the opportunist thief. Heaven forbid there be birthday parties and thieves. Does that translate into “sketchy”?

    The same would go for New York’s Upper East Side, home of Bernie Madoff.

    Ms. Gordita


    June 22, 2009 at 4:16 pm

  29. Very cool. Of course…

    Similar stories have been told about Google Lattitude.

    And my Android phone has a similar “Where’s My Android?” app that will override the ringer volume and duration, as well as replying to an SMS with the current GPS location. So you don’t even need need a laptop…


    June 22, 2009 at 4:18 pm

  30. I cannot wait for a new peripheral add-on…

    conductive case + big capacitor … that can be activated remotely to shock the person holding the phone. That way you can just retrieve your phone from the stunned thief. Priceless!


    June 22, 2009 at 4:20 pm

  31. Wow

    Nice story. As someone said already, glad you didn’t get hurt. For a moment I was picturing you 3 white guys in the wrong place having your laptop stolen as well. πŸ™‚


    June 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm

  32. Re: Remember: Not all iPhone thieves are non-violent

    The three of them has seen the perp was alone. Pretty good odds…


    June 22, 2009 at 4:24 pm

  33. You should have reported this worm to his workplace, if not the cops. I wonder how many other customers’ phones etc he has ripped off?


    June 22, 2009 at 4:26 pm

  34. Unnecessary detail

    “It was a Puerto Rican neighborhood.”

    That is terrible. There is no reason to make this distinction. I hope you have the decency to apologize on this very same blog for intentionally disparaging an entire group of people for the act of one person. Your iPhone is not worth this sort of slander.

    I’ll be impressed if my post makes it through your screening, and doubly impressed if you can sincerely apologize to Puerto Ricans for your comment.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:27 pm

  35. Re: Unnecessary detail

    Actually, I’m happy to post your comment, and happy to reply. Here’s what I wrote at the bottom of my post, if you read that far:

    The references to race are for two purposes:
    First, to be self-deprecating about our own appearance, and how little we actually looked like a bad-ass iPhone tracking team;
    Second, to establish how much we stood out in this particular neighborhood.
    Besides a bit of self-mockery, I don’t think I said or implied a single negative thing about anyone’s race.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:32 pm

  36. Report the Thief

    When things like this happen you need to make sure you:


    Every time it’s some jerk that works there and they are lying about finding your item so make sure you turn them in TO THE POLICE not just the store.

    When something similar happened to me (cashier was running a short-change scam) the manager was in on it but I wouldn’t have know about it if I hadn’t also called the cops. Those two would have kept on ripping off people and that iPhone thief will keep stealing stuff people leave in restaurants.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:34 pm

  37. Great story. I’m glad to hear hat you got the phone back! Losing a loved gadget is he worst.

    May you never have to go through that again.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:35 pm

  38. Awesome.

    The reason I held out for so long to become an iPhone owner is because I knew I’d always be terrified of losing it somehow. Your story make me want a MobileMe account, even though you’re very, very lucky that this story didn’t go down one of the many different paths that could have led to a different conclusion.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:38 pm

  39. Ass kicking

    What a bitch. You erase my comment. Wow I guess freedom of speech doesnt mean anything to you. Which is another reason i would kick your ass


    June 22, 2009 at 4:39 pm

  40. Re: Ass kicking

    I erased your comment because you were talking like a dick, and because it’s my blog and I can have what I want on it. Go start your own blog.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:42 pm

  41. I guess the service already paid for itself

    But if I were desperate enough to steal someones iPhone, I would probably wrap it in tin foil a few times, thus preventing any data or GPS communication with the phone to Apple servers.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm

  42. What about the $50?

    Didn’t you pay the thief the $50? You said you would pay a reward. He willingly returned it to you. Why didn’t you pay the reward?


    June 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm

  43. leet


    June 22, 2009 at 4:49 pm

  44. Reward?

    I didn’t read allll the comments, but did a quick find and search for the page and didn’t find anything about the guy getting any reward! You did say there were $50 waiting for the one who returns it.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:49 pm

  45. Anonymous

    Maybe Apple should put explosives in the phone in case this thing happens. Not too hard to find a criminal with a missing hand or some fingers!
    : )


    June 22, 2009 at 4:51 pm

  46. push location

    if the iphone was pushing its location instead of you having to update it, your battery probably would have died sooner. just a thought. I’m glad you ended up finding your iphone. its an awesome story.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:52 pm

  47. Thief

    I certainly hope you reported this jackass to his employer.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:52 pm

  48. wow

    So you actually went into a crappy neighborhood with a $1200 Mac laptop (out in the open) to try to find a $200 phone? That sounds like you need a lesson in risk vs. reward. Happy it turned out well for you, but man, how would you have felt if your friend had gotten his laptop and fancy Sprint dongle jacked as well??


    June 22, 2009 at 4:53 pm

  49. Sweet

    That was a great post, I’m glad you got you iPhone back

    Very funny and great to read

    10/10 for determination.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm

  50. Way to go!

    You guys rock. And so does Apple.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:57 pm

  51. What generation iPhone?

    Great story! And I’m diggin the fact that you were at a Lego convention. What iPhone was it? Original or 3G? In theory, wouldn’t the 3g be more precise with it’s GPD feature? I haven’t used this feature yet but am curious. I assume the original iPhone uses triangulation, hence the giant circle of possible location.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:58 pm

  52. Re: What about the $50?

    Actually I did offer him the money in my wallet – $30ish – but he declined. Really I felt no obligation to offer, since he’d ignored repeated messages to call us. Walking away from us down the street doesn’t qualify as reward-worthy behavior.


    June 22, 2009 at 4:59 pm

  53. You guys are my new heros !!!!
    Geek or no geek you can hold your heads high,
    comanding respect from all who have ever lost a treasured possesion…
    Jolly good show!!


    June 22, 2009 at 5:01 pm

  54. Great post.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:01 pm

  55. Re: Good story

    Also enjoyed the story but, as a Puerto Rican myself, I’m not sure about the honkey name calling. Puerto Ricans don’t call white guy’s honkeys. I think Gringo is the derogatory term you were looking for.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:01 pm

  56. Re: Unnecessary detail

    Yes, god forbid somebody actually state a fact! Are we so sensitive about race that we can’t even state a clear, objective fact about a situation? There is no slander involved in stating the factual nature of who lives in a particular neighborhood. This PC crap is just stupid.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:04 pm

  57. What bar were you at?

    What bar were you at?


    June 22, 2009 at 5:05 pm

  58. Which iPhone did you lose/re-find?

    ie. is it an original that was only locating via cell towers or a 3G[S] with GPS? i’ve seen cell towers get somewhat accurate, but i don’t know if they’d be accurate enough to show finite ambulatory movement like you describe.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:06 pm

  59. Re: What about the $50?

    A reward is for when they find you and deliver the goods. If you do all the work of tracking them down and then take it back, it does not count.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:07 pm

  60. Sketchy…

    I used to live in Austin and judging by that 512 area code, you do too… and we both know there are plenty of ‘sketchy’ places there! πŸ™‚ Good Job – I was in the Apple Store yesterday watching someone try to convince a customer with 3 computers and an iPhone t by MobileMe for the family. He never mentioned FMI. I pointed it out, and that clinched it!



    June 22, 2009 at 5:07 pm

  61. Great post. I’m really glad you got your phone back, and you 3 should definitely be in Apple’s next iPhone commercial.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:08 pm

  62. Re: Call the police next time

    Not true, when my place was burgled, the Chicago cops came out then sent out a fingerprint tech. They caught the guy and sent him to jail for 7 years. He stole a camera and a cup of coins. Good job for a $75 crime in a neighborhood with 3 ‘transient’ hotels!


    June 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm

  63. Re: What bar were you at?

    Don’t remember the name… It was a block or two south of Piper’s Alley, amongst some much nicer restaurants, on the east side of the street.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm

  64. oh my god…

    what a cool story… that would really be an insane reality show…
    go for it!!!


    June 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm

  65. Great!

    Glad you got your iPhone back! I hope that Apple takes feedback like yours to heart and improves the service. Looks like MobileMe is finally worth the money!



    June 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm

  66. Great blog

    I just upgraded from the original iPhone to the 3G S and after seeing how that blue circle I remember so well did in your article, I’m going to get a MobileMe subscription just for this. The GPS should make this even sweeter in the case that I ever lose my iPhone. Thanks!


    June 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm

  67. Re: Which iPhone did you lose/re-find?

    3G using GPS. You’re right, it wouldn’t have been as useful with an original phone.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm

  68. Nice Story

    Awesome story, linked to it from Engadget. It’s a pity some people have to be so confrontational about stuff like this. If I was the thief I would’ve been crapping myself!


    June 22, 2009 at 5:16 pm

  69. Re: Thief

    You really should do this. Tell them that their employee stole your phone. This person should be fired. Think about the incident from the theif’s point of view…. stealing an iphone has no downside. If they guy tracks me down, I’ll just give it back, otherwise, I keep it. Be part of the solution….


    June 22, 2009 at 5:17 pm

  70. Re: thank you to restaurant

    This! I am sure the restaurant owner would be very interested in knowing that one of his employees is stealing.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:18 pm

  71. well now

    I highly doubt that Apple would actually encourage this type of behavior.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:21 pm

  72. your story on TUAW

    good story, if a bit scary!!!

    I’m using your tale to convince a co-worker to get MobileMe for herself.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:24 pm

  73. Reward

    You should have still given the guy the $50 reward.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:27 pm

  74. Re: Unnecessary detail

    You’ve got to be kidding. How was that comment in any way disparaging? Any good story teller sets the scene. Just mentioning a race doesn’t automatically make something racist. That’s just flat out stupid to think that way and is exactly why race issues linger. It’s because of people like YOU, not because of a detail in a story like this.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:27 pm

  75. Retribution

    Call the employer to tell them what kind of person they are employing. Clearly he cannot be trusted.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:27 pm

  76. Another vote for uselessness of calling police

    I wouldn’t have called the police either. I got my CAR stolen back in ’89 when things were a little saner than now. The only thing the police did was tow it in when the thieves were done with it. Only thefts from dealerships get their attention. Entertaining story and way to go Kevin!


    June 22, 2009 at 5:27 pm

  77. Not worth it

    Congrats on getting your phone back.

    Some states constitute anything over $300 as grand theft. Regardless what jurisdiction or state you are in you can get some form of legal advice or help freely. Unfortunately it may not be the response or action you want to hear. Personally if you value your life getting into an altercation over an iPhone is definitely not worth it.

    The general consensus appears to have a good point, chop it up to your insurance next time. Life is worth more than an iPhone “jesus phone”.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:28 pm

  78. live me

    wow i got a get that


    June 22, 2009 at 5:29 pm

  79. LOL

    That is great! : )


    June 22, 2009 at 5:29 pm

  80. Some notes on Find My iPhone


    I’ve been compiling some notes on the “Find My iPhone” feature. You are welcome to review my findings at
    It may shed some additional light on errors you had in your chase. I am glad you were able to recover your phone. πŸ™‚



    June 22, 2009 at 5:32 pm

  81. Congrats

    Congrats on finding the phone. I agree that that $99 for MobileMe paid off instead of having to replace an iPhone worth hundreds, along with all the data on it.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:34 pm

  82. Re: Another vote for uselessness of calling police

    Actually crime was generally much worse in 1989 than today. But otherwise, I hear ya. Thx for commenting!


    June 22, 2009 at 5:34 pm

  83. Re: Unnecessary detail

    “This PC crap is just stupid.”

    Myself, as a PC user am quite offended at your speaking so poorly about PC’s and referring to them as crap. I doubt this will make it through your filters and will have more respect if you apologize publicly. You should respect those that use other computer systems and not put them down like this.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:34 pm

  84. Great story!

    That was a great story! And glad you got your iPhone back (and were safe) πŸ™‚ Now you have an adventure to tell to your grandkids some day πŸ™‚


    June 22, 2009 at 5:35 pm

  85. throw away phones

    phones should be like shades – able to be lost or stolen. anything else is overly pretentious and overly dependent.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:36 pm

  86. Def Tell the bar manager/owner

    Firstly, great story. agreed, could have been dangerous, but hey, makes for a second story.
    secondly, didn’t find it at all bigoted or offensive. I really would ignore the comments here about that – it help me greatly visualise three white guys with a laptop running about like crazy nutters!!!! πŸ˜›
    Finally, if you can work out what the bar was, do try and contact the owner to tell him – it would be a huge service to all those that will head to the bar in future….


    June 22, 2009 at 5:37 pm

  87. Re: Unnecessary detail

    For what it’s worth, I live a few blocks from there. It’s not a Puerto Rican neighborhood, but Saturday was the Puerto Rican Day festival in Humboldt Park so there were lots of flags out. Logan Square is a largely hispanic area. Sketchy it is not.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:40 pm

  88. Re: Good story

    oh hardly – get over it


    June 22, 2009 at 5:40 pm

  89. Re: Call the police next time

    I once spent 5 minutes looking up the non-emergency phone number here in St. Louis to call in an abandoned car, and the person answered “911.” So, it seems like 911 might be your only option generally.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:43 pm

  90. Re: Unnecessary detail

    My God. I’ve never heard such a derogatory comment or one that would belittle a person so badly as, “a Puerto Rican neighborhood”. I can’t believe it can even be posted on the internet!

    Of course if you’re Puerto Rican, you probably don’t mind that he called it a Puerto Rican neighborhood. I’m white. I live in a white neighborhood. God forbid!

    Part of telling a story is putting the reader in your shoes with descriptive terms. Mentioning that the food in the bar was mediocre was unnecessary, but helped paint the picture for the reader. So does mentioning the composition of a neighborhood.

    To the author: congrats and great blog!


    June 22, 2009 at 5:45 pm

  91. I live right around there

    It’s a pretty safe area, especially during the day. The people are nice, working-class, and generally friendly. I’m Korean, most of my friends living in the area are either Asian or white, and we’ve never had any problems.

    The area used to be a gang-zone about 15 years ago but it’s changed a lot. Artists and students are starting to move in which has changed the demographics a bit.

    In any case, I thought the article was freaking hilarious! The stuff about standing out in the area is more a testament to how segregated Chicago neighborhoods are; describing Logan Square as a Puerto Rican/Hispanic area is accurate (and just as accurate as calling Lincoln Park where all the white people live).


    June 22, 2009 at 5:45 pm

  92. Re: Good story

    There is nothing bigoted in this post. Quit being so sensitive. He said he was led to a Puerto Rican neighborhood. That’s a fact, not a bigoted opinion.

    If your phone is in a Puerto Rican neighborhood, you send a message in Spanish. Again, not bigoted, but common sense.

    I live in New York City, and there are such things as “Puerto Rican Neighborhoods” as there are “Italian Neighborhoods”, “Greek Neighborhoods”, “Jamaican Neighborhoods” and a neighborhood for just about every other nationality or ethnicity out there. It’s the way the city works. Try visiting one someday.

    Great story, though. As soon as Apple released this feature, I was hoping someone would put it to the test!


    June 22, 2009 at 5:48 pm

  93. LOL, great story

    Good story, and just so everyone knows I’m Puerto Rican and live on Talman and Altgeld exactly 2 blocks north of where this all happened, god I wished I would have seen you guys this weekend ( i ride bike around there often) I would have joined in the search, (I have my trusty 3gs and would also go hunting for it if everything worked out as it did for you)….

    In all I saw nothing wrong with your original post, if you think about it you actually were in a Puerto Rican neighborhood (cross between Humboldt and Logan Square) during the Puerto Rican festival of all times too, your just lucky the gangbangers were drinking their brew in Humboldt Park otherwise you would have lost your phone and your friends laptop LOL Just kidding it’s not a bad neighborhood at all ….Anyway I’m glad it turned out alright for you and the phone…..

    By the way do you remember the bar, wouldn’t mind going in and asking for the dumbass waiter who started running LOL πŸ™‚


    June 22, 2009 at 5:50 pm

  94. Uptown vs. Old Town

    I love it when a plan comes together.

    You’re post states that you were in Uptown. But if you were near Piper’s, you were likely in Old Town. Uptown is wayyy up.

    Great story.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:53 pm

  95. Re: LOL, great story

    We’ll catch you next time. πŸ™‚


    June 22, 2009 at 5:54 pm

  96. Re: What bar were you at?

    Google Maps, search for “Piper’s Alley, Chicago”. Zoom in. Drag the Streetview icon (left side, above +/-) onto the street. Find your bar.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:54 pm

  97. This is incredible

    This was the single most greatest story I have read in a long time (probably doesn’t say much), and I was completely enthralled by it! I think you have come as close to being a super-sleuth as anyone ever has… and even professional P.Is would have had a time with this one.

    Interesting how the broadcast was live though…. and accurate to a few hundred feet? That’s pretty good! In a much less populated area, say.. in the suburbs.. you could probably pinpoint an individuals house with that and REALLY scare the would-be thief.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:54 pm

  98. Re: Good story

    Um, please reference the bigotry from the text?


    June 22, 2009 at 5:55 pm

  99. Great Job

    Good for you Kevin.

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

    Too bad Illinois doesn’t have a reciprocal Concealed Handgun License agreement with Texas (or any other state).


    June 22, 2009 at 5:57 pm

  100. Re: What bar were you at?

    Burton Place?


    June 22, 2009 at 5:58 pm

  101. Re: lol

    “the nature of the tone” is the vaguest, most non-indicting way you could have put it. You haven’t a leg to stand on and just want to feed your own self-righteousness by calling someone else a bigot.


    June 22, 2009 at 5:58 pm

  102. Re: What about the $50?

    Willingly? Having the chase the guy down to a street corner strikes you as “willingly”?


    June 22, 2009 at 5:59 pm

  103. Re: Good story

    Oh fuck you. He wasn’t bigoted. If anything he was negative toward his own race. haha.

    Just because somebody mentions an ethnic group it doesn’t mean they’re doing anything wrong. Where I live a bunch of people live on the same block and are from Puerto Rico and have flags and shit up all over the place because they are proud. That is totally cool! They live in a Puerto Rican neighborhood because that is how they like to decorate it.

    I, live in a plain old neighborhood. Lots of races, doesn’t matter.

    I hate when people start bitching and crying out, “Waaaaaah I’m a minority be nice” for no reason what so ever. Life can be tough. Deal.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:01 pm

  104. Re: Uptown vs. Old Town

    You’re right, it was Old Town. I stand corrected. First time to Chicago!


    June 22, 2009 at 6:01 pm

  105. Re: What about the $50?

    You are a jackleg. The thief did NOT willingly return the phone, dumbass! He ignored all the messages asking him to call the 512 number, obviously. He only surrendered the phone because he was caught red-handed. He didn’t deserve a dime. Our hero was a little too nice, if you ask me.. I wouldn’t have shaken his hand, I would’ve told him he’s a f’ing punk and I’m reporting his ass to his boss at the club, so he gets fired.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:02 pm

  106. awesome

    Amazing story. Glad no one got hurt and that you were able to get back your iphone unharmed. Woot woot for mobile me. πŸ™‚


    June 22, 2009 at 6:02 pm

  107. Amazing!

    Wow! What an amazing story! I guess thank god for having Mobile Me. It’s also great that you got it back! Mobile Me FTW!


    June 22, 2009 at 6:08 pm

  108. Re: thank you to restaurant

    I have also been victimized in Chicago as have many people I know. I work in the restaurant industry. The CHICAGO COPS COULD CARE LESS IF IT WAS YOUR PHONE OR CAR OR YOUR LIFE! BEEN THERE. I am so glad you tracked it down. WARNING TO THIEVES WE ARE ON TO YOU AND THE GIG IS UP! I would have done the same thing , but would have added some — butt kicking.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:09 pm

  109. Re: Unnecessary detail

    There is also no reason _not_ to make this distinction, he’s telling a story and tries to make images appear in the reader’s heads. What you are criticizing is the meaning the sentence gets in your head. Think about it…


    June 22, 2009 at 6:09 pm

  110. Scary

    I used to live on Washtenaw (1700 N), about 6 blocks from where you were, which is about 2 blocks away from Humboldt Park. I was 19, very poor, very new to the city, and VERY white. I was the only non-Puerto Rican I ever saw in my neighborhood. My daily routine included walking past 20 gangbangers to get to the bodega for milk. Nobody ever bothered me – instead, they ignored me as if I didn’t exist. I would not have wanted to confront anyone. It is definitely a neighborhood where you don’t call the cops if someone’s shooting, you call the cops if someone’s shot. Good job, but let’s not try that again.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:11 pm

  111. Awesome

    Awesome story. I’m glad to see that MobileMe saved you a few hundred dollars. The data was probably backed up on iTunes, sure, but purchasing a phone without a new contract is way too expensive.

    Tell someone at the Apple Store; I’m sure they’d love to share the story!


    June 22, 2009 at 6:14 pm

  112. Re: Unnecessary detail

    Nothing terrible about it.

    Forget the PC BS and call a spade a spade.

    Or in this case a Puerto Rican.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:14 pm


    You made (me) day! I just signed up for the iPhone finder this a.m. Called my son and told him about it. The next thing I know I get this PRICELESS story.
    Loved, loved, loved it.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm

  114. Entertaining story and congrats

    Kevin: Entertaining story and congrats on getting your phone back! Are you going to tell the bar owner about the employee? Stumbled upon this post via TUAW (

    @ladyjalana if you like “Where’s my Android” check out “Mobile Defense” ( on the Android Market. It’s more like the MobileMe Find My iPhone for Android.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:17 pm

  115. White Chicagoan living in Logan Square

    The neighborhood (Logan Square) is heavily puerto rican turning hipster. During the day you are generally fine. At night it’s a toss up, and you ARE lucky you didn’t get shot.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:17 pm

  116. nicely done, man!


    June 22, 2009 at 6:17 pm

  117. Re: thank you to restaurant

    And the restaurant owner, can add to the story…”YOU’RE FIRED”


    June 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm

  118. Nice!

    Great Story. I think Find My iPhone is awesome. A lot of peace of mind at least.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:19 pm

  119. Re: What bar were you at?

    If you zoom in on the area with Google Maps, search for “bar” and you’ll get red dots on the map for the places which Google knows about. “Tavern” produces fewer locations, “restaurant” or “food” a lot — looks like “food” might be best. Odd addresses would be on the east side, but there’s one that’s kind of between two streets.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm

  120. Re: Awesome story!!!

    Thank you for this reply now that is what we are all thinking!


    June 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm

  121. Re: Ass kicking

    I lawled


    June 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm

  122. Re: Sketchy Puerto Ricans

    Cmdrtaco posted the bit, but the words were actually contributed by “an anonymous reader”.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm

  123. Sir Dicksalot says What?

    And thus the problem with blogs…. No mater what topic or genre, someone always ticks off the guy that lives in his Mom’s basement, wears only tightey whiteys with his head mic, and drinks Dr. Pepper all day. This probably interrupted his World of Warcraft power struggle. Just give up your feeble attempt at sharing your humorous story with the rest of Lego Lovin USS Enterprise buildin would be Jack Bauer’s of the world, and accept that as soon as Apple finds that its users attend a Lego Convention, the jig is up sir, the jig is up.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm

  124. Re: Good story

    get a life, he didn’t make -up an ethnic group to badger, he just called
    a duck a duck


    June 22, 2009 at 6:22 pm

  125. reward?

    If somebody from my town did that, you can bet I wouldn’t be offering a reward.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:23 pm

  126. Great read. People should learn how a story is told and stop creating sensationalist comments; all they do is make you look illogical and uneducated.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm

  127. Scary

    It’s good you were able to locate your phone. scary thought is that it could have gone the other way, you and your friends could have been harmed. In my opinion, when it was narrowed to to 100 feet, you should have called 911.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm

  128. Hope you still enjoy Chicago

    Kevin, what a great story! It’s so funny because I live about 5 blocks from where you got your phone and my girlfriend lives about 1 block away on Medill! For a while I thought maybe she stole your phone πŸ™‚
    As a life-long Chicagoan I certainly hope that this experience doesn’t dissuade you from visiting our fair city in the future. Like any big city we have our problems with crime (see last Governor) but I generally hear that most visitors like our midwestern friendliness. I hope you come back again soon.
    Thanks for the follow ups regarding the race issues. I think you handled it well. Chicago is very ethnically diverse and that is one of the citys strengths. I am of Central European descent and I enjoy living in a mostly hispanic neighborhood because it teaches me a lot about the culture.
    Dave D.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm

  129. Re: Ass kicking

    Hah – LOL
    He is a dick and too stupid to understand that freedom of speech exists for real people, not anonymous wind bags.

    Why didn’t I log in? Just lazy , I guess.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:29 pm

  130. faggot
    even worse, a mac faggot


    June 22, 2009 at 6:29 pm

  131. I love it and you are not bigoted.

    What an awesome story. I have an iphone but I do not have mobile me. At first I was wondering what the heck you were talking about but now I get it. I think you are the iphone superhero. Kudos to you.

    I love when people stand up for themselves.

    How come white people are not allowed to discuss race? Why? Don’t you have a race yourself? Are you not part of the human race?

    I am multiracial and this is a question I have always wondered about. You merely described one component of who you are and one component of where you were and it was priceless!

    Please your use of racial indicators was perfect. I loved it.

    Thanks for taking the time to write a great post.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:30 pm

  132. Volume

    I reported the low volume and not so efficient sound to Apple and the response was that they were aware of it and working on it.
    So, maybe the next iteration of OS3 will have this homing sound going off like a police car sirene or boat horn at max volume


    June 22, 2009 at 6:30 pm

  133. oh now we have thief correctness

    no kidding. This crap makes my blood boil! Let’s track this loser down again and kindly ask him how he would like to be identified. As a fucking thief, or a latino?


    June 22, 2009 at 6:30 pm

  134. FYI

    In a Puerto Rican neighborhood you’re a gringo.
    Honkey is when you’re in a African American neighborhood.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:31 pm

  135. Report the thief to restaurant AND police

    Be sure to report this thief to BOTH the restaurant AND the police! This man STOLE YOUR FRICKIN’ IPHONE, which is a CRIME! He needs to be fired from his job AND reported to the police! This story isn’t over yet until you report him!


    June 22, 2009 at 6:34 pm

  136. can’t all systems get along?

    It’s hard enough for a young PC to develop in this society, with its lack of respect for buggy, difficult-to-maintain systems. And then you come along and add insult to injury! The variation in quality and capability of our various systems is what gives character to the nation’s glorious mosaic of computers.

    Please prostate yourself and apologize.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:35 pm

  137. KICK ASS!! Got to love the iPhone and features

    Amazing, Love the way u wrote the story. Got to love Apple, Jobs & The iPhone + Features.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:35 pm

  138. Great story

    Great story, you should do this more often! And how about posting some of your Lego pics, sounds awesome, didn’t even know something like that show existed!


    June 22, 2009 at 6:35 pm

  139. Awesome story.

    That was great. I tried the Find My iPhone utility as well (though just for fun with some friends acting as the thieves) and it did work pretty well though similar to your experience, only when there was movement did all the GPS, Cell triangulation really kick in zero in on the spot. I suppose that is as good as it gets given civilian locator technology. Thanks for sharing.

    I hope neither of us have use this utility again!

    Best regards,

    Daniel Hernandez



    June 22, 2009 at 6:39 pm

  140. Re: What bar were you at?

    I think that’s it, thanks!


    June 22, 2009 at 6:42 pm

  141. Losing an iphone

    lol, if I ever lose my phone, I’ll just buy another 5 of them, and I’ll still have saved money over the iphone. I won’t even have to go on a manhunt and deal with complete strangers who may or may not be armed.

    The most expensive thing I’ve ever misplaced was a pair of $20 sunglasses, and I was 13-14 years old at the time. I cannot imagine how someone would lose something as expensive as an iphone.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:44 pm

  142. Re: Call the police next time

    911 calls to inform the police that you see a guy with your phone are a valid use of the system.

    Using 911 to inform police that it’s been stolen is not.


    June 22, 2009 at 6:52 pm

  143. Fantastic story! My original story on Find My iPhone for TUAW tested it inside of my apartment, but it’s great to see that you used it to get your phone back. Amazing! It took a lot of guts, and I admired you for doing it. (To be honest, I’d done the same thing for mine.)


    June 22, 2009 at 6:52 pm

  144. Re: Sir Dicksalot says What?

    I *do* drink Dr. Pepper all day…


    June 22, 2009 at 6:56 pm

  145. Great Story!

    I love that this capability is now on the iPhone. I have a MacBook Pro and had one in my travels through Australia and Asia. It was stolen from my room in very suspicious circumstances and I spent three months and flew across the country to recover it using a program called Undercover. So I know that feeling of frustration when you have information on where it is and aren’t able to act instantly and also the elation that justice was (well, in your case only sort of) done and of getting your stuff back. Anyway, glad to see there are others who don’t like to let people get away with it.

    BTW, my story’s online at


    June 22, 2009 at 6:57 pm

  146. Now that my friend is what you call absolute freakin’ win.

    Now… being from the Chicago area, actually more up near Wheeling where you were at for the conference, I can definitely tell you probably not the best idea to track down your iPhone like that. Lots of very, very bad parts of the city.



    June 22, 2009 at 6:57 pm

  147. Cool

    Glad you got your phone back, and I enjoyed your account of the hunt! πŸ™‚



    June 22, 2009 at 6:58 pm

  148. Re: Unnecessary detail

    I winced a little when I read that too. Trepidation in the face of the unfamiliar? Totally understandable. Probably could have been conveyed differently. Congrats on recovering your phone and having it end with a handshake.


    June 22, 2009 at 7:00 pm

  149. Re: Hope you still enjoy Chicago

    Oh no worries, we’re having a blast here – I’m writing this from Hot Doug’s. Will be back for Lego conventions in the future.


    June 22, 2009 at 7:01 pm

  150. Re: Losing an iphone

    Whether we’re talking about a $30 or $300 phone, sh*t happens. Good thing he had the determination (and luck) to get it back. Well done, sir.


    June 22, 2009 at 7:02 pm

  151. Re: What about the $50?

    Hey, while I command you for shaking his hand for his tiny bit of courage to wave his hand at you and finally admit his petty crime and make good, why on earth would you have wanted to give him a single cent?

    Still, I think and hope that shaking his hand will have him think a bit about his deed – much more any form of punishment would achieve. Its not like he was a criminal who would thrive and build their empire on nice guys like you, he was just a silly opportunist who did not get away with it – he did not fight it and in the end came good (just).

    Personally, I had a similar story – only it ended quicker and with much less drama. I always put my nokia N810 in my trousers back pocket. Sometimes it falls out. I always notice since I check my pockets every two minutes and when I get up, except once – it took me five minutes to notice. By the time I’d gone back to the place where I was certain I’d lost it, it was gone. But a guy seeing me look for it came up to me and handed the goods. He’d been playing with it a bit. Not sure he was going to actually steal it, maybe he’d have tried to figure out who was the owner. That was a lucky break. I thanked him gratefully.

    Anyhow, I think you did well to shake his hand. The world needs to be a better place. This needs people like you to 1/ make sure you assert your right to your property, 2/ be pleasant with people who are reasonable(ish).


    June 22, 2009 at 7:08 pm

  152. The Refernce to Race

    When I first read the sentence, “It was a Puerto Rican neighborhood,” my initial reactions was, “Why did he have to tell us that? Sounds like profiling to me.” Then I read the next sentence, “On the south side of the street, an outdoor birthday fiesta was convening, and some of the participants eyed us three honkeys questioningly.” And it totally made sense why you would say, why you would NEED to tell us that your were in “Puerto Rican Neighborhood.” You weren’t racially profiling, you were giving a necessary profile (description) of the scene, which helped drive the story. Well told!


    June 22, 2009 at 7:08 pm

  153. Two points.

    Puerto Rican is not a race. Spanish is not a race. It is a culture.

    That being said… I think he implied nothing negative. I congratulate him on his success.


    June 22, 2009 at 7:10 pm

  154. Re: Call the police next time

    Well .. “I accidentally left my phone at a bar and someone took it” is somewhat different from “My phone has been stolen, and as I’m tracking it, it’s at the intersection of X and Y Sts, and whoever’s got it is ignoring the alerts I’m putting up on it”. It’s not likely the police would actually do much about it, but I doubt they’d ding you for a false 911 call just for that, especially if it’s good info.

    And Kevin, that’s the most bizarre photo of you I’ve ever seen. πŸ™‚


    June 22, 2009 at 7:13 pm

  155. passcode for the setting

    apple needs to assign a passcode to turning it off, otherwise any smart thief will just turn it off once they get the phone. guess they can’t do anything about putting the phone in airplane mode though….


    June 22, 2009 at 7:19 pm

  156. Very Nice..

    Very nice story about the new feature. I have signed up for my 60 day trial today. Thank you again for the story. Maybe Apple will come across it and feature it somewhere. πŸ™‚


    June 22, 2009 at 7:23 pm

  157. Great story, lucky ending

    This is a great story.

    As you said, the sound that the Find My Phone message makes are laughable. It should sound the Alarm, at least.

    Locating the phone takes forever. In the time it takes Apple to find your phone, Google Maps pins it down, almost to the inch (right now, Google is telling me what side of the house I am standing in, while Apple gives a great big circle that encompasses several houses). This is sad.

    BTW, Chicago is a place of ethnic neighborhoods. Don’t sweat the reference. Everybody knows where the Puerto Rican neighborhoods are and the Polish ones, and Italians…

    Next time, send this message: “Nene, pΓ³rtate bien y devuΓ©lveme el telΓ©fono. Sino, se lo voy a decir a tu mami.”


    June 22, 2009 at 7:24 pm

  158. Re: Unnecessary detail

    Stating that the neighborhood is Puerto Rican is “disparaging”? Are you an idiot?


    June 22, 2009 at 7:29 pm

  159. happywaffle, you totally made my morning! that’s amazing! i could totally feel the adrenaline pumping! great work jack bauer trio!


    June 22, 2009 at 7:29 pm

  160. Re: Ass kicking



    June 22, 2009 at 7:32 pm

  161. Awesome story! Glad you got your phone back. πŸ™‚


    June 22, 2009 at 7:34 pm

  162. Re: Call the police next time

    Just by the person taking control of the phone, which any reasonable person would know that wasn’t left there as a gift, and not attempting to find the original owner or turn it in to the police as found property, he is committing theft….at least in Arizona.


    June 22, 2009 at 7:36 pm

  163. Freedom of Speech

    Apparently the guy who claims “freedom of speech” doesn’t actually know what that law entitles him to nor how to properly use it. With this being a personal blog and not a public forum run by the government, you have no rights of speech. Had this blog been posted by and for a government forum, then you could cause a stink. So I suggest you read up on your constitutional rights and amendments before you go flapping your mouth.

    As for the story, I thought it was great, but I hope I don’t ever need my iPhone lo-jack feature. My girlfriend is jealous as she looses her phone all the time, but is with Verizon.


    June 22, 2009 at 7:38 pm

  164. Priceless!!!

    It reads like a little boy’s story!


    June 22, 2009 at 7:41 pm

  165. Re: Ass kicking

    Freedom of speech does not allow you to go write graffiti on any building, or to insist the NY Times prints your article, or that the ABC news has to let you be on TV.


    June 22, 2009 at 7:42 pm

  166. iPhone Finder

    That’s awesome dude, I was wondering how long it would take until I saw the first story like this pop up about find my iPhone….BTW I believe most people do not hang onto the Apple Keynotes like a lot of us do….so although u can turn off find my iPhone….you still do have to know that the feature exists……Awesome!!! Glad you found it


    June 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm

  167. Re: Ass kicking

    What a moron. Your freedom of speech impinged on his personal blog?

    Great that you got your phone back! It was an informative story that shows the strengths and weaknesses of the MobileMe service.
    Thanks for posting about it.

    I cannot wait until the “There is an app for that!” commercial comes out.


    June 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm

  168. Re: Hope you still enjoy Chicago

    Hot Doug’s is the best food ever.


    June 22, 2009 at 7:55 pm

  169. Great story!

    Almost as good as the old E-Bay P-p-p-p-p-p-power book! story πŸ™‚


    June 22, 2009 at 8:04 pm

  170. Re: Tethering

    You can in fact use from your iphone.



    June 22, 2009 at 8:17 pm

  171. Re: Uptown vs. Old Town

    Agree — great story. But yes you were definitely in Old Town. Us Uptowners are quite sensitive about this kind of stuff! Thanks for sharing. Hopefully your next trip to Chicago is not quite so harrowing.


    June 22, 2009 at 8:18 pm

  172. Re: dangerous but..

    he had plenty of opportunity to contact them if his intentions were good. the guy was a thief and deserved a broken jaw rather than a hand-shake.


    June 22, 2009 at 8:24 pm

  173. How do I read all comments threaded (or even inline)? I have to keep opening the ‘thread’ in separate tabs.


    June 22, 2009 at 8:27 pm

  174. Re: Unnecessary detail

    Are you really so prejudiced that you think just identifying something as Puerto Rican is an insult? This is quite damning evidence of your own racism.


    June 22, 2009 at 8:28 pm

  175. Re: Unnecessary detail

    Did you just suggest that calling it a Puerto Rican neighborhood is disparaging to the people that live in that neighborhood?

    Doesn’t that mean that YOU are the one that thinks the label Puerto Rican is disparaging? You should apologize to the Puerto Ricans not the blog author.


    June 22, 2009 at 8:28 pm

  176. That’s awesome that you got it back.

    This raises some dangerous questions for citizen’s type policing. I mean, you could have entered into quite an altercation with the person who took it.

    Also – you said you went to the Second City show in Chicago…was it good? haha. Planning a trip to Chicago (from Toronto), and was wondering if it’s any good. I’ve seen the one in Toronto and liked it…wonder if it’s worth the $$ to watch in Chi town…review perhaps?


    June 22, 2009 at 8:28 pm

  177. What about the reward?

    Cool story…but you promised a reward, don’t you feel badly for just giving the guy a handshake?


    June 22, 2009 at 8:29 pm

  178. This feature will not last long…

    … because thiefs will learn how to change the SIM card quicly…


    June 22, 2009 at 8:31 pm

  179. LOL!!!

    Ah yes… the eloquence of the ignorant.


    June 22, 2009 at 8:34 pm

  180. Re: Thief

    Don’t assume that because an accusation of theft is made at a bar or restaurant employee, anything will come of it. Any place where customers sit down, take a load off, and consume alcohol is going to have phones, wallets, keys, credit cards, hats, etc. left behind on a regular basis.

    Many’s the time I’ve fielded a call from a customer swearing up and down that their what-have-you was stolen by their waiter, when in reality it was found in a seat cushion by a busboy, turned in to a manager, and was waiting for its owner in the office safe. Leaps to conclusion aside, it’s also far from unheard of for customers to levy false accusations as an act of petty revenge. Accusations of theft, of rudeness, you name it. I once witnessed a customer leap to her feet and declare at the top of her lungs that lesbians clearly were not welcome in my restaurant—she had been refused alcohol because she didn’t have ID and because she’d already been thrown out of a less scrupulous bar down the road.

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t report thieving restaurant employees to their employers. Far from it. But I am suggesting that you shouldn’t get your hopes up about actually getting anyone fired that way. Customers—sober or drunk—simply cry wolf too often to be taken seriously. The best you can generally hope is that you’re helping to demonstrate a pattern of misbehavior on the part of that employee.


    June 22, 2009 at 8:34 pm

  181. Re: Anonymous

    they would definitely get sued for that πŸ˜‰


    June 22, 2009 at 8:36 pm

  182. Re: Great Job


    In what way would a concealed firearm have helped this story? He got his phone back without it. The range of complications posed by a skinny white Lego tourist packing heat while tracking a thief in the heat of an adrenaline rush runs the gamut from unfortunate-and-unnecessary to fatal-and-unnecessary.

    Get off the Internet and go back to wanking over your Brownells catalog. For the love of Pete.



    June 22, 2009 at 8:38 pm

  183. Re: very nice indeed!

    Good point. Actually, it’d be the perfect tracking device for a kidnapping case. Give every kid an iPhone. πŸ˜‰


    June 22, 2009 at 8:38 pm

  184. Re: Unnecessary detail

    The best part is that it’s not even true. I live a block away from there, and the neighborhood is, if anything, Mexican with heavy gentrification. The block he was first on has some huge, expensive loft condos.


    June 22, 2009 at 8:40 pm

  185. Call that bar!

    Can’t you figure out which bar you were in using Google Street Views? You really should call them, really, really. They need to know what kind of person they have working there. You may not have “left it there.” He may well have just palmed it off of the table or bar while you were not looking. seriously.

    Otherwise, good on ya’.


    June 22, 2009 at 8:50 pm

  186. Re: Weaved

    “Then they’re going to be lawsuits”

    What the hell is wrong with you Americans??? How is being able to track down your car something that is wrong by law?


    June 22, 2009 at 8:53 pm

  187. well done

    Not only did you did a good job tracking him down, you defused the situation by giving him a face-saving exit from the confrontation. It sounds like you correctly judged the “threat level” and kept yourself safe.

    Regarding the “racism”, everyone has racist thoughts. It’s how we react to those feelings that shows our character. Entering a neighborhood that has a different cultural background and language feels like stepping into a foreign country at first. The guys who declared you were going to get “shot in the face” seem a tad more bigoted than you.

    In my suburban commuter ghetto, I’d probably stare at three pale geek strangers, holding a laptop as they walked down the street, peering about, looking for something or someone. I’d probably assume that you were looking for open wireless networks though, not iPhones. Thanks for an entertaining tale.


    June 22, 2009 at 8:55 pm

  188. funny…

    would have been funnier if he asked you for the $50 reward


    June 22, 2009 at 8:58 pm

  189. that was awsome!!!

    WOW!!!! youre the man!!! that story is incredible, i know it was dangerous but what the hell iam shure it was sooooooo worth it…


    June 22, 2009 at 9:01 pm

  190. find my iphone

    Find my iPhone should have a feature that works like this: When a phone is lost or stolen, you access the phone, activate the “contact owner” feature, enter a phone number, and every time the thief tries to use the phone it calls this number instead of the number he (or she) dialed. That makes the phone useless to its new owner and gives the owner a chance to talk to the person who recovered the phone.


    June 22, 2009 at 9:01 pm

  191. How the thief could’ve won

    Ignoring all other paths that this story could’ve taken, if i was the thief i would dispose the simcard in a city trashcan. Problem solved. :/


    June 22, 2009 at 9:02 pm

  192. Re: Losing an iphone

    This is why you can’t own nice things.


    June 22, 2009 at 9:03 pm

  193. internet’s small world

    must say that the post, and your entire ‘library,’ were both fascinating and humorous. The second part, and the bit i really like, is that i stumbled upon your blog through twitter and you happen to live in the same city as i do. brings to mind that whole ‘small world’ concept that i love.


    June 22, 2009 at 9:03 pm

  194. Re: Volume

    thank you for that idea, cracked me up


    June 22, 2009 at 9:03 pm

  195. youΒ΄ve done good

    I am sitting in Denmark,finding it funny with all the comments you get on the safety issue, while over here we would still be offended by losing the phone, and yes! – feeling somewhat disincouraged while finding it in a neighboughhood that was not our own, yet!- being shot??
    We do not do that sort thing over here, but are gettin there, regretably. I really like my iPhone, and would really be unhapy to lose it, but the thrill of the chase youΒ΄re talkinΒ΄bout is well worth a loose… then I am just a European…


    June 22, 2009 at 9:08 pm

  196. Re: Ass kicking

    Wow, you are a total dick. Freedom of speech applies to anyone… just not those that just want to use it to hate. I bet you got beat up in school


    June 22, 2009 at 9:09 pm

  197. Re: Very cool. Of course…

    Yeah, no laptop needed as long as you can quickly translate GPS data to real-world location.


    June 22, 2009 at 9:18 pm

  198. Re: Unnecessary detail

    When he said “This PC crap is just stupid.” He’s referring to the fact that people are bitching about the author stating a simple fact and people blowing it way out of proportion!
    The author and the person that left that comment never said anything offensive about anybody.

    This is my reply to you… just like your comment;
    As a Caucasian I’m deeply offended that your bitch ass is complaining about absolutely nothing!


    June 22, 2009 at 9:23 pm

  199. Favorite moment?

    We laughed triumphantly, adrenaline racing, feeling like the Jack Bauer trio. (Disregard the fact that we’d just left a Lego convention.)

    πŸ™‚ Thanks for the story!


    June 22, 2009 at 9:26 pm

  200. Exciting

    that’s an exciting story… i’m happy for you !!
    i think Apple needs to know that in order to improve its service.


    June 22, 2009 at 9:30 pm

  201. Re: Call the police next time

    Don’t call that guy a moron, jerkoff. It’s perfectly legal to call the police if you believe something may have been stolen from you.


    June 22, 2009 at 9:31 pm

  202. > Yeah, no laptop needed as long as you can quickly
    > translate GPS data to real-world location.

    Google Lattitude and Google Maps run on my Android.

    And didn’t cost $100. πŸ™‚


    June 22, 2009 at 9:35 pm

  203. You’re Not a Bigot and I Love the Story

    I totally get the self-deprecation in your “racial” comments and actually think it adds some local flavor to the story. Maybe not everyone is down with that and that is just the price of speaking out loud and not worrying about race because you’re really NOT a bigot and believe with Rodney King that we should all just “get a loan.”

    I am a wussy, pinko-commie liberal and I am completely in favor of racial equity in all cases and places, but if we start down the road of completely ignoring all differences lest someone’s nose get out of whack or because some white dude, especially a mousey, lego-convention-attending-whitebread bald pasty-faced dude like yourself makes such a comment, then I’m going to need to live on an island somewhere and just play Pocket God all day.

    If some of you out there think iPhone Lego Guy is a racist then I think you’re just trying too hard to be insulted randomly. Maybe some Lego-wielding white guy spit in your face while you were waiting on line for your 3G iPhone or maybe really racist stuff exists in your past (and if you’re over 40 and not white how could it not?) and I can never understand or apologize enough for it. But we Whiteys will get ours someday in some future society when we are the minority and society regresses enough so that you can discriminate against us brutally and make fun of us for our lack of pigment, rhythm or style.

    But I persist in hoping that society does become color blind and insightful enough to consider the source. I don’t think these guys are bigots, maybe you do, maybe they are, but in reading the story that’s not what I took away from it. I took away the more Darwinian cautionary tale that might have been.

    At any rate, Skinheads or not, I love the story. Maybe next time they should be chasing a kippot-wearing dude through the diamond district or just Screech from Saved by the Bell.



    June 22, 2009 at 9:36 pm

  204. Dude that is quite possibly the best thing I’ve heard all week. Glad you found it.


    June 22, 2009 at 9:40 pm

  205. battery

    seems like it should enter some sort of low power mode (no data outside of “find my iphone”) to prevent the battery from dying too soon too.


    June 22, 2009 at 9:41 pm

  206. Good job!

    You need to print this out and mail/post this to the Bar’s manager… they should be aware of what type of staff they’ve hired on.

    Congrats on your quick wits and a job well done!


    June 22, 2009 at 9:44 pm

  207. Tethering is fine, but…

    I don’t think we should be making excuses as to why there is any reason at all we shouldn’t be able to access the Find my iPhone feature on our iPhones.

    Who’s to say that everyone with an iPhone is porting his or her laptop at all times as well? What is more, time is a factor. Everyone knows the battery sucks, and to have to drive (or take city transit or what have you because, keep in mind: not everyone has a car) all the way home/back to your dorm/etc just to pick up your computer expends precious time that could otherwise be used to recover your device.


    June 22, 2009 at 9:49 pm

  208. Re: Unnecessary detail



    STFU and find something else to bitch about.


    June 22, 2009 at 9:52 pm

  209. Volume up? Duh!

    I can’t understand why it doesn’t automatically turn the volume up too. I thought it was just an issue with my iPod Touch.



    June 22, 2009 at 9:53 pm

  210. Google Latitude. Free. Same service.

    Google Latitude. Free. Same service.

    But, way to risk your life for your iPhone!


    June 22, 2009 at 9:57 pm

  211. Re: Sketchy Puerto Ricans

    He didn’t call the Puerto Rican’s sketchy, just the area. I sure there are sketchy While, Hispanic and maybe even sketchy Martian streets.

    Even if these particular Puerto Rican’s were sketchy, that doesn’t mean he’s saying they all are.

    There’s nor racism here, move along!


    June 22, 2009 at 10:07 pm

  212. I want it to have RETRO iPhone Finder

    AT&T or Apple should’ve been helping us with this ALL ALONG. If it had GPS on it, they should’ve helped us.

    I left mine in a Pay-less-Shoe Source last year (yeah, no way I’m getting that back), but APPLE would NOT help. THEY KNEW THEY WERE MAKING A CRAP-LOAD MORE MONEY WHEN PEOPLE’S PHONES WERE STOLEN, thus, they do not want to help you find your old one.

    If I pay for Mobile Me, which I never will, it would be because they help me find that old phone.


    June 22, 2009 at 10:09 pm

  213. That’s pretty cool!


    June 22, 2009 at 10:11 pm

  214. LOL This anonymous user has go the right idea!

    IT’S NBD LOL! Geesh it’s really frustrating when people look at 4 page, 1865 word blog post (yes, I was interested enough to look it up) and have the inelegance to choose to see and respond only to what was said about race. I feel bad for Kevin having to endure all the blows he received for such an innocent faux pas, not saying there was anything wrong with what he said.

    the perversion about PC’s was funny though ha ha


    June 22, 2009 at 10:14 pm

  215. taser

    That’s why i’m searching for a mobile with a built-in taser so i can code some software to instead of just sending “threat” messages, to actually get into “Chuck Norris mode” and take action once the accelerometer matches a “movement”.
    So then , after locating the range on the street, you could see the “who jumps first game”…


    June 22, 2009 at 10:14 pm

  216. sketchy?

    If you think that neighborhood is sketchy you might want to get out of the suburbs more often. That’s a mixed neighborhood middle to upper-middle class last time I checked.


    June 22, 2009 at 10:20 pm

  217. Great story!!



    June 22, 2009 at 10:21 pm

  218. Re: Ass kicking

    That is SOOO not the way the Bill of Rights defines the freedom of speech. Go to school jerk. Your presence is neither wanted or needed under this post. And that as well goes to anyone else who has negative point make that diverges from the Kevin’s story. I hate bullshit.

    Congrats Kevin this really cheered me up!


    June 22, 2009 at 10:22 pm

  219. iPhone Story

    Great story but I am more intrigued about the Lego convention, do tell us more…

    What were the models you had to pack in your car of?


    June 22, 2009 at 10:23 pm

  220. Re: What about the $50?

    Thank you.


    June 22, 2009 at 10:24 pm

  221. Re: What about the $50?

    Thank you as well.


    June 22, 2009 at 10:26 pm

  222. Re: Report the Thief

    You are very optimistic about the level of police interest in going after real, but small time, criminals.


    June 22, 2009 at 10:27 pm

  223. Re: former chicagoan

    I just woke up, after reading the article.


    June 22, 2009 at 10:29 pm

  224. Re: What bar were you at?

    OMG now everyone’s gonna find Burton Place and kick the ass of the first sketchy employee they see lol


    June 22, 2009 at 10:31 pm

  225. NICE!!!!

    Very cool!!! Great story, great ending! kudo’s to you and your friends.

    From a fellow Austin”ite” ;D


    June 22, 2009 at 10:33 pm

  226. Re: Which iPhone did you lose/re-find?

    I rather believe that the FMI feature is only for iPhones with GPS. As in the 3G/S.


    June 22, 2009 at 10:34 pm

  227. Re: Not worth it

    I don’t agree with the consensus. I would have found my phone too if I knew where it was. You say you wouldn’t but once you’ve called the police and they don’t care and you’re looking stupidly at computer screen blazing a blue circle around your phones exact location…


    June 22, 2009 at 10:38 pm

  228. Re: Unnecessary detail

    This is the whole problem with “profiling”. It doesn’t take much for harmless ignorance to turn into prejudicial ignorance. The neighborhood you were in IS NOT a “Puerto Rican” neighborhood; Logan Square is a diverse neighborhood with a broad Latino culture. And please educate me about how having white skin makes you “stand out” in a Puerto Rican neighborhood?


    June 22, 2009 at 10:52 pm

  229. Re: Call the police next time

    In Chicago all reports are run through the 911 system. Even non-emergencies. I tried calling with a non-emergency to the police and was routed to 911 dispatch. If you are in Chicago, just call 911.


    June 22, 2009 at 10:53 pm

  230. i want mobile me

    This story makes me want to purchase mobile me! I can’t live without my iPhone and as I always have full battery and it lasts 2 days, I will have no problem finding it!


    June 22, 2009 at 10:55 pm

  231. iphone episode

    I thought your story was well written & I did not find anything to apologize about regarding race. You pretty much covered yourself. What I find most interesting are peoples brazen comments. I found you I think on twitter, not really sure but it was well worth it!:)


    June 22, 2009 at 10:59 pm

  232. awesome

    that’s an awesome experience… though it’s a good thing you had a secondary network to track with!


    June 22, 2009 at 11:15 pm

  233. Great story

    I actually used this feature on my phone because I lost it – in my house – and my wife was on an all-day conference call tying up the landline, so I couldn’t just ring it. And here I thought I was cool. Nothing like what you describe.

    Jim in TX


    June 22, 2009 at 11:19 pm

  234. Fantastic story!

    This is a great story, Kevin, and very entertainingly written. Hard to believe some of the negative comments you’ve received. The wired world needs risk-taking, lego-hugging, iPhone-tracking adventurers like yourselves, and I suspect the nay-sayers are just envious.

    I remember once coming to my car to find it had been broken into and I saw the group responsible walking away in the distance. I hailed my friend to get his car and he and after some delay he and I gave chase, like Idiot Man and Boy Blunder. When we finally caught up with the four of them, the two of us had that moment of realisation: “What the hell do we do now?” And we just had to shrug our shoulders, leave it at that and go home. πŸ™‚

    All the best,


    June 22, 2009 at 11:23 pm

  235. Re: Sketchy Puerto Ricans

    The word “sketchy” is used in the article, but only in reference to the dive bar. I guess the anonymous poster extrapolated based on the fact that the bar, the apartment block and the bus stop were in the same neighbourhood.


    June 22, 2009 at 11:27 pm

  236. best approach?

    If you figured the person was a thief, weren’t you concerned that threatening them that you knew their location would result in them panicking and trashing/smashing your iPhone to avoid being tracked? Ever since the announcement of the Find My Phone feature, I’ve been trying to think of the best way to utilize it in the case of theft, assuming that I would have the element of surprise on my side. I still haven’t come up with anything yet though. Perhaps the best course of action is to first wipe the phone to prevent any exposure of personal information before beginning the message strategy?

    Twice I lost a Palm Treo – once by theft and once by sheer carelessness. And neither time did sending it text messages result in it’s retrieval. The time it was stolen – it turns out that the thief immediately began using it to purchase music before I even had a chance to contact Sprint and have them halt the account.


    June 22, 2009 at 11:35 pm

  237. Blogvertisement

    This blog smells like an ad for “Find My iPhone”.


    June 22, 2009 at 11:38 pm

  238. Re: Call the police next time

    dear ignorant sir,

    Dialing 911 is in fact exactly what the CPD will tell you to do if you’re about to confront someone with a stolen phone. I just did this two days ago on 2009-06-20. The officer who responded was happy to help and I retrieved my phone without incident.

    In my case, it was a Blackberry 8330 on Sprint and I was using Sprint’s Family Locator service, but essentially exactly the same story, plus police.


    June 22, 2009 at 11:45 pm

  239. Great Tuesday Morning Read

    You managed to give me a pleasant Tuesday morning, between the time I arrive at work at 9am until I’ve finished my breakfast. Thanks mate for a great story!

    – Australia


    June 22, 2009 at 11:47 pm

  240. thanks for sharing the story!

    My wife walked in and wondered what was putting the huge grin on my face as I stared at my computer; I was reading your story. Please let all the negative and critical comments roll off your back. I understand you weren’t being racist. You were telling your story from your perspective, and were not stereotyping or disparaging anyone else. I am very sensitive to racist attitudes, but at the same time, I find it sad that we often can’t even mention the fact of race, without someone calling it racism. Also, some people are saying you should have done this or that differently, but I understand that you were acting totally in an adrenaline-charged moment, and hindsight is 20/20. Anyway, good job! Hopefully I will never lose my beloved iPhone, but if I do, I’m calling you and your crack team of iPhone hunters!


    June 22, 2009 at 11:49 pm

  241. ATTA-BOY !

    Yeah, True crime stories are always fun to read, and this was a hoot! You guy’s are truly the “Uptown Crusaders.” Kind of a rush, diving into the great unknown. Good job.


    June 22, 2009 at 11:51 pm

  242. Re: Tethering

    No, no you can’t.


    June 22, 2009 at 11:56 pm

  243. Re: Unnecessary detail

    You are the most over-sensitive pussy I have ever met. If you are Puerto Rican, then don’t act like someone saying “It was a Puerto Rican neighborhood” is a bad thing – interestingly, YOU make it sound like a Puerto Rican neighborhood is a bad thing.

    Note that it connects punchline of the Spanish message with the the story.

    If you are offended by that get a life and quit crying.


    June 22, 2009 at 11:58 pm

  244. Re: I guess the service already paid for itself

    Or just turn it off πŸ™‚


    June 23, 2009 at 12:02 am

  245. Re: Remember: Not all iPhone thieves are non-violent

    Not if he’d had a gun…


    June 23, 2009 at 12:03 am

  246. Re: FYI

    Haha, good to know! Thanks!


    June 23, 2009 at 12:06 am

  247. Re: passcode for the setting

    You *can* assign a passcode to the entire phone, which I had enabled. So the thief couldn’t use it for anything besides viewing my threatening messages.


    June 23, 2009 at 12:09 am

  248. Second City’s two sketch shows were sold out, so we hit up the faculty improv show. It was… alright. I’ve seen better improv. Which was disappointing since it was Second City, but I guess those who can’t…


    June 23, 2009 at 12:11 am

  249. Question

    Does the Find My Phone service shut down service to the phone once it is engaged? It seems like part of the deal should be to keep the thing from being used, at least until the loss/theft issue is resolved. Also, keeping it from use saves on battery life.

    Good for you for finding it!


    June 23, 2009 at 12:11 am

  250. Re: What about the reward?



    June 23, 2009 at 12:11 am

  251. Re: I want it to have RETRO iPhone Finder

    Before Find My iPhone was enabled, Apple had no way whatsoever to help you locate your iPhone. The iPhone was incapable of broadcasting its location. It sounds like you were expecting your iPhone to do something it couldn’t do, and blaming Apple for that. Which isn’t fair.


    June 23, 2009 at 12:14 am

  252. Re: sketchy?

    I never said it was sketchy.


    June 23, 2009 at 12:15 am

  253. umm

    So what if someone modified the device by taking out the GPS and some other stuff to make it small and then put a sticky on it and stuck it to someones car to stalk them?

    lol..would be cool.


    June 23, 2009 at 12:15 am

  254. Re: iPhone Story

    Oh gosh, that’s a whole different blog post πŸ™‚


    June 23, 2009 at 12:15 am

  255. Re: Blogvertisement

    I agree!


    June 23, 2009 at 12:16 am

  256. Re: Question

    No, but I had the passcode enabled so it was relatively useless to the thief.


    June 23, 2009 at 12:17 am

  257. Re: Ass kicking



    June 23, 2009 at 12:31 am

  258. Re: Unnecessary detail

    As a Puerto Rican myself, I am far from offended and require no apology from the author. He stated a fact: he found himself in a Puerto Rican neighborhood. There’s absolutely nothing wrong or racist with stating a fact.

    Get over your misplaced self-righteousness and don’t demand an apology from someone on my behalf. Thanks.


    June 23, 2009 at 12:35 am

  259. Re: Unnecessary detail

    I’m Puerto Rican and I demand that you do NOT apologize for stating a fact. You have nothing to apologize for, except perhaps having the misfortune of having overly sensitive, self-righteous white readers who are feeling guilty for being white.

    The neighborhood was Puerto Rican (or more broadly Hispanic as another commenter noted). You stated as much. You’ve committed no racial sin by stating a fact. I personally am more offended by the person you replied to than I am to the fact you called it a Puerto Rican neighborhood (i.e., I was not offended by you at all).


    June 23, 2009 at 12:41 am

  260. Re: Great Job

    Actually, knowing Kevin, he was probably packing concealed Lego heat.



    June 23, 2009 at 12:42 am

  261. Re: Ass kicking

    Excellent icon. I lawled.


    June 23, 2009 at 12:42 am

  262. Re: Great Job

    Lego ninja reveals nothing of his weapons save the edge of their blade.


    June 23, 2009 at 12:47 am

  263. The biggest problem as I see it is that the feature relies on you having location services enabled, and given that it’s the single biggest battery drain on the phone that’s the one thing which is almost guaranteed not to be on all the time.


    June 23, 2009 at 12:53 am

  264. Re: Ass kicking

    all love to Blaupunkt πŸ˜‰


    June 23, 2009 at 12:55 am

  265. Dangerous reverse side of this story?

    This was a great story – I’m waiting for the reverse one where someone hacks your iphone in a bar then finds you later on and takes your iphone.
    Hard to imagine a regular iphone snatcher owning the equipment to do this… unless he stole your iphone first πŸ˜‰


    June 23, 2009 at 1:03 am

  266. Turn off all hot phones

    Whenever I “find” a phone, I turn it off, remove the battery if I can. NOOBS!


    June 23, 2009 at 1:08 am

  267. So, did you give him the reward?

    I mean, you did tell him you’d give him $50…


    June 23, 2009 at 1:15 am

  268. Re: Unnecessary detail

    I’m gonna have to go ahead and throw in my two cents, cause I don’t think it was an unnecessary detail. It was a descriptive detail. People read way too much into stuff like that and turn syntax into a crusade. It’s just weird that the author didn’t think of it in racist terms, but others seemed to find it there…


    June 23, 2009 at 1:32 am

  269. Way to go!!!

    Dude, that was pure pwnage on your part. Sure, a little dangerous, maybe more dangerous than I’d like to admit, but who the heck wants to sit back and LET someone make off with their phone, when there’s a chance of doing something about it?


    June 23, 2009 at 1:34 am

  270. You’re an OK fiction writer.

    Come on man. If you are as geeky as you sound *I* would have denied having the phone. In the case that you found your balls and actually did something about it, I would’ve f*^%ed you up.

    And this is me we’re talking about. Not some guy in a fishy puertorican neighborhood.

    Your story is good. You should become a fiction writer.


    June 23, 2009 at 1:41 am

  271. Re: Tethering

    in the US you can actually get tethering to work on your iphone still without even using a computer! (much less jailbreaking it)
    Not quite sure exactly how legal this is though, so I haven’t done it myself…


    June 23, 2009 at 1:42 am

  272. good for you

    Yep – the CPD cops would have ignored you. Totally.

    But I have to say it was a foolish thing to do – I assume you’re not from this part of town. With this being Puerto Rican Independence Day – you could have easily been overrun. Like you – not a race slam. More of a fact as I’ve lived in that neighborhood and it can get out of control very quickly.

    Now a point to Apple in case they read this – PLEASE allow us to password protect that setting inside the password section of the phone. I agree with the writer that this is a killer app for the phone, but it’s only as good as someone turning that feature off.


    June 23, 2009 at 1:46 am

  273. Re: Unnecessary detail

    Well, I think YOU ought to apologize for your thin-skinned self-righteous paranoia and for implying that he has somehow made a racist remark when nothing of the kind happened. It was a Puerto Rican neighborhood. Fact. Get over it.


    June 23, 2009 at 2:01 am

  274. Did the Right Thing and Had Fun Doing It

    Awesome story – this backs up my theory that most criminals are dumb, particularly those who get caught. Also, we now know that random thief X has never heard about the locate me feature on the iPhone.

    I think it’s great that you went after the thief – I don’t want to live in a world where people are so scared of everything that they can’t even do the right thing anymore. I don’t inhabit this world, and neither do you. We do what needs to be done – it’s always been that way.

    If you think about probability then it’s not all that likely you’ll get shot in the face. How likely was it that in the 5 minutes window where your iPhone was in the bar, a real gangsta entered and took the phone? Not very. It’s infinitely more likely some small time opportunistic thief took it.

    Smoking them out with the location message was great too – that’s a classic intelligence services tactics, don’t be surprised if you get contacted by a certain agency with a job offer πŸ˜‰ Yeah, it’s one thing to see this in a movie, but quite another to do it in real life.

    As for going to the police – the police can’t help you in a case like this. Nobody got shot, and the way the iPhone was returned, there wasn’t even a crime involved – go prove in front of a court that this nice person didn’t plan on returning the phone all along – there’s no way to prove. A court would probably dismiss the case outright.

    Another thing I have learned from this post: In a case like this, you want to get the perp outside. Once they are outside, the A-GPRS kicks in, and you can pinpoint the location with great accuracy.

    I’d like this to become a test for the safety of neighborhoods. Leave iPhone in public place, see what happens….


    June 23, 2009 at 2:11 am

  275. Re: Unnecessary detail

    I’m glad you got your phone back.

    But you were strangers in their neighborhood, and you were excited, nervous and wondering where the hell your phone had gone to.

    They didn’t know that.

    To the people in the street you could had been people spoiling for a fight, INS agents, or any number of other not-good things.


    June 23, 2009 at 2:24 am

  276. mobileme

    I have pointed this article out to a member of the mobileme team and highlighted your idea about push maps πŸ™‚


    June 23, 2009 at 2:38 am

  277. Re: thank you to restaurant

    As a restaurant manager, I’d really appreciate knowing one of my employees was a thief. Protecting the customer is job one. I loved the story. What a great writer you are. I was reading as fast as I could to see what happened next.


    June 23, 2009 at 2:54 am

  278. Great Story

    What a great writer you are. I found myself laughing out loud. This was a throughly enjoyable read. Thank you. Being of Rican/Cherokee decent I’d say ignore the race baiters and the professionally offended always hyper alert looking for a reason to be offended. It’s just noise.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:21 am

  279. Awesome

    That story was totally awesome. It would’ve been better if you capped it all off with a punch to the face after getting your iPhone back. Also, fuck the haters who are complaining about racial things. They’re the ones who keep racism alive.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:31 am

  280. Re: former chicagoan

    yea considering it was the PR parade in Humboldt park this past weekend


    June 23, 2009 at 3:36 am

  281. Re: You’re an OK fiction writer.

    Sure is easy to make violent threats while sitting on your ass typing, isn’t it?


    June 23, 2009 at 3:43 am

  282. Loved it

    Just a comment from across the pond πŸ™‚
    We are very unlikely to misinterpret your comments as bigoted; and we are very likely to enjoy your post!
    Convinced me to get Mobile me!
    Great post – thanks



    June 23, 2009 at 3:52 am

  283. Good to hear you found your iPhone

    I know you apologized for this already but I need to drill it into you yet again. You turned a great story into something racial.

    I’m not that anal about every thing being PC, and I was with you until I read the racial remarks, but then you lost me.

    It’s 2009 dude, your story made me feel like I was back in the 60s.

    At any rate, good to hear you got your iPhone back.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:53 am

  284. Re: Unnecessary detail

    I also feel like the author was simply telling the story as it happened. If you think the author is bigoted, you should probably relax and stop being so judgmental.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:58 am

  285. Bunch of sad armchair QBs

    What a pathetic bunch of sheep, trying to take Kevin to task for A) being the ball and actually doing something for himself and B) talking about “what [I] would do” on either side of the situation.

    I don’t doubt that he knew about the risks of pursuing his phone. And he didn’t impugn Puerto Ricans at all; his narrative was written just so that we could understand his sticking out like three grains of bleached Uncle Ben’s in a bowl of long grain brown rice.

    Good on ya, man, for stepping up. Glad it came out okay.


    June 23, 2009 at 4:12 am

  286. Geeks rule!

    Dangerous? Yes! Stupid? Possibly! Curiously satisfying to my inner nerd? Oh yeah!

    But serously, Lego convention?

    twitter @bcald


    June 23, 2009 at 4:13 am

  287. Re: Losing an iphone

    What I meant was that I wouldn’t be careless enough to leave something in a public place without expecting it to be gone when I get back.

    I could (and do) own nice things, I just chose not to have an expensive phone, because the best features for me are call quality, reliability/durability, battery life, and size (therefore the iphone has no appeal to me). My $20 phone fits the bill just perfectly, and I’ve also never lost it, nor would I worry about it if it were lost.


    June 23, 2009 at 4:16 am

  288. Re: Losing an iphone

    See, it’s funny because…

    Joke aside, my Treo 680 was the best phone I ever owned before I got my Palm Pre. Still, it fell out my pocket or something when I got out of my car one day, and somebody decided it was theirs. In the parking lot at work. That I look directly onto from my desk. 20 feet from the door.

    I understand people steal things, but still, it’s shitty. I’d rather have a device that I use the hell out of than any dumbphone (and I had to buy one to tide me over til the Pre came out), one with an OS that makes sense and a keyboard.


    June 23, 2009 at 4:31 am

  289. Re: Unnecessary detail

    If your going to take things that far, then we may as well cut out the carrier for the 3g stick, and the fact that it was a laptop, and while we are at it, lets forget about being in Chicago, or why we were there…. here, I’ll revise the whole story for you, and making it completely proper by extrapolating upon your comments form of non offense:

    “My iPhone got stolen. I found it using MobileMe.”

    Wow. Quite the story! We had to make sure everyone in the world was not offended! But wait! What about thieves?

    If you honestly felt that way about the post, you need to get off the internet. Otherwise Google might hurt your feelings.


    June 23, 2009 at 4:46 am

  290. Re: passcode for the setting

    What he meant, I think, was a passcode for turning OFF the phone entirely, therefore defeating the Find My Phone feature. Even when the phone is passcoded, it can still be turned off (I think… I should verify this before spouting off!)

    If any thief knows he/she only needs to turn off the phone and wait till someone gives up trying to locate it, then that feature would be useless. I agree about having a code to not only turn off the phone, but put it into airplane mode.


    June 23, 2009 at 5:05 am

  291. Awesome! Time to go sign up myself for mobileme

    Congrats from yet another smiling reader on finding your phone!

    And the racist crap, again, just blow it off. Just a bunch of far-left nutjobs freaking out at nothing. If you were puerto rican, and said that you were in a white neighborhood, not a SINGLE word would have been said.

    Plus, I got out of it that you mentioned it was a puerto rican neighborhood to explain why you would send a message to the phone in spanish.


    June 23, 2009 at 5:11 am

  292. spelling of honky

    This is only anonymous because I can’t remember the details for my other services…

    The spelling of honky doesn’t have an e. It’s just honky. I should know, some of my best friends are honkies.


    June 23, 2009 at 5:18 am

  293. Yuppie Neiborhood

    Just so you are better informed. . . that neiborhood is definitely a mix of yuppies and Puerto Ricans and even those who are both (said sarcastically). . . not really shady and considered a nice place to live by myself and many others. . .


    June 23, 2009 at 5:31 am

  294. Google Locator is nice

    I recently had my phone stolen, but sadly didn’t have Google Locator on it. My new phone (Blackberry storm) has it, but it sucks that unless the actual Google Maps app has main focus, it doesn’t give detailed location, only a 100 yard + circle.

    I understand they do this to save power, but it would be absolutely awesome if you could send a signal through Google maps to tell it to turn on detailed location, using a secret pin or something so only you could do it.

    I’m glad you got your phone back, I never got mine back and lost a 2 gig memory card with pictures of my wife and son on it, of everything that was stolen, that was the worst part. 😦


    June 23, 2009 at 5:46 am

  295. I’m really glad nothing happened to you in the process and we ended up seeing this story on national news. :/ I wonder if Apple thought about that.

    I’m glad to know that the feature works, though. That’s quite a story. πŸ™‚



    June 23, 2009 at 5:49 am

  296. Congrats!

    I am ROFL at your storytelling. Great blog post. Even better sleuthing and determination! Glad you got your iPhone back. πŸ™‚


    June 23, 2009 at 6:06 am

  297. Apple Feedback

    Let them know your feature suggestions. Those are all really good ideas, especially the bit about volume limiting.


    June 23, 2009 at 6:10 am

  298. awesome

    That is so badass!


    June 23, 2009 at 7:11 am

  299. i was so excited about this feature, but i never wanted to go through it myself. great write-up, glad you got your phone back :3 (and yes, i saw your article on slashdot).

    can i friend you? πŸ˜€ you don’t seem to update so much, though..


    June 23, 2009 at 7:19 am

  300. National news? Where? I’m curious…


    June 23, 2009 at 7:29 am

  301. no MobileMe, thank you

    I don’t like Apple pushing MobileMe. I would like my Apple products even better if the functionality would not be crippled so often. Apple would make me happy if I could simply post/email the phone’s location to any site of my choosing. Use ones own closed system is one of the reasons I am not using Microsoft products anymore.


    June 23, 2009 at 7:36 am

  302. Good Story! Well done!

    Good story, good for you that you made it go right and got it back! You can pull off a lot of things if you know how to mentally handle yourself. I’ve stood up for myself in really interesting situations, like walking through a gang while in full navy uniform with hat and all. Or the cop killer that thought I was hanging out with his gal, and trying to stop him from seeing her.

    I find it amusing how people simply cannot deal with facts. If you would have been in a black, Korean or Chinese neighborhood – that’s where you would have been. Saying so is only stating facts. Now if you would have said some degrading generality about people from Puerto Rico – that would be another story.

    As for this political correct stuff, it is for the birds. Seems like people are trying to align with the lowest possible denominator. Having good manners is a good thing, but this stuff is going way too far.

    You told a good story which probably depicted what was going on pretty well. I’m sure you did not know what you were getting in to when you walk through the neighborhood. Some places are naturally unsafe for outsiders. Simply real life.


    June 23, 2009 at 7:57 am

  303. LOL. I bookmarked this page. Sick.


    June 23, 2009 at 7:59 am

  304. Great post, thanks for sharing this

    Ignore all the disparaging comments – This is a great tale which was well told. Thanks for sharing this with us bro.


    June 23, 2009 at 8:03 am

  305. NICE!

    That. Was. Awesome.


    June 23, 2009 at 8:14 am

  306. this hood

    I found this post on a link from a local blog (I live in the general area) and am SO HAPPY you went after your phone- I’m so sick of the attitude in this part of the city that it’s perfectly fine to go ahead and take something of value that’s not yours as long as you don’t get caught. Having taught an enrichment program years ago in a school that’s a few blocks to the west, I can attest that the attitude of ‘stealing is ok because you’re not hurting anyone’ (physically) is more prevalent here than in other areas of the country I’ve lived – you hear it coming out of kids’ mouths (no, not all of them). What I’m amazed at is how widely accepted the idea is around here- there are loads of ‘good’ people in the area as well, who just shrug and put up with criminal behavior. There’s that phrase about when good people do nothing – so thank you so much for not being a coward and for taking the phone back. I’m not surprised at all that there was no violent confrontation -you didn’t try to sell drugs in someone else’s territory which would get you shot- but this kind of thief will continue to palm whatever he wants because nothing happens to him when he does it, and his mental architecture tells him it’s ok to steal stuff because he’s not hurting anyone.


    June 23, 2009 at 8:23 am

  307. That’s an awesome story, grats on getting your iPhone back!


    June 23, 2009 at 9:12 am

  308. Re: umm

    Why the Hell would anyone do that to an iPhone?


    June 23, 2009 at 9:14 am

  309. Re: Remember: Not all iPhone thieves are non-violent

    Well unless the dudes wielding a knife or something.

    Of course things can go any way. I had a home invasion with 3 teenagers try and jump me. I hospitalised one of them and quite possibly broke the skull of another one. The big guy of course was already high-tailing down the street. Moral of story: Don’t attack 35 year olds and expect that they’ll roll over and die.

    The cops gave me a huge lecture about heroics till I made it really damn clear that I didn’t do a thing until one of the kids fists had already connected.

    But circumstances aside, heroics is fucking stupid and I kinda felt a bit sorry for the kid in hospital after his poor mother gave me his life story. He’s probably still got a limp to this day.


    June 23, 2009 at 9:16 am

  310. Third-Party Browsers and MobileMe

    Not sure whether anyone’s mentioned this before but… You _can_ actually use the Find My iPhone feature in MobileMe from another iPhone.
    All you need to do is avoiding to use Safari and use an “alternative” browser instead (I may suggest iCab Mobile here, which also has the ability to unload images – which is useful with the slow-rendering MobileMe huge icons display in the home page – and also has password and form recording).
    You do first get a page telling you that you’re using an “unsopported browser” when accessing, but you can just go past this by hitting “Continue”…

    Works a charm. Tested from Cookie, my iPhone 3G, looking for Gizzie, my shiny iPhone 3G S. =)


    June 23, 2009 at 9:20 am

  311. race

    Your references to race are totally fine. You didn’t say anything disparaging about any race- except maybe your own, jokingly. And how else are you going to describe a Puerto Rican neighborhood except to say that it’s a Puerto Rican neighborhood?


    June 23, 2009 at 9:30 am

  312. Re: Unnecessary detail

    Stating that a thief was of a certain race/ethnicity does not “disparage” the entire race/ethnicity.


    June 23, 2009 at 9:31 am

  313. Re: Thief

    No one seems to have mentioned this yet-(I haven’t finished reading all the threads though) but everyone keeps saying you should have turned the guy in. They are ASSUMING that this is the guy that took the phone. He may not have been the person responsible for taking it. (Although he may be equally culpable.) So while you could turn him in it may not have the desired result.

    Also to those people saying you should have called the cops. No way. They would have told you to come down and file a report. I received a call from a music store that my guitar, amp and rack of effects was there and that they could buy it from the guy for 650 bucks if I would give them the money. (Probably a scam) I told them to go ahead and then called the police station who said I needed to come down and file a report and they would look into it. I blew that off and went down and paid the 650 to the store owner to get my stuff back. The detectives called me a few days later asking for details. When I told them what happened they said “You should have asked for the Watch Captain”. (Who the fuck would have known to do that?) They ended up busting the store owner and while I didn’t get all my stuff back, one of my guitars was missing and a second amp, two years later my guitar showed up in a pawn shop and I was able to buy it back for a 25 dollar filing fee.

    Ok Last thought, so a guy steels an iPhone, and it turns out the guy he stole it from is a drug dealer. The thief is gonna get whacked. Or maybe some innocent people linked to the petty thief will get whacked. (I am just saying…) It’s not good to ASSUME anything.

    Personally I like the way it turned out. It gives a person a lot of ammunition to be able to say “I have tracked it and I know where it is now.” Even though the police will probably blow the deal anyways, at least you have a shot. You may luck out and find a sharp detective who is looking to setup a sting for their own glory.


    June 23, 2009 at 9:44 am

  314. Re: Good story

    Some people who are actually from Hong Kong call themselves honkeys…not derogatory in intent. Just puttin it out there…


    June 23, 2009 at 10:14 am

  315. Re: dangerous but..

    “You don’t know why you shook his hand? Well, he returned your phone, why not?”

    Well, the guy knew the phone wasn’t his, made no attempt to contact the phone’s owner and hung up on people trying to contact it. I think a better way of putting it was that they took back their own property as apposed to him returning it.


    June 23, 2009 at 10:14 am

  316. You can use Find my iPhone on an iPhone…

    Just don’t use mobile Safari.

    Use e.g. iCab Mobile (which is fricking awesome anyway) and you can access after ignoring the warning that your browser is unsupported.

    Performance is dire because WebKit and the CPU don’t handle the Javascript of the site too well (and is no doubt the reason why Apple block mobile Safari from the site), and you have to use fullscreen mode to be able to hit some of the buttons (otherwise they won’t scroll into view), but you can use Find my iPhone from on your iPhone. Kinda cool actually!!


    June 23, 2009 at 10:42 am

  317. great story

    great story !!!!!! Couldn’t stop Laughing


    June 23, 2009 at 10:51 am

  318. Mentioning this story on a pocast

    This is a great story for MobileMe. I am the host of “The App Show” at I would like to mention your experience on our next show. Is that OK with you?


    June 23, 2009 at 10:52 am

  319. Amazing!

    WTF! That was fantastic!


    June 23, 2009 at 10:53 am

  320. Good job!

    And doubly “good job” for not being a cowardly pussy like half the other commentards of this article.


    June 23, 2009 at 10:55 am

  321. wow

    This is an awesome story man! it was posted on a dutch iphone weblog (that’s how i found it).

    i still don’t see an advantage for mobileme. using google and ilocalis is much cheaper then mobileme, and i have the same features.


    June 23, 2009 at 10:57 am

  322. Apple’s liability isn’t the issue

    I don’t think Apple has to worry about the liability here. A simple EULA addition can fix that by releasing Apple from your own stupid actions, like hunting down a thief and subsequently getting shot in the face. (I don’t think Dick Cheney would steal your phone, anyway).

    Think about possible updates to the service, as well. As the blogger mentioned, the possibility to push location, to activate search on another iPhone are obvious.

    They could also activate a service with the provider to begin tracking usage and location and notify authorities, a la LoJack. How cool would it be to be able to have the phone only allow a call to a preset home number (yours), or have cops interrupt a thief’s phone call to tell him he’s been caught and the paddy wagon is on the way.

    I like the camera idea, too. If the camera were front-facing, even better. If someone activates the screen to run an app or attempt to unlock the phone, it takes a snapshot and mails it to you.

    I’m sure someone’s working on that app.


    June 23, 2009 at 11:18 am

  323. shenanigans

    You mentioned that when you got the iPhone back, you quickly unlocked it to find that you’d missed 20 calls? If the phone was locked while in the thief’s possession, how did he answer when you called?


    June 23, 2009 at 12:07 pm

  324. Refresh vs. Push

    If Find my iPhone was a push feature, your phone would have been constantly querying its GPS radio to update its own location, draining its battery far faster than if it simply updated its location when it received a request from the user via the mobileme site. If you got your wish for push location, you would not have your iPhone today!


    June 23, 2009 at 12:20 pm

  325. Wait…. you were at a LEGO convention?


    June 23, 2009 at 12:28 pm

  326. Thanks for Sharing

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve been on the fence on whether or not to subscribe to Mobile Me. Your story just pushed me over the fence. I’m signing up for Mobile Me today. πŸ™‚


    June 23, 2009 at 12:29 pm

  327. Re: I cannot wait for a new peripheral add-on…

    I was thinking of something like that, only instead of shocking the user, it would just set off a rather loud alarm, and it could be done either remotely or by having some kind of RFID dot somewhere else on your person (eg in a watch, bracelet, sock…)


    June 23, 2009 at 12:41 pm

  328. Re: Report the Thief

    Speaking as a police officer, I’d have been happy to get this kind of call. Being able to track a stolen item in real time to a person that is holding it and ignoring calls and messages informing them that the phone is stolen? On a felony theft? Oh yes, cops all over would love this sort of thing.

    iPhone 3G = $299, which is over the $200 threshold to make this a felony theft. The fact that he found it and took it off of the premises where he worked while ignoring the messages saying it was stolen and please call # to return it proves intent. I personally would have slapped the cuffs on him and taken him straight to jail.

    And anyone else that wants to track their stolen iPhone – call the police and I am quite sure they’ll be more than happy to meet with you and track down the phone in real time all the while insuring your safety. Oh, and you get the added benefit of watching the phone thief get arrested and hauled off to jail. What more could you ask for?


    June 23, 2009 at 12:55 pm

  329. Re: Very cool. Of course…

    Google Lattitude and Google Maps/StreetView run on my Android.
    And didn’t cost $100. πŸ™‚

    StreetView uses the compass, too


    June 23, 2009 at 12:58 pm

  330. Why the circle shrank.

    Not sure if someone said this, I don’t have time to read all the comments, but…

    You are lucky the perp went outside. While he was inside, the large circle was being triangulated using multiple cell tower pings. When he went outside, the GPS signals took over.


    June 23, 2009 at 1:01 pm

  331. Re: Great Job

    @michelle – shush

    Actually, Illinois itself does have reciprocal handgun license for all states – but Cook County does not. See, Chicago thinks it is it’s own state and can just do anything it wants because of it’s size. I know an Indiana State Trooper that got arrested for carrying his department issued handgun with him to Chicago. Fortunately nothing came of it and his career wasn’t ended over something dumb.

    I enjoy stopping people that turn out to be Chicago cops and they tell me they are.


    June 23, 2009 at 1:14 pm

  332. huh?

    More stories about the food at the bar…..


    June 23, 2009 at 1:19 pm

  333. and for the non-mobile me owners…

    I don’t have or want to spend the money on a mobilme account, so instead discovered an app that let’s me password protect all my pron err I mean private pictures and videos on my iPhone. VIDEO SAFE. Saved my life when my girlfriend and parents picked up my iPhone.


    June 23, 2009 at 1:22 pm

  334. Wow, what a story! I think all iPhone users can learn from this.


    June 23, 2009 at 1:32 pm

  335. Re: Call the police next time

    Right, because the police care when the local McDonalds runs out of McNuggets just as much as you do…


    June 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm

  336. Re: lol

    Perhaps you aren’t sure what bigotry is? I found no indication that the author has negative feelings toward the Puerto RIcans because of their race. Bigotry is mistrust or intolerance based on differentiating personal characteristics; simply pointing out race in a charged situation doesn’t cut it. The dude even tries his best to cover his butt with the disclaimer at the end; what more do you want!?!


    June 23, 2009 at 2:00 pm

  337. Great story!

    Someone twittered me this story. Loved it! Hopefully Apple addresses your slight criticisms with the service as well.


    June 23, 2009 at 2:01 pm

  338. Re: Remember: Not all iPhone thieves are non-violent

    Indeed. All the people here advocating kicking it up to the police and hoping Apple will disable or cripple this awesome feature need to get some self-reliance! Yes, confronting a thief may be dangerous. That’s why the prepared carry weapons (legally), so they can defend themselves if they ever need to. Then again, this is Chicago; a self-defense-free zone, and if the thief has been violent and the nerds had fought back they’d probably be the ones behind bars. That’s the way the system works in places like Chicago and NYC, and it’s always a grim reminder to me that the government is not always on your side.


    June 23, 2009 at 2:05 pm

  339. Re: Good to hear you found your iPhone

    Actually I didn’t and don’t apologize for how I wrote it. Reread my comments if you like. Sorry if that offends you further, though.


    June 23, 2009 at 2:22 pm

  340. Phonelocator on Nokia E75 , shows constantly where my phone is (and me). Oh no… it’s Nokia can’t be a killer application… not atleast for you Apple religiuos…


    June 23, 2009 at 2:33 pm

  341. Glad

    Glad he didn’t think of removing the SIM which they usually do. Unless there’s a way around this too.


    June 23, 2009 at 2:39 pm

  342. That was entertaining! ) Dude, you’re a great writer and not-that-bad iPhone finder πŸ˜€


    June 23, 2009 at 2:47 pm

  343. Don’t kill the feature because people aren’t smart

    I don’t want Apple to kill this feature over potential lawsuits. Sometimes it’s great to confirm that the iPhone is just somewhere in the house. My keys were missing for three days not long ago and I found them in my house. Likewise, if I went to a bar, then the mall, then a movie, maybe I’d find the iPhone if I just knew which place it fell out of my pocket. I’d certainly look harder at the bar if I knew it was still there. If someone did find it, more often than not, he’d be honest and give it back, especially if he saw a message saying how. It’s a good feature. Apple just needs to put up clear warnings to discourage folks who would be foolish enough to get shot in a confrontation. In short, if someone steals the phone, be smart enough to erase it while you can.


    June 23, 2009 at 2:50 pm

  344. The Lego Detectives

    Henceforth, you three shall be named, The Lego Detectives.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:01 pm

  345. Fake?

    I think that this is simply viral marketing for Apple, to get people to sign up to the service.

    I think Kevin doesn’t really exist and that the guy behind this blog works for a marketing firm in real life.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:12 pm

  346. Re: Yuppie Neiborhood

    As you could tell if you carefully re-read the story, I never referred to the neighborhood as shady, sketchy, or anything else.

    It’s spelled neighborhood.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:27 pm

  347. Good thing the theif didn’t know about the off switch

    And I’m not talking about the power button, taking out the sim card, password locking, or anything that could be applied to other phones. I’m talking about the MENU option, of turning off the tracking feature. Apple doesn’t really want you to get your phone back; they’d much prefer you buy a new one. I mean with iTunes, they could get the IP an iPhone/iPod thief’s computer just by tracking the SN, but do they do that…


    June 23, 2009 at 3:28 pm

  348. ‘hood

    Ask any Chicagoan. Humboldt Park is a ‘rican neighborhood.

    The 2nd sentence of the wikipedia article about this ‘hood even says so.,_Chicago


    June 23, 2009 at 3:30 pm

  349. Sure you can friend me. πŸ™‚ I *might* pick up writing again.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:30 pm

  350. Re: Third-Party Browsers and MobileMe

    Excellent, that’s a good tip!


    June 23, 2009 at 3:33 pm

  351. Re: Unnecessary detail

    And I didn’t even say what the race/ethnicity of the thief was. Just of the neighborhood.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:35 pm

  352. Re: Mentioning this story on a pocast

    That’s fine by me!


    June 23, 2009 at 3:36 pm

  353. Re: shenanigans

    You can answer a call on a locked phone. You still can’t access the home screen or the other apps without entering the passcode.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:39 pm

  354. Um, yes.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:40 pm

  355. Re: Phonelocator on Nokia E75

    I don’t recall saying anything negative about other, similar services.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:44 pm

  356. Thanks!


    June 23, 2009 at 3:45 pm

  357. Re: Fake?

    Right, because this is so similar to other Apple marketing efforts…


    June 23, 2009 at 3:47 pm

  358. Re: Good thing the theif didn’t know about the off switch

    The iPhone has a passcode that prevents you from turning off the tracking feature or changing anything else within the software. If you have a better idea how to protect this setting, please share.

    It would take a tremendous amount of resources, and possibly violate privacy laws, for Apple to help recover iPhones or iPods based on IP address when connected to iTunes. If it *is* legal, and they *did* do it, they would be justified to charge for the service. If they don’t do it, then you can’t blame them for it.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:49 pm

  359. Re: very nice indeed!

    But then the kid could just call 911, AHURDUR??


    June 23, 2009 at 3:54 pm

  360. Re: dangerous but..

    I would have shaken the guy’s hand also. He may have “done the right thing”,
    willy nilly — but he did end up doing the right thing. He quickly gave in.

    The whole episode could have turned out bad in so many ways. It’s also to that
    guy’s credit that it turned out so well. Technology is not the answer to everything.
    It only goes so far, and always will. You have to consider yourself lucky, also.

    Sunny Guy


    June 23, 2009 at 3:55 pm

  361. Great Story!

    I’m glad this worked out. Very entertaining story. πŸ˜€

    Don’t worry about the race issue some people are whining about. Get over it folks.


    June 23, 2009 at 3:57 pm

  362. You’re apparently not going to report the thief to the bar management… what a shame. Social order isn’t something given to us by a patriarchal government, we create it with our values and how we act upon them.


    June 23, 2009 at 4:09 pm

  363. Holy hell

    This is one of the most bad-ass geek stories I’ve ever heard. I would do everything you guys did if I happened to be in this situation. Including going to Brickworld.


    June 23, 2009 at 4:12 pm

  364. Never said I wasn’t. Been busy wrapping up my vacation and getting back to work. I’ll give the bar a call before too long.


    June 23, 2009 at 4:21 pm

  365. A good tip for the rest of us

    if you’re like me and you DON’T have an iPhone, I recommend you try installing a nifty little program called Prey.

    it lets you track your notebook using a URL as the alert system. I saw it on Lifehacker some weeks ago and tested it right away. it’s a bit complicated to set up but it works, and best of all, it’s free. πŸ™‚


    June 23, 2009 at 4:24 pm

  366. Re: Good story

    I agree. “Honkey” is for hoosiers and swanks. Gringo is definitely the word he was looking for.


    June 23, 2009 at 4:28 pm

  367. Re: spelling of honky

    Good to know! πŸ™‚


    June 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm

  368. Re: Good story

    You are right, it is bigotted.. a bunch of hispanic people looking at three guys like they don’t belong in the neighborhood is certianly bigotry. Those hispanic people shouldn’t hate other races so much.


    June 23, 2009 at 4:44 pm

  369. Re: Unnecessary detail

    Do you live in Chicago? Do you live in a big city at all? Probably not.
    Referring to a neighborhood as Puerto Rican, Jewish, Armenian, Polish, etc is perfectly acceptable.
    However, being from the small hick-town that you are probably from, you wouldn’t know that.


    June 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm

  370. Re: former chicagoan

    Great story, you’re one of the lucky ones out of countless phones and devices that get lost or stolen every day.

    Television Spy


    June 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm

  371. I live right there.

    If that was satellite view I could see my house. If you guys think this is a scary neighborhood you are seriously mistaken. Maybe 10 years ago, not today. This is a very mixed community now and as safe as any neighborhood in the city.


    June 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm

  372. Take your Glock next time

    I enjoyed your story and appreciate you describing the hispanic interactions. There are too many oversensitive people about race that it clouds reality. The facts are important.

    It could have resulted with a violent conclusion so I’m glad it worked out safely. I would have my hand on my Glock when I approached the thief.


    June 23, 2009 at 5:12 pm

  373. Good for you!

    I don’t think anyone reading this would consider you racist. You could have said Italian neighborhood or “biker” neighborhood.

    I wish there were pics of you lego nerds running down the street waving a laptop chasing and iphone criminal. Has to be the lamest crime scene in history (but very cool to read)



    June 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm

  374. Mobile Me

    I hate to break everyone’s iPhone bubble but you can track any Sprint phone/connection card already and you can do it from another phones browser also you can track any phone from google latitude. There is nothing new or special about this type of service.


    June 23, 2009 at 5:17 pm

  375. Re: lol

    You’re absolutely right.


    June 23, 2009 at 5:21 pm

  376. Re: I live right there.

    I’ll say this as often as I need to – I did not consider the neighborhood to be scary. Never said I did.


    June 23, 2009 at 5:22 pm

  377. Re: traced ibook via pop3 log

    Thats typical UK Police behaviour. They don’t give a damn about loss of personal property to criminals (which they arrested and let go the next day because they screwed up somewhere), but they come after you without hesitation if you are threatening income to the state, for example by tax evasion, or denying some poor in-the-pocket-of-the-government company boss his profits by copying a couple of movies.


    June 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm

  378. You Rock!

    What an awesome story. lmao – our iPhones are like our “little precious.” I’ve lost one before and it ate me up inside. I wish I had your Lego Moxie.



    June 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm

  379. You didn’t give him the reward?

    Why didn’t you pony up the Fitty? j/k


    June 23, 2009 at 5:42 pm

  380. Re: Weaved

    Oh please stop with the capitulation and submissive attitude. It is not for you to determine how the service can be used. If the phone is missing, this service can help locate it. Only someone of a passive sheep mentality would be so scared.


    June 23, 2009 at 5:54 pm

  381. Hang on to your stuff!

    From reading your blog (previous entries), it sound like you have a problem with hanging onto your shit. Like the time you left your backpack on the train in NYC. You don’t need a special app to find your iPhone, just put your iPhone in your pocket when its not in use.


    June 23, 2009 at 5:56 pm

  382. Re: Hang on to your stuff!

    Ah yes, because I lost one other thing over five years ago, I must be a serial loser of things. So the solution to losing things is not to lose them. Truly you’re a useful commenter.


    June 23, 2009 at 6:01 pm

  383. You’re lucky you didn’t get mugged

    I’m not sure if anyone posted this (too many comments to look through), but check this out:

    My friend lives in Chicago and when I sent her the story, her exact response was “wow, they were in the ghetttttto.” Check the link for the police blotter for that area.


    June 23, 2009 at 6:03 pm

  384. Re: Yuppie Neiborhood

    you don’t have to say it; you intone it, especially by continuously pointing out you are white. . .

    and yes I am an idiot when it comes to spelling I apologize. . .


    June 23, 2009 at 6:05 pm

  385. Re: Sketchy Puerto Ricans

    OMG really? I’m Puerto Rican, I’ve been to this neighborhood… It’s sketchy! If a Puerto Rican calls it a sketchy Puerto Rican neighborhood is it ok? Why the eff is it that every time a white guy uses the term black or Puerto Rican (or asian or whatever) to describe someone else he’s being a racist? This is nothing more than reverse racism and it’s frankly bullshit. Political correctness has been taken to the HNL.


    June 23, 2009 at 6:09 pm

  386. technology ftw!!!

    I found this on Digg and I would like to say that was an impressive story! Though I was thinking “IDIOT!” when I read the bit about you leaving it on the table, I have come to realize I do the very same thing with my student ID and phone whenever I’m out somewhere (I hate carrying around a purse if I’m just going out for a bite to eat and I love carrying my phone+ID in my back pocket). So this, I can actually relate to.

    With this aside, amazing story! I’m glad everything worked out well for you and I hope you did turn that guy into the cops as well as the restaurant manager. Again, amazing πŸ™‚


    June 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm

  387. Prevention first

    Glad that you got your phone back! You may not want to have the same experience again next time. Go get what I got with this theft alarm app whenever I leave the iphone on the deck from

    It may alerts when someone tries to lift it off ya.


    June 23, 2009 at 6:25 pm

  388. Re: traced ibook via pop3 log

    I used this Phoenix (Mac) Anti-theft software and uses Skyhook Wireless to locate when this ahole snatched it off from the convention centre when on meeting. Got the alert via twitter and nab that by the uk police.


    June 23, 2009 at 6:30 pm

  389. viral marketing


    June 23, 2009 at 6:30 pm

  390. Apple needs to add another feature

    I don’t leave my iPhone’s Location Services on. It eats up too much battery.

    MobileMe needs to be able to turn them on when the “Find my iPhone” feature is activated. Currently it can’t be used if “Location Services” are off on the phone itself.

    Smarter crooks will simply turn it [Location Services] off and restore the phones.


    June 23, 2009 at 6:32 pm

  391. My question is

    How did you know they were Puerto Ricans? the other comment is we do not call white americanos gringos we – if we are from the island – would say blanquitos which means white boys. We also call our own blanquitos same or rubio if they happen to be blond or light haired which the case with me.

    Just for informations sake. Enjoy your phone ma’s brother.


    June 23, 2009 at 6:33 pm

  392. Right, cause that’s so Apple.


    June 23, 2009 at 6:38 pm

  393. Re: Apple needs to add another feature

    They sure will, if you don’t have a passcode on it.


    June 23, 2009 at 6:39 pm

  394. Re: My question is

    It was PR Day, there were Puerto Rican flags all over the place.


    June 23, 2009 at 6:39 pm

  395. Oh my gosh!

    I know that area AND that bar. I used to work at the Second City Skybox in Old Town back in 2007, and we’d go there after shows. Also spent a lot of time in Wicker Park! I was probably there the night you lost your phone as well… but I didn’t take it. That’s not how I roll. Glad you got it back, mate! πŸ™‚


    June 23, 2009 at 6:43 pm

  396. Moral of the story:

    If you “find” an iPhone, pull the SIM, ASAP.


    June 23, 2009 at 6:50 pm

  397. “gone like baby”

    Is that an actual expression?


    June 23, 2009 at 6:50 pm

  398. Re: Moral of the story:

    Or, ya know, just “return” it to the “owner.”


    June 23, 2009 at 7:03 pm

  399. Call the Police!?

    You did the right thing by tracking it down with some friends yourself. If you left it up to the police you would be out of an iPhone. We live in a world where cops want to do as little as possible. An age when they try to talk you out of accident reports (to save themselves some paperwork). Cops do not care about your cellphone. Good hunting man! Cheers on your happy mobile me experience! Great story!


    June 23, 2009 at 7:05 pm

  400. Re: Weaved

    Wimp. If more people stood up for themselves the thieves would be the ones afraid.


    June 23, 2009 at 7:26 pm

  401. Race thing

    I think the offensive thing was the derogatory term honky. However, more offensive was that in your response you implied that being white made you less “bad-ass.” I mean, come on. Do I look like a bad-ass to you because I am not white? Is chuck norris not white?


    June 23, 2009 at 7:26 pm

  402. This stupid and dangerous. Stupangerous!

    People have been shot for far less than iPhone thievery. You’re lucky he reached into his bag and pulled out an iPhone and not a 9.
    I’m not sure how you’re supposed to find a ‘lost’ phone if the location circle is 100ft across. There’s a lot of nook and crannie potential in a 100ft circle.


    June 23, 2009 at 7:34 pm

  403. Re: Moral of the story:

    ya.. or remove the card.


    June 23, 2009 at 7:43 pm

  404. iPhone Bugs Find My iPhone

    Bugs all submitted to apple: Track ID: 6999048


    June 23, 2009 at 7:50 pm

  405. Re: Report the Thief

    You sir, are my hero. I love your comment, and this is exactly what I will do if I’m found in that situation! I would LOVE to see then dragged off in cuffs… Vic Mackey style! LOL


    June 23, 2009 at 7:52 pm

  406. Re: Call the police next time

    And you are the reason why 911 is misused everyday. This is not an emergency…


    June 23, 2009 at 7:53 pm

  407. aww, dude, I live four blocks from there and walk down those streets every day coming home from work (as well as at night), and the neighborhood is not sketchy. It’s not yuppie-ville but it’s mainly parents and kids and some hipsters. I guess hipsters can be sketchy. But really, people who steal live in all sorts of neighborhoods.

    oh, but of course, fantastic you got it back!


    June 23, 2009 at 7:59 pm

  408. Disabling Find my iPhone

    I love the idea that you can disable the feature but honestly I think the disable option needs to be in the MobileMe account management page and not on the device itself, my phone is set to lock itself with a pass-code after 5 minutes of inactivity, what if someone gets there hands on it before that?


    June 23, 2009 at 8:00 pm

  409. Re: “gone like baby”

    Not really. I was referencing the movie “Gone Baby Gone.” Which is a good movie. Ben Affleck needs to keep his ass behind the camera.


    June 23, 2009 at 8:04 pm

  410. Re: Moral of the story:



    June 23, 2009 at 8:06 pm

  411. Re: Sketchy Puerto Ricans

    I live near there…it’s sketchy.


    June 23, 2009 at 8:19 pm

  412. Re: Race thing

    The phrase I used was “skinny white guys,” not just “white.” TouchΓ© though, I suppose “skinny black guys” would have sounded just as unintimidating.


    June 23, 2009 at 8:25 pm

  413. Re: This stupid and dangerous. Stupangerous!

    I don’t think I was lucky, in that the odds of that particular thief being armed and dangerous were relatively low. People are just panicky.


    June 23, 2009 at 8:35 pm

  414. Racism in America

    You repeatedly refer to your ethnicity. You must be full of racial hatred. I’ve reported your blog to the ACLU,NAACP and Obama.


    June 23, 2009 at 8:36 pm

  415. Find My iPhone works, and it is awesome.

    Great story. Maybe one thing Apple may think about. Maybe they should put a “Stolen alert” on the find my iphone website. The alert will be loud and the only way to stop the alert will be to put in a code, that you put in during the “Stolen Alert” message online. You may have found your iPhone immediately.
    Thats an amazing story. Glad you found your cell phone

    Taft Watson


    June 23, 2009 at 8:39 pm

  416. great adventure story.

    hey- maybe a short-film in the future. Thanks for sharing.



    June 23, 2009 at 9:00 pm

  417. @happywaffle Find My iPhone works

    @happywaffle Find My iPhone works ~ glad to got the phone back & I really enjoyed the story!


    June 23, 2009 at 9:01 pm

  418. sigh … no edit for comments

    ~ glad YOU got the phone back. Also, just fyi, I found your story via a Tweet from @digg_2000 … minutes later a close friend saw a link to your story via Macintouch and sent it to me via iChat. The net is all ablaze about your story!


    June 23, 2009 at 9:06 pm

  419. Re: sigh … no edit for comments

    Sweet! Now if Wil Wheaton posts about it I’ll be happy for the rest of the week. Or if I get to be on the Daily Show.


    June 23, 2009 at 9:11 pm

  420. Villains and Virtue

    I really did appreciate the story, thanks for sharing. As you can see there is much interest in your experience. Two things seem to stick out in my mind regarding this situation.

    First… I read your disclaimer at the end of the story about being self-deprecating. It might have been easier if you simply described you and your friends, then, mentioned in that neighborhood you guys stood out. By labeling the neighborhood you kind of do in fact disparage the label you assign to the neighborhood. Its a simple trick of propaganda journalism (there are books on the subject). Which is why these blogs are questionable in the realm of actual journalism. Also, you could be wrong about the ethnicity (Dominican, Brazilian, etc. etc.).

    Second… And this is really my own personal way I would have dealt with the situation, given hindsight. I believe I am much like yourself and would have tracked it down without regard to my actual situation or safety. I too get caught up in the moment.

    Upon approaching the individual, and exchanging said banter. I would have reached in my pocket and handed him the $50 I intended to give as a reward to my would-be-good samaritan. That would have re-enforced the ethic that he should have made your plight easier by simply contacting you. By giving him nothing or not actually having $50 allows room for negative justification in an already troubled mind.

    See the tragedy of this story is that instead of being a dialog about competing or improving technologies, It becomes a rants about misguided ethics and race. I read most of the responses. The ones that interested me the most were the replies of how your experience may have pushed people over the edge into getting a MobileMe account, or about how the Android could achieve a similar result without the the need for a MobileMe account. Or better still, how the many developers out there could improve the service by making their own version app.

    ~ Westminister


    June 23, 2009 at 9:12 pm

  421. I live on Medill next to the building you mentioned.

    Too bad I didn’t see running around with your laptop. I would have took that away from you too.

    I kid, I kid


    June 23, 2009 at 9:16 pm

  422. Re: Unnecessary detail

    I don’t think the writer meant it in a racist way however I can see how some people might misunderstand it. For example had he written “it was a black neighborhood” I’m sure some people might have taken offense to it due to the perceived implications.


    June 23, 2009 at 9:32 pm

  423. congrats

    just wanted to say your story is great! you’re my heroes, congrats for going after what’s yours. Lego should be proud of you πŸ˜‰


    June 23, 2009 at 9:38 pm

  424. Re: Villains and Virtue

    Can’t say I agree with all your points, but it was well-written. *thumbs-up*


    June 23, 2009 at 9:45 pm

  425. I have this but it came a few weeks too late for me.

    In March my iPhone, a friend’s iPadTouch a laptop, and a video camera were stolen from me at gun point. The police called the number and someone answered but we had no way of tracking the phone. I even called Apple about it and after they tried to sell me an extended warranty on a stolen phone they transfered me to someone who said only the police could track the phone and only in specific circumstances. (I was thinking kidnapping or other life and death situations.) I was able to go to AT&T’s web site and disable the account but it likely still had all the information available on the phone. When this came out I activated it immediately. I have already thought this was the ‘killer app’ for mobileme. You have proven it.


    June 23, 2009 at 9:52 pm

  426. This is great – glad you got your phone back!


    June 23, 2009 at 9:54 pm

  427. Re: I have this but it came a few weeks too late for me.

    Sorry about your experience! I certainly wouldn’t have gone after the thief if a gunpoint robbery had been involved.


    June 23, 2009 at 10:07 pm

  428. hmm…

    Hey this story sounds incredible.. I wonder.. if somebody steals my iPhone, can’t he just turn off PUSH from the menu? Or just disable mobile me in the very same menu?


    June 23, 2009 at 10:09 pm

  429. Congratulations!

    I’m happy you recovered your iPhone. I thank you for sharing your experience and congratulate you for a well written story.
    I enjoyed it.



    June 23, 2009 at 10:21 pm

  430. I stand out in this neighborhood, too.

    You found your iphone not far from my favorite second hand store. I’ve lived in and around here for many years. Actually lived on Washtenaw for a while, just north of Fullerton. Worked at the Congress Theatre on Milwaukee off and on about 10 years ago. I currently live just about a mile west of where you finally achieved victory. It’s not that bad. Everywhere is a little bit nutty in the summer here in Chicago.

    How did ya like the Second City show?


    June 23, 2009 at 11:28 pm

  431. What bar?

    Hey, I live in Uptown! What bar did you go to? The only sketchy bar I can think of in Uptown is Big Chicks. Or Carole’s.


    June 23, 2009 at 11:30 pm

  432. Re: What bar were you at?

    Piper’s Alley? That’s not Uptown, son.


    June 23, 2009 at 11:34 pm

  433. to many people worried about being P. C.

    He was just describing his surroundings. i live by New Orleans and if my phone was in the projects i would say it was a dangerous neighborhood. People need to stop worrying about being so PC about everything, this country is getting to sensitive and i am not a racist either. ppl are trash or there not no matter what color they are.


    June 24, 2009 at 12:22 am

  434. Re: Good story

    way more than slightly bigoted. The references to race in the post were unnecessary and really made me uncomfortable.


    June 24, 2009 at 12:31 am

  435. Re: lol

    100% agreed.


    June 24, 2009 at 12:32 am

  436. Bar’s name?

    What’s the name of the bar? Please let us know so we all can not go there ever.


    June 24, 2009 at 1:27 am

  437. Awesome

    That story is AWESOME! I just shared it on facebook lol.


    June 24, 2009 at 2:07 am

  438. Re: build upon

    Post it here instead.


    June 24, 2009 at 2:15 am

  439. Call the police to retrieve a stolen phone — what city do you live in?

    Obviously not Chicago. Try calling 911 or your local precinct to report that you have “tracked down” the person who stole your iPhone and you want an officer to take your report. Hah!

    As a lifelong Chicago resident who has had her house broken into seven times and been the victim of numerous other property crimes, I can tell you with some certainty that CPD does not “investigate” property theft. Even after my garage was set on fire, the CPD response was to send a detective who never left his vehicle. His “investigation” consisted of rolling down his window and asking if I had homeowner’s insurance. When I applied in the affirmative, he said case closed.


    June 24, 2009 at 2:55 am

  440. i don’t believe this story!

    This story sounds too perfect to be true. It makes more sense to be written up by a Mobileme marketing team to get people to jump to the opportunity to sign up for Mobileme.


    June 24, 2009 at 2:56 am

  441. It shouldn’t be called the iPhone finder, it should be called “The Cheating Partner” Tracker!

    It shouldn’t be called the iPhone finder, it should be called “The Cheating Partner” Tracker! We all know that if in doubt, find out!


    June 24, 2009 at 2:59 am

  442. Re: Remember: Not all iPhone thieves are non-violent

    You can feel sorry for him, but things happen. He obviously didn’t know the consequences of his actions when he got in your house but now he might. Also, he also may not be hanging around his big friend who decided to ditch him, this guy could have had the whole idea, right?


    June 24, 2009 at 3:01 am

  443. Re: Good story

    You’re a bright one, aren’t you, eyelid? You’ve become so confused by the rampant & ridiculous political correctness in our society that “references” to anything race-related are “bigoted” and “make you uncomfortable”? Grow up. Seriously. Frankly, your use of the word bigot so lightly is far more prejudiced than anything in this post.


    June 24, 2009 at 3:14 am

  444. How long till thieves wise to this feature?

    Not long, I would suspect. They will learn quickly how to disable or go around this feature or how to react. I seriously doubt if you lost it again in a few months you would find it.

    I think they way you talked about them and how you read their minds “there are 3 honkeys walking around” shows you are a bigot.


    June 24, 2009 at 3:14 am

  445. you’re a geek

    You’re an idiot, a bad writer and a super geek. Also, like it or not you’re a bit of a racist. If you’d followed your beloved iPhone into a wealthy white ‘hood, would you have mentioned it? No. Stop blogging, you’re clogging the intranets.


    June 24, 2009 at 3:38 am

  446. Thanks for the tip?

    While I am not the type to go around stealing iphones (actually was offered one free by a relative and turned it down) from your story 2 things are clear.
    1.) If you steal an iphone, sit still and your fine.
    2.) If someone messages you saying they are tracking you down, toss it down a storm drain and let them fish it out of the sewer.

    What you did was pretty stupid, and posting this story may make someone else attempt the same stupid act, so you may have opened yourself up to a lawsuit if someone gets hurt and claims they saw how to do this on your blog. You where lucky the guy who had it was not a gang member or the police would now be searching for you and your friends instead, especially you being nice enough to bring the thief a laptop in addition to the phone.


    June 24, 2009 at 3:47 am

  447. really

    I really hope you called the bar you left your phone at, and let them know they have a thief working for them. seriously.


    June 24, 2009 at 3:59 am

  448. Re: Good story

    Genuinely sorry you feel that way.


    June 24, 2009 at 4:03 am

  449. Re: Bar’s name?

    Burton Place bar in Old Town. Rather than not going there, you might do what I do – let the management know about this story so they can take action.


    June 24, 2009 at 4:04 am

  450. Re: you’re a geek

    Wow, idiot + bad writer + geek + racist in two sentences. A personal-attack record.

    By the way it’s POOR writer, not “bad” writer. πŸ˜€


    June 24, 2009 at 4:08 am

  451. Re: Thanks for the tip?

    Ah yes, I’m sure that lawsuit would go over well.


    June 24, 2009 at 4:09 am

  452. how exciting

    Man, this is the awesome feature of MobileMe in action. Apple should make an ad based on your iPhone adventures. You’re famous now, and I do hope Apple implements your ideas in a version update.


    June 24, 2009 at 4:13 am

  453. Re: I stand out in this neighborhood, too.

    Meh, I’ve seen better improv. I mean not bad, I laughed, but it’s Second City. I was expecting to be blown away.


    June 24, 2009 at 4:20 am

  454. My phone’s battery literally hung on until the second it was in my hand. I wuv you, iPhone.

    mmm…Apple Kool-Aid…so many drinkers..


    June 24, 2009 at 4:40 am

  455. A+


    June 24, 2009 at 5:09 am

  456. oh shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down. lol


    June 24, 2009 at 5:09 am

  457. Re: Apple needs to add another feature

    even then, that can be overrided easily and force restored.


    June 24, 2009 at 5:27 am

  458. Brickworld

    This story is a great end to my first Brickworld. My son and I enjoyed the whole shebang, but your adventure really is the icing on the cake. Glad it had a happy ending. Thanks for sharing Kevin!

    As an aside I mentioned to my wife that I have never seen so many iPhones in my life than I did at Brickworld, and never so many in the hands of small children (under 10), usually taking pictures of the MOCs.


    June 24, 2009 at 5:59 am

  459. Find My iPhone service requirements

    Summarizing, the service works if, and only if, you have:

    1. The proper mobile equipment;
    2. No love for your life;
    3. Equally reckless friends;
    4. A thief that scores very low IQ.

    Seriously, how stupid an phone thief has to be not to remove the SIM card immediately?


    June 24, 2009 at 7:04 am

  460. Re: Unnecessary detail

    Of course it was unnecessary, we already knew he didn’t belong! I mean lego guys simply don’t steal, much less hang out in a sketchy neighborhood where people do!

    For the record:
    I’m sorry if this offends lego guys…
    I’m also sorry if this offends sketchy neighborhood occupants
    Finally, I’m sorry I didn’t put any labels on someone directly, therefore, I find myself at a loss as to whom I should apologize to next… sorry!


    June 24, 2009 at 8:05 am

  461. Score one for the little guy!

    You’re a friggin’ nut-job for chasing your phone into a rough hispanic neighbourhood, but fair balls to ya!! Congratulations on lego Jack-Bauering your phone back! Brought a smile to my face to know that somewhere out there, justice was served.

    Jay Hunter


    June 24, 2009 at 8:52 am

  462. Re: Bar’s name?

    Might I suggest a review on yelp? ha!

    I don’t have mobileme, but living in Chicago, I’ve recently wished I had a spare $100 laying around. I tell myself I’ve made it 7 months without the feature, but I just got the 3GS and I’m feeling a bit protective now.


    June 24, 2009 at 9:18 am

  463. Re: traced ibook via pop3 log

    You could try


    June 24, 2009 at 9:37 am

  464. Please try and READ this brilliant story carefully

    I don’t know about you guys but there is no racist comments in this story at all!

    To the guys upset at calling people honkeys….

    He was calling HIMSELF and his FRIENDS honkeys. Read it again moron.



    June 24, 2009 at 9:57 am

  465. Re: Remember: Not all iPhone thieves are non-violent

    I know a friend who got clubbed over the head with a wine bottle because he asked a boy to pick up some food he dropped on a bus.

    But if we all stop making a stand this world’s going to turn to S***t, they will just know they can get away with anything, as no-one’s gonna stop you, meaning there will be more crime as it is easier, meaning the cops will be overworked and the more serious crimes have to be considered as not as important.

    I’m sorry to the friend who got clubbed over the head, it is not nice. But at least it was your mate and not and old lady they go on to do next time because it seems so easy to do it all the time. They’ve now increased the odds, assualt is serious and they had better be s******ng themselves if you see them again.


    June 24, 2009 at 10:04 am

  466. nice πŸ™‚

    i find ur story somehow very inspirational for a gonna-be iPhone user πŸ™‚ good job.


    June 24, 2009 at 11:14 am

  467. Re: Very cool. Of course…

    True, but it’s your Android your trying to find!!!


    June 24, 2009 at 11:29 am

  468. Re: Good story

    Completely agree. It makes me sad that the author appears to be so preoccupied with race that he had to mention it so much. And the fact that he assumed (even jokingly) that the people living there would have regarded him and his friends as “honkeys” reflects how large a role race plays for him when making first impressions of people.

    Ok, so the author is white. That’s all I needed to know about him, right? (sarcasm.)


    June 24, 2009 at 11:57 am

  469. Good story

    I did a similar thing – my phone was stolen from my locker at the YMCA.

    After realizing it was stolen, {almost 4 hours later} I called my number only to have a crackhead answer my phone. YMCA now should be Your Missing Cell Answered…

    He answered the phone and I told him to do the right thing and bring the phone back to the Y where he stole it…then I canceled the phone…


    June 24, 2009 at 12:49 pm

  470. Well done!

    Booyah! One for the good guys. I am going to pass the URL of your blog on to fellow iPhone geeks. Glad you Lego dudes didn’t have to stomp the perp, but he would have looked cool with little Lego logo pits all over his body.

    Good on you!

    Roger Scow
    Fort Smith, AR


    June 24, 2009 at 1:57 pm

  471. Re: Brickworld

    We’re gettin’ em while they’re young! πŸ˜€


    June 24, 2009 at 2:04 pm

  472. i did something similar but much less tech-wise about 8 years ago with my then 16 year old son’s phone that went missing. i went to his verizon account page and saw the calls that were being made. the dumb beeyotch took the phone on a trip to california (we’re from ny) and i could see all the calls she’d made across the country. one number came up more frequently so i googled it and found that it was a local garbage-hauling business. in the mean time, my not-very-wise teenage son and his friends were call-bombing the stolen cell. after a few days, doesn’t the jerk from the garbage company (bf to the girl on a california vacation) call our home phone and threaten to rip my son’s head off?

    after a little more investigative work via the state troopers, we got the jerk to return the phone (once it was back in ny state …) and he had the ballage to call once again to contact us. hello stalker. we had an order of protection put on him … over a cheap kid’s phone. needless to say he had then become a person of interest to the police and his business was discovered to be strewn with hefty violations. justice anyone?


    June 24, 2009 at 2:09 pm

  473. Re: Good story

    yeah, that was my feeling on it.


    June 24, 2009 at 2:29 pm

  474. elaboration

    that’s what’s known as a “partial apology.” πŸ˜‰

    I don’t think you’re a bad person and I’m glad you got your iphone back. But I think that your entry shows a lot of unconscious racism. You clearly felt it was ok to define everyone involved by race; to assume you knew what everyone else in the neighborhood felt based on their race; and to frame the situation as race-based. I.e., you were three white guys dashing in to bravely confront a community of theiving impoverished minorities and bring down the law upon them. your joking “denigration” of your race was actually obviously pride in your race – we “honkeys” took on the minorities and won!

    I don’t think you intended to be racist, but try reading your entry as someone would who is hispanic, or black, etc.

    I also think the anon commenters attacking anyone who mentions racism (some even followed me back to my journal and trolled all over the place, bizarrely!) are kind of evidence of what I’m saying here. They really don’t like having their privilege challenged, including their privilege to make subtly racist statements.


    June 24, 2009 at 2:31 pm

  475. Niiice!

    Great story! Glad you got your baby back!


    June 24, 2009 at 3:14 pm

  476. you were taking screenshots while running down the street with a laptop? seems kinda weird…


    June 24, 2009 at 3:18 pm

  477. Love the Story

    I wish I had bragging rights to this story (minus the lego stuff).

    I have the original iPhone so I coulnd’t even take advantage of this, but one day I will have an updated version and I’m totally getting mobileMe.

    What a great story.


    June 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm

  478. Re: Good story

    Do you even know what bigoted means? Look it up in the dictionary.


    June 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm

  479. Bravo man, bravo.

    So good to hear people taking matters into their own hands and getting stuff done. Not the wisest thing to do, but the fun stuff in life so rarely is. :o)

    Adrian (proud member of the Vancouver LEGO Club)


    June 24, 2009 at 3:44 pm

  480. Re: Remember: Not all iPhone thieves are non-violent

    You want to bring a gun into this? Do you really need to turn this into a life an death situation for yourself, the guy who works in a dive bar, and the people waiting at the bus stop, OVER A CELL PHONE?!

    I understand being pissed off about it… but does someone need to die in this situation?


    June 24, 2009 at 3:48 pm

  481. grats

    Grats on getting your phone back, from meeting you i wouldn’t have thought you one to chase a thief. hope things are going ok at apple (if you are still there) and glad to hear they laid off the strictness on outside tech there.


    June 24, 2009 at 4:00 pm

  482. Good 4 U

    Great story. I’m happy it worked out without one of you getting stabbed.


    June 24, 2009 at 4:28 pm

  483. Re: Unnecessary detail

    It would have been more believable if you said the thief’s name was Blagojevich!


    June 24, 2009 at 4:50 pm

  484. Doubt your story!

    You might have just made it all up to get traffic to your blog.
    If you did you are a fool and stupid.
    If this is indeed true, than its a great story and you should be guest speaker at apples next keynote about the iphone.

    Enjoy your phone!


    June 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm

  485. Great Story

    Wow…sign me up. I have been thinking about the iPhone for a while but now I am ready to take the plunge.



    June 24, 2009 at 5:27 pm

  486. Excellent! Well done!


    June 24, 2009 at 5:38 pm

  487. Re: elaboration

    Well no, it’s a *complete* apology that you were offended. I am sorry, because that wasn’t my intent.

    I’m not, though, apologizing for the way I phrased myself, since I was simply describing the situation and our place in it in a humorous way. I understand that you and some others feel the description was prejudicial, whereas I don’t. We can agree to disagree hopefully.


    June 24, 2009 at 5:44 pm

  488. Uh no, please notice the very first line of my blog.


    June 24, 2009 at 5:45 pm

  489. Re: Love the Story

    Actually you could, although the lack of GPS means the circle would be bigger.


    June 24, 2009 at 5:46 pm

  490. Re: Doubt your story!

    So *either* I’m a fool and stupid, *or* I should be a guest speaker at the next Apple keynote? Sheesh, pretty big swing. Hope it’s true, then.


    June 24, 2009 at 5:47 pm

  491. Awesome, thanks. On a 1-10 scale?


    June 24, 2009 at 5:50 pm

  492. Depends on your standards. I’ve seen a LOT of improv so I’d give it a 4 or 5. But most audience members seemed to enjoy themselves. Heck, I was still entertained, just not sure it was worth the money I spent.


    June 24, 2009 at 5:53 pm

  493. Re: Unnecessary detail

    I think he meant “politically correct” not “personal computer” but I guess you can interpret it any way you want.


    June 24, 2009 at 6:21 pm

  494. Re: Unnecessary detail

    Actually, it was a necessary detail, since the fact that the neighborhood was Puerto Rican was what led him to think (charitably, IMHO) that maybe the thief wasn’t answering the messages on the phone because he didn’t speak English. Kevin then fired off a message in Spanish (smart move). Made perfect sense to me.


    June 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm

  495. Re: Sketchy Puerto Ricans

    I don’t know… he said that the neighborhood where the phone was found was five miles away (they had to take a car to get there, right?). To me, especially in a big city, that’s not really “the same neighborhood.” But that’s just me. Either way, he didn’t call the neighborhood sketchy, and I thought that his description that it was Puerto Rican was relevant, since they were sending messages in Spanish.

    Some people need to get over themselves.


    June 24, 2009 at 6:35 pm

  496. Re: elaboration

    Saying that you were describing something in a “humorous way” doesn’t really excuse racism, though. I mean, I’m sure you can think of a lot of extremely racist things someone might say thinking they were funny. And sexist things, and anti-semetic things, etc. Would you really think all these things were ok to say so long as the person was making it part of a joke?

    I think the real issue is that you’re not really seeing what you wrote from the perspective of a person who might actually live in that neighborhood. You might try reading this, it’s good for explaining kind of what I’m talking about.

    I’m not saying you’re a huge jerk, I just think that as white people, we have lots of privileges and we aren’t necessarily aware of them. I know a lot of people of color who would be very offended by the above post, and there’s a reason for that. I think it’s important that we be aware of what we’re saying and how it sounds.


    June 24, 2009 at 6:41 pm

  497. Amazing

    Your story had me on the edge of my seat.

    Congrats on getting your phone back. πŸ™‚

    +1 on speaking at the next keynote

    Also, I suggest having nice “iPhone Tracking Squad” shirts printed up with a graphic of the map and circle on the back. πŸ˜‰


    June 24, 2009 at 6:41 pm

  498. Shook His Hand?

    Sweet story, up until the last part. I would have advised a much more violent action directly after getting the phone back. Retribution much?


    June 24, 2009 at 6:48 pm

  499. Re: elaboration

    Without giving a complete response – I understand why you think my writing was vaguely racist; I disagree that it was; and that’s probably where we’ll finish.

    I do appreciate you giving your opinion intelligently with proper spelling and grammar, though, which is why I took the time to reply.


    June 24, 2009 at 6:54 pm

  500. Re: Unnecessary detail

    He was making a joke. A funny one.


    June 24, 2009 at 6:58 pm

  501. Re: Good story

    Please you guys… you can’t sit here and try to rip apart his story and say he was being racist (especially when you, yourself, are white). I live in a neighborhood where I am the only white guy on the block on and I still get looks everyday from people wondering what the hell I’m doing here.

    Stating the race of a person or the race(s) of people in a neighborhood is not being racist. And poking fun at stereotypes of your race (especially when you’re white) is not either (listen to Weird Al sing “White and Nerdy” and tell me that’s racist πŸ™‚ ).

    Differences are there whether you want to admit them or not. Putting them out in the open is better than ignoring them.


    June 24, 2009 at 7:03 pm

  502. Re: elaboration

    lol. there is no excuse for not using proper spelling and grammar πŸ˜‰


    June 24, 2009 at 7:12 pm

  503. this story is more or less mythology. the details dont stack up
    boricuas dont say honky, the writer doesnt apprehend the guy etc..
    its more or less a commentary on white fear and some wet dream about being a detective, no substantiation other than screenshots. anyone can claim this was stolen


    June 24, 2009 at 8:57 pm

  504. My GOD, you’ve cracked the case! o_O


    June 24, 2009 at 9:04 pm

  505. ha ha ha

    I love this story – my new phone just pulled up in the fed x truck – maybe I will play a little scavenger hunt with it


    June 24, 2009 at 9:04 pm

  506. Re: Tethering

    You can tether your iPhone in the US if you jailbreak it and use pdaNet. Works great for me, and it’s free.


    June 24, 2009 at 9:25 pm

  507. hmm

    I would have smacked the guy in the face and told him to watch himself in future.


    June 24, 2009 at 11:00 pm

  508. Re: Unnecessary detail

    Details are always good. The only unnecessary ones are false ones.


    June 24, 2009 at 11:08 pm

  509. Cute

    I guess tracking a target is no longer the CIA’s work. πŸ™‚
    Thx for the story, i might wonder if the battery was pulled out.


    June 25, 2009 at 12:18 am

  510. *beams*


    June 25, 2009 at 1:31 am

  511. Re: Good story

    It is a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood. As mentioned elsewhere in the comments, there were even parades and parties last weekend, as the PR independence day is coming up. Saying the author mentioning race is bigoted is disingenuous, and isn’t helping when real bigots need to be called out.


    June 25, 2009 at 2:34 am

  512. Re: Good story

    It is a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood. As mentioned elsewhere in the comments, there were even parades and parties last weekend, as the PR independence day is coming up. Saying the author mentioning race is bigoted is disingenuous, and isn’t helping when real bigots need to be called out.

    You mention you’re Jewish a couple times in your profile. If someone says they’re in a Jewish neighborhood, and it is a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, is that bigoted? Have you even been to Chicago, much less this part of it?


    June 25, 2009 at 2:35 am

  513. Why do you reply to everyone that agrees with your idiotic opinion, but not the people that disagree? Is your pool of sycophants so small?


    June 25, 2009 at 2:38 am

  514. They worded it badly; they’re glad nothing happened to him that would make the news.


    June 25, 2009 at 2:56 am

  515. Show me in this article where he says it’s anything like sketchy. MY neighborhood is sketchy, but it’s a couple miles south of there.


    June 25, 2009 at 3:03 am

  516. I wonder if there’s some kind of Apple anti-Kool Aid that a bunch of people drink. It would explain a lot of things.


    June 25, 2009 at 3:06 am

  517. Re: ha ha ha

    Too bad you can’t activate the feature before you get it the phone. You could have fun tracking the fed ex truck.


    June 25, 2009 at 3:57 am

  518. there actually IS A WAY to use an iPhone to find another iPhone…

    What I found out is that YOU ACTUALLY CAN USE AN IPHONE TO FIND ANOTHER IPHONE… just don’t use the SAFARI app, use another browser (I have BOLT – free app) as an alternate browser…. you launch it, go to mobileme website, login etc. just as you would do on any computer…
    and I think this is a great way to use the FIND MY iPHONE feature…


    June 25, 2009 at 4:12 am

  519. Re: Remember: Not all iPhone thieves are non-violent

    This could be easily fix:
    If someone steals your iPhone, bring your friends with you:
    – One to carry the laptop,
    – the other one to look around,
    – and the third one to yell at the thief.

    And, stay away from weirdos!


    June 25, 2009 at 4:22 am

  520. Lego

    I love the story and the fact that you were at a lego convention. I’m glad I don’t have to go all the way to Legoland in Cali. Chitown is much closer to MI
    Glad you got your iPhone back


    June 25, 2009 at 4:37 am

  521. MaxKalifornia

    LMFAO! At your text sent in Spanish. Looks like you had an interesting time Humboldt Park.


    June 25, 2009 at 5:28 am

  522. Re: umm

    why do people put iphones in blenders?


    June 25, 2009 at 6:44 am

  523. Good effort!

    Great story.


    June 25, 2009 at 11:34 am

  524. dude, great story!


    June 25, 2009 at 11:53 am

  525. iphone cappers

    The iphone is unbelievable,so many interesting discussions about a “phone”….P.s ,u look like spock so the star trek iphone descendent theory is probably true !


    June 25, 2009 at 1:06 pm

  526. Re: Good story

    Obviously, not all mentions of race are equal. Certainly one could mention that a neighborhood is Jewish in an anti-semetic way – e.g., try reading The Scarlet Pimpernel.


    June 25, 2009 at 2:15 pm

  527. I’m sorry, but your questions are just stupid.


    June 25, 2009 at 2:16 pm

  528. Re: dangerous but..

    Idiot. The guy didn’t “return” the phone. He received messages stating that the whereabouts of the phone were known so when he saw three people walking towards him he relinquished the phone to prevent his ass from getting kicked. He is a thief.


    June 25, 2009 at 2:47 pm

  529. Re: Call the police next time

    You really shouldn’t comment when you have no idea what your talking about. That is exactly, among many others, what 9-1-1 in intended for. Not everyone can remember or even know what the local Police Department or sub-station’s number when in a time-sensitive situation. I’m a LEO, and I’ve heard recordings of individuals calling 9-1-1 because they couldn’t find the mayo in the fridge, or they’ve lost their car keys. We don’t get dispatched for those calls, however!!!


    June 25, 2009 at 2:48 pm

  530. Re: former chicagoan

    he could’ve shot back with his lego gun.


    June 25, 2009 at 4:54 pm

  531. Re: Good story

    bigoted |ˈbigΙ™tid|
    obstinately convinced of the superiority or correctness of one’s own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different opinions : a bigoted group of reactionaries.

    Ironic word choice. Will it be lost on the posters?


    June 25, 2009 at 6:52 pm

  532. While you, and others like you, scour the internet for completely inoffensive things to get offended by and then scream at to make yourself feel better about your own insecurities – and that’s apparently less stupid than people like me calling you stupid for labeling every tiny imagined impropriety “bigoted”.

    Keep up the great work!


    June 25, 2009 at 6:54 pm

  533. That you’re seriously comparing the two removes what little credibility you started out with.


    June 25, 2009 at 6:55 pm

  534. Too bad you had to explain your comment regarding the neighborhood. I got it w/out the need to spell it out. You were right; nothing negative was implied – sometimes, a cigar *is* just a cigar.

    The bar should have been notified about the guy too. If they don’t have a “lost and found” policy, they should. But “dive bar”, then again.


    June 25, 2009 at 7:10 pm

  535. because when you came into the conversation, you were COMPLETELY UNBIASED! lol.


    June 25, 2009 at 7:39 pm

  536. I’m biased towards sense, unlike you.


    June 25, 2009 at 7:42 pm

  537. blah blah blah… oh wait, what were you ranting about?

    seriously, get a life.

    you may now have the last word.


    June 25, 2009 at 7:42 pm

  538. But I don’t need to tell you that.

    Thanks; have a paranoid life!


    June 25, 2009 at 7:46 pm

  539. Okay kids, settle down.


    June 25, 2009 at 7:51 pm

  540. No worries, she ran off.


    June 25, 2009 at 8:03 pm

  541. Re: Call the police next time

    I love that wit!!!!


    June 25, 2009 at 9:38 pm

  542. Re: You’re Not a Bigot and I Love the Story

    Nice reply. Are you a poet?


    June 25, 2009 at 11:30 pm

  543. Did you give the reward to the guy or not?

    Very interesting story… Glad that you got your phone back. but did you give the guy $50 that you promised?



    June 26, 2009 at 6:30 am

  544. All the way from Cornwall UK,

    I think this is a great story. I will now purchase MobileMe.

    Well done Gentlemen.


    June 26, 2009 at 9:56 am

  545. Hillarious

    I love that you just came from a lego convention and I’m glad you caught the guy. Stupid thief!


    June 26, 2009 at 10:06 am

  546. My phone was stolen at the special olympics

    Your saga was sent to me from a good friend who noted quite a few similarities between our stories. I also had my phone stolen, but, it was at the special olympics, and it wasn’t an iphone. I did however get to speak to my assailant. Trying every method of manipulation and reverse psychology I could think of, alas no luck, I never did get my phone back. I spent many nights wondering how I could have went about his situation in a different way. What would others have done in this situation, and overall I wondered where my phone was. It was a joy to read your article; I felt like i lived vicariously through you for a moment and your vindication made me smile. Glad you got yours back πŸ™‚


    June 26, 2009 at 5:43 pm

  547. Fantastic!

    This is the whole reason I love technology.

    This story warms me up inside, you are a star!


    June 26, 2009 at 10:22 pm

  548. mobileme/.mac on iphone (not)

    mobileme aka .mac does not work on the iphone’s safari browser, which is the only browser…!

    the mobileme page detects that the mobile safari browser is trying to access it and redirects it to the mobileme ad pages on the regular site…

    apple should include a mobile me app on the iphone that let’s users manage & access all mobileme features via that app!!!


    June 27, 2009 at 2:22 pm

  549. I really wish this was for everyone.

    Guys – here is the problem – I do NOT want to sign up for Mobile Me. See and vote for this idea to be implemented – Everyone should be able to use this service without signing up for Mobile me.—3g/7


    June 28, 2009 at 8:50 pm

  550. Ya think this was big…

    It must have been a huge ordeal trying to get your iPhone back. But if you think this was big… check this out! And the official website! Never did I thought someone would care so much about getting his friend’s stolen cell back. He went through an ordeal — thousands of messages, threats, and whatnot to get his cell back. And what’s amazing is that hundreds of thousands of people rallied together to get his friend’s cell back.


    Oh, and by the way, you didn’t make any racist comments. I didn’t see anything derogatory towards Puerto Ricans. Yes, racist comments bother me, but what also bothers me is when people become overly cautious to the point that they cannot see me for who I am except a race (I’m Asian, by the way).


    June 29, 2009 at 11:32 pm

  551. Toughest Lego-dude on the block!

    I found your entry through the Freakonomics blog at the NY Times, and I ended up spending the rest of my day telling everyone about your unrealistically awesome iPhone adventure. The actual incident is fantastic on its own, but your hilarious recounting of the events totally made this “email Grandma”-worthy!

    PS I’m so signing up for a mobileme account tonight!


    June 30, 2009 at 12:15 am

  552. This was a really interesting story.
    I live in Sweden and have a friend who went through “almost” the same thing with one of his phones.
    Your post was very well written and it was a real pleasure reading it. Found this by accident on a Swedish site. Hah!

    Nice job and keep the high spirit up! πŸ™‚



    July 1, 2009 at 1:00 pm

  553. tehe

    you went to a lego convention! πŸ˜€


    July 2, 2009 at 12:19 am

  554. the story went worldwide;o)

    I read about your story on an online newspaper,-in NORWAY. Way to go, we love our iPhones:o)


    July 2, 2009 at 3:43 pm

  555. This is literally around the corner from me. It is not a Puerto Rican neighborhood, it’s Mexican. And you’re right, everyone on that street, except for two houses, is Mexican.

    Awesome story, you’ve made my day.


    July 2, 2009 at 9:03 pm

  556. Welcome!

    Kevin: Welcome as an honorary member of the Sheepdog Society!

    Here is a link for you to an article that might interest you.

    Many posters, the sheep, will not get it. Yes, I am sure that the word killology will offend some.

    Do I care? No
    Would I have given him the damn $50. Won’t even dignify that.

    Yes, it is possible that you might have gotten hammered. But whoever made the comment that most criminals are stupid so I am not surprised that he probably crapped his drawers. There are too many people who think that criminals are smart. I think it’s because secretly they admire them.

    It is great to see bad guys lose!


    July 2, 2009 at 10:00 pm

  557. Too Cool!

    One of the best things I did today was come across this story…brilliant! I can verify, as a police officer, you’re probably right, calling the police isn’t going to get you anywhere (especially in Chicago area) when it comes to catching an iPhone-caper… At least if you want to get the phone back in a timely manner! You could try and have charges pressed on the idiot but you’d have to prove he was intending to keep it.

    Besides, bottom line is….This story was a great read (well written). It’s a tribute to the success the iPhone is achieving! People can say, “you shouldn’t have done something so dangerous” or the likes. You knew the risk you were taking. I think it was worth it! You took that guy down “Jason Bourne style”. I don’t think the ridiculous negative replies (i.e. Racial concerns) should even dignify a response.

    This blog piece was written to tell about something that happened in an entertaining way! Job well done


    July 2, 2009 at 10:06 pm

  558. Re: Losing an iphone

    I can’t imagine how you could write something so stupid. So there.


    July 3, 2009 at 1:35 am

  559. Re: Remember: Not all iPhone thieves are non-violent

    So then by that argument that it really doesn’t need to turn into a life and death situation you shouldn’t even bother to contact the police because it could be a life and death situation then for the cops when they go and confront the thief themselves right?


    July 3, 2009 at 2:05 am

  560. awesome

    gratz on getting your phone back! I am not a fan of apple products.. but may seriously consider getting this phone now. πŸ˜›


    July 3, 2009 at 2:22 am

  561. Amazing!!

    Great job! Your determination to get back your phone saw you through. He who dares, wins!

    Btw, your story’s now on the Indian CNN-IBN channel website. Congrats!




    July 3, 2009 at 12:33 pm

  562. You need to right some novels or something buddy. This was an excellent told story. I pictured everything you said in my head like a movie. Im at work and I couldnt stop reading it. Congrats on the phone. FYI: Im half black and mexican and those comments you made were in no way,shape, or form racist.


    July 3, 2009 at 5:07 pm

  563. I guess you didn’t give him the $50 reward?

    just wondering if you did what you said you would


    July 4, 2009 at 4:45 pm

  564. Great story…

    I’d have asked the idiot for his name and address to “send the reward.” He’d have given it to you. Then I’d have beaten his ass.


    July 5, 2009 at 3:29 am

  565. Everyone here is missing the point

    Don’t you think that the cell providers should be responsible for a security system that makes it impossible for these thieves to use the phones after they’re stolen? We’re all excited about this studid feature, when in reality a $50 reward and an auto disable feature would have been safer and more effective. If the thieves knew that the phones would be useless, they would collect on the reward. Let’s face it $50 is nothing to pay, in comparison to what a replacement phone costs. Just another example of people loving Apple a little too much. How about the company actually makes an effort in this regard, rather than putting the responsiblity on the consumer.


    July 5, 2009 at 2:38 pm

  566. Alternative to Find My iPhone

    There’s a new app in the App Store that let’s you perform some of the functions of Find My iPhone but doesn’t require a subscription to Mobile Me.

    The app’s called TapTrace. Check it out.


    July 6, 2009 at 3:08 am

  567. Awesome

    Glad you have your phone back. Now I can happily pay for the service knowing it works πŸ™‚


    July 8, 2009 at 1:18 pm

  568. Yes! You can access MobileMe’s Find My Phone from the iPhone….

    I downloaded the app called “BOLT” and chose “Firefox” in the Browser Poser and went to the website, It does say that “We recommend Safari or Firefox blah blah blah” However, if you choose “Continue”, it works!


    July 11, 2009 at 2:46 am

  569. Re: Call the police next time

    Don’t bother with the police. they know nothing about technology. I would be surprised if they knew you could post an e-mail from a phone.


    July 12, 2009 at 11:39 pm

  570. The author had no worries about the confrontation. He had two friends with him and a rental car full of Legos. If there was a confrontation, they could have surrounded the guy and built a Lego jail cell to hold him until the police arrived.


    July 14, 2009 at 6:11 pm

  571. In Illinois (Chicago), if you call 911, they must respond – especially if the problem is ongoing (you were in pursuit). Also, police must question and write up a report if more than three people are involved in a public disturbance. In your case, the thief would be the offender, and the three of you would have been the “public”.


    August 31, 2009 at 2:35 pm

  572. Very nice! good adventure! glad you found your phone.


    August 31, 2009 at 7:56 pm

  573. Glad you found your phone!


    August 31, 2009 at 7:57 pm

  574. Everyone loves this story, and it ended well. I’ve shared the hell out of it. Thanks for the laugh!

    Big Robby

    August 31, 2009 at 8:49 pm

  575. […] locate lost or stolen phones on the Internet. Stories of elaborate iPhone rescue missions such as this adventure posted by Kevin on his blog at are popular online topics. And, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Find My iPhone may have […]

  576. @users degrading the author for indicating it was a Puerto Rican neighborhood

    Get off your fucking high horse asshole. He didn’t say anything negative about the neighborhood or the people there. He simply described the type of neighborhood and its people to give a better picture to the reader. Go fuck yourself, people like you are the reason everyone is afraid to say anything in this world, and its absolutely ludicrous.


    September 9, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: