get your StuffBak!

posted in Reviews on February 2nd, 2005

You’re in a hurry, a client just called - you have to move out. No time for the coffee you just ordered, you pack your things and leave. Being a mobile professional however, you carry around a lot of stuff with you - like your notebook, your Pocket PC and your Smartphone.

You got your phone in one hand, laptop under the other, but wait - where is your Pocket PC? Fifteen minutes later you realize that it’s still guarding the cup of coffee in Starbucks…

How are you going to tell your boss that you left your $500 Pocket PC in Starbucks? How are you going to explain that all the important data you have on your Pocket PC is out of your reach? That’s going to be tough, luckily however, there are companies out there that know how to counter such problems:

Stuffbak is one of those companies. The idea behind their product is the following: People want to return lost items, so do police agents and employees at Starbucks, an airport and the staff from a sports event. However, it’s pretty hard to do so if your device doesn’t contain any information that is accessible without a password, or if your device doesn’t contain any personal data at all - like iPods, your designer glasses or your brand new digital camera.

I have to admit that I was skeptical about the product. Many questions were screaming for an answer:

- Could something that costs a mere $1.95 actually protect a device worth $2000 and will the product be easy to use?
- How easy can it be removed, and will it be eye pleasing or ugly?

StuffBak felt that they could answer my questions and sent me a selection of their products, so I could protect my assets. Mind you, I’m located in the Netherlands but StuffBak says it’s no problem at all and since an honest finder can report the items via the web as well. I actually have high hopes that I will get my items back if I lose them.

Once the labels arrived it took me only a few seconds to attach them to the various items I wanted to protect. However, it took me a few minutes to find a good place. Granted, an honest finder will probably look on all sides of your device, but why complicate it? I choose a place that is easily visible and yet isn’t in full view.

Naturally the best place for this purpose is the underside; I really wouldn’t recommend putting the label inside a battery
compartment since most “technology illiterate” people wouldn’t know how to get there and hence the StuffBak protection wouldn’t work that well for you.

I also found that after attaching the label you have a few seconds which you can use to peel of the label and reattach it, once you press it down - it’s over. The tag is about as easy to remove as a small rock. Prior to attaching the label, I cleaned the surface with a cleaning spray I normally use to clean my devices from dust and dirt. I can’t really comment on if this will have any effect on the durability of the labels but it sounded logical to me to do so first.

Another thing I like about the labels and tags is that they have a great design. The colors, an eye-pleasing cocktail of golden-yellow / golden-orange combined with silver and black give them a distinct look and make them very easy to spot. Yet, the design does not decrease the visual value of your device in any way.

Once the tags and labels were attached, I had to activate them, which consists of the following steps: First you go to StuffBak’s site and click on activate label, you then get to select from various categories like bags, electronic accessories and many more.
Your selection then requires a sub-selection where you specify what kind of item you want to register. Following that, you enter as much data as possible, including model, serial number and you also have a field for a description in which I always entered the color, contents (if applicable) as well as characteristics.

You then get the chance to offer an optional cash reward, which is a good idea if you register expensive items like your laptop or Pocket PC. Most of the times, the information on those items is more valuable than the device itself, and an optional cash reward may entice people to return it faster. StuffBak also prints the words “reward for return” on their labels and tags, and I strongly believe that this entices more people to return something.

Apart from an optional cash reward, StuffBak also offers every finder $20 worth in labels, so they can in return protect their items. Pretty nice move I’d say.

All in all, I can say that I am sleeping better now, knowing that my items are protected by a great service. Okay, people still can choose to NOT return your items, but at least I know that I did everything possible to give finders a chance to act the honest way. I consider these tags, as inexpensive as they are a real essential for all the mobile professionals out there.