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Saints and Sin-
ners: If only the pious had
iPods. Apple foresaw how the
iPod could be used to steal
music, but the company may
not have expected users to
steal software from demo
machines at computer stores.
Mona iPod. The
Mona Lisa whiles away the hours
in the Louvre, listening to some
killer tunes.
Drag and Dash:
Copying software onto an iPod
is as easy as drag and drop.
When Apple introduced the iPod, the company was
aware that people might use it to rip off music. Each
new iPod, in fact, is emblazoned with a sticker that
warns, "Don't Steal Music." But it is unlikely that Apple
imagined people would walk into computer stores, plug
their iPod into display computers, and use it to copy
software off the hard drives.
This is exactly the scenario recently witnessed by
computer consultant Kevin Webb at a Dallas CompUSA
store. Webb was browsing when he saw a young man
walk toward him listening to an iPod. Webb recognized
the iPod's distinctive ear buds.
The teenager stopped at a display Macintosh
nearby, pulled the iPod from his pocket, and plugged it
into the machine with a FireWire cable. Intrigued, Webb
peeped over the kid's shoulder to see him copying
Microsoft's new Office for OS X suite, which retailed
for $500.
When the iPod is plugged into a Macintosh, its
icon automatically pops up on the desktop (if it's set
up as an external hard drive, which is easily done). To
copy software, all the kid had to do was drag and drop
files onto the iPod's icon. Office for Mac OS X is about
200 MB; it copies to the iPod's hard drive in less than
a minute. "Watching him, it dawned on me that this
was something that was very easy to do," Webb said.
"In the Mac world it's pretty easy to plug in and copy
things. It's a lot easier than stealing the box." Webb
watched the teenager copy a couple of other applica-
tions before going off to find a CompUSA employee. "I
went over and told a CompUSA guy, but he looked at
me like I was clueless," Webb said. Unsure whether the
kid was a thief or an out-of-uniform employee, Webb
watched as he left the store. "I thought there's no point
in getting any more involved in this imbroglio," Webb
said. "Besides, this is Texas. You never know what he
might have been carrying."