Monday, August 20, 2007

Curiosity Killed The Geek

So this morning I wander over to the big building next door to buy my Diet Pepsi.  I remember that I have a check to deposit, so I wander to the far end of the long minimall-esque building to the ATM.  I have no pen with which to sign, but I see that there's actually a bank pen at this one (the kind tethered to the desk) as well as what looks like a broken pen that someone left behind.  Well, the bank pen completely does not work, but luckily the pen in two pieces appears to work just fine.  It's actually quite a nice pen, very heavy.

Do you take the pen, or leave it for the next person?

A truly boring question indeed!  But wait, there's more.  I realized that the pen was, in fact, a USB stick.  That's why it's so heavy, and so easily sitting in two pieces.

Now what?

If you leave it, then whoever lost it may in fact be racing back over here right now to reclaim it.  That would be a good thing.  Leave it. 

Of course, if you leave it, chances are that the next guy to come along will go through the same question and might just as well take it.  Are you more honest than your fellow man?

You could take it, convincing yourself that by plugging it in you might find the person's contact information and thus let him know that he lost it.

Of course, that might just as well spring a virus on your company network.  Want to have some fun, walk up to your already harried and overworked sysadmin and say, "Hey, I found this random USB stick outside and I booted it on the network, is that bad?"

And besides, you know perfectly well that if you find a random piece of digital storage lying around, you're going to go snooping and see if there's anything good on there. 

I left it, telling myself that I'll go back over lunch and if it's still there, I'll bring it back to my office and see if there's contact information on it.  That location is not very busy in the breakfast hours.

What would you have done?

Update:  Went back over lunch, pen is gone.  Whether the original owner came to claim it, or someone else swiped it, I'll never know. 

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