Introduction: Make Your Own Amber Stick!
This instructable is based on the product offered here, called an Amber Stick at the official amber alert site.
It's a flash drive that holds all the information police would need to file a missing persons report, all encrypted and password protected. No more digging through your papers for current pictures, medical information and description-it's all right there!
It's a very cool product, but why pay 29.95 for something you can make for less than half that? The only feature our Macgyver Amber Stick does not have in common with the one they are selling you is the ability to instantly send your relative's information to the amber alert page (at the police's descretion).
This is entered into the travel tips contest because while traveling, you can leave one of these with family and friends in case something happens to you-traveling not always safe, especially in other countries.
Step 1: Overview
Cliff notes of this instructable:
1) Get a usb stick
2) Put data on it
That's it! You're done!
Well, unless you actually have to use it.
In that case, give it to the officer who needs the information, and give him/her the password. They should be able to access all the pictures and description, etc. If you just zipped the file and password protected it, they will of course have to unzip it to view the files, but that dosen't take very long.
Step 2: Get a Flash Drive
I got my 2 gig flash drive for 15 or 20 dollars, if I remember right. You probably already have a flash drive lying around that will work for this. The point is, you need a dedicated flash drive that you will not use for anything else.
If you want to put your Macgyver Amber Stick on your keychain, be sure to get one that has a jump ring or at least a place to attach one on the back. Not all flash drives come with this. Personally, I recommend putting it on your keychain so you always know where it is (unless you lose your keys, of course!).
Step 3: Download Encryption/password Protection Software
There are two options for this: Either buy/download for free a utility from the net, or just put your information in a password protected archived (zipped) file.
I downloaded Advanced File Lock from Download.com. There are many free utilities just like this, and more for sale. Choose wisely, the free ones sometimes don't really encrypt your information.
Step 4: Enter Information
Save all the information the police would need to file a missing persons report for your family:
Emergency contact numbers
I suggest a file heirarchy like this:
Master folder (easy to lock with just one password so you don't forget a zillion passwords)
Person one folder
Pictures of person one
Text file containing above information for person one
The information may need to be updated sometimes, especially if you are using this for children, their pictures and description will need to be updated regularly.
Step 5: Protect Your Information
Either use the software you downloaded/bought to encypt your data, or else put in all in one archived (zipped) folder. Be sure to password protect the root folder, either way.
And that's about it. If you ever need to give a police officer the pictures and contact/emergency info for your loved ones, just hand them the amber stick and tell them the password (of course, they'll have to unzip the folder if you just password protected a zipped folder). Enjoy your newfound peace of mind.
Participated in the
Lonely Planet Travel Tips Contest