Mythbusters defeat “Never been beaten” digital lock

(via Engadget)

I love watching Mythbusters. My favorite myth to date is probably the chicken gun myth (which they confirmed to be true), although there are so many other good ones that are close. This video of a recent Mythbusters shows the guys defeating a digital fingerprint lock with a latex copy of a fingerprint, a ballistics gel copy, and finally a photocopy with a little water on it. This doesn’t mean defeating this types of locks is trivial, but it does show that these types of locks aren’t as foolproof safe as many people believe them to be.

Of course, this type of testing has been done before. It’s just more fun watching the Mythbusters do it.

[tags]Mythbusters defeat undefeatable lock, Mythbusters break biometric lock[/tags]

Hurd (HP’s new CEO) plays the “I don’t remember” Reaganesque card

I like Reagan and think he was a fine President – don’t take that headline the wrong way. However, much like Reagan during the whole Iran Contra debacle, Hurd played the “I don’t remember” and “I didn’t know about that” game in a completely unconvincing manner. In a press conference (in which, oddly enough, the press were not allowed to do anything but listen, kinda making is a press-listening event, which in its own right is unusual I suppose) Hurd said he authorized a fake email to help track down the source of a news leak at HP, but that he didn’t recall if he had authorized sending spyware with the email.

He acknowledged approving a plot earlier this year to trick a CNet reporter into revealing her sources by having an investigator e-mail her, posing as a disgruntled HP employee. But he said he didn’t recall approving another gambit: e-mailing the reporter a purported HP document containing hidden spyware to trace her sources.

And he admitted he was given a report in March detailing the methods used by investigators, as well as the results. “I understand there is also a written report of the investigation addressed to me and others, but I did not read it. I could have, and I should have,” he said.

Ahhhhh, the whole ignorance is bliss defense. Of course, we all know that lack of knowledge does not excuse one from a crime – just ask my wife about the ticket she got for turning right at a no-right-turn intersection where the sign was completely covered by a tree (we had pictures at the time – the sign was indeed not visible but the judge still made her pay because “you should have known” about the sign). He had the necessary information to know what was being done. And seeing how important the high level executives seemed to believe this matter was, I would expect he should have read the report to know what was going on.

Hurd said the “trigger for me” that something was wrong came in the form of an e-mail he received after a May board meeting. At that point, he retained the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to do “a more comprehensive investigation,” he said.

I’m just curious on this – if he retained a law firm in May (or June, if it took a while to react or the board meeting was late in the month), why did we not find out about HP’s illegal activities until August? I mean, if this was really important to handle properly, which Hurd seems to claim in his statements if you read the full article, why wasn’t it important to let people know of HP’s illegal activities before that information escaped somehow last month?

Elsewhere in the article is this quote from former HP chairwoman Dunn:

Dunn issued a statement saying she was resigning “in the best interests” of HP and blaming the fiasco on the investigators the company used, saying she didn’t select them. She said she “followed the proper processes” but that the investigators “let me and the company down.”

Again – “It’s not my fault. I played by the rules. Someone else screwed up.” In other words, she’s really an innocent victim of someone else’s mistake. I almost shed a tear for her. (via Dan Gillmor’s blog)

[tags]More on the HP illegal spying case, HP execs play “Pass the buck” on blame for spy fiasco[/tags]

Batteries with built-in USB charger

(via TechEBlog)

When you carry around rechargeable batteries, you typically have to carry around a recharger, too. And none of us ever really want to carry the charger. So someone came up with the perfect battery for those of us who always seem to travel with a laptop – batteries with a built-in USB plug for recharging.


These AA batteries are currently set to ship in the next few days in the UK. In the future, AAA, C, D, phone charger cells, and 9 volt sizes should be available.

[tags]Rechargeable batteries with built in USB plug[/tags]

Checked baggage security – take your gun

What’s the best way to be certain your checked baggage won’t be tampered with? Apparently, the answer is to travel with a gun in your checked baggage. Matt Brandon tells his unfortunate tale of losing some expensive camera equipment while traveling, due to the camera being in checked baggage instead of hand carried. The interesting part comes in the comments to his post.

One note on using TSA rules to your advantage.

Weapons that travel MUST be in a hard case, must be declared upon check-in, and MUST BE LOCKED by a TSA official.

A “weapons” is defined as a rifle, shotgun, pistol, airgun, and STARTER PISTOL. Yes, starter pistols – those little guns that fire blanks at track and swim meets – are considered weapons…and do NOT have to be registered in any state in the United States.

I have a starter pistol for all my cases. All I have to do upon check-in is tell the airline ticket agent that I have a weapon to declare…I’m given a little card to sign, the card is put in the case, the case is given to a TSA official who takes my key and locks the case, and gives my key back to me.

That’s the procedure. The case is extra-tracked…TSA does not want to lose a weapons case. This reduces the chance of the case being lost to virtually zero.

It’s a great way to travel with camera gear…I’ve been doing this since Dec 2001 and have had no problems whatsoever.

Hope it works for you…

(via Bruce Schneier’s security blog via boingboing)

Play Midway arcade classics online

Play some of Midway’s old arcade games online via Shockwave.  Ten games are available, such as Tapper and Spyhunter.  Also available is Sinistar, often considered one of the hardest arcade games out (up there with Ghosts ‘n Goblins, I believe).

[tags]Play Midway arcade classics online, Shockwave versions of Midway arcade classics available online[/tags]

PlayStation 1 emulator for the PSP

(via Engadget)

What’s a hacker going to do with a new gadget? The thing to do now-a-days seems to be either try to get Linux to run on it or get an emulator to run on it. In the case of the PSP, a hacker going by the name Yoshihiro has released a beta of PSX-P, a PlayStation 1 emulator for the PSP. There’s even a YouTube video showing off the emulator. So the hacking community has apparently beaten Sony to the punch on releasing a PS1 emulator for the PSP.

Now for the bad news on this. Some research on the released binary have shown that PSX-P is based on the PCSX emulator, which has been released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). While this means the software can be used for a derivative work like PSX-P, it also means that PSX-P cannot legally be released without also making the source code available as well. Furthermore, PSX-P also contains code from P.E.Op.S. and SDL, two other GPLed software packages. This means that you might have trouble finding the PSX-P binary until source is released, as many people in the emulator community believe strongly in the GPL and will not provide software based on GPL code until the source for the derivative software is also provided.

Additionally, the emulator currently only runs about 10 frames per second. So more tuning and tweaking will be necessary to get this to at least 30 FPS, with even higher framerates desireable to allow for more complex games which might otherwise slow down too much to be playable. And finally, you’ll need to track down SCPH1001.BIN, the PS1 BIOS, in order to use the emulator. To actually play a game, once you have the BIOS you will need to rip your PS1 CD to an ISO image to put on a memory stick.

So there are some obstacles to using this emulator, assuming you can track it down. But if you get it, you can be the first geek on your block playing all the cool PS1 titles on your PSP.

[tags]PlayStation 1 emulator for PSP, Play your PS1 games on your PSP[/tags]