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How Man’s Best Friend Can Sniff Out Electronics

If you’ve ever misplaced a phone or USB drive in your house and wished for a way to find it, a dog with a keen nose and a playful attitude could have helped you out. Fortunately, with skills like that, our canine friends are finding a much higher calling working with police, the FBI, and homeland security.

USB Dog

As devices improve, a tiny microSD the size of a fingernail and less than a millimeter thick can hold hundreds of gigabytes of data. With this advancement comes the tools for criminals to hide and transfer enormous amounts of information without even lifting a finger. Where does that leave the fine men and women tasked with staying one step ahead? In Ogden, Utah and across the United States, they are getting the edge with their friendly Labrador companions. Ogden is home to one of fewer than two dozen “Electronic Sniffing” dogs in the nation’s police force and his name is URL (pronounced “Earl”). URL sniffs out electronic media like flash drives, memory cards, and cell phones. While they’re not exactly cryptography experts, they are consistently able to find devices that humans might otherwise miss.

Starting around 2015 with a K-9 named Bear, investigations involving trafficking, pornography, and counterterrorism have had success with the sharp noses of the dogs alongside them. The dog’s expertise comes from playful, but rigorous training exercises and are on a food-reward diet. Dogs could be led to search an office piled to the ceiling with boxes, or an open field with evidence buried underground, and within minutes they will lead their handlers to the prize. What’s the secret? The common element between all these eletric devices is a circuitboard. Compounds are added to the board to help them deal with overheating and it’s this compound that officers train their K-9 partners with. Initially using large amounts and then all the way down to a standard thumb drive, the dogs familiarize the scent and the training to be able to search houses, vents, cars, and people if deemed necessary.

From detecting drugs, to explosives, and now to electronics, the utility of a canine’s senses can’t be understated. Craig Angle the co-director of the Canine Performance Sciences program at Auburn University said he’s seen dogs identify very small targets from incredible distances. “I’ve seen them detect two ounces of explosives from more than 300 yards away,” he said. “They can detect through barriers and masking agents. We see a lot of natural instincts in a dog’s ability to detect innate behaviors like understanding and utilizing wind currents and scent plume.” From a researcher perspective and from the law enforcement officers working with these animals, it’s clear that the full potential of cooperation like this has immense potential for evidence gathering in the future.

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Apple To Release A Curved Screen Iphone

With the 10th anniversary of the iPhone approaching, features and design for the celebratory version of the device have been leaked or rumored in the last week. According to various reports, at least one new model will be available with a curved OLED screen similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. This high end model, however, is estimated to sell for just over $1,000 and to be marketed as a premium option alongside the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.
 
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An Easier Tool to Boot From an Image File

With bootable USB media becoming more and more common and fewer machines even shipping with a CD drive, ISO image files and other forms of portable software is becoming the new standard for software distributions. To supplement this shift, Rufus aims to convert any ISO image into a boot drive in a matter of minutes.
 
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How Can I Delete the “System Volume Information” Folder?

If you have a drive formatted from a Windows system, and you have your settings showing hidden files and folders, then a “System Volume Information” folder will appear with unclear contents and purpose. Why is it there? And how much space on your drive is it actually consuming?

Nexcopy Erase

The System Volume Information folder is set with strict permissions to prevent user access, even for administrators. This is to keep the settings inside untouched because they contain protocols for how Windows wants to interact with the USB device. As we tested, however, our drives functioned just fine without it, even with varying types of data stored on them.

According to the Windows documentation, this folder is where certain behaviors are stored when creating a System Restore point but that doesn’t apply to all users and furthers the confusion as to why it would be located on a drive that is being used for other purposes. To minimize the useless space taken up on our drives, the first attempt was to shrink it through the Control Panel. Through the Control Panel > System and Security > System > System Protection, there are Protection Settings which can enable System Restore and control how much disk space Windows uses.

Nexcopy Erase

Unfortunately shrinking it did not free up as much space as we were looking for so the next step was to find a way to get rid of it. Now since this is a Windows file, and Windows isn’t even too keen on letting us access the file, it doesn’t like the idea of deletion at all. After trying to find ways within the operating system to allow us to remove the file, we ended up looking at an outside option from Nexcopy whom we had worked with in the past. Their tool wasn’t built for deleting a single file but since we could just move our desired content back onto the drive after using their “Erase” function, and since it’s free, it ended up being a solid workaround. The end result? No more unruly folder and a useful software to keep around in case we find other unwanted files that our operating system won’t let us get rid of.

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The World’s Largest Capacity USB Flash Drive

Kingston Technology announced last week that it is shipping the most the world’s largest capacity USB drive from DataTraveler. Their Ultimate GT offers up to 2TB of storage and USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) performance. Tech enthusiasts and professional users with high-capacity storage needs will have the ability to store immense amounts of data in a portable form factor with use cases such as up to 70 hours of 4K video stored on the drive.
 
Largest USB Drive
 
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Toshiba To Sell Part Of Its Memory Chip Business

With the spark of uncertainty in various global markets after the events of the new year, not even the giants are able to get by unscathed. Toshiba’s board on Friday approved plans to make its core memory chip business a separate company for outside investment. With it goes more than just ownership, but private equity and investments in the specific sectors being split off.
 
Toshiba Data
 
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Breathe New Life Into an Old Computer

Rasberry Pi’s Pixel is a lightweight operating system released by the foundation behind the affordable $35 Rasberry Pi computer and it is now available for PC or Mac users who want to renew their old hardware! The Linux-based OS comes as a downloadable image you can either burn to a DVD or load onto a USB drive to boot directly into the Pixel environment.
 
Rasberry Pi
 
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