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Hardware Hacking China Data Storage It's funny.  Laugh. Build Hardware

Magical Chinese Hard Drive 347

jamax writes "From TFA: 'A Russian friend .... works at a hard-drive repair center in a Russian town, located near the Chinese border. A couple of days ago a customer brought a broken 500GB USB-drive that he had bought in a Chinese store across the river, for an insanely low price. But the drive was not working: if you, say, save a movie onto the drive, playing the saved movie back resulted in replaying just the last 5 minutes of the film.' Apparently, the contents of the external HDD box included: two nuts, glued to the inner surface of the box with a 128MB flash drive wedged between them (image). And it was a clever hack, too — if ever an attempt was made to write a file that's too large, it got cycled — rewriting itself over and over from the beginning, while leaving the existing files intact. And it reported everything correctly — file sizes and all!"
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Magical Chinese Hard Drive

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  • MP3 players, too. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by olsmeister ( 1488789 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @01:53PM (#35760548)
    I have a friend that ordered a dirt cheap 4 gig MP3 player from some outfit in Hong Kong. He got it, and plugged it in, and it dutifully reported it had 4 gig of free space. As he started loading it up, it kept locking everything up after about 2 gig. Turns out, it only had 2 gig of memory, but was doctored to report it had 4 when queried.
  • ATP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @01:54PM (#35760556) Journal

    This is reason 1 why your average corporation has a mini-corporation inside it that does nothing but accept packages and perform testing on their contents to be sure that requirements are being met. Doesn't matter if it's a blade server or a box of pencils. Sleaze is an industry. So is acceptance testing. But if you do it right it doesn't just prevent fraud, it increases your reliability a ton, as it keeps you from stuffing parts that are merely statistical DOA.

    (Reason 2 is that without that layer, there's no tracking of who got what, and embezzlement is an industry too.)

  • Re:Bloody well done. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MonsterTrimble ( 1205334 ) <monstertrimbleNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Friday April 08, 2011 @02:38PM (#35761192)

    The same goes for MP3 players which use Flash as well.

    My wife was caught by that scam on eBay. About 4 or 5 years ago she bought what was reportedly a 4 GB MP3 player from Hong Kong - no name brand, but it was a good price. (At this point I would like to point out I did council her on not buying anything electronic from Hong Kong. The horror stories about cheap products from that part of the world plus it being far too cheap against anything from north America made me suspicious). After a couple weeks she complains it messed up. So I dutifully wipe it using the disc which came with the player and reloaded on everything she put on previously. Suddenly I get an error message that the player is full when I had put no where near the 4 GB limit on it yet. So before I try again I take the model number and punch it into Google (although it might have been metacrawler back then). The first link which popped up was about this model having the exact same issue I was having. it turns out that the seller was taking 1 GB drives, changing the firmware to read 4 GB and selling them as such. The kicker was that the supplied format disc just rehacked the MP3 player instead of doing it right. I ended up downloading a correct recovery disc for it which did in fact reveal the 1 GB limit. She complained, but being eBay, they did nothing. In the end she bought a 4 GB Sansa and it serves as my daily distraction from my commute. (Note: I did load Rockbox onto it because the Sansa OS is terrible and can't be happier.)

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @03:28PM (#35761780) Homepage Journal

    ...it's just a small step further than most consumer products made by big companies today.

    Agreed. I just went down a list of the products I've bought in the past year, and if you ignore DVDs and books, the percentage that have worked correctly for more than a week is somewhere around zero.

    USB flash drive watch (ThinkGeek): broke after four days. When the replacement arrived, the flash drive was halfway pulled apart, the glue that held it together having apparently failed. This tells me that it probably failed QA testing (somebody had to have tried to open it or else it would not have been hanging halfway out), but got shipped to me in spite of that. Yikes.

    USB keychain drive from Kingston: the part that held it on my keychain broke after four or five months. Replacement drive with substantially inferior case: the part that held it on my keychain broke after four days.

    USB keychain drive from Lacie (XtremKey): the wire part that held it onto my keychain broke after less than a week, and has subsequently been replaced by a hand-crimped steel cord from Home Depot. Details in my Amazon review.

    Konica Minolta color laser printer: needs a technician to recalibrate it right out of the box because the fuser isn't fusing properly on card stock.

    Eyeglasses arrived from the manufacturer with a scratch across the middle of one lens.

    Bought complete series DVD collections for Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. Went through seven SG-1 sets in a row. Ended up taking advantage of Amazon shipping out replacements before you return the product so that I could combine four different sets just to get one single set without any unreadable discs. The discs in the factory-sealed package looked like they had been placed in gravel and spun rapidly. Pics [gatwood.net] or it didn't happen. Then, I had the same problem with the Stargate Atlantis series collection, but I only had to combine two or three sets to get one working set.

    And the list goes on. So yeah, I hear you. The only difference between the Chinese knock offs and the worst American products are that the worst American products at least ostensibly work for a couple of days before they don't. Usually. And this is what happens when consumers don't care about product quality.

  • by benjfowler ( 239527 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @05:26PM (#35763228)

    compulsive liars, cheats and thieves who will do absolutely anything to win. And it's ingrained behaviour that will never change. Even 200 years ago, British traders knew very well that the Chinese simply couldn't be trusted.

    Which is why when the West declines and the Chinese rule the world, we're all fucked.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde