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What To Do With 78 USB Drives Next Christmas?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the channel-the-mind-of-a-giftee dept.

Christmas Cheer 381

ArfBrookwood writes "Every year, I write a Christmas Letter and send it to about 50 people, and every year, it's different. One year it was just the word blah blah blah over and over with keywords, one year I made papercraft wallets with full color cards and money in them, another year I created a Christmas Letter writing contest that instructed the recipients to create our Christmas Letter for us and we awarded prizes to winners, last year, I took a fake retro photo of my family, Inkscaped/GIMPed in a chemistry set and some wall art, printed it onto CD covers, and burned retro Christmas songs onto digital vinyl and sent everyone in the family what looked like a miniature Christmas album. Last week, I came into the possession of 78 2GB USB drives. I have already taken the time to wipe them clean and reflash the memory so they are blank slates." Now, Arf's looking for suggestions for how to best use all these drives; read on for more.
"My first inclination was to remove the USB drives from their careful packaging and plastic enclosures, dump them into a slurry of glue and rock dust, sandpaper the USB port to make it look ancient, and then make some videos or include some oddly formatted numbered/whatever text files to make them look like they cam from some dystopian wasteland fallout-3 type future and then package them in envelopes that looked like they were from some central futuristic government post office. The idea would be that in the future, incidents that happened this year would have had a profound affect on the future. I never tell anyone what the Christmas Letter will look like, and I have only one rule — I have to outdo whatever I did the last year."

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381 comments

Send them to me. (5, Funny)

NervousNerd (1190935) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154089)

Send them to me.

Re:Send them to me. (-1, Flamebait)

bigblacknigger (1440657) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154109)

I'll put them in your mother's gaping asshole while I'm fucking her with my fat nigger cock you fucking faggot. Suck the cheeze off my balls.

Re:Send them to me. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154565)

Its funny how this post is marked off topic and not troll or flamebait. Lulz.

Re:Send them to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154679)

You're right. It is pretty on-topic, come to think of it.

Re:Send them to me. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154697)

Bigblacknigger! I missed you. Please dialate my loosened Mac-using butthole with your manly rollo rocket!

Re:Send them to me. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154491)

Why don't you shove them up your ass you fucking douchebag. Not you, NervousNerd. I'm talking to Arf. You sound like a real fucking cunt. If somebody sent me shit like that for christmas, I would personally deliver a baseball bat, and a severe beating to go along with it. Then, while you're lying on the floor in a pool of your own blood (not to mention my piss), I'll make your wife eat out my asshole.

Re:Send them to me. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154551)

Then squish out a moist, steamy loaf into her mouth and cup your hand over it.

Re:Send them to me. (-1, Redundant)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154511)

It is so disappointing that the first post didn't say "PORN!"

Re:Send them to me. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154623)

Porn is always just assumed. For example, in all those posts that go:
  1. ...
  2. ...
  3. ????
  4. Profit!

the ???? stands for porn. Which makes me wonder why anyone bothers with the first two items, but that's another topic.

The world's best christmas cards? (5, Funny)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154107)

If you're such a prodigy maybe you can come up with your own ideas.

Easy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154187)

Load them all down with child pornography and give them to Richard Stallman for him to "dispose of."

Re:The world's best christmas cards? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154645)

He sounds like the kind of person the rest of his family hates to be around. What a clown! "Hey, I wonder the retard will come up with this Christmas."

--
Global warming is really caused by gay sex.

Easy (5, Funny)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154117)

Rick Roll on every one.

warning! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154517)

3d VR gigapixel goatse

Re:Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154687)

I second, third, etc. this motion. Gotsta rickroll.

Re:Easy (5, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154689)

Rick Roll on every one.

Winner winner chicken dinner!

For extra points, do a "12 days of Christmas" thing with 6 people (or get 6 more and do it to 7 people). Send them variants on rickroll every day themed to the song. Each day after the first, the card should swear it's not a rickroll. But, of course, it is.

"...on the 11th day of christmas, this crazy guy gave to me, 11 pipers piping NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP!..."

Can you imagine a Rickroll on bagpipes? That would be one awesome 11th day of Christmas. And then, for the grand finale, a 20-minute rickroll drum solo on the 12th day.

You might have no friends left, but damn. Funny.

Targets! (5, Funny)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154121)

They are just the right size to make excellent 200-yard rifle targets.

Or you could build an array out of them or something productive.

Shooting at them with a .308 would be more fun though.

Re:Targets! (2, Funny)

marciot (598356) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154199)

Since when are 2 GB Flash drives considered small enough to shoot at? Mine is still 512MBs

Re:Targets! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154223)

You queers and your male extensions. Boys and their toys. I bet nothing's more fun than putting a giant rifle-shaped dildo in your ass while your boyfriend blows a warm, milky load down the back of your throat though.

Give away the secret (5, Insightful)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154129)

Well, whatever you do, it's going to get out now, I'm sure at least one of these people read /.

Fill Them With Random Data (1)

russlar (1122455) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154133)

dd if=/dev/urandom of=(usb sticks)

Re:Fill Them With Random Data (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154515)

Oh GOD, the horror!

And send them to a police department too (one that specialises in tech), that will sure give them a reason to scratch their heads.

OH WHAT COULD IT BE?! But you should genuinely put some really hard file in it, so that after 10 years or so trying to crack it, make it one thing and one thing only: the extremely over-used Rick-roll, which by then will have become a cult.
Praise be to Rick.

Two things. (4, Interesting)

maeka (518272) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154135)

1 - I would put a personalized "virtual advent calendar" (ha! the hard part is answering what that means) on them.
and
2 - I would decorate them as a Christmas ornament (if not put them inside an actual glass ornament with only the plug exposed) so they have a use beyond the first year.

Re:Two things. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154367)

Virtual advent calendar: Pictures of your family for Christmas, home movies, etc, each encrypted with a different key you send to your recipients on each day in December leading to Christmas Day.

Album, eh (2, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154139)

You paid for the rights to those songs, right? Using the relevant authority for licensing in question?

re: the USB dealies:

Trade them up until you get a house (like the craigslist guy a while back), then write a regular letter with cryptic clues (but not too cryptic) to find the place, the first person who reaches it gets the deed.

ZFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154143)

... and a big raid-z zpool.

If you're looking for something useful ... (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154157)

rather than out-doing last year, some people could probably use a set of software tools, etc:

Thing Drive Tricks [lifehacker.com]

Give-away Drives [lifehacker.com]

Re:If you're looking for something useful ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154607)

PopCap games (http://www.popcap.com/allgames.php) for something less serious.

Nested .rar files (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154163)

Bury your newsletter in a series of nested .rar files, each consecutively passworded with the next word of your favorite christmas carol.

Re:Nested .rar files (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154385)

that would be miserable

cloverfield style christmas video. (5, Funny)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154165)

Send out something like a video where you're recording your family and make like a UFO or monster attack. Since you have no problem with copyright, steal scenes from a cloverfield or war of the worlds dvd. Melt the cases a little and put in a manila envelope along with a letter from a fake law firm "In case of death".

At the end of the video, show your dead bodies, laying in christmas sweaters on the ground with bits of fire all around and superimpose the text "Merry Christmas 2009!"

Put a (5, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154177)

Put a customized Linux distro on each one with people's names as login names, etc.

Re:Put a (5, Funny)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154329)

Hardcore - make it install Ubuntu via Wubi from the flash drive on Windows, but also have it delete the Windows option from the bootloader.

USB Christmas Tree! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154195)

Do the USB drives have usage lights?

1.Remove them from their casing, exposing their green PCB organs.
2.Buy a stack of USB hubs, and chain them together. Plug your usb drives into the hubs.
3.Arrange the usb drives in the form of a chrismas tree.
4.Set up a program to access the flash drives at random, causing their usage lights to flash.

Et Voila, flashing usb christmas tree!

Holy Fucking Gay (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154201)

How about shoving them Up your Stupid Butt?

Fucking idiot. If i had a relative like you I would burn down your fucking house.

Re:Holy Fucking Gay (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154277)

And a Merry Christmas to you too!

Planning in advance (5, Funny)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154203)

This year, add an autorun file that uploads everything on their harddrive to your FTP server and then formats their filesystem. Next year, send them USB drives containing everything that was deleted, or since you won't be on speaking terms with anyone after that you not bother and save a lot of time making cards. Win-win situation really.

Re:Planning in advance (1)

anlprb (130123) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154527)

You can always pull a best buy on them. Especially great when you have freaks as friends.

Viruses! (5, Funny)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154209)

Teach them all a lesson about attaching strange USB drives to their machines: fill the drives with viruses!

Christmas. Bah humbug.

Re:Viruses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154421)

The evil part of me had the same idea. Install rootkits on everyone's machines in the background of what ever you happen to actually do with them. Sell the eventual botnet to some outfit that will buy the machines to finance next years gift. If they're stupid enough to install them, then they probably already infected. Why should someone else profit off of *your* family? let them profit off of themselves.

Books (5, Interesting)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154231)

Maybe put some books [gutenberg.org] on them?

I checked, Dickens' A Christmas Carol is on there ;-)

I'm sure they'd appreciate a donation if you do. They do a great job.

Original and Useful (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154327)

I would also suggest a few personal pix of folks on there, but now is the time to help move ppl to e-books. Personally, IMHO, you have hit the nail on the head.

Re:Original and Useful (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154709)

What is "ppl"? Is that supposed to be the plural of "psn"? Grow a brain, get a spellchecker, or don't type in SMS-speak on anything but SMS.

Re:Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154601)

That sounds fabulous. I'd also put a linux distro on them, so that they have the option to run linux. If you're hacky-friendly-ish, make it so that they really, really got to try to install linux instead of run it off the flash drive to prevent Grandma from nuking her windows spyware install (yes, my is a contender for the best collection of botnets and adware).

Good hunting.

Switchblade! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154235)

switchblade them, duh!

A new distro... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154237)

LinuXmas?

use them as xmas tree lights (1)

mhx (772916) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154249)

and make a theme out of it like that guy did a few years back with his outside xmas lights... but u might need more than 78.

Kill yourself (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154251)

Put the USB drives in an industrial shredder then eat them all. Die from heavy metal poisoning and internal hemmoraging. Then have someone send pictures of the experience to all these people who you send Christmas cards to, saying "Sorry for being such a gigantic, insecure shitlord and sending you gimmicky Christmas shit every year for no damn reason. As a token of the sincerity of my apology, here are pictures of me killing myself by ingesting metal scraps. It was extremely painful. I hope you will remember me in death as the attention-whoring sycophant I am, and tell your children about the dangers of mercury poisoning. God bless."

autorun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154253)

write an autorun program that pops up a card with Christmas music.

Porn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154255)

You can fit a full length divx rip of a porno on them. Not the gay butt diving stuff you like tho, so skip that.

Install your favorite minimalist distro.. (3, Interesting)

Hillview (1113491) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154283)

Puppy? Tinyme would probably be easier.. It comes with a PDF viewer. Write your Christmas letter, print it to a pdf, and stick it in the "startup" on the installed distro? dunno, too much work maybe.. but it'd be cool.

Unetbootin (2, Informative)

Goyuix (698012) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154289)

Yeah, I guess I am kind of boring that way. Hooray for utility over aesthetics!

http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

Remastersys (2, Interesting)

operator_error (1363139) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154567)

Along those lines, let me add these tips:

1. Take an unused PC (or virtual machine) and install Ubuntu on it just the way you want to send it out.

2. You must decide if your distribution will include any home directories, or otherwise will be a 'proper distribution'. You need to know this to continue your setup. If you include a home directory, you can setup themes, firefox extensions, everything in-advance really.

3. Install and use Remastersys, which will create a large .iso file for the next step. : http://www.geekconnection.org/remastersys/remastersystool.html [geekconnection.org]

4. In Ubuntu, select System > Adminsitration > Create a USB startup stick

5, you need to allocate how much space to to give this new USB PC. Slide it MOST of the way to the right (to create space for the user files) but not all the way (to leave some space for the OS, patches and new application installs in the future, etc.); I *think* this is technically accurate, YMMV.

6. Answer as per your setup decisions made on Step 2.

7. Send a whole bunch of free software out on USB sticks using some postal services.

8. Profit!!!!

- - - - -

Now having done this, I wonder how severe the implications are of breaking whatever laws cover the following:

Applications like Google Earth 5.0 require a user to agree to Google's non-transferable licensing terms, (although I can install Google earth 4.3 without entering into an agreement during the install, but never-mind). It SEEMS like I could setup apps like Google Earth 5 in advance for my mother and not risk too much trouble with the law, even though she lives in the US, while I'm now in Europe. But what about doing the same thing for a relatively small Christmas card list of close personal friends who I trust not to rat me out to Google? What about sending them Skype also? (But note that SIP-based Ekiga still gets my strong support over Skype wherever possible)

Re:Remastersys (5, Insightful)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154743)

Yeah, what grandma really wants for Xmas is an pre-loaded Linux thumb drive. I'm a dork and I don't even want that. It's Christmas. Give a gift that means something, not your ideology about FOSS.

OS-independant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154293)

Whatever you do, don't assume everyone's computer is running Windows.

And if you're not using Windows yourself, scan the files you're putting on the USB drives just so you don't infect Windows computers with viruses and trojans...

Christmas flash game + pendrivelinux Distro (1)

Myrcutio (1006333) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154319)

put a bootable linux distro on it, add a startup script that opens a fun christmas flash game, maybe something from http://www.ferryhalim.com/orisinal/ [ferryhalim.com] , i recommend winterbells.

It fits a christmas theme, but i'm not sure how ya could fit it into the post-apocalyptic fallout3 story. Maybe santa became disgruntled and delivered a tiny thermonuclear device in everyone's stocking?

Offhand (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154331)

Offhand I'd say, get a life.

Altered for the Slashdot audience (4, Informative)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154337)

On the link to the blog talking about the Christmas album, it says the cover was "Photoshopped". Here on Slashdot, to appease the FOSS freaks this slang gets changed to "GIMPed". That's real classy.

Re:Altered for the Slashdot audience (5, Insightful)

Magic5Ball (188725) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154457)

Photoshop, like Google, is well on its way to becoming a common verb. One should be able to photoshop with any competent raster image editing program.

A beowulf cluster of these! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154345)

Get a lot of USB hubs and make a huge RAID. Bonus points if you run linux on it.

Slashdot! Hurrah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154347)

Nice to see you have a link to slashdot on your blog, submitter.

It's slashdot.ORG, by the way :-)

USB Christmas Tree Lights? (1)

kendoka (473386) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154351)

Has anyone ever tried to string 78 usb drives (presumably with active lights) into a christmas tree light to decorate with? Might be interesting...

Puppy Linux (1)

duncan bayne (544299) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154355)

I reckon you should install them with Puppy Linux [distrowatch.com] , perhaps modified with a Christmas-themed desktop and a short Christmas message and introduction to GNU / Linux that is displayed at login time.

I mean, when was the last time you received a gift of a better operating system for Christmas? :-)

Use some Social Engineering (5, Interesting)

Nitewing98 (308560) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154359)

I'd label each one "Do Not Use This Drive." I'd put a program on it labelled, "Do Not Open This Program." Create the program so that it causes their mail client to email you from their email account. See how many emails you get. This would be a good opportunity to teach them how they can protect themselves from data theft, trojans, etc.

"digital vinyl"? really? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154411)

Why can't you motherfuckers call it what it actually is, you know, a fuckin CD?

Will it bruise your fragile techie ego to not use a 'buzzword' every now and then?

Fags.

Where's the fun ideas? (1)

Rastl (955935) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154415)

Linux distro. Virus to teach them not to trust strange* USB devices. Where's the fun ideas that the OP was asking for?

You already did the retro photo. Kind of a dup but more of an extension to do that with each of your family members in a different situation. Take the iconic Christmas pictures and 'Shop them into the appropriate places.

Slideshow of lovely Christmas scenes and you reading something like 'The Night Before Christmas'?

Make a set of relatively easy puzzles for them to solve before getting to the message?

Create a mocumentary of the history of the holiday. I recommend Terry Pratchett's 'Hogsfather' as a starting point for that one.

* How is it a strange drive when it's sent to you by someone you trust?

Re:Where's the fun ideas? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154661)

good idea. Like his wife getting fucked up the ass by a black dude. Don't even need to photoshop that one :) Maybe some pics of your "tanned" kid with the afro, too.

Screw other people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154435)

Make a raid array out of them and dangle it off your netbook.

Better than this guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96dWOEa4Djs.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154439)

Nothing but Metallica MP3s from start to finish.

Two Words: (2, Informative)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154441)

Christmas Botnet. Not only are worms the gifts that keep on giving, but you'll always be that much closer to everyone you give them to!

RAID (5, Funny)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154447)

Stripe a 158GB drive across all 78, then distribute them such that drive can only be read when all 78 are assembled together. Of course, the contents would be a rickroll or similar.

Re:RAID (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154503)

That would be kind of hard since 78*2=156!=158, but if you figure out a way to do it, let me know.

A movie? (1)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154449)

With that much space, you could deliver an HD version of Miracle on 37th Street NW, or a claymation version of Owen the Red-Nosed Reindeer with your family's faces on the characters.

Secret Government OS (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154479)

If you're a programmer, I would suggest putting a bootable Linux distro on the OS, but change the entire environment so that it looks like a secret government operating system with secret data on it. Some of this data could point to a secret website that you could set up and make people feel like they're stumbling onto something they shouldn't have.

Be useful. (5, Interesting)

stego (146071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154493)

Do something actually useful. Donate'em to an inner city middle school.

Re:Be useful. (5, Interesting)

jgordon510 (1566121) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154569)

We'll take them. Elementary school with 80% free/reduced lunch. We tried to buy flash drives for all our fifth graders so they could work on their state reports at home and the public library. We found a vendor selling 1gig drives for $3.00 each, ordered 75 of them, and were told that they only had 3 available at that price. Anyway, if you send them to us, I'll have the kids write your christmas cards for you. How's that?

Pi, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154549)

Fill the drives with a text file containing the first ..... digits of pi. Everyone loves pie, and what christmas meal is complete with it.

Hmm. (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154559)

This would probably be fairly tricky to do, but I would wire the drives so that they "burn up" when they are plugged in -- so that they emit red and green smoke. Bonus points if they still work after they emit the smoke.

Unusual Christmas Cards (5, Interesting)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154563)

I never tell anyone what the Christmas Letter will look like, and I have only one rule â" I have to outdo whatever I did the last year.

I fear I've fallen into that trap too, last year I made some edge lit christmas cards [evilmadscientist.com] but instead of using coin batteries I included twisted white wire with a soldered USB plug so the card will never run out of power (unless you switch your PC off). Just about everyone who received one loved it.

This year I'm planning on doing another edge lit card but with several layers, powered by a SMD PICAXE chip embedded into the card for animation, flashing, sequencing or whatever I decide.

The year after next I may do yet another USB powered edge lit card but include a flash drive for a christmas video or something *shrug* hopefully I'll get some good ideas from this topic :)

How about not doing it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28154715)

you sound like a pretentious loser.

how about not trying so hard to look smahht.

I'm sure your christmas letter schtick is actually because you are poking fun at the self-indulgent nature of such things. Fine. But a better approach is to just ignore it altogether and shut the fuck up.

Some ideas (4, Interesting)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#28154737)

Fill the USB drives with DOSBox and some DOS Shareware games so they can remember what gaming was like in the 1980's when PC clones running MS-DOS were all the craze.

Put in some family videos in AVI files on the USB drives, make them Christmas themed or if you recorded prior Christmas days of kids opening up presents you can use those videos.

Fill it full of PNG and JPEG Christmas photos.

That CD you made, convert the songs to MP3 format and put them on the USB drive so they can load them onto their iPods, Zunes, iPhones, Blackberries, etc.

Don't listen to the people telling you to put viruses and email programs on the USB drives, that is not what Christmas is all about.

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