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Spy Gadgets: A Visit With the Real-Life Q

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the cone-of-silence dept.

Technology 73

AlistairCharlton writes in a neat article about night vision watches, video recording glasses, and other real-life spy gadgets. "Q (real name Jeremy Marks) has run SpyMaster for 20 years and has three branches in central London. The company sells a wide range of covert equipment, from recorders disguised as chewing gum wrappers and watches with night vision cameras, to body armour and home security. Far from meeting our Quartermaster deep in the bowels of MI5 or at an abandoned Underground station, we were invited into SpyMaster's flagship store just off Oxford street; it's a glass-fronted shop just like any other - no M, no whiskey cabinet (so far as we could see) and no ejector seats in sight. "

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73 comments

No light sabre? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41627993)

No light sabre on display, then what is the fun?
Unless I can teleport myself behind the shooter and cut him in half with the latest laser sabre, I won't waste my money here!

Vague title (1, Offtopic)

cripkd (709136) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628029)

I was thinking of the other Q and was wondering just how much of what Q from Star Trek (TNG) could do can you achieve today in real life, aside dressing in a starfleet "pijama".
So the article was a bit disapointing. Plus there were 2 videos about DotCom autoplaying at once on that page.

Re:Vague title (0)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628067)

I'm just confused because I'm not sure whether this is a slashvertisement for the new 007 movie or this SpyMaster store.

Re:Vague title (0, Offtopic)

PieDkaj (2750665) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628111)

The new Visual Studio allows you to create code for your favorite spy gadgets. Make sure you're part of the next generation today by making the right choice. Visual Studio, get it now.

Re:Vague title (1)

SuperMooCow (2739821) | about a year and a half ago | (#41630817)

Screw Visual Studio, get GameMaker! Enter "GameMakerDom" and... eh... something... I'm sorry, I can't rembember since those spam were so incredibly dumb.

Can the real GameMaker troll reply to PieDkaj please?

Re:Vague title (2)

hutsell (1228828) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628319)

I'm just confused because I'm not sure whether this is a slashvertisement for the new 007 movie or this SpyMaster store.

My guess would be for the later. It's a most likely a "staged" product interview for Jeremy Marks' London SpyMaster Stores using the latest Bond film as a segue; similar to the scenarios when writers and actors do the interview circuit promoting their soon to be released book or film. This isn't the real-life Q of MI5 expected; instead, this is a real-life Q using the moniker for marketing purposes.

However, if his company comes up with that jet pack or flying car everyone has been waiting decades for -- or a hover board (that can't go on water) -- then it might be possible to forgive seeing his interview commercial on the spam-site with 62 cookies and two videos running at the same time (that can't be turned off). The actual link for SpyMaster [spymaster.co.uk] bypassing all of this crap is probably more interesting.

Re:Vague title (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629331)

Q of MI6

FTFY

Re:Vague title (1)

hutsell (1228828) | about a year and a half ago | (#41724097)

Q of MI6

FTFY

Thanks. Fwiw, having been a fan of Fleming's books, I did sense something wrong as I ignored the idea and wrote MI5 anyway. However, in (my somewhat) delayed defense, I couldn't help noticing the cause: that TFS, taken from TFA, both had made the error of referring to Q as an employee of MI5.

If I were to give SpyMaster the benefit of doubt, remembering MI6 wasn't officially recognized until the 1990's, they probably said the wrong department intentionally, misnaming it due to a combination of old habits and legal reasons. however, if that's not the case, then they're probably cash hungry stereotypes unconcerned about accuracy.

.

Yah whats with the 2 videos on the page?? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about a year and a half ago | (#41630041)

I could maybe understand 1 video set to autoplay but 2 is begging to be added to AdBlock.

what i find bizzare is the BBC thing of having video "ads" on A SERIES VIDEO PAGE (hint if im going to a page to see an episode of a series that is the Only Video That should be on that page).

Re:Vague title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41630307)

Yeah, for a second I was expecting an interview with John de Lancie.

Re:Vague title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41632491)

Yeah, for a second I was expecting an interview with John de Lancie.

Well, according to Wikipedia, someone called Quentin Elias went by the name of "Q" for his appearances on a gay porn site. Perhaps this was the "Q" they had in mind, because that the attention-seeking twonk in the article sure as hell isn't the "real-life" counterpart of "Q" in the James Bond films.

What a POS slashvertisement...

Re:Vague title (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#41634201)

I wonder if his gimmick was being an annoying gay porn deity who randomly showed up to mess with the protagonists or a purveyor of fancy gay porn-related gadgets.

"Be careful with this, agent Hunkyman, be sure to keep it well-lubricated while operating. Now for some training, I will be your target..."

RE: (1)

JustinIshley (2750431) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628127)

Are these gadgets too costly? I wonder if i have one video recording glass.

Re: (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628241)

Not sure, did a quick search on amazon. Many of the better rated smaller 'spy' cam devices run into $50's+.

Re: (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629249)

Good ones? yes they are costly. But there are a ton of garbage quality spy cameras on ebay and amazon.com at prices under $500.00 the good ones that actually look right and will record decently enough to get evidence that is admissible in court cost over $500. which is dirt cheap considering what it cost just 10 years ago.

The last six comments .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41628157)

The last six comments are a waste of space ..

Re:The last six comments .. (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628351)

The last six comments are a waste of space ..

Now you'v added your's that's seven .... Oh wait I've just made it eight.

Curious (2)

madprof (4723) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628217)

This an ad for a well-established shop in London that allows individuals to invade other people's privacy, run on the premise that you could imagine the security services using this stuff. Which they don't. The shop isn't new or novel.

Re:Curious (5, Funny)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628275)

I'd rather see a shop for outfitting an evil criminal's lair:
- Shark tank, with trap door to dump disloyal henchmen into said tank.
- Electric wheelchair complete with controls for remote control helicopter (helicopter sold separately)
- Brushed stainless steel paneling
- High backed leather swivel chair (comes with fluffy white cat)

Re:Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41628443)

Superb.

Re:Curious (2)

ewanm89 (1052822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628897)

I guess sharks with frikin lasers attached to their heads are also sold separately?

Re:Curious (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629399)

I guess sharks with frikin lasers attached to their heads are also sold separately?

They keep sinking the wood boats. Fishing is dangerous.

Re:Curious (1)

SuperMooCow (2739821) | about a year and a half ago | (#41630881)

That's why you need my new patented MirrorBoat(tm), it's sharks-with-frikin-lasers-attached-to-their-heads-proof!

Re:Curious (1)

kat_skan (5219) | about a year and a half ago | (#41632763)

I'm afraid we're fresh out of sharks, but perhaps I could interest you in an ill-tempered sea bass?

Re:Curious (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629255)

But where do I buy my metallic silver collarless lab coats? An evil genius needs to look good when taking over the world.

Or even a basic white but with some Flair! I must get Doctor Horrible's tailor's number.

Re:Curious (1)

RDW (41497) | about a year and a half ago | (#41630875)

All this and more:

http://www.villainsource.com/ [villainsource.com]

"Evil On A Budget, Inc. presents the Mini-Lair, a 30 x 30 x 20m corrugated metal lair with incorporated mini-dome, suitable for small missile launches, medium-sized lasers, or other small-to-midsize superweapons. Includes convenient, obvious self-destruct mechanism. A/C and electricity extra."

Re:Curious (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#41632573)

I'm really debating about ordering 20 Scud missiles. On one hand, where would I put them? The wife is would be more upset than the last time I tried to bring a sailboat home.

If one you could get one or two. Shipping wouldn't be nearly the hassle. I'm sure UPS could handle a couple of them.

Re:Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41634229)

I'd swear you're describing Steve Jobs' office...

Re:Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41628943)

This an ad for a well-established shop in London

Agreed. And there's an article on here about them every six months or so.

that allows individuals to invade other people's privacy,

Bullshit rhetoric. They sell covert surveillance tools, how you use them is up to you.

Re:Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41629745)

Tomorrow, "a visit to a local best buy, an electronics device shop where you can find a hard drive... or not. Come with us and discover the reality about this traditional store".

Corrections (4, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628233)

Spy Gadgets: A Visit With a Real-Life Guy Who Runs a Shop

Far from meeting our Quartermaster deep in the bowels of MI5 or at an abandoned Underground station, we were invited into SpyMaster's flagship store just off Oxford street; it's a glass-fronted shop just like any other - no M, no whiskey cabinet (so far as we could see) and no ejector seats in sight.

Yes, because he doesn't work for MI6 (which is where Bond works, not MI5 as above). He runs a shop.

Re:Corrections (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41628841)

Yes, because he doesn't work for MI6 (which is where Bond works, not MI5 as above). He runs a shop.

Oh, please! That's just a cover!

Re:Corrections (1)

craigtp (1356527) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629033)

What you don't know, though, is the shop is a front for his more surreptitious and covert activities. Apparently, his superiors in MI6 were a little uneasy with him specifically running a shop selling spy equipment as his "cover", but he successfully convinced them that its the best disguise. You know, hiding in plain sight and all that!

dx.com storefront? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41628327)

... and most of the items are probably bought in china - the "spy watch" and bug detector both look like something you can find on dx.com... My favorite source of cheap disposable stuff :)

Find someone else to sell you those toys (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41628343)

I used to work down the road from them in them, so I thought I'd pop in and see what they had for sale. They are the the most insufferable arseholes I have ever met. Basically they gave me the bum's rush. Every word, every gesture, their condescension, their posture, in fact every fibre of their being indicated that normal people were not their customers. I asked to see their catalogue and they told me it cost £600.

Buy from someone who values your custom.

Re:Find someone else to sell you those toys (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41632309)

You're not their customer, you were never their customer. Normal people (funny how that word works) are not wanted. They cater to the wealthy, and as a member of the non-wealthy, you had no place there. £600 is a pittance, if you were actually a customer you could afford that easily. It's like someone off the street wanting to kick the tires of Sun Enterprise gear. It just ain't gonna happen unless you represent a company with a million dollar budget.

Re:Find someone else to sell you those toys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41634895)

Until they run my credit card, how can they know? Money's money and there's not a thing shown in that article I can't afford. The stuff they sell's the spy equivalent of low- to mid-range Lenovo laptops, not enterprise gear.

Re:Find someone else to sell you those toys (1)

smugfunt (8972) | about a year and a half ago | (#41635075)

Every word, every gesture, their condescension, their posture, in fact every fibre of their being indicated that normal people were not their customers.

I had exactly the same experience at a similar emporium in Washington DC. I thought perhaps I should have worn a dark suit instead of shorts and a Hawiian shirt, but maybe it's just spook culture.

Killing me softly with Slashvertisments (4, Informative)

UnresolvedExternal (665288) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628509)

Dear god this must be a slow news day - I have never seen such a blatant slashvertisment in all the time I have wasted here.

If you are tired of reading ads then read about the interesting stuff the mars rover found the other day [nasa.gov] , or maybe about this interesting comet [astronomynow.com]

Please Slashdot - don't make me hate you!

Re:Killing me softly with Slashvertisments (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629543)

Dear god this must be a slow news day - I have never seen such a blatant slashvertisment in all the time I have wasted here.

Obligatory you must be new here.

Re:Killing me softly with Slashvertisments (1)

UnresolvedExternal (665288) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629747)

*Sigh* yes true obligatory [xkcd.com]

Re:Killing me softly with Slashvertisments (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629801)

Thing is, Slashdot hasn't really changed, except that it's been a long time since I've seen a gay nigger troll.

Re:Killing me softly with Slashvertisments (1)

UnresolvedExternal (665288) | about a year and a half ago | (#41630053)

I AM a gay nigger troll you insensitive clod!

Re:Killing me softly with Slashvertisments (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41630253)

Well, I meant troll the post, not troll the person. (Just for clarification, I wasn't trying to call anyone nigger. If I were you'd know.)

Re:Killing me softly with Slashvertisments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41632087)

Shut the fuck up, you fucken gay nigger troll faget.

Re:Killing me softly with Slashvertisments (1)

dwye (1127395) | about a year and a half ago | (#41635279)

Set your threshold lower. I saw one just a couple of days ago.

Re:Killing me softly with Slashvertisments (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41636529)

Set your threshold lower. I saw one just a couple of days ago.

Well, uh, no. But, point taken.

Re:Killing me softly with Slashvertisments (1)

Like2Byte (542992) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629977)

Dear god this must be a slow news day - I have never seen such a blatant slashvertisment in all the time I have wasted here.

Obligatory you must be new here.

Don't forget to introduce him to this!

1) Have slow news day
2) Post slashvertisement
3) {{eyeballs}}
4) PROFIT!!

p.s: Did I screw up? Opps, I forgot to use '????' on step 3. Now our secrets out! My bad!

Re:Killing me softly with Slashvertisments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41629807)

So you haven't been to apple.slashdot.org in the past couple of years?

small fry (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41628613)

Small fry... I had a tour and a wander round one UK police Force's Scientific Support unit a few years ago. Crazy stuff going on there.

Wiring up a villain's target vehicle with covert gps, monitoring equipment etc and leaving it looking 'untouched'. Same done to vehicles left as bait for car thieves.

Calls pulled off mobiles, sms intercepted, mobiles of criminals used as gps units without their knowledge. Phones can be remotely turned on and the data read...

Yes this stuff happens. Not to small time criminals to my knowledge, we're talking violent gang related villains.

Oversight and sign off provided by UK Home Secretary. Not that that will help ease the tinfoil hat brigade.

Ob (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628637)

no whiskey cabinet

Why would there be? A gentleman wouldn't touch anything other than a single-malt Scotch.

Re:Ob (even better) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41629261)

Why would there be? James Bond drinks Martini (and apparently, since lately, beer).

Re:Ob (even better) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41629345)

apparently, since lately, beer

*cough* Product Placement *cough* *cough* *cough*

Re:Ob (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629533)

Why would there be? A gentleman wouldn't touch anything other than a single-malt Scotch.

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm not even a gentleman and I've got four different single malts in my liquor cupboard. (That's how ignoble I am, it's a cupboard, not a cabinet.) Sometimes you want a Macallan (I don't care if it's the most popular scotch on the planet, I'm not a hipster) and sometimes you want the Yamazaki.

This isn't news, it's advertising (1)

FridgeFreezer (1352537) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628837)

All that junk is on eBay, Maplins have been selling half of it for years.

Re:This isn't news, it's advertising (1)

spacerabbits (710068) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629577)

Maybe, but that shop also sells bullet-proof leather jackets. I often walked past that shop & they were "in display".

How is this the real life Q? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41628879)

How is this the real life Q? Did he work for MI6 at some point?

Yeah... (1)

f3rret (1776822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41628891)

None of that stuff got anything on stuff created by the real OTS or whatever the MI6 version is called.

Besides the real trick is not building the gadgets, it's getting them in place in a secure location. I challenge one of you guys to buy any of those 'bugs' and get the in place at even a low security national security site, like an embassy office or something. Try it.

Re:Yeah... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41632419)

None of that stuff got anything on stuff created by the real OTS or whatever the MI6 version is called.

Besides the real trick is not building the gadgets, it's getting them in place in a secure location. I challenge one of you guys to buy any of those 'bugs' and get the in place at even a low security national security site, like an embassy office or something. Try it.

Can you post from Wornwood Whatchacallit?

Re:Yeah... (1)

f3rret (1776822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640651)

Can you post from Wornwood Whatchacallit?

Considering I haven't got the slightest idea what you're talking about, probably not.

Re:Yeah... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41641433)

Besides the real trick is not building the gadgets, it's getting them in place in a secure location. I challenge one of you guys to buy any of those 'bugs' and get the in place at even a low security national security site, like an embassy office or something. Try it.

Can you post from Wornwood Whatchacallit?

Considering I haven't got the slightest idea what you're talking about, probably not.

If you get caught placing a 'bug' in a low security national security site, like an embassy office, or even trying, then you could go to a prison like (yes I'm guessing which one) Wormwood Scrubs.

Ugh... I was thinking "Q" the omnipotent (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629225)

Was watching Star Trek TNG the other day so the context was just all wrong for me.

Recorder in plug adaptor: PLC missing... (1)

q.kontinuum (676242) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629259)

Minimum I'd have expected for the voice activated recorder built into the power connector would have been that it stores a compressed audio format, and optionally supports PLC to be able to retrieve the data without entering the room and without making it visible via WiFi...

And a better selection is found on..... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41629273)

Ebay and amazon.com. Sorry buy people that run these "shops" are never experts, and never truely honest. From what I see most of their gear is the cheap china crap. I also highly doubt that they have enough knowledge to make anything custom.

John de Lancie? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year and a half ago | (#41630077)

Greetings new SlashDot editors. Please understand that "the real life Q" = John de Lancie on this forum.

Not Q (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41630101)

So this has nothing to do with John de Lancie http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0209496/

A Book From the Real CIA Qs (3, Interesting)

darkmeridian (119044) | about a year and a half ago | (#41631601)

I read a very interesting book called Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda. The book chronicles the history of the Office of Technical Services, which provides bugs, cameras, radios, forged documents, and other tools of the trade for spies in denied areas. I was surprised to learn that America had been operating so blatantly and effectively in the former Soviet Union.

A great story concerned a US operative on a sting operation trying to buy weapons from an arms dealer. At the closing table, the arms dealer asks for the operative's (fake) passport, and looks it over. He hands it back and says, "You told me you were in Yemen so I wanted to check your passport." Of course, the operative was never in Yemen, but the CIA techs had even forged an Yemeni entry stamp onto the fake passport. The OTS also forged the documents in Operation Argo, now playing in a theater near you.

On top of all the tech are many stories of humans. A touching story concerned three OTS agents who were betrayed, arrested for spying in Cuba in 1960, then imprisoned for three years. The US government disavowed them, but despite harsh conditions and torture, they never admitted they were CIA agents. Instead, to a man, they steadfastly maintained their cover stories that they were just tourists who happened to be carrying high-tech spy equipment. From the book:

Sometimes the questions would vary, with the interrogators accusing them of working for the FBI. Bad Teeth would often claim that the other two prisoners already confessed, so not telling the truth was pointless. During one session, a young guard incessantly played with his gun, flipping the cylinder open and then pulling the trigger. "Tell him that men don't play with guns," Wally ordered Bad Teeth. "Only kids do." Bad Teeth obliged and the guard looked suitably chastened.

Our attitude was that we didn't know what our fate would be. I was convinced I was going to be shot. I figured I'm expendable, but I'd never do anything to disgrace my children or the Marine Corps," explained Andy, who had served in the Marines from 1944 to 1946 and again between 1950 and 1952. "I made my peace with God, but it never happened, thank God.

And while in prison, they used their technical skills to defuse a bomb that guards had planted as a self-destruct contingency if the US invaded, and also built a radio from discarded scrap. Their arrest was a secret even within OTS. An agent working as part of a team preparing care packages for operatives in the field saw an old tech preparing a care package by himself. He asked why the old timer was working by himself, and the guy said, "This is for our boys in Cuba. The others don't know that." Eventually, the CIA swapped them for four Cubans arrested in NY for espionage.

It's a great book, and I highly recommend it for nerds like us.

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