The Traveling Terabyte Project – Helping Those Who Protect Us


Though some people differ on what exactly a “hacker” is, there is one thing that can be said for certain – this global community of tinkerers, experimenters, and hobbyists we belong to is one of big hearts. Through our various projects and tutorials, we lead by example – sharing knowledge and offering help whenever we can. You would be hard pressed to find something that could exemplify this more than the Traveling Terabyte Project.

Started in the summer of 2006 by [Deviant Ollam], the goal of the project was to provide informational content from DefCon 14 to those friends and acquaintances who were deployed overseas in the service of the U.S. Armed Forces and their associates. This was originally done by outfitting durable cases with large portable hard drives stuffed with movies, music, and publications in order help those stationed far from their friends and family enjoy their down time a little bit more.

The project has grown by leaps and bounds while the storage mediums have shrunk accordingly. The project has recently entered a new phase, where they are migrating over to flash drives instead of hard drives, which should help spread the distribution of media immensely.

The Traveling Terabyte Project did not approach us soliciting money or publicity in any way, so by no means should you feel obligated to support the project. Regardless of our individual political leanings and views on war, we believe that helping out people who are subject to extreme amounts of stress while stationed far away from their home, friends, and family is a noble cause.

[Thanks, RenderMan]

75 thoughts on “The Traveling Terabyte Project – Helping Those Who Protect Us

  1. Now, having not RTFM’d there is one problem I see, military personnel are not allowed to plug random USB devices into computers, it’s a huge breach of security.

  2. @Cowardly Lion cough Whatnot
    What are you like 2 years old?

    How can not having an armed forces help whatever country you live in? What the hell do you think would happen if your country had no army? You think they’d live happy in your made up world in your head in some land you call OZ?

    No they’d do what China did in Tibet. Take your house and either kill you, feed you to the dogs, or force you to sleep elsewhere. Just because we are soldiers does not mean we are idiots many of us are educated beyond your high school diploma,

    I joined out of a sense of Patriotism for my country. I do not tell the Politicians where to make wars (we don’t always agree with the wars) Many of those serving are very religious (pray before meals etc) especially when you see a lot of killing. Just because we kill does not mean we are not concerned about those who we are killing. Granted non-combatants do get killed from time to time but for the most part we hit our mark.

    Many of the soldiers do not agree with foreign policy. We signed up to defend our country, our family, our land, and your way of life, where they send us is not up to us. The US Military does everything it can to resolve conflict before sending troops, but unfortunately not everyone has the same beliefs. There are countries overseas that would love to kill, rape and torture the US citizens for nothing more than getting their 200 virgins when they die. How the hell do you expect to counter that whatnot?

    Um we don’t believe in violence, ok fellas string whatnot up and torture him regardless of his beliefs. You’d change your mind real quick then, maybe we should have army’s etc. Maybe when we prevented Iran from developing nukes by invading that was a good idea, although currently I do believe Libya is for the f’n oil. I don’t agree with that but apparently Obama thinks that working with a dictator is good for the oil business.

    Whatnot go try and live in Libya where they kill their own citizens for what started out as a peaceful protest. You can thank your those service men and women serving in your countries army that you can say what you’d like.

    I have no hate for the person in my gun sites I have no ill feelings towards their people. Being a Drill Instructor I’m about the meanest bastard on the battlefield and I’m capable of the most brutal combat. But I re-affirm I hold every life valuable. If they are the opposition they’ve already decided to take up arms against the US and will receive equal force. If they lay down their guns and walk away I’d have a beer with them in the bar.

    These people chose to server their opposing country and have family, friends and loved ones. I never forget that for that is what makes me a human being. I was born with compassion regardless of my current job or duty with my country.

    We are not saying support the US (only) we are saying support your country’s armed forces, even if at current they are fighting against the US.

    I find it so amusing that Whatnot is so quick to call foul the moment his view point is quashed but is so quick to cast the 1st stone. Good thing he is a coward because he wouldn’t make it 1 day in boot camp. I think he still has some growing up to do.

  3. #Chuck Simmons
    First of, I don’t ‘serve’ any country, I’m no freaking servant of a country nor seek to be.

    As for the other remarks, of course you can if you so wish support them with such things as mentioned in the article, if you feel that’s the thing to do, but just don’t tell me that everybody must support them, it’s an option you can choose to do, and it’s an opinion how you view the current US army, but each can have their own opinion.

    As for the complexities, I am well aware and yes there are soldiers who struggle with things, but there are also plenty that do not.
    And I am also aware of the dark side of things, and I’ve seen the signs mentioning ‘honor’ at quantanamo too..

    A rational person know it’s a matter of weighing thing and an irrational person either says ‘all armed forces are always evil in all circumstances’ OR ‘all army is great under all circumstances’ (like you seem to do).

    I weigh it such that currently with the present day chaos and insanity in the political arena the army comes out as the loser and it’s not prudent to support the people that sign up to do the work certifiable insane people tell them to do.
    That’s not the same as actively hating them though when they aren’t even engaged in any nastiness.

    And I don’t want tech sites to tell me that I should support them or admire them or adore them, I simply do not agree dammit, no matter how desperate some people try to dismiss other views with silly innuendo and statements that are pretty obvious in their desperate nature.

  4. @Ranger Joe Since you do not read my statements but make 99% up in your head I assume you don’t need a reply from a real person and you can continue in your fantasy, where I say things I do not and where you are in the army..
    One suggestions is I may: Why don’t you try to pretend you are in a space army for a while, flying from planet to planet, that might be a fun chance.

  5. @Whatnot-

    All this guy did was post an article about something he thought was a good cause and imagined that others may be interested. He specifically said:

    “…so by no means should you feel obligated to support the project.”

    You say:

    “…of course you can if you so wish support them with such things as mentioned in the article, if you feel that’s the thing to do, but just don’t tell me that everybody must support them…”

    Nobody said that you HAD to support this project. Nobody told you that you HAD to visit this web site. Nobody is forcing you to support this project in order to ever read Hackaday again. That point is quite clear in the article.

    You made it about you and your feelings – if you don’t agree, simply move on. No need for the anger and rantings. You can support it if you wish, you can ignore it just the same.

    You continue on:

    “And I don’t want tech sites to tell me that I should support them or admire them or adore them, I simply do not agree dammit, no matter how desperate some people try to dismiss other views with silly innuendo and statements that are pretty obvious in their desperate nature.”

    Hackaday wrote:

    “Regardless of our individual political leanings and views on war, WE believe that helping out people who are subject to extreme amounts of stress while stationed far away from their home, friends, and family is a noble cause.”

    I can assume that the WE (emphasis mine) means this author and maybe a few other people. I doubt everyone working for Hackaday agrees – however it was still allowed to be published. The WE does not mean you. It does not mean that you are forced to subscribe to the author’s or site’s view of things.

    You had a choice as a reader:

    1) Read this article and dismiss it, or write an intelligent note to the editor expressing your difference in opinion.


    2) Spout off like a petulant child who has to kick and scream whenever someone disagrees with his opinion.

    Obviously we know which route you took.

    Stay classy, Hackaday.

  6. Ranger Joe,

    Are you in the Army or the Marines? You said Army, but you just referred to yourself as a “Drill Instructor.”

    “Being a Drill Instructor I’m about the meanest bastard on the battlefield…”

    My Bullshit Detector just pegged.

    Having said that, Joe B., and WhatNot, just relax, the adults are in charge, so you can relax and indulge your fantasies about a wonderful world where mankind ain’t never gonna war no more. Peace is a not-real state we can imagine only because there are pauses in between wars.

  7. @Whatnot
    “Service” to a country comes in a myriad of forms, whether it is to join a standing army, or be a productive member of society, or even to simply help those that need it. Since you, by your own words, are ‘no freaking servant of any country’… well, you must live in quite a wonderful fantasyland where at least some form of service is neither expected nor implied.

    I do not remember telling you that you everybody must support the US military, and that sentiment was certainly not communicated by HaD. That is as nearly a foolish stance as blaming everyone in the military for the actions of the entire organization.

    Why would anyone join the military? Perhaps it is because for many that is their only opportunity at getting an education and job skills that carry over into the private sector, not to blindly follow orders issued by madmen.

    To clarify – I do not support the wars started by one career liar and perpetuated by another career liar. Unlike some, I am able to distinguish between the political organization (and its masters) and the people who comprise it.

  8. @smizznar – Ultra-late term abortions? Wow, that’s quite a stretch. Why do you assume I’m on the left? Is it at all possible for a conservative be opposed to all forms of human suffering? Bin Laden is in a cave in Pakistan by the way, you’re in the wrong country. Of course, they have nukes, is that why we aren’t presently occupying Pakistan, or is it more related to drawing out this skirmish for as long as humanly possible? Is this why Iran wants nukes, or is it simply related to our twenty year occupation of this region? Most importantly, will the Cold War reignite soon, as Russia now has the majority of world oil reserves due to declining production in the Middle East? We can only hope!!!!

    @Volfram – What’s the score, anway? Osama ~3000, U.S. ~30,000 (that’s a ten to one ratio, right)? Or is the U.S. number much, much higher? Hey, where are those WMD’s anyway, are we any closer to finding them? Please give us an update. Feel free to consult with Rumsfeld and Cheney, although I think they are busy helping O.J. find the real killer.

    @ Ranger Joe – SIR, YES SIR! Your commanding officer must be immeasurably proud of your unabated, unquestioning, resounding obedience to authority. YOU SIR ARE A MODEL SOLDIER!!!

    @ Hacksaw – Please try harder not to kill innocent civilians, thanks.

  9. @whatnot

    That was funny. LOL

    @Joe Bonasses
    “SIR, YES SIR! Your commanding officer must be immeasurably proud of your unabated, unquestioning, resounding obedience to authority. YOU SIR ARE A MODEL SOLDIER!!!”

    That is what it means to serve in the US Armed forces. Doesn’t quite fit in with the hacker mentality does it?

    In the US military you can refuse to follow an order if it is against the law or unethical.

    I am sure in some countries they kill you on the spot if you refuse to follow an order, so if you serve in Libya it is okay to kill your neighbors. I don’t agree with that, even thou I don’t agree with their way of life. I still don’t like to see them being killed for speaking their minds, then later having to take up arms against their own govt to keep from being slaughtered.

    I find the China and Tibet scenario a good one. Here you have Buddhist monks being killed by China because they don’t like any religion. The Monks hold the concept of life to be very dear yet they in turn take up arms and fight back killing their enemy, later fleeing Tibet.

    Go’s to show that anyone is capable of war regardless of their current stance on the subject.

  10. @Chuck Simmons Read your comment, but I think now that this is on page 2 I end the bickering and leave things as they stand.
    Just posting as a courtesy to tell your words were not to the wind but were read.

  11. @ Chuck – In your heightened state of intelligence, are you not able to distinguish that someone considering a career in the military has a choice in not participating in this “political organization and its masters”? Or do you think that 99% of them don’t even see it this way, in that they truly believe the cause is just, and they are making the world a safer place? It’s the title of the article that is insulting, “helping those who protect us.” Again, I don’t sleep well at night knowing that the family members of 100,000 Iraqi civilians, who probably didn’t know who I was before the war, now hate me more than ever.

  12. Did I wanter into the BBC HYS? I thought I was on hack-a-day.

    Sorry I can’t stay to talk to the haters, I’m too busy as I have been clearing debis all night and day trying to rescue people after the earthquake.

    But don’t worry haters, you can use the Internet to spread your ignorance, just remember that everything from the Transistors and IC’s to the LCD screen and the IP protocol you use to spread your LIES AND HATE was invented in the USA.

  13. Holy hell, do you people make my head hurt.

    How on EARTH do you all have the free time and the energy to sit around screaming at each other like little kids?

    If someone makes you cringe on the internet, why not just ignore them? Ah well, lots of folk seem to just love spouting off.

    For now, i’ll say a final thank you to those who support, to those who serve, and to those who contribute to society’s dialog in a rational, useful way. Very few folk falling into those columns here, but i thank you anyway.

    To respond to the couple fellows who actually said something semi-relevant:

    1. Porn – while i would be all for it, the armed forces technically prohibit posession of materials which are illegal in or offensive to a host nation. That sadly rules out porn for most deployed folk today. Still, anyone who has been to the sandbox, the ‘stan, or elsewhere knows that all troops already have access to PLENTY of cock books. So we’re doing ok there. :-)

    2. Use of USB – Yes, while it is not permitted to install USB devices in most military computers, servicemembers shouldn’t be doing ANY recreation (vids, mp3s, facebook, etc) on DoD machines. The TTB Project is for men and women in uniform who use PERSONAL laptops, players, etc while in-theatre.

    Thanks for the insightful questions and the support from those who expressed it.

    I would implore the mods to now close this comments thread as there is almost nothing left but trolling going on.

    Stay safe out there, whether you’re military or civillian.

    – dev

  14. its funny how can someone support troops but be against war. Like there was no choice and we have draft in US. Many people actually rotten in jail in places where they do have draft but people chose not obligate to anyways

  15. Yea, people who haven’t been in ‘stan or the sandpit, shut the fuck up. You have no idea about conditions, people, or actual real occurrences until you’ve actually been there.

    TTB is a good idea, among the techie contractors it’s a fairly common practice to carry around large drives full of recreational materials and share with whoever. However I’m not much in favor of moving to flash storage, the important thing is BULK and SELECTION.

    Devices for playing/storing are readily available (lol PX), but getting the content is difficult at best. Buying DVDs at the hajimart is generally the best option, and not everyone has those available. The PX has the same stupidly inflated prices for content as found in the US.

    @Deviant actually it’s not so much about the host nation as Article 1 :P But yea…there’s plenty out there. When I was doing VSAT installs in Iraq and people asked me what I was doing there, the most accurate answer was “I import porn” :)

  16. oh and all the people saying that the military doesn’t jive with the hacker mentality…wrong again :)

    The military doesn’t jive with the OMGRAGEAGAISNTTHEMAN mentality that is rife in the hacker memespace. Irrational angst in the presence of authority, yea that doesn’t work in .mil

    Taking limited resources and re-purposing equipment to get the job done? You’d better believe it :) I’ve seen 220v over concertina wire, ethernet over multiplexed phone cable, some awesomely elegant door closing mechanisms (mostly at PAX terminals…). Necessity is the mother of invention, etc. You’d be hard pressed to find techies more in need than detached commo guys at distant COBs, and the stuff they come up with can be pretty stellar.

  17. @Aleks Clark: While I think I understand what you’re trying to say, I’d like to mark an objection to your opening paragraph. I’ve never been outside of the United States, but I have some idea what it’s like out in the sandbox. The DOD is a major customer for the company I work at, so I have seen photographs and heard stories, and I have a very dear friend(among others) in the military. He was recently home for two weeks to celebrate his baby girl’s first birthday, and he also likes to tell stories about the experience.

    Not all of the stories have a happy ending.

  18. @Joe Bonasses, I agree that the Iraq situation is fubar. I’m looking at the bigger picture and historically speaking if you are a citizen of the United States or any of the E.U. countries you should thank your lucky stars there were people like me willing to go out into the hell of war to “protect your freedom” ( like it was some smart ass joke) And signing up and getting paid to do all this killing is pure BS. They’re may be some crazy marines and infantry guys who want to kill anything that moves but the vast majority of the people I dealt with were there to learn a trade, earn some GI Bill money and see the world, not blow it up, and I was a in a gung ho Field Artillery unit at that… Do many soldiers regret enlisting? sure I bet there are a few of them, they’re called pussies.

    @Mark429 – I actually sleep a lot worse at night knowing that our soldiers are out there making new enemies that will we have to spend billions on to kill in the future. Now, do these soldiers get paid to do all this killing? Are they there involuntarily, I thought they signed up for this? Do you think many of them regret enlisting? You are aware that more soldiers have taken their own lives than died at the hands of the enemy, right? Please, do enlighten me on how they are “protecting my freedom”?

  19. I have 3 friends involved in the war, one of which i haven’t heard back from and probably wont. Let me tell you a story about him.

    I know one man in the navy that shipped all his pay home to help support his mom, so she could survive. I’ve been friends with this guy since 2nd grade. he never really had money, never did well enough in school to get scholarships. his parents made too little money to send him to college, but just enough money to exclude him from financial programs to afford it. Some people just aren’t born with luxury, sometimes you had no choice, no other options.

    so he signed up and hoped that things will get better once he was back home. He didn’t glorify what he wanted to do, he didn’t have delusions that he was going to be the shield and sword of America, he wanted his family to survive, and he wanted a better life for his kids than what he had.

    your enemy aren’t the poor broke soldiers that are too insignificant in the chain of command to make a difference. The real enemy are the ones you can’t see, the ones that make back office decisions to exploit and hurt other humans. I dont like the war. I think we went for bad reasons. but i dont hate the people that signed up because their choice was to join a gang, work as more or less of a day laborer, or join the army.

    Not everyone in the service are brutal murderers, not everyone rapes pillages and kills. Yes, there are those that do. there are those that spoil it for the rest, the ones that get the most media coverage. So, I support the good soldiers, the ones that fight the good fight. the ones that just wanna go home. the ones that are just trying to be decent people.

    think about that

  20. Well, this certainly caused a sh@#storm.

    I am disappointed I did not encounter the project while in Afghanistan.

    Oh, and @whatnot ? Equating US service members with the SS as your reason for not communicating was such a classy move.

  21. Oh stop the ranting everybody. This is the useless tyraid that turns every person on the internet in a trolling super-mutant. Let’s keep this on unto a professional basis, shall we? 99/100 Not a damned one of you is currently serving in the armed forces.

    Sigh, I know that’s not all f you anyway – trolling mutants.

    The US military is stationed all around the world, and just because they have guns, doesn’t make them murders.

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