Factory Laptop With IME Disabled

Unfortunately not all consumers place high value on the security of their computers, but one group that tends to focus on security are businesses with a dedicated IT group. When buying computers for users, these groups tend to have higher demands, like making sure the Intel Management Engine (IME) has been disabled. To that end, Reddit user [netsec_burn] has outlined a pretty simple method to where “normal people” can purchase one of these IME-disabled devices for themselves.

For those unfamiliar with the IME, it is a coprocessor on all Intel devices since around 2007 that allows access to the memory, hard drive, and network stack even when the computer is powered down. Intel claims it’s a feature, not a bug, but it’s also a source of secret, unaudited code that’s understandably a desirable target for any malicious user trying to gain access to a computer. The method that [netsec_burn] outlined for getting a computer with the IME disabled from the factory is as simple as buying a specific Dell laptop, intended for enterprise users, and selecting the option to disable the IME.

Of course Dell warns you that you may lose some system functionality if you purchase a computer with the IME disabled, but it seems that this won’t really effect users who aren’t involved in system administration. Also note that this doesn’t remove the management engine from the computer. For that, you’ll need one of only a handful of computers made before Intel made complete removal of the IME impossible. In the meantime, it’s good to see that at least one company has a computer available that allows for it to be disabled from the factory.

A Pocket-Sized Warp Core

Designed in the 2350s at the Utopia Planita shipyards, the warp core found in Galaxy class starships Yamoto, Odyssey, Challenger, and yes, Enterprise was a incomparable work of engineering, leading to more than one Daystrom Prize for its development. We’re still at least fifteen years away from the great [Zefram Cochrane]’s birth – and another 200 years until [Richard Daystrom] is born – but now, thanks to our advanced technology, a miniature warp core is within reach.

About a year ago, [Alex] found a warp core table lamp based on the one found on the Enterprise. it called out to him, but it’s a an extremely large build and only having a Solidoodle 2 as a 3D printer, [Alex] decided to scale it down to 25%.

Inside the warp core are a few Neopixel strips driven by a 5V Trinket. It’s not the ideal solution – if all the LEDs are turned on at the same time, the Trinket will brown out. It’s enough for an accurate pulsating effect, though, and was a nice enough gift to appease even the most discerning Trek fans he gave these mini models to.

Video below.

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Star Trek Submarine

You can try to be unimpressed. You can attempt to feign disinterest. But even the most casual Star Trek fan will get giddy watching this model submarine in action.  Apparently there is a group that builds under water R/C vehicles from static models. It’s not Star Trek exclusively either, we saw some anime vehicles as well as a modern-day shuttle replica.

[via Makezine]

Set Phasers To “blind”


[Directive0] added a 200mW laser to his Enterprise Phase Pistol toy. This joins the ranks of hand-held laser hacks that we’ve seen around here lately. His build makes use of the stun and kill settings of the toy to switch between different modes. The built-in 9 volt battery holder is tapped into for power. When set to stun, the stun LED indicator is illuminated and a trigger pull sends current limited electricity to the laser diode. When the kill (or blind) setting is selected, the appropriate LED is illuminated and the trigger sends the full current from the battery to the laser diode. Power regulation is managed by the driver circuit for the laser.

This build preserves the unmodded look of the toy gun. [Directive0’s] inclusion of protective glass should fend off the warnings we usually see in the comments of these types of hacks.

LED Enterprise


[Wolf] built this LED Enterprise model. It’s a ‘sparebot‘ assembled from leftover LEDs and resistors. Unlike most sparebot sculptural oddities, this one actually works. If you place it near a magnet, a reed switch closes to turn on the LEDs. A mechanical switch would have just caused more stress on the model. The part count is very low, but took some forethought. Two resistors are used to raise the resistance of the red LEDs to match the white LED. A quite clever and simple model.