FAQ

Do I need a permission to install one or more Dead Drops in my city?

No! Everybody is invited to install one or more Dead Drops  in their neighborhood! I will continue installing Dead Drops around the world but you can make your own too! Please make sure to follow the guidelines how to install a Dead Drop. Once you re done please submit your Dead Drop info and pics and it ll be added to the data base. Credits for the concept (to me Aram Bartholl) and links to deaddrops.com are very welcome!

Do you put any files on the drive after you’ve installed it?

No, they are empty and waiting for your files. I only leave a readme.txt on there which explains the project and links to this site. Yes, the sticks are set to read and write and should mount as a plain mass storage drive (get rid of any autorun custom ‘cruzer’ stlye software).

How about security issues? How do you prevent  misuse with viruses, root-kits and malicious software?

I don’t take any actions here! Dead Drops are placed in public space in the city. They are public domain. This is part of the concept and part of the game. (If you ever worked in the field of street art you know what it means to place things outside). In general everybody is responsible for the security of their computers and systems. Is the Internet a safe place?!? Malicious code for USB flash drives is a problem in general. They could (and will) be misused for malicious software.  Be aware of that! Secure your system! Boot a virtual machine! Or ask your friend to go first ;-) … (It’s the thrill of the ‘glory hole’ says  boingboing ;-). Also! Dead Drops themselves will be subject to digital and or physical vandalism. Don’t be sad when it happens. Keep growing and install a new drive in maybe slight different location.

How can I make sure not to infect my system?

There are many possibilities to be on the safe side. ie. you could just boot from your system CD in save mode (Win or Mac) , this would prevent any virus to access your harddrive. Or go ahead and get  (Linux) Ubuntu ‘Live’ bootable from CD or USB.

What size of USB flash drive do you use?

You can use any size you want. I’ve used mainly 2GB and 4GB sticks. They are less expensive but old very small storage flash drives are cool too. I guess it is more interesting to have a lot of Dead Drops spread over the city, high density than a few with high capacity (USB powered hard drives are thinkable too! The first one who’s cementing one in I’ll buy a beer :-)

Why don’t you use an extension cable!

You can do that if you want. Although I like very much the gesture of plugging the computer directly into a building/wall/curb. I am sure everyone can be gentle enough to not break the Dead Drop. When you install one please make sure it is accessable with and without a cable. Leaning on the wall is very comfortable (ask Bre :-). A cable would be the next step before wireless Dead Drops which I personally don’t like as much. (But we can discuss options …)

How about water and rain?

Try to find places which are less exposed to weather. Try to find walls which are protected by overhanging roofs or similar. Often the rain doesn’t hit the wall itself (unless there is a thunderstorm). Experimentation with dryed flash drives after rain need to be done. … As long as the contacts are dry and the board is sealed of we are good, non?

What file format should the USB drive be?

I recommend FAT32 since a wide range of operating systems can read it

34 Comments

  1. calvin payne
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    I’m gonna put one @ the Springfield, Vermont Skatepark soon. Perhaps under a ramp.

  2. calvin payne
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    P.S.

    I may have found the answer to the laptop in public thing. Apparently Apple makes a USB to iPod Dock connecter!

  3. Pierre
    Posted November 29, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Is there a EXPERIENCES page?
    Like people telling us what they found and if they loved the movie/music/poetry they found there?
    I’m really looking forward to read those. That would be the very most interesting part of the project!

  4. Posted December 2, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    This is an amazing idea, and I am totally going to scrounge around for all my lost 1gb and 2gb flash drives once I get home from work! Great idea!

  5. Bushman
    Posted January 2, 2011 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    Hi. I understand that for some it might be troublesome to use extension cable but I have this idea for more advanced DIY hobbyists. Probably most of us had at least once used a mini USB extension cable for your camera or MP3/MP4 players. I personally carry one of those cables (together with SD card reader and miniSD adapter) in my bag all the time, ESPECIALLY when i take my laptop with me.

    My IDEA is:
    take any USB storage like pendrive, USB hard drive or whatever you find to use and install a miniUSB socket to it.

    Yes. I said socket. Look on it from this side:
    1) it will be more durable due to extension cable
    2) it will be more vandal-proof (physical)
    3) it will be less visible and not sticking out of the wall so less obstructing the public/private property.

    Please, let me know what your opinion is about this idea.
    I’ll probably put it into being here in Poland. (+ polish translation for readme/other txt’s)

    Thanks,
    Bushman

    • wouter
      Posted January 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Nice idea if only there were a single standard miniUSB. There are at least half a dozen different mini USB sockets. And the new miniUSB that has been introduced on phones is yet another shape! I found that out when none of the twenty or so USB cables that I have lying around would fit…