back to article Bomb squad descends on suspicious package to find something much more dangerous – a Journey cassette

An entire block was shut down around the Duke Energy building in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday after mail room staff reported "a small manila envelope handwritten and addressed from out of state" to police. The workers were right to be concerned. Further investigation by a bomb squad revealed the package to …

  1. DJV Silver badge

    Crimes against music

    How do Journey's crimes against music compare to those of, say, Justin Bieber?

    E.g. the damage caused by 1 x Bieber.CAM could equal 1000 x Journey.CAM

    Maybe this could be the start of a whole new El Reg unit of measurement!

    1. sorry, what?
      IT Angle

      Re: Crimes against music

      Shockingly, I totally agree with @DJV. Worse still, I actually quite like what little of their stuff managed to impinge on my consciousness.

      (Icon reflects the total lack of real relevance to IT for this article. That the tape is reported as being a DAT doesn't really get it over the IT hurdle IMHO. That said, the article was welcome light relief from a tedious code review I've been trying to finish for the last 2 days.)

      1. Long John Brass Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Crimes against music

        Icon reflects the total lack of real relevance to IT for this article

        I take it you've never used audio cassettes to load programs into your computer?

        /Mines the one that goes Sweeeeerrrrkk Skwick Swick

        And get the hell off my lawn you damned whippersnappers

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Crimes against music

        "total lack of real relevance to IT for this article. "

        Mr/s what?, may I introduce you to Bootnotes?

        Bootnotes covers all journalistic sins. Even the crime of linking to a Journey tune ... although that's pushing it a trifle. Remember, ElReg is a RedTop, they have to publish this kind of thing once in a while or they get kicked out of the guild. Besides, all work and no play makes a dull vulture.

      3. JulieM Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Crimes against music -- the IT angle

        The IT angle is that if you were around at the beginning of the UK home computer revolution in the early 1980s, the humble audio cassette most probably was the medium you would have had to use for data storage.

        Hmmmm ..... I suppose that makes me officially Old.

        1. Frank Bitterlich
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Crimes against music -- the IT angle

          Hmm, not a bad thought. Maybe the tape didn't actually contain the works of Journey, but rather a C64 copy of Leisure Suit Larry, complete with virus? I hear the recipient was a power company, prime target for hacking. Maybe somebody wanted to prove that hacking can be done without the internet... if the recipient owns a Datasette, that is...

          PRESS PLAY ON TAPE

    2. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Crimes against music

      Easy. The classic rock stations I occasionally listen to would never play Bieber. Do yours?

      But an ill-considered Journey or Loverboy could strike at any time ;-)

    3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Crimes against music

      "1973, and enjoyed strong commercial success into the mid-'80s with their brand of skin-crawlingly nasal arena rock. "

      I'll take that anyday over the "disco" epidemic that spanned roughly the same period.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Don't stop believing..."

    someone is out to get you!

    lol

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: "Don't stop believing..."

      You're not paranoid, they really are out to get you.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Before Steve Perry

    Journey was more of an instrumental band... I had the self titled first album. Hey! I was a teenager ;-}

    from our friends at Wikipedia:

    Unlike their later recordings, this is a jazzy progressive rock album which focuses mainly on the band's instrumental talents.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Before Steve Perry

      And now I'm going to watch BASEketball after work.

    2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: Before Steve Perry

      couldn't agree more. Prior to Steve Perry and the conversion to sappy junk pop, Journey were a very good rock band

      1. james_smith

        Re: Before Steve Perry

        "Prior to Steve Perry and the conversion to sappy junk pop, Journey were a very good rock band"

        'Er indoors loves a bit of rock pop era Journey, particularly Separate Ways.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Before Steve Perry

      this is a jazzy progressive rock album which focuses mainly on the band's instrumental talents

      I once bought some of their later albums (having heard their first one).

      I was not a happy progster.

      (CP: Kaipa - Notes from the past (part two) - which seems somehow appropriate)

  4. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

    Escalation

    If that's the trouble a simple audio cassette can cause, imagine if it had been a copy of Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey on VHS? Those things are huge, imagine the damage that could cause!

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Escalation

      Instead of the usual bomb disposal expert they'd have used the bomb disposal evil robot?

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Escalation

        Or Station's most bodacious creation, the good robot us-es?

      2. Fungus Bob Silver badge

        Re: Escalation

        "Instead of the usual bomb disposal expert they'd have used the bomb disposal evil robot?"

        Should have used Justin Bieber.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Escalation

      Remember: Home taping kills music

      Probably explains why we don't have music today

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Escalation

        Probably explains why we don't have music today

        Although music can still be found clinging to the nooks and crannies, resisting being washed away by the tides of audio vomit coming from the commercial music world..

        (Going to see "Spock's Beard" and "The Flower Kings" in December - at the same venue. On the same evening! Yay!)

      2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Escalation

        Remember: Home taping kills music

        Probably explains why we don't have music today

        My god you're right. We killed music. Now the only music we get is produced by those TV appeals aired on a Saturday night where they use phone in donations to bully halfwits into singing for our amusement.

    3. Patched Out

      Re: Escalation

      Bill & Ted ... pah that's kid's stuff. it could have been "Ernest Saves Christmas"!

      1. Joe W

        Re: Escalation

        or even the "christmas special" of a certain sci-fi trilogy...

      2. Fungus Bob Silver badge

        Re: Escalation

        "Bill & Ted ... pah that's kid's stuff. it could have been "Ernest Saves Christmas"!"

        Or "Pee Wee's Big Adventure".

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure I won't be the only one to point out that the picture isn't a DAT cartridge, but an old analogue cassette tape.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. smudge Silver badge

      I'm sure I won't be the only one to point out that the picture isn't a DAT cartridge, but an old analogue cassette tape.

      ...which really shouldn't be as close to the speakers as that.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        "...which really shouldn't be as close to the speakers as that."

        Why, do you think it will go off?

    3. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      What's dat?

      Where does it say it's a DAT cartridge?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's dat?

        "Where does it say it's a DAT cartridge?"

        The reference to DAT has been removed from the copy since the comment was posted!

  6. oiseau Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I'm sure I won't be the only one ...

    No you won't.

    1. Chunky Munky
      Holmes

      I concur

  7. ma1010 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    This sort of "it's a bomb" madness isn't new

    Back in the early 70's when I was doing my BA, someone reported a "strange package" left near one of the campus buildings. Our security folks responded and took the package to the student health center where it was X-rayed. They saw a couple of cylindrical objects and what looked like a bunch of wires. Scary!

    The quad was cleared, the package placed in the center. They tied a rope around it and, from a safe distance, jerked the rope hard. The package fell apart. The janitor was annoyed that his lunch - two egg rolls and some chow mien - would up on the quad lawn.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: This sort of "it's a bomb" madness isn't new

      That is some very heavy metal chow mien.

      Wonder, did they grow the wheat downwind of a lead plant or something...

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: This sort of "it's a bomb" madness isn't new

      Given that there were over a dozen IEDs mailed to various democrats only a week ago, it is probably fresh in the minds of anyone who is tasked with opening the mail. Duke Energy may not be owned by a democrat, but they certainly have their enemies. One thing we know is that sending something bad through the mail which achieves a lot of attention is likely to attract copycats, who may have a different target list.

      Besides, even if you X-rayed it and looked like a cassette you'd probably think "its gotta be a decoy, who would mail a cassette to Duke Energy in 2018"?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This sort of "it's a bomb" madness isn't new

        This is how to RickRoll somebody in the old days, before Rick was even born

    3. ICPurvis47
      Mushroom

      Re: This sort of "it's a bomb" madness isn't new

      When I was in the armed forces (civilian division, and therefor unarmed), we were waiting for our new plastic ID cards to arrive. One morning, a large brown paper parcel arrived at Bentley Priory (HQ), but as it had no sender's information on it, the Bomb Squad were called. They cleared the car park and placed the parcel in the centre, and proceeded to blow it up with a small "controlled explosion". The whole car park was covered with thousands of badly scorched and distorted ID cards. Needless to say, we had to wait for a complete set of replacements.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This sort of "it's a bomb" madness isn't new

      I read a story in the Fortean Times a very long time ago, when bombing was a thing in the UK, about a 'mystery' package that had been found outside an Army Recruiting Centre (iirc) by the key-holder when they arrived in the morning to open the aforesaid centre. The Bomb Squad were called in to 'deal' with it whereupon the small controlled explosion they used revealed that the package was a stack of hand-out leaflets warning people about 'mystery' packages.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: This sort of "it's a bomb" madness isn't new

        The quad was cleared, the package placed in the center.

        gotta admire 70s chilled out groovy bomb disposal practices

  8. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Happy

    Bring back the 70's

    Remember the 70s? Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers and Blows Against the Empire ... albums that are as applicable to today as they were then.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Bring back the 70's

      I was thinking more of Anarchy in the UK and Eat the Rich.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bring back the 70's

      Also, Trump was not around the nuclear football.

  9. Fading Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Did they.....

    Ask the Lonely for more information or check Who's cryin' now?

    I am disappointed with El'reg's lack of punn-age in this article

    1. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Did they.....

      Ah c'mon, they only have two songs and both are shit.

      1. Killing Time

        Re: Did they.....

        If you think they are shit then I'm afraid we will have to go our 'Separate Ways' or you will feel the 'Edge of the Blade'!

    2. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: Did they.....

      There is only one Journey joke, the rest are true.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Did they.....

        "There is only one Journey joke, the rest are true."

        I heard it as the Grateful Dead, not Journey. But your way works, too :-)

  10. chivo243 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    It was a bomb

    Not in a good way either...

  11. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Windows

    That's not what DAT looks like

    I know, I have few old DATs at home (used them for actual backups). Icon corresponding to age.

    1. Brian Miller
      Facepalm

      Re: That's not what DAT looks like

      According to the original news sources, it was, in fact, "Journey’s musical cassette tape." As in, not a DAT tape. The illustrative photograph is correct, but the Reg article is not.

      1. Steve Evans

        Re: That's not what DAT looks like

        You're relying on the millennial who wrote the original source being able to identify either...

  12. Jim 59

    DAT?

    It was a DAT tape? Booo! We all wanted it to be a good ol' compact cassette, as did the Reg picture editor, apparently.

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: DAT?

      DAT tape?

      Are you a PNS* Syndrome sufferer?

      * PIN Number Syndrome

  13. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Harmless

    Upon closer inspection, the tape was judged to be harmless. As no one was able to locate a compatible player.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Harmless

      I'd guess that most cars on the road have a tape player.

      1. Graham Cunningham

        Re: Harmless

        You do know which century we're in now, right? ;)

      2. Jon 37

        Re: Harmless

        > I'd guess that most cars on the road have a tape player.

        The article says it was a DAT tape. Car tape players play normal tapes, not DAT tapes. DAT has a different physical form factor and stores the music digitally - it's a Digital Audio Tape.

        See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Tape

      3. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Harmless

        I wouldn't bet much on that. My car was built 20 years ago and while admittedly it did come with a tape player 20 years ago pretty much the first thing I did with the car was to rip the tape player out and substitute it with a modern 2din touchscreen radio/mp3/cd/dvd/satnav android device which gives the same functionality as people buy new cars for.

      4. Persona

        Re: Harmless

        "I'd guess that most cars on the road have a tape player."

        It's the USA ...... 8 tracks were the thing over there. Probably still are outside of the cities.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Harmless

          8 tracks were only common for a couple years in the late 1960s. The only cars I know that still have them are restorations at car shows.

          1. Persona

            Re: Harmless

            "8 tracks were only common for a couple years in the late 1960s."

            I visited Salt Lake City in 2001. Our taxi driver was playing music with an 8 track.

      5. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Harmless

        I'd guess that most cars on the road have a tape player.

        Not any cars made this century. I'd be surprised to even see a CD player in anything made in the last couple of years.

        1. Down not across Silver badge

          Re: Harmless

          Not any cars made this century. I'd be surprised to even see a CD player in anything made in the last couple of years.

          My current car, and pretty much all previous ones (at least ones that still had original factory installed audio) have all been equipped with radio/cassette.And in some cases also with cd-changer. Even with factory sat-nav and tv (analogue). Now if I could only find any of the old cassettes I used to have, but some things as best forgotten I think. Yes, current and several previous have been made this century.

      6. Fungus Bob Silver badge

        Re: Harmless

        "I'd guess that most cars on the road have a tape player."

        More importantly, cars have tires with which they can run over Journey tapes.

      7. Dabooka Silver badge

        Re: Harmless

        Most cars are headerless units now, CDs are being phased out so unless you're in deepest Africa I cantt see most cars having cassette.

        I did hear 8 tracks and sat radio were the big thing in the states at one point, but don't know if that's true.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. ibmalone Silver badge

    An entire block was shut down around the Duke Energy building in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina,

    That must have meant strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard.

  16. Chunky Munky
    Coat

    Journey have since been in contact to say that you can now stop believing

    Grabs coat and runs for the door

  17. Giovani Tapini

    Having your tapes blown up by the authorities

    is a very rock-and-roll story, just 20 to 30 years too late to be a media sensation for smashing the "system"

  18. TomPhan

    Not the story I was expecting

    Assumed it was going to be about a younger person seeing unfamiliar technology and fearing the worst.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Not the story I was expecting

      Younger people know what tapes are. They've seen them on Guardians of the Galaxy and everything.

    2. james_smith

      Re: Not the story I was expecting

      There's a whole vintage and retro thing that's making cassettes desirable among people in the late teens / early 20s. Recently played a gig where the millenials in the support band were very proud of their four track cassete deck (some ancient Portastudio thingy). Chatted to them about it, and found out that reel to reel machines are even more desirable. Time to dust off my trusty Revox B77...

  19. Richard_Sideways

    Are they sure it was Journey, because frankly the whole thing sounds more like some Cheap Trick...

    *cough*

  20. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Potential bomb handling method?

    The actions of the authorities seems troubling... They're called to a potential bomb scene. Pick up the "bomb" and take to be x-rayed. Look at the x-ray. Take "bomb" to open field. Tie rope to "bomb" and give it a good pull.

    Seems weird this day and age. Seems more likely they'd check in situ and determine if it can be moved.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Potential bomb handling method?

      I doubt the article gave an exact description. They can check for RF emissions or bomb residue with meters and dogs, if neither of those hit they're probably safe from bombs and just do the Xray/tug test as a matter of procedure in case it is something else like anthrax (not Anthrax, only a truly sadistic terrorist would send one of their cassettes through the mail)

  21. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Trollface

    Need a more powerful strike force

    Nobody would bother putting Journey on DAT unless it was a studio bootleg. Evacuate a half mile radius and send in the anti-piracy squad. This could be the property of any number of record companies, or even Atari.

  22. MrBanana

    "Just a City Boy..."

    Come on, everyone knows Journey ripped Don't Stop Believin' off of Family Guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtJJURsQaU8

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait, was that tape covering the top hole?

    The cassette may have said Journey, but the malcontent may have reconfigured it as a "Mix-Tape".

    Possible violations of DMCA must be treated with great care....oh the horror!

  24. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Lack of science in schools

    What does a cassette mass? What is the energy density of TNT? A package containing a cassette (analog or DAT) is not going to mass enough to be an explosive of much strength. There would also be some of that mass that would be needed to trigger any sort of explosion which leaves even less margin for an energetic material. An easy check on whether it would be a concern or not would be to contact the person that it was addressed to and see if they were expecting a package.

    That the package had a handwritten label is also something that should point to a non-terrorist package. The recent fake bombs were sent with machine printed labels. If the most damaged crazies know that hand writing the info should be avoided, it's unlikely that a hand addressed package is of much concern.

    Could the package have contained a poison/toxin/biohazard? Yep and a very small charge could disperse it over a whole office PDQ. At some point paranoia and trying to guard against every sort of bad thing that could happen can only lead to suicide. Somebody could break into your house and spray a teflon infused oil in your shower so you slip and injure yourself. Does this mean that you should check all your bathroom surfaces carefully every day just in case?

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Lack of science in schools

      You're asking for an awful lot of analysis from a minimum-wage mailroom drone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lack of science in schools

      Who uses TNT for terrorism, it would be C4 or some other bang-stuff. Anyway even a small amount is enough to damage a hand/finger and cause the terror.

      I dont know about you I do check the bathroom surfaces everyday it those daratted cockroaches you know.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    old guys, 70s rock, hmm...

    https://tonylevin.com/road-diaries/king-crimson-2018-meltdown-tour/england-rehearsals

  26. jake Silver badge

    Strangely enough ...

    ... as I was reading this article, The Ace Of Cups was live in the news room for Channel 7 here in the Bay Area.

  27. hausjam

    Anyone who doesn’t like Journey really needs to have his head examined.

    1. jake Silver badge

      hausjam,

      If we all liked the same exact things, the world would be a very boring place. Vive la différence.

  28. EJ

    Be good to yourself

    Nobody else will.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be good to yourself

      Oh so very true

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019