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Hardware Homebrew

One of those "too many Erics" wrote:
> I think that designing custom hardware for sound sampling is
> a waste of time, given the abundance of multimedia cards...
I think we should build fluidic computers and communication
links to resist an EMP attack. How better could we meet
TEMPEST requirements than using water instead of electrons.
None of this namby-pamby off-the-shelf baby stuff. If users
can't build their own computers and write their own OS,
they deserve to be crushed under a jackboot forever. ;-)
> The solutions that we make should be to the greatest extent
> available to all without special prerequisites.  That means
> that hardware should be freely purchasable, since the
> resource of money is more widely available [THAN HOMEBREW].
And we're not talking beer, here.
"When you've said DUFF, you've said enough."
OK, buy when there is a variety of retail sources, but for
something as limited as RSA for example, it is wise to use
PGP. Is it unreasonable to prefer free software with source
code to commercial 'ware without source code? Even for
hardware that is freely purchaseable, shouldn't we review
the security of any privacy solution ourselves rather
than take some manufacturer's word that it's safe? I
grant you a sound board isn't the most critical item.
Writing device drivers for existing sound cards, as you
suggest we should do, assumes that the user already has a
general purpose computer system up and running. Isn't that
a "special prerequisite?"
The guy who started all this hoped his sampler would be
"dead cheap and easy to build" but admittedly was still
talking about an add-on to a PC. Computers and add-in
boards seem cheap compared to automobiles, but not
everyone has thousands of dollars to throw away on
this junk. I can't believe that when microcontrollers
are available for $1-$4 each, that we can't design a
simple non-Unix, non-DOS standalone gadget for use
by non-Nerds.
One project we should consider is a non-proprietary
hardware/software privacy product for mass consumption.
I'd like to have a cheap audio sampler as part of a DVR
module to record and play voice messages, spread-spectrum
radio to give unlicensed users access to the airwaves, a
self-configuring backbone of home radio voice/e-mail
mailboxes, perhaps combining omni and uni-directional
links for efficient message forwarding, and the ability
of any user to transmit a message from their portable
DVR transceiver to anyone's home mailbox and get a
response, without any record of the message paths.
Maybe this sounds really complicated, but a single CPU
can do compression, generate chip bits per the spreading
code (direct sequence software) to define a spread
spectrum channel, select the best address for efficient
message forwarding, and toast your bread in the morning.
It should be mostly software, no?
The 75% of the world's people who have no access to any
phone service have more time than money, so homebrew
hacking is one way for them to get privacy and freedom.
It is illegal to BUY a 10-meter amplifier for ham radio
because it may be abused by a CB operator (in the
11-meter band). But it is legal to BUILD a 10-meter
amplifier for ham use. If it were illegal, and if you
want it, but can't buy it, what other choice do you
have? What happens when one of these HR4079, Digital
Telephony, Clipper/Capstone/Skipjack proposals passes,
and Cyphernacht takes place? Storm troopers will throw
your nice little PC's on the ground to ruin the hard
drives, and only the new, improved hard drives, with
access for legitimate law enforcement needs will be sold.
Like Chuck Hammill says: "If you don't learn how to beat
your plowshares into swords before they outlaw swords,
you'd better learn before they outlaw plowshares."
Kent - [email protected]