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Re: [NOISE, sorta] Re: Inexpensive Crypto Boxes...

At 10:04 AM 11/28/95 -0500, Mike Fletcher <[email protected]> wrote:
>	For those who don't know, the PSX is a CD based gaming console
>released (in the US) in Sept by Sony.  It's a MIPS R3000/25MHz processor
>with some SGI-designed polygon chips, 2x CD-ROM, 1M RAM, 2M video RAM.

There are a number of reasonably powerful game machines under $300,
though that uses TV-screen video, which isn't enough for decent text;
doing a $500 machine with a real monitor should be quite possible.
However, to make it functionally useful, it needs at least a connector
for a a disk drive - couch potato web-surfers can skip it, but anybody
who wants to do real work will spend the $100-300 to add a disk,
and probably add a CD-ROM as well.  Without a disk, you can't do
off-line reading, which significantly affects anyone using
pay-by-the-hour network access services.

(I used to use a diskless Sun with 40 MB RAM on an Ethernet, and it
was usually fine, but I was motivated by not wanting a fan on my computer...)

ObCrypto - you _can_ do decent crypto on a diskless machine as long as
you've got some non-volatile storage for keys; a few KB should do,
and the main applications would have to run in ROM.

>	The line between toy and real machine is getting more and 
>more fuzzy (we use a box here at work with the same processor to compile
>for an AT&T telephony switch (which tells you how sad the AT&T product
>is :) :))).  

Telephone switches don't need high-power CPU-crunchers, and the 
R3000 was quite a decent processor.  They need clean, stable CPUs
and appropriately-designed operating systems which are good at
controlling lots of polled I/O devices - it's a PDP-11 job,
rather than a Cray job.  Generally the OSs have been
hand-rolled, though it's becoming much more practical to use
Unix to develop user-interface applications now that processors
are fast enough to have short interrupt times.  The previous 
switches used Intel processors - 386s let you do more than 8086s,
pulling applications into the CPU instead of low-level logic.

>How long until the NSA tries a Chinese Lottery attack hidden
>inside a Nintendo cart?

You've read "The Hacker and the Ants", haven't you?  :-)
#				Thanks;  Bill
# Bill Stewart, Freelance Information Architect, [email protected]
# Phone +1-510-247-0663 Pager/Voicemail 1-408-787-1281