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Portables Debian Security Hardware

USB-Powered Linux Server Fits in Your Pocket 252

McSpew writes "A small company from Utah (no, not that one) has announced the BlackDog USB-powered Linux server. It includes a fingerprint reader, a 400MHz PowerPC, 64MB of DRAM and 256MB or 512MB of flash and it runs Debian. The host PC sees it as a CD-ROM drive."
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USB-Powered Linux Server Fits in Your Pocket

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  • Gotta keep up that Microsoft FUD, you know....
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Well, it's Linux. So, according to Microsoft, installation of the Linux-related device will cause untold damage and destruction the likes of which has not been seen since the old testament. Plus, you might get a blue screen if you connect it to your Windows box. The blue screen has nothing to do with the device, you are using Windows after all, but Microsoft wanted you to be forewarned
  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:57PM (#13299826) Homepage Journal
    Is that a BlackDog 400Mhz USB-powered Linux server with 64Mb DRAM and 512Mb of flash in your pocket or are you just really really really happy to see me...
  • by dysk ( 621566 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:57PM (#13299830)
    I'd buy one in a second if it had an ipod-style 30/40GB hard drive. With 512MB it doesn't offer me enough storage to be useful.
  • Possible Uses (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bagboy ( 630125 )
    The article mentions that it was developed with the hopes that some can find a use for it. How about a portable asterisk server so when you travel your voicemail and pbx go with you?
    • Re:Possible Uses (Score:3, Informative)

      by bahwi ( 43111 )
      Because when you unplug it no one can leave you voicemail.
  • Surprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by darthgnu ( 866920 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @08:59PM (#13299836) Homepage Journal
    I'm surprised they managed to put so much power in such a small package, I wonder how much heat this thing disipates, as my IBook2 dual usb (500 mhz) PPC can get quite hot. Seems like a cool gadget, but I doubt it has a use in the "real" world besides chick-magnet because it is easier to find a better suited machine for the job, unless carrying around your webserver is your new fethish.
    • by Black Cardinal ( 19996 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:02PM (#13299856) Homepage
      but I doubt it has a use in the "real" world besides chick-magnet

      No, I don't think it will work for that, either.
      • Re:Surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Ratso Baggins ( 516757 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:40PM (#13300062) Homepage
        it may work much better as a chick-magnet than you think. Any "chick" that goes "WoW! Debian too!", and means it - is a keeper.

        The perfect "barbie" filter if you will. 8)

        • it may work much better as a chick-magnet than you think. Any "chick" that goes "WoW! Debian too!", and means it - is a keeper.

          Hmm, not sure about that. My wife is impressed with all my computer skillz because she isn't into computers that much. All I need is a wife who knows how to compile a kernel taunting me because she is running a newer version that I am.

          The perfect "barbie" filter if you will.

          I am pretty sure being a geek is a barbie filter in and of itself.

      • by sydres ( 656690 )
        i don't know, I saw this hot redhead yesterday wearing a shirt that said "I love nerds". maybe their is a chance for us yet, on second thought naw.
        • They never mean it. It's equivalent to saying "I support the war, but don't want to fight in it." In case you think I'm lying, test out their "commitment" by engaging in a conversation about, for example, the importance of data typing in a weak static typed environment. Explain how it allows the compiler to catch errors! Then watch as she walks away... ... And don't ask how I know I'm right.
          • by acb ( 2797 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @06:38AM (#13302274) Homepage
            Which could mean that she's not a geek, or that she has a PhD in compiler design and resents being condescended at by someone who assumes they know more than she does (even with geeks, the nuances of interpersonal communication matter), or that she's a Lisp/Python hacker who thinks that static typing is irrelevant but doesn't feel like getting into an argument about it.

            Besides which, the assumption that women who like geeks must be geeks on the same level is not necessarily true. Nor is it necessary; the ability to have post-coital conversations about kernel optimisations is somewhat overrated.
    • Re:Surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

      by kalidasa ( 577403 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:06PM (#13299882) Journal
      Not sure what they're doing with it, but it seems to me that if you could get this to do two things, you'd have a useful product. Get it to appear to the main computer as two items: 1. a USB drive, with an executable that includes VNC functionality and a TCP/IP over USB engine for Windows (am I right in assuming that you need additional software to establish a TCP/IP connection over USB in windows) in the memory; 2. a network device, which connects via TCP/IP over USB. Bingo, you just plug in, run the application from the FAT32 partition on the USB drive, and you can log into your own USB-powered, network-connected computer with your own data on it.
      • Re:Surprising (Score:2, Informative)

        by BlackDogBoy ( 907081 )
        It does show up as a network device, actual a USB ethernet NIC for which the PC already has drivers. When the PC brings up the interface it finds what it thinks is a network with another machine on it but actually its just BlackDog.

        This is of course after getting control of the PC using the CDROM and autorun and deploying the X server and the user space NAT to give the device access to the networks that the PC can see.

        It and the PC are then peers on their own IP routed ethernet over USB network. No n
    • Re:Surprising (Score:4, Informative)

      by kvigor ( 66615 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @12:08AM (#13300841)
      The device currently consumes ~300 milliwatts max and is barely warm to the touch. Naturally it consumes far less when idle.
    • I can't figure out why it has a PPC chip onboard.

      The indications I get is that this is just a flash drive that acts as a bootable CD-ROM drive. I see no indication that this thing can do anything except boot a host PC. Seems like a waste of a beefy processor just to do simple bus arbitration, especially when custom ASICs can probably do a better job.
  • It's not SCO but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by MULTICS_$MAN ( 692936 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:01PM (#13299852)
    It does co-star Darl's old IKON buddy and "Haloween memo" author Mike Anderer. There must be SCO IP in that, burn it. Oh, nevermind their "server" (you call THAT a server) just melted down anyway.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 11, 2005 @11:12PM (#13300510)
      Michael E. Anderer, of the SCOX "Halloween" memo fame is the CTO of Realm Systems. His old homepage "S2 consulting" hosted the developer forum for Realm. A number of other M$FT links raise the disturbing question if this product is real or elaborate "opposition" research on the part of Redmond.

      Realm Systems has secured an additional $9 million dollars in funding on July 7, 2005.

      The paper SEC filing, describing the new funding has been secured by penguinistas, and is available at : Debt and bridge financing [rushing.to]

      $7.5 MM came from a single unnamed individual.

      Frank Artale, an ex-M$FT VP for NT, was appointed chairman of the board of Realm in January, 2005 , when Realm had secured a previous $8 million dollar investment.

      Frank Artale and Michael Anderer's stories first become entertwined over Entirenet. Entirenet is a Redmond and Bellevue, Washington based Windows documentation company. Anderer served as nominal CEO of Entirenet in the 2001- 2003 timeframe. Artale, then serving as Veritas VP for Windows had purchased Entirenet for Veritas in March 2001 for an undisclosed ammount.

      Anderer, acting as CEO of Entirenet, announced the acquisition of the South Carolina M$FT training firm, HunterStone, in November, 2002.

      Artale had left Veritas by March 2003 when his next venture "Consera Software" was announced. Consera had venture funding provided by Ignition Partners, a Seattle venture outfit staffed with a prominent group of ex-M$FT VP's, including Cameron Myhrvold. Myhrvold has especially close ties to Artale.

      Anderer left Entirenet about this time.

      Frank Artale has continued to work with Ignition Partners. He was appointed Chairman of the Board of Rendition Networks in Sept 2004, as part of a $6 million dollar Ignition investment. Rendition was quickly sold in Dec, 2004.

      Other Artale ventures include Therion, sold in May 2005. He has recently added to the Kenai Software board in July 2005 Kenai's executives, e.g. David Mock and Byrren Yates (CFO) overlap Realm's executives and public investors. Artale is considered an expert on the profitable exit sale of start ups. Other Frank Artale endeavors include advisory roles at Zenprise, Centrify, Accel Partners, and formerly a board position at Level 8.

      Michael Anderer's continuing relationship with the Seattle-area venture capital organized by highly placed ex-M$FT VP's indicates his reputation has survived the Halloween memo release.

      • Mod up parent please.
        Or i'll do one better, repeat the whole post here:

        Cut from an AC post:

        Michael E. Anderer, of the SCOX "Halloween" memo fame is the CTO of Realm Systems. His old homepage "S2 consulting" hosted the developer forum for Realm. A number of other M$FT links raise the disturbing question if this product is real or elaborate "opposition" research on the part of Redmond.

        Realm Systems has secured an additional $9 million dollars in funding on July 7, 2005.

        The paper SEC filing, describin
  • by dysk ( 621566 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:02PM (#13299859)
    It actually has very little to do with being seen as a CD-ROM drive by the desktop.
    To access and use your BlackDog, you merely plug it in to your host computer's USB port* and BlackDog takes over! Your host machine's monitor, keyboard, mouse, and Internet connection are taken over by BlackDog for the duration of your session, when you are done, you simply remove BlackDog and everything on the host is returned to its original state.
    • And how do you think it takes over your machine's monitor, keyboard, mouse and internet connection over USB?

      It mounts a small partition containing an X11 server for Windows (or your OS of choice), then runs that server and connects to its onboard Linux environment with it.

      So yes, it does have quite a bit to do with being seen as a drive by the desktop. Otherwise, your Windows machine wouldn't be able to talk to it.
      • So yes, it does have quite a bit to do with being seen as a drive by the desktop. Otherwise, your Windows machine wouldn't be able to talk to it.

        Pay attention. The article claims it's seen as a CD-ROM drive. If that were true, communication would be pretty one-way.

        And in any case, that doesn't explain how the device "takes over". I suppose you could boot off it, and it would supply an image that would turn your PC into a sort of terminal for the device. But their description sounds more plug-and-go than

        • First, an emulated CDROM can "take over" via autorun on a windows pc. The autorun could launch up some sort of VNC-type remote desktop right back into the device.

          But I'm betting they don't even do that. It sound to me like their intent is for the device to appear as a bootable usb cdrom to the host's BIOS, and that you reboot the host with this thing plugged in. The bootable cdrom image boots a native x86 linux kernel with a large set of ethernet, video, audio, usb, etc drivers available to it and the st
        • by kvigor ( 66615 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @12:05AM (#13300826)
          The device is seen as *both* a CD-ROM and a network device. As the parent suggested, the CD-ROM is used to launch an X server on the host [1] and the network interface is used to allow that X server to communicate to the applications running on the device.

          (disclaimer: I am an employee of Realm Systems but do not speak for the company)

          [1] obviously useful only for Windows hosts, since Linux hosts will almost always have an X server running already.
          • hopefully you will be able to answer a few quick questions then, please: does it use autorun (as hinted elsewhere in this thread) on windows? how does it auto-launch on linux? does it work on mac os x?
            • by kvigor ( 66615 ) on Friday August 12, 2005 @09:59AM (#13303405)
              It certainly can use autorun on Windows, which is very convenient and is a primary reason for using a CD-ROM interface. But the CD image is a .ISO file served off the device's flash, which means it can contain anything. As we ship it, it has an AUTORUN.INF and an X server and some handy networking tools. But it's trivial to change the CD image to hold whatever you may want.

              This is an incredibly flexible device. You can change almost anything about it. Heck, if you're up to hacking kernel drivers, you can make it emulate ANY USB device. Thus far, we've had call for emulating CD-ROM and ethernet-over-USB. But there's no reason it can't appear to the host as a mass storage device. Or a keyboard (take *that*, keyloggers!). Or a serial port dongle. Or... anything USB at all.

              None of this flexibility, alas, will make any Linux distro in the world dumb enough to autorun software just because somebody presented a CD-ROM, unlike another certain popular OS. So autorunning on a Linux host requires a hotplug script be installed. We provide samples for some major distros and assume that the guy running Gentoo is smart enough to hack his own hotplug (or just run a .SH off the CD-ROM image).

              OS-X support is "coming soon", i.e. we plan to support it, have done nothing to prevent it working, but haven't yet spent any test cycles on it. Having got it working with the incredibly balky USB stacks in Windows and Linux, I have no doubt it will be made to work just fine.

              (again, *not* an official spokesman for the company, not legally binding, don't sue me please, yadda yadda.)
    • BlackDog is treated as a CD-ROM by the host PC and is booted automatically when plugged in. Once booted it can access any of its host's peripherals or network resources.
      Wait, if we boot host PC from this virtual CD-ROM, isn't that OS running in the host? How is it then different from booting LiveCD or LiveUSB stick? If BlackDog needs access to host CPU, how is it better than running the host as a server itself?

      I'm confused. Will someone care to explain?
    • And after it takes over the monitor, keyboard, mouse , and internet connection, its says:

            "All your resources are belong to us!"
  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:06PM (#13299881)
    Does it have have a screen?

    It's only $199 ($239 for upgraded version) and with a PowerPC chip and 256Mb flash memory (512 with upgrade), if it had a screen, it might be a decent pda.

    Otherwise I don't see the value of having a handheld linux server that has to plug into a computer usb slot (over a usb memory chip with linux on it)
    • Does it have have a screen?

      Nope. The fingerprint reader has a Vulcan mind-meld feature. Works great, except your co-workers might think you have severe gas or something once you start groaning your shell input in a pained voice.

      "cd dot dot forward-slash!"
    • Does it have have a screen?

      The entire POINT is that it doesn't have, or need, a screen. It uses the massive and standardized infrastructure of whatever it's plugged into.

      I don't see the value of having a handheld linux server that has to plug into a computer usb slot (over a usb memory chip with linux on it)

      A) What if you can't get the machine to boot from your pluggable USB meory?

      B) Becuse you carry your CPU around you have no archetecture limits on what you plug it into. Power PC, Alpha, X86, ARM, MIPS
  • by HowIsMyDriving? ( 142335 ) <ben.parkhurst@gmail . c om> on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:06PM (#13299884)
    Really, how useful is this? If you need something really secure, why not make a Live CD or memory stick linux that require authentication from a the USB dongle in the form of a password or biometrics? Most PCs are much more powerful then this is, and can provide much more function.
  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by red990033 ( 847260 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:09PM (#13299893)
    "It includes a fingerprint reader, a 400MHz PowerPC, 64MB of DRAM and 256MB or 512MB of flash and it runs Debian..."

    Umm.. server.. what the hell can you serve up running with these specs? Seriously, what practical applications could be run with this now-a-days, or more the relavent question, in the coming future?
    • Re:What? (Score:4, Informative)

      by stox ( 131684 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:28PM (#13299995) Homepage
      Quite a bit could be served off such a platform. The first website I administered ran off a 50MHz Sparc with 64MB of memory. Static content would not be a problem at all. I'm afraid java would be out of the question, though. ;->
    • Re:What? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Diag ( 711760 )
      My Linksys NSLU2 [nslu2-linux.org] has a 133Mhz CPU, 8MB of Flash and 32MB of SDRAM.

      It currently runs thttpd as a web server (it can run apache), a SAMBA server, an ftp server, and ccxstream to stream media to my X-Box. Admittedly the web server might struggle if more than a couple of users access it at once, but it suits my needs.

      And I don't need to plug it into the USB port of a "real" PC to make it go.
    • Sure, it might not be a production server for Google or Amazon, but all my servers are slower than that and have no problems at all with the workload I have.

      64 MBs of DRAM might be just a slight bit on the low end, but I really don't see a problem running a LAMP server on it. Or a mail server, for that matter. I actually don't really see what kind of a server you could not run on it (except possibly Tomcat ;).

  • by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:09PM (#13299894) Homepage Journal
    At first, the fact that this device shows up as a CD-ROM despite having a USB connection seemed odd, but its possible this is some kind of step around the need for an administrator account to install mass storage devices on the windows platform. The suggestion by the company that this could be used as a portable VPN client seems strange, due to the need to carry the hardware around. Modern ultraportable laptops would seem to meet the needs of those travelling with remote access issues more than this device, which obviously requires a host to piggyback on.
    • Modern laptops are a hell of a lot more powerful then this... and ultraportable ones are frackin' expensive.

      If I had a few bucks lying around right now I'd be interested in picking on up... but mainly just out of morbid curiousity.

      I'd bet it detects as a cd-rom to use the autorun feature of windows... that way it could run a program off it's own media that sets up the link. If it needs rebooting to work then it's just because you can boot off a cd-rom with little or no problem.
    • I know nothing about these devices, but, as far as I know, when you insert a USB drive into a USB port on a Windows PC there is no attempt by Windows to autoexecute any programs it finds on the drive. But the same can't be said of CD-ROMs; Windows will execute a program it finds on a CD-ROM. I suspect they chose to have this device emulate a CD-ROM because the mere insertion of the device will cause Windows to execute software that starts up the USB "server".

      I find it really bizarre that these folks seem
  • No Ethernet? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hotspotbloc ( 767418 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:09PM (#13299895) Homepage Journal
    As far as I can see it only has usb ports and piggybacks off of another computer. Of course an usb to ethernet converter (yes, never a good idea) would help.

    There's always the Linksys NSLU-2 with ethernet for $80, just add a usb drive.

    • It would have to be quite a 'USB to ethernet converter' to be able to work as a network interface through a gadget host controller (which is what I assume this is)..
  • by datafr0g ( 831498 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `gorfatad'> on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:10PM (#13299898) Homepage
    Because the tiny Linux client has biometric authentication and can be plugged into just about any PC, Cunningham believes it will be a useful and secure way for travelers to logon to their corporate VPNs.

    I agree - bloody useful! I've been trying to find a device like this for extactly this purpose. I've come across a few like this one but I need to boot Windows, not Linux. Our VPN client and user software only runs on Windows.

    Does anyone know of a similar device that can run Windows?
    • Try and Thinkpad (Lenovo) laptop. The T series now has a fingerprint reader, and it runs windows. Just install your VPN software, plug in an ethernet cord and go.
    • It's probably easier to just switch to a Linux-compatible VPN. There are a number of them out now. In fact, after researching this year ago, I'd hazard that the majority of VPNs now are Linux-compatible.
    • Are you *sure* that the client can only run on Windows? Since most VPN's use standard protocols, ensuring compatibility with most operating systems and (hint) routers. Even if you could build up a VPN you would still need to configure Windows with a route/proxy to your added system-on-usb.
  • Marketing Magic? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by krbvroc1 ( 725200 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:12PM (#13299911)
    Can anyone explain to this techie how the following is possible:

    From their website: "To access and use your BlackDog, you merely plug it in to your host computer's USB port* and BlackDog takes over! Your host machine's monitor, keyboard, mouse, and Internet connection are taken over by BlackDog for the duration of your session, when you are done, you simply remove BlackDog and everything on the host is returned to its original state."

    It sounds amazing until I wonder if all they are doing is putting an autoplay file on there that launches VNC or something.

    • by Jetson ( 176002 )
      I think a lot of people are assuming that it shows up as a single USB device. A far more likely scenario is that it has an internal USB hub and several separate USB devices that all communicate with the PC over the same connection. That would allow it to appear to be both a network connection and a storage device at the same time. The site says that it can be configured to automatically install software on the host computer, so autorun is probably involved. It would have to emulate a CD-Rom as Windows d
  • by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:18PM (#13299947)
    A small Utah-based company has developed a portable Linux (Overview, Articles, Company) server that can be plugged into the USB (Universal Serial Bus) port of a Windows PCs.
    What a horrible introductory sentence to an article.

    How did I miss the introduction of computer hardware that comes with a built-in version of "Windows" (from later in the article, it seems to define Windows as Linux, Windows 2000 or Windows XP)? I hope the hardware manufacturer has proper licenses for their MS Windows version and has made the source of the Linux version of their BIOS available as required by the GPL.

    I must confess, however, to be puzzled as to why Realm did not just make their device work with regular, unmodified Intel/AMD compatible PCs.

    • I don't think so. Does AWARD have to give out the source code of the bios that boots your linux desktop? NO.

      The bios is not the OS it comes before the OS and they can put it under any license they want if they wrote it from scratch.

      Also the Boot loader is not the OS if they wrote it from scratch using no GPL code they do not have to release it under the GPL.

      Just because it runs linux or runs on linux they do not have to give you any code that is not licensed under the GPL.

      They do have to give you the source
      • I am quite familiar with the GPL, yes. If I was too subtle, I am sorry. My post was written tongue in cheek. I was ridiculing the article. However, a literal reading of the article would suggest that they have PCs that have versions of Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Linux built into the firmware (not that they are providing a way to boot them separately). It would be awfully difficult to do that without at least some new hooks within those operating systems. So, anyone achieving such a feat with Linux (
  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:19PM (#13299950)
    "We're so proud of our new server design, we even use one to run the company website!"

    "Uh...why's it smoking?"
  • If the device is able to automaticaly detect and mount disks (until it get designed with a harddrive) and work with other USB peripherals
    (sound card) then it would be very attractive
    as a 'quick office'.

    This may even kick-start a 'PC market' where
    the PC itself is quite a low powered unit,
    and processing power and IO is added via
    these types of removable peripherals.

    I can see a suite of Low-end PC's which do the barest minimum, but which can be temporarily
    'upgraded' to the users needs.

    This may even extend to 'h
  • As I understand it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Fritzy ( 564827 )
    It pulls up a window on the machine you're on, and shows your X session (browser, word processor) and you use the keyboard, mouse, internet connetion, and monitor of the host machine. You work on your document for awhile, unplug.... go to a different machine, and your word processor is right where you left it. You keep working on your document, all powered by the USB port. There's no evidence on the host machine of what you were running or what you did.
    • Almost sounds like it's using an autorun to run something like QEmu (See Damn Small Linux embedded for an example, link here: http://distro.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/distributions/ damnsmall/current/dsl-embedded.zip [ibiblio.org]
      Main site [damnsmalllinux.org]
    • It pulls up a window on the machine you're on, and shows your X session ... There's no evidence on the host machine of what you were running or what you did.

      And this beats keyloggers how? If they want this to be a serious corporate VNC tool, that's a major question that will have to be answered.
      • keyloggers aren't really that dangerous by themselves... if you attach a keylogger to my machine you will get the passphrase I encrypted my private key with, but you won't get my private key... and in this case the private key would be stored on the blackdog device (which I'm taking with me when I leave), so the passphrase would be pretty useless.

        Basically it won't always *need* to beat keyloggers. There are lot's of other means to security than simple passwords. For instance you won't get my private key ou
  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:30PM (#13300015) Journal
    Fingerprint readers and other biometric sensors are almost always a misguided idea, often an evil one, and generally not implemented well. You could get much more useful capabilities by including a small keypad on it, which could be used for passwords if you need them (which you sometimes do, depending on your application), and maybe a little 1-or-2-line LCD display for status.
  • Link (Score:4, Informative)

    by luiss ( 217284 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:38PM (#13300048)
  • I just saw this at LinuxWorld San Francisco. To quote the staff at the BlackDog booth: "the BlackDog unit first presents itself as a CDRom image to the windows host to load the Cygwin X-Server as well as a tunneling network application to make use of the Windows network. It then establishes a network connection which looks like a USB network connection back to the Debian 2.6.10 kernel running on the BlackDog unit. The BlackDog can then present a UI to the X-Server running on the Windows host it is plugge
    • by dr_leviathan ( 653441 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @09:50PM (#13300117)
      I too spoke with a representative at LW about this.

      The thumb-print sensor allows you to authenticate yourself without typing in your password, so it is possible (as long as what you're doing doesn't require you to type in any passwords anywhere) to safely operate the device on a host with a keystroke logger. All of the network traffic between the BlackDog and its daemon running on the host is encrypted with SSH.

      One of the niches they are hoping to full with the device is a "dongle" with licenced software installed. The licencee of the proprietary-ware could then access it on any computer as long as he/she carries the dongle with them. It also would prevent password/keycode sharing between colleagues.

      One of my co-workes pointed out that this is similar to the "SoulPad" concept:

      http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000383053938/ [engadget.com]

      except without the host boot/shutdown steps.

  • So, it's like a computer that utilitizes the KVM, along with networking and other peripherals, of the host? So, it's like a computer and KVM switch packed into one? Like a parasitic little computer that has no input/output devices of its own, but depends on the host to provide these? Why would I want to carry around a computer that depends on finding another computer to use? Does it allow access to the HD or other internals of the host...for security, recovery, or hacking? Cuz unless it allows me to i
    • Maybe because you could go over to other offices, friends houses... anywhere where they'd let you plug it in and have your own little system.

      I agree with earlier posts though, this would be cool, but needs a HDD system.
    • Strikes me more as a remote X session and samba server rolled into a package you take with you, rather than access over the host's network.

      Similar to apps and data on usb key, but with persistance and linux apps rather than windows versions. Will be a lot more useful once they release a hard-drive version.

      I could have used this when I was a network engineer for 3M, I did a lot of roaming between sites fixing servers and the like, and a unix session without having to mess about with installing a local X serv
  • a beowulf cluster of blackdogs attached to your computer, could I create a mini super computer using a bunch of these devices hooked up to my computer using MPI or some other message passing protocol?
  • by fbg111 ( 529550 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @10:35PM (#13300309)
    Cool I'm getting one right away so I can be the first to port Linux to it! Oh, wait...
  • Imagine if this thing had 1 gig or more of memory. Plug it up and take it to your local university or gaming cafe and have a portable warez dump, even better you could probably get it to run in stealth mode. Imagine having one on the back of a EDU computer, you could have multiple warez dumps and be able to retrieve the files instead of downloading them :d
  • Its a neat idea I wish it was a Lan powered divice though and cheaper so i could buy one and stash it inside one of the walls or cielings at college.
  • Nice. Do they also make minime monitors I can put in my other pocket?
  • It is like a million of tight ass system/security Administrators are yelling in anguish!
  • Looks like its nothing more then just some storage space.. Big deal..

    Now if you can actuall run applications on it, now that would be something to look at.

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"