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252 comments

yes but (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13299807)

Will it run FreeBSD?

Wait wait wait... (1)

PsychicX (866028) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299810)

It's seen as a CD ROM drive? Why? How does that even make sense? It's USB; shouldn't it mount through the OS's USB subsystems as a removable USB storage device?

Re:Wait wait wait... (5, Informative)

Klivian (850755) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299878)

No, since none or nearly none BIOS versions can boot from a USB storage device. It's used to boot a PC in server configuration, using the Debian on the USB device. No OS are needed on the machine which it is plugged in, so there is no OS suposed to be running an able to mount it.

Re:Wait wait wait... (2, Interesting)

Jeff Molby (906283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299901)

What would be a common use of this? To quickly pull data off a machine that has a corrupted OS?

Re:Wait wait wait... (1)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300066)

Yeah, where "corrupted" means "not yet rooted".
Heh.

Re:Wait wait wait... (1)

Jeff Molby (906283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300127)

It's probably just that i don't get your joke, but when i said "corrupted", i was referring to a Windows machine that wouldn't boot do to a driver or service pack issue. This would be a good quick tool to make sure you got critical data off of it before you start a reload.

/Of course, critical data should be on the server
//Of course, it usually isn't

Re:Wait wait wait... (1)

shakezula (842399) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300256)

While the thought of having a $xxx device around just to rescue a dead Windows pc intrigues me, I think any critical server system should/will have a backup system. As the article mentions, using it as a portable complete VPN solution is a much better use. It'd be akin to the SunRay system, but "take the whole system with you" kind of way. That way you can use the local peheriphreals anywhere with out having to pack around a laptop or PDA. As for the joke, google r00t3dz0rd and get the punchline.

Re:Wait wait wait... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300070)

imagine a beowulf cluster of those things....

damn!

p.s. probably not easy though.

Re:Wait wait wait... (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299883)

yup, there's that, and there's the question of why I even want or need another computer (at a $199 or $239 price tag) if it has to plug into another computer to be powered and used.

Technology is letting us do lots of interesting things, but some people seem to skip asking if they should be done.

Re:Wait wait wait... (2, Informative)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299905)

It's seen as a CD ROM drive? Why? How does that even make sense? It's USB; shouldn't it mount through the OS's USB subsystems as a removable USB storage device?

My guess is that they have the USB info set so it will be recognized as a USB CD-ROM drive and so they can use Auto-start, if it's enabled, to run their software atomatically.

What little I can gleam from the site tells me that it's the front-end for a bunch of webapps or something to allow you to work with a remote desktop on any web connection.

But that's just a guess since the site is now hosed...

Re:Wait wait wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13299973)

I was able to see this device in action. Having it appear as as CDROM is so that windows will autoexecute a start up program. It uses that to get the interface running on the windows PC. After that connection is made it stops appearing as a CDROM and appears as a peer networked machine.

But how hard is it to install?? (1)

darkonc (47285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299820)

Gotta keep up that Microsoft FUD, you know....

Re:But how hard is it to install?? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13299914)

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

Is that a Linux server in your pocket... (5, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299826)

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...

Re:Is that a Linux server in your pocket... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13299938)

I for one welcome our new BlackDog 400Mhz USB-powered Linux server with 64Mb DRAM and 512Mb of flash overlords.

Can't Resist (1, Redundant)

wev162 (721318) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299829)

Is that a server in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Re:Can't Resist (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13299923)

Hey bozo, why don't you just copy a post made a few seconds earlier as a lame way to try and get some karma points?

Oh...you already did...

Re:Can't Resist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300064)

Hey bozo, why don't you just copy a post made a few seconds earlier as a lame way to try and get some karma points?

You must be new here, that was a +1 Funny he got. Has nothing to do with karma, hasn't for ages now. And seeing how there is a mandatory delay of like 45 seconds, there is no fucking way he was copying the other poster as they posted in the same minute. Of course, if you had left off the "Oh...you already did..." and lost the bozo reference, you might have got +1 Funny instead of -1 Flamebait. Which had you been logged in when you posted would give you... say it with me... no karma.

Good but a few shortcomings (3, Interesting)

dysk (621566) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Good but a few shortcomings (5, Interesting)

York the Mysterious (556824) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299963)

Their rep at Linux World said they were working with one of the mini HD vendors (I really can't remember which) and the vendor kept dragging their feet on when the drives would be available. They wanted to be able to launch the thing pronto they they released the flash based version and put off the HD version. There is a MMC card slot so you can expand the 512 with a gig card. The HD one should be out sometime soon though.

Possible Uses (2, Interesting)

bagboy (630125) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299834)

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 (2, Informative)

bahwi (43111) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299942)

Because when you unplug it no one can leave you voicemail.

Re:Possible Uses (1)

bagboy (630125) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299965)

>> Because when you unplug it no one can leave you voicemail. Umm... You know the word "portable" was used. It would uplink to your primary asterisk when online. When unavailable your voicemail would be stored on the primary... Using dyndns would solve the dynamic ip problem...

Re:Possible Uses (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300014)

ok, fine.

But for my next invention I'm gonna put a flashing light on a phone so that when it rings deaf people will know to pick it up.
Now don't anyone go stealing my idea

Sincerely,
The guy that put braille signs on the drive up ATMs

Re:Possible Uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300083)

Uh so you would find a computer, plug in the device, reboot it, then listen to your voicemail? That sounds very convenient.

That, or you could use a thing called a 'telephone' to call your asterisk voice and listen to the message.

Surprising (3, Insightful)

darthgnu (866920) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299836)

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.

Re:Surprising (5, Funny)

Black Cardinal (19996) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299856)

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 (4, Insightful)

Ratso Baggins (516757) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300062)

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)

Re:Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300239)

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

There are other areas of intelligence besides knowledge of what Linux distributions are. Some would even consider other areas to be more important.

Re:Surprising (3, Interesting)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299882)

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 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13299917)

"I wonder how much heat this thing disipates, as my IBook2 dual usb (500 mhz) PPC can get quite hot."

A USB port (on a motherboard) is only specified to deliver 0.2A of current; so @5V that is only 1W.

The PPC in that thing is designed for embedded applications. It has no Altivec, and probably has a lot fewer IPC than the PPC than your iBook. Therefore it makes a lot less heat.

Fran

Re:Surprising (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300004)

USB is half an amp at 5 volts, so it's really 2.5 watts.

Re:Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300181)

"USB is half an amp at 5 volts, so it's really 2.5 watts."

IIRC, if you plug into a USB hub, you are guaranteed 500ma. If you plug into a USB port on a PC motherboard, you are only guaranteed 200ma. Of course that doesn't mean that a USB port on a given PC motherboard won't deliver 500ma.

Fran

Re:Surprising (1)

nsasch (827844) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299975)

unless carrying around your webserver is your new fethish.
I have my Linux-powered pocket protector for that.

Re:Surprising (1)

Lupulack (3988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300129)

iBooks can get warm , but it's not the CPU creating the excess heat , it's the HD. You feel it because it's directly underneath the hand rest.

Useful? (0)

BigDog1942 (874324) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299846)

Seems like a pack of gum in your pocket has more uses than that, and costs far less.

Re:Useful? (0)

medgooroo (884060) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300060)

Dear god who are you people!? its a small usb powered linux box! THATS COOL! dont you see? its a neat toy! who cares if theres no obvious use for it (yet)! I have tens of computers, some so old they run out of memory when i use them to hold the door open, they're still fun toys. I'd like to see you hack a pack of gum* to run doom and display it in ascii onto a box connected via usb! And yes. that would be useful ~pouts~ *this challenge is not open to anyone who has worked on netbsd.

It's not SCO but... (5, Informative)

MULTICS_$MAN (692936) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

What's the use? (1)

Newbreedofnerd (894701) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299853)

Why would anyone really need a pocket-sized server in their pocket anyways? People are just throwing new, pointless, mini-sized devices out everyday these days....

Correction to article (5, Informative)

dysk (621566) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Correction to article (2, Informative)

Zorkon (121860) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299899)

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.

Off-Topic: PhoenixNet BIOS (1)

SeeTheLight (902400) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300134)

How did the PhoenixNet BIOS [cexx.org], that had spyware or adware or whatever that it installed when you booted windows, pull it off without appearing as a drive to windows?

Re:Correction to article (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300387)

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 that.

Re:Correction to article (2, Interesting)

50m31sl4sh. (854939) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299933)

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?

Re:Correction to article (1)

dysk (621566) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300052)

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?
When you plug the USB server into your system, it boots the server, not the host system. It then mounts a "cd-rom drive" on the desktop to run a program allowing the server to take over your keyboard/monitor/mouse.

Any CPU processing still goes on in the server, just input/output is passed to the host system.

Beowulf cluster (2, Interesting)

benhocking (724439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300135)

Seriously, it would be nice if there was a way you could hook these up to a USB hub and have each one running a different program. I'm imaging this to be a cheap and easy way to solve "embarassingly parallel" computational problems. Of course, it would be really sweet if these things could then also share their memory so you could use them to solve not-so-embarassingly parallel computational problems.

I realize these things are low end processors, but depending on the problem your solving they might be a good solution - if they could be hooked up in parallel.

Re:Correction to article (1)

germanStefan (766513) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300078)

if you have to give a presenation or something, you can carry a server in your pocket and not have to rely on them having a server configured and ready to use. Just plug it into the laptop thats giving the presentation and then voila, server up in no time. Very helpful if you ask me, especially the fingerprint reader, so that no one could steal my drive and get my documents (if thats how it works, didn't find anything about that in the article)

Product Website (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13299875)

Here's the product website: Project Blackdog [projectblackdog.com]

Seems there's a nice, hefty prize for the person who comes up with a good use for it.

And don't forget the movie starring John Lovitz of SNL fame: Spy Another Day [spyanotherday.com]

It feels like the late 90's again ...

Re:Product Website (1)

kd5ujz (640580) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300076)

Looks like a solution looking for a problem. Bad way to market a device.

My suggested sales pitch:
Here it is, not sure what the hell you can do with it, but if you find a good program/use for it( god knows we tried), we will give you $50,000. ( no joke, check out the site).

Pretty cheap - Should have a screen though (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#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)

Re:Pretty cheap - Should have a screen though (2, Funny)

kevcol (3467) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300026)

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!"

How useful is this? (4, Insightful)

HowIsMyDriving? (142335) | more than 8 years ago | (#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? (4, Insightful)

red990033 (847260) | more than 8 years ago | (#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? (3, Informative)

stox (131684) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299995)

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? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300005)

what the hell can you serve up running with these specs?

Probably their slashdotted website?

Re:What? (0)

medgooroo (884060) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300077)

What are you serving that requires more than these specs? afaik you may be admin of devart or wikipedia or google or (repeat ad infinitum) but for a personal space on the net for whatever project you're working on, a few pictures, a spot of cgi + some database work... you'd be fine. *secretly has a 486 running a webserver quite happily on openbsd*

Re:What? (2, Interesting)

Diag (711760) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300253)

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.

Interesting new concept, but odd application (2, Interesting)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299894)

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.

No Ethernet? (4, Interesting)

hotspotbloc (767418) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299895)

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.

Windows on a USB device? (2, Interesting)

datafr0g (831498) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299898)

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?

Re:Windows on a USB device? (1)

nofx_3 (40519) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299944)

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.
 
-kaplanfx

Re:Windows on a USB device? (1)

caller9 (764851) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300094)

Not unless they increase that flash size to at least 4 GB, up the RAM to 256, and throw out any kind of processor that could run off of USB current, not to mention it almost needs to be an x86.

Marketing Magic? (2, Interesting)

krbvroc1 (725200) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Marketing Magic? (1)

AVryhof (142320) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299990)

Actually, that's a good idea... VNC on a thumbdrive that automagically connects to a host. I could go for that.

Server? (2, Interesting)

GuineaPigMan (663444) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299928)

I can see this being semi-practical if one could use it as a web server. If you could use mysql/PHP on it, it would really be quite nice. If only it had a built in network port and some kind of power supply that would enable you to plug it into the wall, it'd make a great server to log into while you're away.

A larger amount of memory/hard drive would also make this a better possibility, but I would imagine it will be relatively easy to hack.

Finally, worse grammar and accuracy than /. (2, Insightful)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Slashdot effect....now USB powered! (3, Funny)

Shoten (260439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299950)

"We're so proud of our new server design, we even use one to run the company website!"

"Uh...why's it smoking?"

Re:Slashdot effect....now USB powered! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300073)

"Uh...why's it smoking?"

Fool! It's on a break!

Combine with USB Harddisk and other peripherals. (2, Interesting)

paul.schulz (75696) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299971)

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 'handheld displays'
(eg. Nokia Internet Table if it had a USB
host port) also providing the user interface.

Will a PC of the future just be a 'smart USB hub'?

Re:Combine with USB Harddisk and other peripherals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300053)

You
don't
have
to
hit
Enter
every
time
your
cursor
hits
the
edge
of
the
white
box.

Re:Combine with USB Harddisk and other peripherals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300090)

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'.

Ever heard of a laptop?

As I understand it (2, Interesting)

Fritzy (564827) | more than 8 years ago | (#13299972)

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.

Re:As I understand it (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300197)

There's no evidence on the host machine of what you were running or what you did"

NOW I understand. TFA mentioned the device is targeted to certain corporate users. I mean what more could a corporate espionage operative **cough** I mean "corporate user" want then a device that leaves no trace of them having accessed a boxen and it's attached network?

Well done sirs!

Key loggers? (1)

jschottm (317343) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300308)

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.

Fingerprint readers - Misguided and Evil (3, Interesting)

billstewart (78916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300015)

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.

WE SLASHDOTTED THE WRONG SERVER! (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300024)

Everyone TOTALLY got it backwards. You are supposed to go to www.sco.com, NOT realm systems!!!

Re:WE SLASHDOTTED THE WRONG SERVER! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300057)

Job done. www.sco.com now shows the Apache default page :)

Saw this at Linux World SF (2, Interesting)

syk0k0w (907027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300059)

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 plugged into. It started with a biometric authentication running on the device. It then had other applications present themselves like Quake 2, Descent 2, Firefox, etc. This is when I became really impressed. I want one! I want to use it to take my mobile stuff with me and be able to plug into any computer anywhere even if its compromised and access the data on my other servers on the internet. Very Cool!!

Re:Saw this at Linux World SF (3, Interesting)

dr_leviathan (653441) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Demo At LinuxWorld (1)

jcole (780891) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300082)

I played with this device at LinuxWorld. They were using a Windows XP demo machine.

The host PC sees it as a CD-ROM drive.

When I played with this thing, XP did not see it as a CD-ROM drive, but as some kind of usb networked device. It runs a samba server so you can "\\192.168.0.x" to get to your root file system. Also, it installs an X server in XP so you can run X apps right off of it, which I thought was pretty geeky cool.

It includes a fingerprint reader, a 400MHz PowerPC, 64MB of DRAM and 256MB or 512MB of flash and it runs Debian.

Actually, when i did a "cat /proc/cpuinfo" at LinuxWorld it was clocked at 384mhz. :)

I couldn't really find the benefits of this device over Linux on my iPaq, except for maybe the fingerprint reader.

-Joe

Glorified KVM? (1)

NoData (9132) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300086)


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 interact with the host in some way that's meaningful, or lets me leverage some of the host's resources beyond its peripherals, why would one carry around a computer that is useless without another computer?

Cool Alarm (1)

pestilence669 (823950) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300133)

Okay, I must admit. This device looks and seems cool. I even informed my wife that I might break down and buy one. I just have absolutely no idea what I'd use it for.

Having my development environment wherever I'm at would be great, but that's only a tarball away in any case. Being Oliver Stone paranoid is a nice bonus. I guess I just wouldn't want to work this way exclusively.

Ethernet would have made this an instant sale for me. I could develop and demo network appliance products on the road without virtual machines. Without Ethernet, this is just a really portable terminal to me.

It's more than enough for most websites (1)

Aberfoyle (907024) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300147)

Many websites are text based, and can be served by just about anything with a high-speed connection. By text based I mean light on the multimedia, i.e. no flash, etc., and not necessarily no images. This site [overheardintheuk.com] for example would be the perfect example of a low-cost/power application for the device.

Re:It's more than enough for most websites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300260)

Sort of like Google huh.

Mod Parent Down - Redundant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13300422)

Stop whoring your site, you clown.

Cluster it! (1)

fracex (591622) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300235)

Now all they have to do is Xen on the host machine (after being ported to Windows of course) with a OpenMosix kernel running in it, so this little puppy can harness the CPU power on the Windows host too. Not just its peripherals.

Re:Cluster it! (1)

fracex (591622) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300412)

Wait... my bad, this runs on PPC processors, considering Windows runs on x86, that wouldn't work quite so well... unless they released an x86 version of this product, everyones doing it, including Apple!

Just what we need... (1)

Mercury2k (133466) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300295)

Yes! This is exactly the type of technology that I have been waiting for someone to release to prove a point that I have had since the invention of usb. Any rogue device plugged into the usb hub can comprimise your whole system! Wow, to think I can use the linux (and Debian!) tools I have been used to "hacking" with to snoop net traffic and watch devices like usb hard drives etc. I love you guys! Now its practically easy as pie to take over government computers with usb ports lol ;) j/k

Anyways, nice device, I look forward to trying one out and replacing my 50lbs. dell poweredge 4200 with about 400 of these babies in half the space :)

Imagine what you could do with (1)

t35t0r (751958) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300296)

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?

Port Linux to it? (2, Funny)

fbg111 (529550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300309)

Cool I'm getting one right away so I can be the first to port Linux to it! Oh, wait...

I'm always thinking of warez :/ (2, Interesting)

TooncesTheCat (900528) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300352)

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

Would be better just using lan (2, Interesting)

hotdrop (907046) | more than 8 years ago | (#13300502)

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.
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