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DIY Random Number Generator 227

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-wait-a-minute dept.
Compu486 writes "The guys over at Inventgeek have come up with a project and how artical on building a random number generator that is less than 100.00 utilizing radioactive decay. Using some Linux based open source apps and with a little ingenuity and some parts you probably have laying around your house you can build your own."
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DIY Random Number Generator

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  • apparently (Score:2, Insightful)

    by frieko (855745) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @11:11AM (#15898227)
    IIRC Random.org [random.org] just uses a soundcard and a radio tuned in between channels and collects atmospheric noise. Sounds much simpler/safer.
  • Pretty cool, but (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vadim_t (324782) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @11:20AM (#15898260) Homepage
    For a practical solution, I'd just get a VIA Nehemiah CPU. The later ones have an embedded RNG, and do AES at truly amazing speeds. The actual CPU performance is quite bad compared to pretty much anything else, but it makes a nice quiet box if you don't need vast amounts of CPU power.

    And besides, why the emphasis on shielding the camera? You'd think that for a RNG interference is good as it adds more randomness.
  • Re:Typos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dpninerSLASH (969464) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @11:26AM (#15898281) Homepage
    I have to jump on the wagon here as well.

    How long would it really take to edit each post before submitting it for public consumption? Slashdot is now one arm of OSTG, and as such their content should be held to the same standards as any other "official" publication.

    And please, folks, don't take the easy way out with a generic "slashdot omelet" response: It's the varying points of view that make this site not interesting, not the various manglings of the English language.

    Truthfully.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, 2006 @11:33AM (#15898311)
    In addition, the downside of true random numbers is that they are... random. We use (particle physics) vast amounts of random numbers in large Monte-Carlo simulations. But I can tell you, you really want to get that same sequence starting form the same seed, if you ever want to cross check things. What we need are not true random numbers, we need damn-good pseudo-random numbers. Which we have of course ;-)
  • Re:Old-school (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quila (201335) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @11:34AM (#15898312)
    Not very random, as your fists may tend to fall in certain places when statistically analyzed.
  • Give Him a Break (Score:2, Insightful)

    by justinchudgar (922219) <justin@@@justinzane...com> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:14PM (#15898432) Homepage
    From the article, it seems that he was creating something to satisfy his personal curiosity. He put together a good simple plan and actually made it work. That is interesting, fun, and admirable. I did not get the feeling that he set out to save the world from pseudo-randomness; as many have noted, it does not need saving. If he made some over-enthusiastic claims about the utility of his creation, who cares, he made it and it works; and, that is cool. Now, if next week, he starts hawking them at $250.00 each for the Ultimate Internet Privacy Shield, then give him hell. :)
  • Re:Typos (Score:3, Insightful)

    by azav (469988) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:38PM (#15898519) Homepage Journal
    Ya, I really wish we had a spelling checker for Slashdot and that the editors would actually spell check the articles they post.

    If you're going to attempt to be viewed as a professional, it helps to be able to pass 5th grade English.

    Cheers,
  • by kestasjk (933987) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:41PM (#15898529) Homepage
    1) The problem with one time pads isn't generating random text to XOR with, it's getting that text from A to B without relying on weaker crypto.

    2) Pseudo-random number generators (with a sufficiently random seed) aren't good enough? Then maybe you'll be able to tell me what comes next after this base64 encoded output of the /dev/urandom implementation on FreeBSD:
    QPoiNHKXSHYGks3IreT4sGsZgnBTdLEt6OknLOoePAmAjNof yJtbv7Jgl0KOdIqjmUwXiBzOWGaT HCJZaPGdcyVKtQk6nRGej5explzMc/GDNk1AnyDdtPP+talfMT lMjI7AThTRprNdzphOcAbwY18l r0MUKM9Y/pEbR2N1/bKd12VTc+xzNzvRB/9q4QMaDYvyzWYfkx 0UGUkxCCBWYOokUOXtFWoHI+Ki
    No, the grandparent is right. By avoiding our excellent pseudo-random number generators and going with this hacked together entropy generator you're more likely to decrease your security because of flaws in the hardware than gain a practical increase in security.
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:00PM (#15898587) Homepage Journal
    You don't need radiation to make a randomizer from a camera. How about pointing the camera out of a window at a road. The cars, the people and other objects (birds) will move around supplying you with random data. Or you could have a transparent plastic box full of mosquitos or flies and point the camera at that ;)

    How about using a soundcard and ambient noise? Or you could use an AM radio receiver for static noise. There are plenty of other sources of randomness.
  • by chriso11 (254041) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:25PM (#15898650) Journal
    I don't recommend the internal PCI version - you shouldn't place a gamma emmitter (yes, for the pedantic, Am241 is PRIMARILY an alpha emmitter) inside your case. You will be increasing the odds of a memory bit flip or such.
  • Come on, it's Taco (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blueZ3 (744446) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:12PM (#15898837) Homepage
    Notorious throughout the slashdot community for malapropisms and misspellings.

    Funny thing is, I read an interview with Rob where he said he's currently using a Mac. As far as I know, all recent Macs have the option of turning on spell checking across the OS -- so for instance, typing this on my Powerbook I see red underlines under misspelled words in the "Comment" text box on the submission page. Which means that he's either too lazy to turn this feature on -- or worse, too lazy to try and correct misspellings and typos that are already clearly marked.

What hath Bob wrought?

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