Fwd: Re: password safe / mouse (was Re: What's the real problem with wireless on the Ben?)

Bas Wijnen wijnen at debian.org
Thu Sep 15 14:00:17 EDT 2011

On 15-09-11 19:23, Werner Almesberger wrote:
> Bas Wijnen wrote:
>> Just that for
>> programs where this isn't the case (and it may not be trivial for
>> all programs if it is), IMO it's worth it to design a new interface,
>> which in many cases may require a complete rewrite of the program.
> How about something simple and useful - a password safe ?

Actually, this is one of the use cases my OS is specifically designed
for. It can much better guarantee than Linux that the password isn't leaked.

I'd go for presenting to the USB host as a smartcard reader with a gpg card.

> The Ben's chastity when it comes to commmunicating would be a benefit
> there. Small size a must.
> If you want fancy, when teach atusb how to be a USB keyboard and make
> the Ben send the password - with proper encryption - to atusb to "type"
> it. Optionally the user name or such as well.

That would also be possible, but it would be much less safe. The problem
is that the password is leaked over USB, and hardware sniffers are not
just a theoretical possibility. Ideally, nobody uses passwords and
everything uses public key authentication.

Given the current situation, most places do use passwords. Letting the
Ben type them gives almost no security over typing them by hand, but it
does give the comfort of not having to type them. So it's not so much a
"safe", but more an "assistant". Which is useful as well. :-)

>> Sure, but I like the Ben to fit in my pocket, and a (comfortable)
>> mouse doesn't even fit there on its own, let alone together with the
>> Ben.
> An idea for the mouse: use an acceleration sensor to detect movement
> on a surface ("table mode") or inclination ("levitation mode"). Maybe
> have a local MCU to do basic preprocessing. Then send the results to
> the Ben via UBB.

First I thought you wanted those sensors inside the NanoNote, which
would be a very weird way of controlling the device (which makes me
think of the wooden labyrinth with the rolling ball game on the iphone).

But you still want a separate device. I think it's a good idea to have
something other than a mouse, actually. If only for geek-points. :-) But
also because a mouse isn't actually a very comfortable way to control
many things IMO. 3D position plus rotation would be great. But hand-eye
coordination that a touch screen provides is also very usable.

Anyway, while I love to see such peripherals, I'll first focus on having
a usable Ben without them. :-) And actually, I'm still focussing on
other projects. But I'm still hoping to get them finished and make Iris
the main project I work on (aside from my job).

> If you want fancy, put an 802.15.4 transceiver into
> the mouse and go wireless.

I don't like the need for batteries that this would imply. For the rest,
it would be cool. :-)


More information about the discussion mailing list