Necessary Chaos

While many of us prefer order in our lives, at least most of the time, we sometimes need a little chaos. Specifically, we need a source of true randomness in order to properly drive many of our cryptographic systems – to secure our digital communications, for example. And while computers are very good at doing what we tell them to do, they suck at being unpredictable. Therefore we have to find other ways to inject a little chaos. Today I will discuss these concepts with Joe Long, founder and CEO of Along the way, we’ll share stories of hardware hacking and our love of electronics tinkering. And then we’ll reveal a totally geeky project we’ve been working on together for many months now that we dubbed the Amulet of Entropy!

Joe Long is a professional engineer, patent attorney, and hardware hacker.  He has decades of expertise in electronics which he has taught to over a million students around the world.  Joe is the founder of HackerBoxes – a company that provides kits, workshops, and monthly subscription boxes for building and learning electronics.

Further Info

Table of Contents

Use these timestamps to jump to a particular section of the show.

  • 0:04:23: Start of interview
  • 0:05:42: What is a hardware hacker?
  • 0:09:09: What got you into electronics?
  • 0:14:49: What do you need to get into electronics?
  • 0:21:46: What is entropy?
  • 0:24:36: Where do we find entropy in everyday life?
  • 0:28:18: Why is entropy important for cryptography?
  • 0:30:58: Why do computers suck at randomness?
  • 0:35:18: So how do we find true random values?
  • 0:38:42: What happens randomness fails?
  • 0:41:17: How we use patterns to efficiently encode things
  • 0:46:44: The Amulet of Entropy!
  • 0:51:53: Designing the project
  • 0:55:33: Fun uses of entropy
  • 0:56:41: How do I get one??
  • 0:57:53: Outro
  • 1:01:06: DEF CON 30 talk
  • 1:01:45: Electronics resources for newbies