Bluetooth and Randomness

I finally got around to making sure the never-used Bluetooth feature on my DreamPlug will never be left on. I was thinking that I didn't own anything that used Bluetooth, but apparently my mobile phone has some sort of Bluetooth support; however, whatever it does apparently doesn't interest me because I've never looked at it. :) It's probably just for headset support, though, so I doubt it's at all relevant to the DreamPlug.

One thing I discovered the hard way, while trying to set up Kerberos, is that it takes a long time to accumulate enough randomness for key generation. At first I thought the unit, or software, had crashed but a quick bit of research made me realize that it wasn't stopped, it was just struggling. To have enough random activity on the system, I tried a variety of things in multiple terminal windows, including having "top" running in one (so I could see when I was having some relevant influence). I also installed lynx and did some Web browsing in one window, while in another I was running aplay to play a .wav file that had been left in the /home directory when I received the DreamPlug, while in another window I was doing things like df and fdisk -l (the utility of which I couldn't really tell, considering it's all chip-based storage so these commands completed very quickly). I would also cat various long files, wrote some Perl code to do some pointless calculations, and, well, basically anything I could think of.

Unfortunately, I had to repeat this process multiple times because I was backing up and trying things again with Kerberos. (No, I still don't have that working.) Sometimes I would get frustrated and just quit doing anything on the system. It was, shall we say, a test of patience that I did not always pass with flying colors. I'd like to find more effective (and less hands-on) methods of generating random activity on the machine to help with key generation, because I'm sure there is more of that ahead of me. Feel free to leave any useful ideas you have in the comments!

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Stuart J. Whitmore is an author of fiction and nonfiction, as well as a photographer, technology developer, and more. If you enjoy reading his blog posts, you might also enjoy reading his books. Take a look at the books by Stuart J. Whitmore today, and download your copy of one that looks interesting to you!