A modern nixie tube clock of great ambition, regrettably IoTed

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/06/dalibor-farny.html

Apparently everything with wifi is now “shit”. Ok.
This is still a terrific item and happily the wifi can be turned off and the nixies adjusted manually should you so desire.


The reason is that the firmware for these devices is generally an afterthought, with no patch-path and no UI that would reveal whether it was compromised. That makes devices like this a juicy target for being added to botnets like Mirai, and also as a staging ground for incursions into your home network. Time-servers running NTP have been the locus of extremely dangerous security vulnerabilities, so the fact that it uses wifi merely for time-setting is not particularly reassuring.


Everything I’ve seen for ntp has been DoS amplification attacks, which is an issue for servers, not clients. (and a malformed-request attack that affects ntp servers running on windows).

Have I missed something that affects clients? Because if this is the low, low bar you’re setting for “internet of shit”, then pretty much anything we’ve connected to the Internet in the last 30 years counts.


I have an old alarm clock that syncs itself to GPS, which I think is different from IoT. It’s super reliable and probably hacker-proof. I think.


Regardless of IoT, does this clock actually look good? Isn’t it a little bit try-hard?


Looking at that headline, I was wondering what on earth lo Ted was, until I realised I was the victim of keming


My “old” syncing clock is set to an older DST scheme so for a couple of weeks in the fall and spring it is off an hour.

Fine if I remember.


I’m pretty sure GPS includes date and DST information.

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If there ever comes a day that I am rich enough to casually drop 30 thousand on a clock, hopefully I will also be wise enough not to do so.


Probably using Radio Time signals, transmitted by Longwave radio. Putting a clock on a network just to get the time is overkill.


he discovered hundreds of untouched Z568M Nixie tubes in an old Soviet warehouse.

Wow. Must be nice. Big tubes like this are incredibly rare and expensive. Well out of reach for most hobbyists like me.

Yes, I am totally jelly.

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Is it possible in principle to build an IoT gadget that gets a few bits from the internet at a time but is too dumb to do any harm to other devices on its network?


For $30K and with those crablike legs, it should follow you around and remind you of appointments. :wink:

Got to admit, it’d be just about perfect for the foyer of an Art Deco mad scientist lair.

Added: After watching the video, I am stunned at the complexity (and appalled at the lack of safety gear on the workers.)

An incredible mix of state of the art machines and some stuff that looks like it was used for making glass for the last Czar. This is worth watching just for some of the super-specialized and arcane equipment used. The metal ruler used as a press brake in the middle of things is amusing.


The nixie tubes are gorgeous; the rest is kind of ridiculous. Can I get this for a little less than $30k for just the tubes and a little Raspberry Pi to set the time?


but what is a Nixie clock without NTP?
the more offensive aspect is the price.

For $30k, it should come with a guy who periodically visits and sets the correct time for you.


You can - check Dalibor Farny’s store. Tubes are 145$ each, and electronic board is 225$. I made my own clock with old Polish nixie tubes, but will definitely be upgrading to these when I have money :slight_smile:


To each his own, but you wouldn’t find it in my house. A bit tacky.