E-ink newspaper

Originally published at: E-ink newspaper | Boing Boing


Video link for the BBS



So, basically a very fancy version of digital picture frames without the Internet of Shit?


Well the “thin client listening to an open port” has all the security of a typical internet of shit device, and in fact improbably even less in some ways (as in zero security on anything not firewalled away from it)…but none of the actual central control attacks or illusion of additional security.

Exactly the kind of security we designed into Internet stuff 30 years ago :slight_smile:


Can’t wait to see these over urinals in restaurants. :slightly_frowning_face:

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“Place and Play 32” … $2576.00"

Yikes, that’s one expensive newspaper…


That’s a lot of money for a screen that’s already bigger than I need, and can’t be folded over. I only need an 18” model to line my bird cage.

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Except it’s not just a thin client. It’s running on a Synology server in a Docker container. These are full blown servers running Linux and patched regularly. From the big rack servers to the home model, they have the same security. Out of the box, they come with pretty good security settings, including blocked ports.

They are sold as NAS, but being Linux, they are true servers. You can install and run a wide range of curated packages. Even a virus scanner, for what it’s worth.

I’m a bit biased. Been using them trouble free in multiple locations since 2010. One of our favorite features is a Dropbox clone. Except I’ve got 4 terabyte storage. And at gigabit speeds when at home or work. But I’ve also run VPNs, Plex, etc.

It’s true that if you run something badly written in a container, then you can undo all the security. But at least it’s running on a fairly secure system, not some IoT junk.

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Sure, but they have a brand new service to receive stuff to put on the eInk display. Which was described as a wide open port. It is also a new service that may be subject to buffer overflows, and display protocols are frequently complex. I mean it could just take a bitmap or big array of grayscale levels…but it might actually take a PDF to render (which is one step away from a Turing complete PostScript engine…and a lot of open source PDF rendering systems are based on top of Ghostscript which is a PostScript engine).

Many IOT devices are actually secure except for the actual IOT stuff. Admittedly because in their cases because they just don’t otherwise have any network facing services, not because they have any secure underpinnings.

It would be the same if they based it on OpenBSD, or a Raspberry Pi. The new service is the weak point (well, ok on the RPi the default passwords are also a weak point…).

It would need to last ten years for you to break even. Fifteen if you’re a subscriber.


I get what you mean now. I understood it to be connected through a server with a “thin client” process. Acting as a dumb display … just like most eInk screens. Instead it’s independently connected to the network with an open port. My bad for fast forwarding through parts of the video and not checking the web site.

It could be worse than you said. It comes with a default password and port. They can be changed, but sheesh. This is NOT a product for the average consumer.

One can hope that they are sanatizing anything showing up on the port, but I am not going to hold my breath.

Two and a half grand for the display means that these won’t be used by consumers, they’ll be used for advertising.
This means that a default username/password is a feature, because it will make it easy for hackers to replace the advertising with something else.


For anyone worrying about the price of the display, yes, right now they are very expensive, but they are also amenable to being produced in a roll to roll process and I will not be surprised if the price were to drop precipitously should the use of these larger displays catch on.

Being that they are bistable (they don’t require sustaining energy to hold the image) and reflective (they don’t require a backlight), an e-paper display checks many of the boxes for near- and zero-carbon operation.

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