Re: More on voting stations

From: Karl Auerbach <karl_at_cavebear_dot_com>
Date: Tue May 11 2004 - 21:16:29 CDT

On Tue, 11 May 2004, Alan Dechert wrote:

> My point is that for the level of [slight] customization we need...

I do not believe that we are looking for "slight" customization.

Most consumer PC makers today are building rather high horsepower boxes
with lots of I/O ports. That means lots of heat and lots of opportunities
for peanut butter or troublemaking fingers.

We can't just slap a PC into a folded metal box - such a box would take a
noticable amount of engineering to ensure power, security, safety, and
cooling. And if we have UPS's, and I believe we will, we have fire and
hazardous chemicals to worry about.

This stuff has to be ironclad - we're going to have people who get mad at
candididates and who try to carve "none of the above" into the screens
with their pocket knives. And Goni D Hakr is going to see what happens
when he rubs his feet on the carpet and builds up a nice static charge
before touching the box. (I know someone who blew out a company phone
system by doing just that.)

Most manufacturers won't even begin to talk to people unless you can
promise large production runs. (Recently we had to deal with one company
that wanted not merely production run promises, but our entire business
plan.)

Image is everything here - a cheap looking, cheap feeling box is going to
going to prejudice the mind of those who look at it - With a chincy box
we'd be putting Ferrari ideas into a Yugo chassis.

In addition, we have to engineer appropriate access mechanisms - flash
memory, CD's, printer wires, etc - in ways that make tampering difficult
to do and impossible to do without leaving clear indications.

To my mind the QA and documentation of the software and the mechanical
engineering of the devices are, by a substantial margin, actually the
biggest parts of this project.

                --karl--

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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:36 2004

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