(Topic ID: 114530)

Stern's new platform titled 'Spike'


By flynnibus

4 years ago



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    #201 4 years ago
    Quoted from dkpinball:

    being able to accept credit cards

    There's an outside air pump at my local gas station that accepts credit cards - $1. Pinball should be able to do the same.

    #202 4 years ago

    Have we seen the LED boards yet? For all we know they could be socketed so you can change individual LEDs.

    #203 4 years ago
    Quoted from dkpinball:

    If there's one argument for using a PC at the heart of a solution it is having a lot of flexibility to add features.
    ... although with flexibility comes complexity and fail points... always yin and yang.

    Not in this case. These levels of complexity (I wouldn't even call them that) surrounding those features are so simple there isn't really a failure point to discuss. The most difficult piece of network access which most people gloss over is the network information entry. If we just said we would allow Ethernet and DHCP only it would be extremely easy. But that's not really feasible however could you imagine entering a 60 character wpa key via flippers and then subsequently entering ip/net mask/gateway/DNS assuming the network isn't using dhcp on top of that? People would want to kill themselves before getting 1/2 way through that mess . I have a way around that nightmare and I'm working on it but it has to be perfect. From then on its not all that difficult.

    #204 4 years ago
    Quoted from sd_tom:

    i hope they at least make it so you don't lose your settings when you replace the batteries (i.e., not really need the battery for anything other than keeping time).

    You don't lose your settings when replacing batteries as long as the pin is still plugged in when you do so.

    #205 4 years ago
    Quoted from RobT:

    You don't lose your settings when replacing batteries as long as the pin is still plugged in when you do so.

    I guess I was thinking williams. Some guy put one of those super capacitor battery replacements in my NGG and the damn thing drops everything within 7 days of not playing it.. obviously I am not playing it enough.

    #206 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pinchroma:

    could you imagine entering a 60 character wpa key via flippers and then subsequently entering ip/net mask/gateway/DNS assuming the network isn't using dhcp on top of that? People would want to kill themselves before getting 1/2 way through that mess

    This could be done with a smart phone—same way all these "internet of things work." (Philips Hue light bulbs, your home router, your TV, etc. For pinball, you hit a "connect" button on the inside of the machine (or navigate there via the traditional service menu) and it shows a code on the DMD and starts broadcasting on its own SSID. You connect to that SSID on your phone or laptop, launch a browser to it, and enter all your settings for the WiFi (as well as your operator settings, view audits, earnings analytics, etc.) Then you restart the machine and you're off and running. (This could all be via BlueTooth and/or iBeacon too.)

    BTW we're doing this in the Mission Pinball Framework (open source pinball software for P-ROC / FAST), as well as the email alerts / cloud-based trouble dashboard / web-based server menu. We're IT operations guys, so to us a pinball machine is just another device to be managed.. it can do reports, change settings, etc, (Details here: https://missionpinball.com/blog/2014/10/the-mission-pinball-framework-roadmap-vision-for-the-future-of-pinball/)

    I would imagine SPIKE and JJP are thinking along the same lines.. certainly running Linux makes this all a lot easier. (Plenty of web server options, email senders, Nagios interface, web connectivity, etc.) It will be rad.

    #207 4 years ago
    Quoted from RobT:

    You don't lose your settings when replacing batteries as long as the pin is still plugged in when you do so.

    you mean turned on, not just plugged in.

    #208 4 years ago
    Quoted from kbliznick:

    you mean turned on, not just plugged in.

    Yep, sorry.

    #209 4 years ago

    I haven't had time to read through this whole thread but this new system looks very similar to the one in MMR. Is it the same system?

    #210 4 years ago
    Quoted from BrianMadden:

    This could be done with a smart phone—same way all these "internet of things work." (Philips Hue light bulbs, your home router, your TV, etc. For pinball, you hit a "connect" button on the inside of the machine (or navigate there via the traditional service menu) and it shows a code on the DMD and starts broadcasting on its own SSID. You connect to that SSID on your phone or laptop, launch a browser to it, and enter all your settings for the WiFi (as well as your operator settings, view audits, earnings analytics, etc.) Then you restart the machine and you're off and running. (This could all be via BlueTooth and/or iBeacon too.)
    BTW we're doing this in the Mission Pinball Framework (open source pinball software for P-ROC / FAST), as well as the email alerts / cloud-based trouble dashboard / web-based server menu. We're IT operations guys, so to us a pinball machine is just another device to be managed.. it can do reports, change settings, etc, (Details here: https://missionpinball.com/blog/2014/10/the-mission-pinball-framework-roadmap-vision-for-the-future-of-pinball/)
    I would imagine SPIKE and JJP are thinking along the same lines.. certainly running Linux makes this all a lot easier. (Plenty of web server options, email senders, Nagios interface, web connectivity, etc.) It will be rad.

    Too convoluted for most folks. One thing that we made SURE of was our platform load/config was able to be done cross platform. Better than 50% of the people I have dealt with and assisted were mac users. It's very short sighted to build a platform that can only be updated or managed by a single operating system.

    #211 4 years ago
    Quoted from QuarterGrabber:

    this whole thread but this new system looks very similar to the one in MMR. Is it the same system?

    It is not. It also looks very similar to FAST Pinball's system (which it also is not), and is conceptually very similar to the P-ROC system. (It doesn't look the same as the P-ROC since the P-ROC uses two-wire serial connections between boards instead of Cat-5 cables.)

    But these are all the same concept. Instead of one huge driver board / switch matrix in the backbox, create lots of little boards which each have some combination of drivers, switches, LEDs, and/or lamps. That way you put the boards closer to the devices they're controlling, you can "scale up / scale down" based on the needs of a particular machine, replacements are cheaper and easier because the board you're replacing is smaller, and parts are more interchangeable since each board is smaller and more generic.

    (BTW don't confuse serial board connections with serial-controlled LEDs. Based onthese pictures, these SPIKE boards support traditional RGB LEDs where each LED has a direct connection back to a controller.)

    Anyway, yeah, this looks familiar because this is the way everyone has been going in the past few years.

    #212 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pinchroma:

    Better than 50% of the people I have dealt with and assisted were mac users. It's very short sighted to build a platform that can only be updated or managed by a single operating system.

    Macs have web browsers too nowadays.

    #213 4 years ago
    Quoted from BrianMadden:

    Macs have web browsers too nowadays.

    Lol yes they do last I've checked. But some proprietary systems require custom tools to update which aren't cross platform. We are able to update game code, firmware, and operating system regardless of the OS the user has.

    There are tons of advantages to using industry standard equipment and it affords us a ton of flexibility without having to reinvent the wheel.

    Could you imagine a user calling support and us having to tell them sorry you use a Mac go find a pc? That would go over like a lead balloon

    #214 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pinchroma:

    Could you imagine a user calling support and us having to tell them sorry you use a Mac go find a pc? That would go over like a lead balloon

    "Okay, first make sure you're running Internet Explorer 6 ..."

    #215 4 years ago

    Oh, yeah.. I meant that it's like your Linksys home router where you browse to the machine from any platform and then from there you can change settings and/or apply downloaded firmware updates. Though of course once the pinball machine has Internet access, it can download them on its own and put a credit dot up indicating it's ready for a firmware update. Then once the coin door is open it's has a message "New firmware is ready. Press left flipper to update now, right flipper to ignore."

    #216 4 years ago
    Quoted from Aurich:

    "Okay, first make sure you're running Internet Explorer 6 ..."

    Bwahah. No. "At least ie6". We wouldnt want ie5 or Netscape users calling support. LOLOL

    #217 4 years ago

    I meant that having the flexibility by having additional interfaces that you may use one day but are not currently using adds failure points. You could have a capacitor that's being used for an unused eSATA port go bad and cause a motherboard to fail. All for something you weren't using. That's all.

    Also, putting anything on the Internet introduces new crazy attack vectors. And I swear that I'm not making a one thing is better than the other argument here, if the Stern board has no network capability it makes it less flexible, but it's also not susceptible to Heartbleed or ddos.

    I'm surprised that you wouldn't just expect the person wanting advanced options like network connectivity to plug in a keyboard. They're commodity cheap and common as hell, just to do initial setup it wouldn't be asking much for the user or operator to have a keyboard around.

    #218 4 years ago
    Quoted from BrianMadden:

    Oh, yeah.. I meant that it's like your Linksys home router where you browse to the machine from any platform and then from there you can change settings and/or apply downloaded firmware updates. Though of course once the pinball machine has Internet access, it can download them on its own and put a credit dot up indicating it's ready for a firmware update. Then once the coin door is open it's has a message "New firmware is ready. Press left flipper to update now, right flipper to ignore."

    Already built into our game. Updater supports that already. Again the challenge is around config in an area where so much variability exists (networking). The actual Internet based update capability and the Ecosystem surrounding it is there.

    #219 4 years ago
    Quoted from dkpinball:

    I meant that having the flexibility by having additional interfaces that you may use one day but are not currently using adds failure points. You could have a capacitor that's being used for an unused eSATA port go bad and cause a motherboard to fail. All for something you weren't using. That's all.
    Also, putting anything on the Internet introduces new crazy attack vectors. And I swear that I'm not making a one thing is better than the other argument here, if the Stern board has no network capability it makes it less flexible, but it's also not susceptible to Heartbleed or ddos.
    I'm surprised that you wouldn't just expect the person wanting advanced options like network connectivity to plug in a keyboard. They're commodity cheap and common as hell, just to do initial setup it wouldn't be asking much for the user or operator to have a keyboard around.

    If you do support for a week you will see why that's not really a viable option . I have a workaround for it. One thing to note is no game will EVER be exposed to the Internet. There won't be any attack vectors because the games are egress only. They will pull from target and push to target. Never will an outside system be the initiator so there will never be a single open inbound port on any machine and even egress ports and hosts are limited.

    #220 4 years ago
    Quoted from dkpinball:

    I'm not sure if you're assuming it's Stern. It can be anyone really, just the operator would be enough. This is standard on IT infrastructure equipment. I have servers, ups's, a/c units, and network equipment e-mail me all the time with health problems. Really I only get notified when there is an issue, so it's only a few e-mails a day.
    I'd love it if I was an operator and I got e-mails telling me that a ball is lost or a switch isn't registering, or some other problem.
    For one, you might be able to skip stops checking on machines and use that time to work on machines that are having problems.
    Even better would be if you could poll all of the machines. Just responding and saying all is well saves a trip.
    This actually opens the door to being able to accept credit cards. Imagine a machine on location that you didn't have to visit except to clean it every few months.
    Post edited by dkpinball

    Yeah I definitely assumed stern would handle it. So yeah, if you treat it like an IT consulting firm as opposed to in house, so operators checking the diagnostic emails, and not stern, that is a great idea. I just wonder the availability of the parts especially if they are new components that haven't been used in pinball machines before. This coming from a pinball IT dunce. Haha

    #221 4 years ago

    I thought we were talking about sending email and processing credit cards, etc. that's using an Internet connection, no?

    #222 4 years ago

    Spare parts are always a concern for a new system. That's a big gamble. Make twice as much as you need or assume you did a good job and order a few extra. How much do you want to pay for insurance....

    #223 4 years ago
    Quoted from dkpinball:

    I thought we were talking about sending email and processing credit cards, etc. that's using an Internet connection, no?

    Processing credit cards? No. Sending emails yes but that's egress only. There are no attack vectors for machines you can't reach.

    First basic rule of security: a machine you can't get to you can't hack

    #224 4 years ago

    Yea but we're talking about connecting the machine to the network to send an email. That puts you on the network and presumably on the Internet. Once you're plugged in man, you've got a bunch of stuff to worry about.

    #225 4 years ago

    Connect our pinball machines to the internet. Will this make them susceptible to an internet virus?

    #226 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pinchroma:

    If you do support for a week you will see why that's not really a viable option . I have a workaround for it. One thing to note is no game will EVER be exposed to the Internet. There won't be any attack vectors because the games are egress only. They will pull from target and push to target. Never will an outside system be the initiator so there will never be a single open inbound port on any machine and even egress ports and hosts are limited.

    If it talks... there's a vector. If it has a network stack connected to the net... there's a vector. Hijacking outbound connections and fooling the system into loading hacked firmware is a huge vector depending on how code signing is validated before execution.

    Obviously reducing surface area is step one... but don't kid yourself that means no exposure.

    #227 4 years ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    If it talks... there's a vector. If it has a network stack connected to the net... there's a vector. Hijacking outbound connections and fooling the system into loading hacked firmware is a huge vector depending on how code signing is validated before execution.
    Obviously reducing surface area is step one... but don't kid yourself that means no exposure.

    Considering all of our code is signed and mapped to a dongle nothing unsigned will ever execute. And to trick the machine you would need to have physical access to it. If you want to mess with your machine go right ahead but for what reason? There isn't anything of value on there so no "attack" vectors exist. For me loading unsigned code isn't an attack vector. It's your machine. Load whatever you want on it. If the machine stored PII or PCI related data that would be relevent but someone's audits isn't exactly something anyone concerns themselves with.

    #228 4 years ago

    If it's running Linux and has a network stack, it can be hacked and run a bitcoin miner.

    The likelihood of it is very slim given the platform, especially if you have it hardened really well - signing code is good - but never underestimate the resourcefulness of hackers!

    But the benefit of having the machines online far outweighs the risks. Imagine national high score tables!

    #229 4 years ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    If it's running Linux and has a network stack, it can be hacked and run a bitcoin miner.
    The likelihood of it is very slim given the platform, especially if you have it hardened really well - signing code is good - but never underestimate the resourcefulness of hackers!
    But the benefit of having the machines online far outweighs the risks. Imagine national high score tables!

    Hey if someone wants to run a bitcoin miner the pinball machine in someone's house isn't the likely target. Their desktop on the same network is going to be 4000000x easier to get to than the Linux box that has ZERO open ports and no remote access and also doesn't respond to icmp. Good luck even finding it exists short of hacking the router and seeing an unknown Mac address in the arp table.

    #230 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pinchroma:

    Too convoluted for most folks. One thing that we made SURE of was our platform load/config was able to be done cross platform. Better than 50% of the people I have dealt with and assisted were mac users. It's very short sighted to build a platform that can only be updated or managed by a single operating system.

    When did being an 'it guy' make people experts in embedded systems? There are so many advantages to the SOC design it's hard to even seriously compare that vs a full on PC for mission critical applications. The standard issue way that most smart devices are joined to home networks is very simple and easily implemented across platforms. Not sure how you'd do it with an iBeacon but you certainly could via BLE. Somehow golden tee manages to get online safely

    I think everyone over time will understand what stern's really done here with an embedded platform but it will take time for the 'IT guys' to accept it. They've managed to build everything necessary to do a game just as complex as woz with a fraction of the hardware. Something that should ring very loudly with the IT guy crowd is the whole concept of not repairing a faulty desktop computer because it's vastly more cost effective to just replace it if it's out of warranty. Stern's on the right track with that for operators. When the entire system can be replaced in minutes that's where you get value. Sure, a stick of ram is cheap, what's expensive is the time and labor it took a field tech or home user to finally FIND that is the problem in an overly complex design. If 3 hours of labor costs more than just replacing the board that's a savings, with Woz it's very easy to spend 3 hours trying to source an issue.

    -1
    #231 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pinchroma:

    Considering all of our code is signed and mapped to a dongle nothing unsigned will ever execute. And to trick the machine you would need to have physical access to it.

    No you don't - your footprint on the net and the fact you are talking out over the wire gives someone the chance to redirect that traffic mid-stream to a malicious target that can then spoof your intended target pushing content back to you through your 'trusted' channel.

    Quoted from Pinchroma:

    If you want to mess with your machine go right ahead but for what reason? There isn't anything of value on there so no "attack" vectors exist. For me loading unsigned code isn't an attack vector. It's your machine. Load whatever you want on it. If the machine stored PII or PCI related data that would be relevent but someone's audits isn't exactly something anyone concerns themselves with.

    even if there was nothing 'of value' retained locally... zombies are not welcome.. and then can become their own distribution point of other stuff.

    Your dismissive attitude is very dated.

    Of course there is always the "who will bother?" angle.. but don't fool yourself that no listeners = unbeatable. The network stack itself is still the broadside of the barn you can't hide and you are active on the net.. even if only outbound.

    #232 4 years ago
    Quoted from gamestencils:

    When did being an 'it guy' make people experts in embedded systems? There are so many advantages to the SOC design it's hard to even seriously compare that vs a full on PC for mission critical applications. The standard issue way that most smart devices are joined to home networks is very simple and easily implemented across platforms. Not sure how you'd do it with an iBeacon but you certainly could via BLE. Somehow golden tee manages to get online safely
    I think everyone over time will understand what stern's really done here with an embedded platform but it will take time for the 'IT guys' to accept it. They've managed to build everything necessary to do a game just as complex as woz with a fraction of the hardware. Something that should ring very loudly with the IT guy crowd is the whole concept of not repairing a faulty desktop computer because it's vastly more cost effective to just replace it if it's out of warranty. Stern's on the right track with that for operators. When the entire system can be replaced in minutes that's where you get value. Sure, a stick of ram is cheap, what's expensive is the time and labor it took a field tech or home user to finally FIND that is the problem in an overly complex design. If 3 hours of labor costs more than just replacing the board that's a savings, with Woz it's very easy to spend 3 hours trying to source an issue.

    If it takes more than 45 seconds to diagnose a memory issue find another tech. And I'm not an "IT" guy btw.

    #233 4 years ago

    It is exciting to see that Stern is finally progressing beyond simply a price point pre-occupation. As the competitors have added LCD screens and RGB LED lighting, Stern has (reluctantly) added some LED's to its games. And arguably, this new Stern modular system will be less costly and easier to fix. There is nothing like a little competition to move the ball forward. I am grateful that Stern kept the lights on during the dark years, but I am similarly grateful that JJP has created some angst in the system and motivated advances in the market place. Ultimately, this competition benefits us, the consumers.

    #234 4 years ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    No you don't - your footprint on the net and the fact you are talking out over the wire gives someone the chance to redirect that traffic mid-stream to a malicious target that can then spoof your intended target pushing content back to you through your 'trusted' channel.

    even if there was nothing 'of value' retained locally... zombies are not welcome.. and then can become their own distribution point of other stuff.
    Your dismissive attitude is very dated.
    Of course there is always the "who will bother?" angle.. but don't fool yourself that no listeners = unbeatable. The network stack itself is still the broadside of the barn you can't hide and you are active on the net.. even if only outbound.

    Even if someone went through the trouble of targeting a specific pinball machine's (lol)Content via some MIM attack the end code would not be downloaded or executed so again it doesn't matter.

    But I'll play this game:

    Let's assume a "hacker guy" creates some way to bypass our code signing and ALSO manages to do a MIM or bypass to our pre-populated target information and ALSO managed to steal our private key they would ALSO have to find a way of completely reconfiguring the operating system removing every piece of the stateless configurations which reset back to default on every single boot including the tcp stack which is loaded ONLY when we execute something requiring it and unloads immediately after.

    So this hacker has now spent a few thousand hours of work to be able to intercept us sending an email to an op? Sure. By all means but if they do someone needs to move out of their parents basement and get a job

    #235 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pinchroma:

    Their desktop on the same network is going to be 4000000x easier to get to than the Linux box that has ZERO open ports and no remote access and also doesn't respond to icmp.

    I agree, it's unlikely, but not zero percent.

    I have a lot of experience running high value hacking targets that are under constant attack so I know it's possible to keep them out, but that involves constant updates and patches.

    But, the risk/reward for a hacker is probably pretty low like you say. Bring on the internet pinballs!

    #236 4 years ago

    I don't understand why people are comparing with JJP so much. The JJP system seems to favor a Hardware Abstraction theory for it's platform. Write to a software abstraction layer that is widely supported and has a very positive future ahead of it.. (linux). The hardware BELOW the platform can be modernized, changed out, etc with minimal impact to the software running on the platform. That's where Alex keeps going on about the 'swap it' future proofing.

    SPIKE on the other hand looks to be another hardware specific embedded system platform that has chosen to be distributed and extendable through modules vs a monolithic board system. It's not clear how much Stern has focused on abstraction vs simply taking linux and other elements for their simple time to market needs. So much of this JJP vs Stern stuff just seems to be talking apples and oranges.

    And people are reading too much into the PR guy stuff. The tips to the 'proven auto' tech is talking about the bus technology... not necessarily that the boards or components are taken from proven designs. We all have to remember we are getting our info from marketing/PR people... not the hardware engineer

    What remains to be seen is just how Stern is going to interact with it's distributors and operators to leverage this FRU strategy (field replacable unit). Are they going to help people stock components or force people to buy everything up front? Are they going to offer improved support like timely advance replace, etc? We have a new product, but are they going to alter how the field OPERATES?

    Just how re-usable are designs going to be from game to game? Are we going from a handful of game specific boards that were field repairable to a dozen game-specific boards per release that need to be stocked or advanced replaced, etc?

    #237 4 years ago

    A lot of this is conjecture, I might have missed it but I don't think we've seen anything that says the new Stern system has network connectivity, just that it would be cool if it does.

    the JJP system can do it, it's cool. But it's ridiculous to say it has no vulnerabilities, just that a vast majority of them have been mitigated. I don't think a JJP system is getting hacked. But then again saying its impenetrable is going to invite skepticism and criticism.

    #238 4 years ago
    Quoted from dkpinball:

    A lot of this is conjecture, I might have missed it but I don't think we've seen anything that says the new Stern system has network connectivity, just that it would be cool if it does.
    the JJP system can do it, it's cool. But it's ridiculous to say it has no vulnerabilities, just that a vast majority of them have been mitigated. I don't think a JJP system is getting hacked. But then again saying its impenetrable is going to invite skepticism and criticism.

    Nothing is impenetrable. But every possible mitigation has been taken making it time wise just not worth it but like I said if someone wants to mess with their game, let them. It's their game .

    #239 4 years ago
    Quoted from gamestencils:

    They've managed to build everything necessary to do a game just as complex as woz with a fraction of the hardware.

    Well said Brian. I agree with everything you said, but the above especially rings so true and pertinent to this thread.

    Simplicity is king no matter what the application. Anyone who would argue that its better to have a much more complex and expensive system than what is really needed to do the job is simply fooling themselves.

    #240 4 years ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    I don't understand why people are comparing with JJP so much. The JJP system seems to favor a Hardware Abstraction theory for it's platform. Write to a software abstraction layer that is widely supported and has a very positive future ahead of it.. (linux). The hardware BELOW the platform can be modernized, changed out, etc with minimal impact to the software running on the platform. That's where Alex keeps going on about the 'swap it' future proofing.
    SPIKE on the other hand looks to be another hardware specific embedded system platform that has chosen to be distributed and extendable through modules vs a monolithic board system. It's not clear how much Stern has focused on abstraction vs simply taking linux and other elements for their simple time to market needs. So much of this JJP vs Stern stuff just seems to be talking apples and oranges.
    And people are reading too much into the PR guy stuff. The tips to the 'proven auto' tech is talking about the bus technology... not necessarily that the boards or components are taken from proven designs. We all have to remember we are getting our info from marketing/PR people... not the hardware engineer
    What remains to be seen is just how Stern is going to interact with it's distributors and operators to leverage this FRU strategy (field replacable unit). Are they going to help people stock components or force people to buy everything up front? Are they going to offer improved support like timely advance replace, etc? We have a new product, but are they going to alter how the field OPERATES?
    Just how re-usable are designs going to be from game to game? Are we going from a handful of game specific boards that were field repairable to a dozen game-specific boards per release that need to be stocked or advanced replaced, etc?

    +10000. They are further apart than they are alike. The end result is a pinball platform and the OS (though how it's used is unknown) are where the similarities end.

    #241 4 years ago
    Quoted from Monster_Bash:

    Lets say we have a hard drive failure. The new Stern cost ya $5..the Woz cost ya $50. See I can pick the extreme end of the parts numbers too.
    Shall I find the cheapest pinball MPU and the most expensive CPU\MB\Memory combo? I could..but I'm to lazy. There's are many sub $200 MPU replacement boards available.
    It ten years (your timeline) are going to be able to get a new (again..you said brand new) compatible process for the current WoZ board? Probably not..so you're buying the board and at least the memory.
    As a consumer in ten years (using your timeline again) how do I know what compatible board\CPU combo to buy when my Woz board blows up (you specifically said 'brand new motherboard') ? Will SATA controllers go away like IDE..what about a storage then? Will USB still be available on my 'new' board in ten years..or will it take the path of RS232 and PS2? And the most important...how to I port the software over to my new board? Does the WoZ OS magically have support board components that aren't released yet?

    20150103_131804.jpg 135 KB

    RS232 can still be found on networking hardware.

    PS2 ports are mostly gone but you can still get usb to ps2 cables.

    USB should still be here for at least the next 5 years and even after it's gone there will like some kind of backwards compatible cables / cards.

    the linux os has lot's of drivers build in also you can likely run the game in a VM with usb pass through.

    SATA controllers have IDE mode now days so some thing like that may still there and pci-e based storeger cards load boot roms like ide cards / scsi cards and sata cards.

    #242 4 years ago
    Quoted from dkpinball:

    A lot of this is conjecture, I might have missed it but I don't think we've seen anything that says the new Stern system has network connectivity, just that it would be cool if it does.

    It was mentioned by stern in terms of future growth/possibilities the platform can enable

    10
    #243 4 years ago

    Time out for a minute to go back to the main topic at hand. Being an electronics engineer, the tech side of things is a lot of fun to look at. I always end up working on and fixing these things, so I really appreciate what I am seeing thus far from the new system. It looks simple and easy to work on.

    Picture #1: Wow is it small and simple. Just a tiny CPU board and computer power supply in the backbox!! Uses a full size SD card and no hard drive. Yay! Hardly any wires running to the cabinet, just data cables. It also has LEDs right on the CPU board to replace the fluorescent tube in the backbox. This is a double-yay because not only does this eliminate a horrendous "feature" in previous Sterns, they will be able to dim and brighten the lighting in software and provide more evenly dispersed light than the tube provided. Hopefully there will be a "low" setting for gameplay to reduce glare.

    Picture #2 and 3: Notice how little wiring is under the playfield? That is because the driver board in the backbox (or hidden in the base of the cabinet) has been replaced by little generic driver boards mounted right on the bottom of the playfield. You can see one of them in the upper left corner of picture #2 above the flipper assembly. You can also make one out in the upper center of picture #3. By mounting them right on the playfield near the coils they control, the wiring is cut to a minimum. I can see in the pictures that the components are clearly good old through hole parts (not surface mount) that can be changed by the average pin tech. Also, these boards are small and simple enough to be cheap. They can be discarded and replaced if they get hacked too bad and it will be feasible to have spares on hand for quick repairs in the field. It also means they can design as many or few coils as you want in a machine and simply add and subtract driver boards. Nice to see the Pros are now fully LEDs with the correct power supply to prevent strobing, ghosting and flickering.

    Picture 4: Sorry but this is just cool to look at. I also love the 2-wire ramps in this game. They just look clean.

    In the last year I have heard nothing but people bitching for innovation. Its sitting here right in front of our eyes both in system and game design...

    OK now back to the bitching, moaning and arguing.

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    #244 4 years ago
    Quoted from dkpinball:

    I'm not sure if you're assuming it's Stern. It can be anyone really, just the operator would be enough. This is standard on IT infrastructure equipment. I have servers, ups's, a/c units, and network equipment e-mail me all the time with health problems. Really I only get notified when there is an issue, so it's only a few e-mails a day.
    I'd love it if I was an operator and I got e-mails telling me that a ball is lost or a switch isn't registering, or some other problem.
    For one, you might be able to skip stops checking on machines and use that time to work on machines that are having problems.
    Even better would be if you could poll all of the machines. Just responding and saying all is well saves a trip.
    This actually opens the door to being able to accept credit cards. Imagine a machine on location that you didn't have to visit except to clean it every few months.
    Post edited by dkpinball

    and the CC fees will kill you also what if some puts an credit card skimmer on the game or does a target like hack?

    I can see WiFi but then you need to configure it and if the location changes there setting or in some cases the router then you may needed to set it locally. I don't think all ops are IT guys and some locations use 3rd party wifi systems (some with web click though to get on line) others just have basic and or an ISP routers.

    What if a place has an ISP modem / router and the ISP needs to change it out will the location know to call the opt to reset the pinball? what they needed to get the internet working now and forget about calling you?

    #245 4 years ago
    Quoted from BrianMadden:

    This could be done with a smart phone—same way all these "internet of things work." (Philips Hue light bulbs, your home router, your TV, etc. For pinball, you hit a "connect" button on the inside of the machine (or navigate there via the traditional service menu) and it shows a code on the DMD and starts broadcasting on its own SSID. You connect to that SSID on your phone or laptop, launch a browser to it, and enter all your settings for the WiFi (as well as your operator settings, view audits, earnings analytics, etc.) Then you restart the machine and you're off and running. (This could all be via BlueTooth and/or iBeacon too.)
    BTW we're doing this in the Mission Pinball Framework (open source pinball software for P-ROC / FAST), as well as the email alerts / cloud-based trouble dashboard / web-based server menu. We're IT operations guys, so to us a pinball machine is just another device to be managed.. it can do reports, change settings, etc, (Details here: https://missionpinball.com/blog/2014/10/the-mission-pinball-framework-roadmap-vision-for-the-future-of-pinball/)
    I would imagine SPIKE and JJP are thinking along the same lines.. certainly running Linux makes this all a lot easier. (Plenty of web server options, email senders, Nagios interface, web connectivity, etc.) It will be rad.

    Quoted from Pinchroma:

    Considering all of our code is signed and mapped to a dongle nothing unsigned will ever execute. And to trick the machine you would need to have physical access to it. If you want to mess with your machine go right ahead but for what reason? There isn't anything of value on there so no "attack" vectors exist. For me loading unsigned code isn't an attack vector. It's your machine. Load whatever you want on it. If the machine stored PII or PCI related data that would be relevent but someone's audits isn't exactly something anyone concerns themselves with.

    you can hack the OS / or maybe even the system bios. Some MB's have PIxie boot on by default. Intel management engine, ect. That is a hack point and lot's of embedded system out there are at there default passwords as well. Also JJP is useing common intel MB so no needed buy on from JJP at markup + shipping costs.

    and seeing how people don't do updates all it takes is some to do a zero day hack or just hack systems that don't have the update installed.

    #246 4 years ago

    Can we just move on past the hacking topic? No one is going to DDoS your WOZ.

    Quoted from John_I:

    Nice to see the Pros are now fully LEDs with the correct power supply to prevent strobing, ghosting and flickering.

    I wonder though if they're doing actual fading or not. Both in the GI and the inserts. It would be really nice if they programmed in blooming and fading to the inserts ala LED OCD. It makes such a huge difference.

    They obviously did with Star Trek Prem/LE, so here's hoping with SPIKE games it's a normal feature now.

    #247 4 years ago

    "This systems will be harder to fix!"

    Of course it will, it's modern electronics. Not supposed to be fixed. Swap out the bad module pop in a new one. All the stuff that fails will be on those sub boards - barring a lightning strike main board probably won't break.

    Regarding SD cards where they fail is the write cycles. Just like an EEPROM each element is guaranteed for something like 1,000,000 writes. You might think "how would I ever reach that?" Well an OS using the SD as a file system (like the Raspberry Pi) performs many operations behind the scenes constantly. This can cause failures over time.

    Spike probably has onboard flash that it uses for the filesystem (Beaglebone black does this) and the SD is used for updates and mass storage. Nothing else comes close to SD as far as cost and storage goes.

    I couldn't care less about WWE theme but I'm dying to take a look inside the game! Wonder if they finally ditched transformers too?

    #248 4 years ago
    Quoted from Joe_Blasi:

    you can hack the OS / or maybe even the system bios. Some MB's have PIxie boot on by default. Intel management engine, ect. That is a hack point and lot's of embedded system out there are at there default passwords as well. Also JJP is useing common intel MB so no needed buy on from JJP at markup + shipping costs.
    and seeing how people don't do updates all it takes is some to do a zero day hack or just hack systems that don't have the update installed.

    Pxe is disabled, the bios is password locked (not by a default password either) and all of that requires physical access (and a ton of time) to the machine. Again if someone wants to hack their own machine, no problem but the act of remotely hacking a machine over the internet is going to be a near impossible feat. Like winning the lottery twice in one week kind of odds.

    #249 4 years ago
    Quoted from benheck:

    ...I'm dying to take a look inside the game! Wonder if they finally ditched Transformers too?

    +1

    #250 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pinchroma:

    Pxe is disabled, the bios is password locked (not by a default password either) and all of that requires physical access (and a ton of time) to the machine. Again if someone wants to hack their own machine, no problem but the act of remotely hacking a machine over the internet is going to be a near impossible feat. Like winning the lottery twice in one week kind of odds.

    JJP games even don't have E-net jacks on the outside by default.

    But they use common Intel boards so if one fails then they can buy a new one on there own vs buying the same one or even an older one at higher cost from JJP.

    also what say that JJP adds WIFI setup and tells people use your own PCI-e / pci card that works with linux or get a E-net to WIFI box that needs a bit of setup and is less likely to have software that easily tie in to a basic menu that lets you pick an SSID / enter a password for WIFI.

    Not all pinball people are IT people and JJP may want to add the cost of WIFI cards to each game when they can say use E-net (build in to the MB) or get your own card for WIFI if you want it.

    also with on line you can hack the network on the out side and do lots of stuff to that data link anyways.

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