(This is a two part article – 10 real-life applications (Part 2) can be read here)
The Sony Playstation 3 was released in Japan 11th November, the US on the 17th November 2006 and finally in Europe on 23 March 2007 (60GB model). As the 1st year anniversary in Europe approaches I thought it would be useful to look into the real life applications of the PS3 or rather the ways in which people have used its capabilities outside of its intended (read primary) purpose as a Blu-ray player and games console.
See the first five after the jump…
1. Virtually indestructible!
The team at PS3 Vault decided it was time to investigate what putting the machine under different operating loads and environments would affect its performance. Starting with a list of conditions to give reliable results the team proceeded to play games and watch films through 108 hours in 3 different environments.
· A typical family room
· The back of a freezer van
· A heat sauna
What the team found was, well quite remarkable, despite the three different conditions and running for over 4 and half days the console did not falter once.
[Via PS3 Vault]
Incidentally a group behind the popular smashmyipod.com site set up PS3 version and ‘successfully’ raised enough cash to smash a PS3 in front of people waiting for their console on launch day. See the extended version of the video at smashmyps3.com
2. Tried and Tested – Unhackable
An owner of a French website set up a contest to hack his ps3 running the site and change the image of a child with the PS3 with an image inside the contest folder. The site was hosted on a machine running Fedora Linux distro. The winner would be a shipped for free the PS3 featured in the picture along with an upgraded hard drive and accessories.
The initial contest date had to be extended and eventually scrapped as it appeared that through the way the organiser had set up the hosting the PS3 could not be cracked.
Contest finishing page (with no winners)
The organiser did allow access to forums that had details of what the other contestants had been trying. Whilst ‘simple’ DOS or ‘dirty’ attack would have successfully hacked the machine the organiser specifically asked that this should not be attempted.
Forum post following the competition (French and English)
[Via ps3.shimpinomori.net (English language)]
3. Real-time ray tracing
Utilising three PS3s to conduct software real time ray tracing can produce spectacular results. In the video 3 are hooked together to produce a model that is 75 times more complex than the models used in today’s computer games.
(Video shows the rendering using 3 PS3’s but is not the video shown at GDC 2007)
IBM at GDC 2007 used a linux based PS3 running iRT rendering technology to decompose the process into manageable regions for the other PS3’s for rendering.
[Via PS3 Fanboy]
4. Playstation 3 used to crack passwords but not for evil
Nick Breese of security-assessment.com recently found a way of drastically decreasing the amount of time used to crack passwords, by using a PS3. Using vector computing, Breese has pushed the current upper limit of 10 -15 million cycles per second previously the top end to 1.4 billion cycles per second using the CBE or Cell processor.
The difference in the number of cycles can be attributed to the Cell processor that was designed to do lots of simple calculations quickly, conversely to the Intel processors that do more complex calculations.
The strength of cryptography is in its cracking time, or rather how long it takes to find an exploit. Through using the PS3 running Linux, Breese hopes that through showing its prowess, stronger ways of encrypting data will be produced.
5. Run Linux on a PS3, its not just for boffins and geeks
Sony intentionally authorised the use of Linux on its system… From the above posts you can already see that it has been used effectively by members in the industry. But its not just for those with Linux skills, anybody can install Linux on their machine. Although be sure to read the instructions! (please insert a suitable disclaimer about attempting a Linux install here….)
Install other OS on the PS3 (manual article from Sony)
Some Linux OS’ work better than others, due to codecs and other more complicated procedures required by the PS3. A few are listed below.
Yellow Dog Linux – The “official” Linux OS for PlayStation 3.
PSUbuntu – A PS3 version of the very popular Ubuntu OS
Fedora video with voice over
Linux for PS3 (wikipedia article on the subject)
As this area of PS3 development is constantly changing a more comprehensive arcticle on this blog may be produced in the future. Maybe.
That brings me to the end of the first five real-life applications of the PS3, though most are applications of Linux based programs, they have shown that the machine can be used for completely different applications.