Using the IBX-100

(continued further)

What you can do

So, you 'surf' around until you find something that interests you, and then you carry on. Using the Bush internet box is rather like using a library book. You can look at it, but you can't keep it.

You can look at ingenious ways to water your plants when you are hundreds of miles away...


You can read shooting scripts for your favourite episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer...

This is Anya's infamous speech from the series five episode 'The Body'.



The browser itself seems quite stable, it is not riddled with JavaScript errors (like Fresco 2.13). There is some debate about the strength of the SSL provided. Well, I can clear this up once and for all...
Choose the SSL check option for instant results.
Yes, the standard Bush box IBX-100 is only 40 bit SSL, which has been classed by many as about as secure as taking your private message and sticking it in an envelope (as opposed to writing it on a postcard (no SSL) or encrypting it (RC4-128 bit SSL)).
This means, in effect, that several on-line services that require an HTTPS link may refuse to accept you. Certainly, one UK building society was offering their customers upgrades because they thought the 40 bit SSL was, well, a bit lame.


Summing it up

The modem is reliable, it keeps the connection until you hang up (or it times out). Note, however, that pressing the yellow "Internet" button to send the unit into standby does not break the connection. You must physically hang up.
Another thing to note, keep your eye on the red ON LINE indicator. Unfavourable conditions can cause the line to be dropped and the only warning you get is the ON LINE indicator goes out; whether it be from line noise or, in my case, pulling the phone connector out. It'd be nice if you got a warning and an option to redial or cancel.


I'm not sure I would have bought one originally, as my way of using the internet is more involved than the box can provide. It is a great shame that there does not seem to be any form of Save option, besides hardcopy. It could be really good with a Zip drive fitted, and an off-line mode to browse stuff stored on the Zip disc. You could then plug the Zip drive into your main RISC OS machine and access the stuff you stored.

However, having one for twenty pounds (from Toys-R-Us) isn't something I'd turn my nose up at. Okay, it isn't a proper computer, but it runs RISC OS and it is hackable. That is a start!

So, I might set this machine up for mom. She's kinda computer-phobic, and this box is a good entry-level way to get onto the Internet and research and stuff. It has a few notable omissions, but by and large it copes. In fact it copes so well it is rather mind-bending to discover the thing has Fresco inside. My God, where's a nice version of Fresco like that for us Argo subscribers?

It is hard to give a final points-out-of-ten for this, because my needs and methods are so very different to the market that this box is aiming for. So I'll let mom loose and ask her for her opinions.


As far as it goes for me. The box is bloody solid. It's a plastic front panel, but besides that the entire thing is cased in metal. It is quite a nice sexy silver colour. The circuitry is built to the exacting standard you expect of Pace, with much surface mount, socketed ROMs, and a generally nice finish (except the final video circuitry which is simpler).
There is another version kicking around, besides the IBX models already mentioned, because if you look really closely at the front panel, you'll see a place that could be made into a cut-out for a smart card kind of thing...
The unit has a very basic back panel with telephone, video, printer, and power. The front panel has three indicators. There is no fluff, what is necessary is right there.
The keyboard shows a similar design. You can close it, hold it longways, and use the internet by following links; or you can open it, hold it lengthways, and type more. The system knows which way up the keyboard is, and it alters the direction of the movement buttons accordingly. Clever!





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Copyright © 2002 Richard Murray