Thursday, September 20, 2012


There are multiple situations where true randomness is desired, ranging from picking the winning numbers for the lottery to computer programs that rely on it for stochastic heuristics or obfuscation; however, often times theses approaches are unfruitful simply because the numbers are based upon an algorithm, which in some cases can be abused by people who want the upper hand, or people who are just downright mean.  That being said, there is a solution that is not dependent upon deterministic methods and generates the most random numbers one can get - is a website that is devoted to the generation of all things random, ranging from digit and character generation to choosing which jazz scales a guitar student should practice next.  Most of their services are free for anyone to use, excluding the random drawing service that is used for purposes like choosing giveaway winners.  The concept is that by using atmospheric noise, which is for the most part close to random, one can map this noise to raw bits.  The fact that the noise is contingent upon a plethora of factors makes it such that currently, it would be difficult for a malicious party to reproduce or predict the results.

Personally, my love for this app stems from the fact that I am a kind of indecisive, scatterbrained guy - I am always a little bit in place A while also being in locale B.  In time, my fickle brain came to like the idea of eclecticism and hate the chore of agonizing over questions like, "What do I want to eat?" or "Which video game should I pick up again?" (both of which can be terribly taxing problems for me on some days.)  There is also the problem of random number and string generation for testing programs.  In cases where I needed random values, I would either quickly write a cruddy program that generates the same "random" numbers if I seed the RNG with the same number or resign to picking values on the fly.  Needless to say, making up these random numbers and strings was a serious inconvenience, and my general indecisiveness is crippling at times when I get faced with questions that require predilections that I don't really have. by and large fixed these problems for me.  I can set up lists of tasks or choices and have pick the next genre of music I listen to, what jazz scales I play on my bass, which type of canned Chef Boyardi pseudo-pasta I consume on any given night, and more.  I can also use it for the purposes of random string and number creation, which makes the fact that I even made random values manually by hand seem really pathetic (which would only be an observation of the truth.)

While other alternatives exist, such as HotBits, which bases its random numbers off of radioactive decay, maintains its reign over its "competitors" via its ease of use, broad selection of preconfigured outputs and uses, and superior random raw bit generation.


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