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The State of ZFS On Linux

Voyager529 Re:Technobabble... (366 comments)

For all the technobabble in that summary, I still don't know what ZFS offers me over other filesystems. Maybe the guys working on the system should do a little marketing course, or work on their 'elevator pitch'...

Here's my attempt...

1.) ZFS does software RAID as its normal mode of existence. It's naturally contested as to whether this is a good thing, but it depends on context. ZFS doing software RAID on a busy MySQL server? Not great. ZFS doing software RAID on a FreeNAS box whose lot in life is to shuffle data two and from a bank of hard disks? Better.
2.) Datasets. These are best described as the lovechild of folders and partitions. Like partitions, they can have their own mount points, their own permissions, storage quotas, and their own compression settings. Like folders, it's possible to have dozens of datasets on a volume, and then let the dataset use as much of the volume's storage capacity as needed, and dynamically expand or contract them as necessary.
3.) Snapshots. If you're used to Windows, think "Shadow Copies", but easier to work with.
4.) Deduplication. This *can* be dangerous, but deduplication can be enabled on a per-dataset level, so if you have a known set of data that has massive duplication (e.g. a dozen Windows VM disks for a test environment), it can save a whole lot of hard disk space.
5.) ZFS brings a lot of the functionality of the more expensive SCSI cards to commodity hardware with basic drives, and can do its thing with a hodgepodge of disks. This is useful if you're like me and think it's useful to have a RAID-6 array with drives from several vendors to help mitigate the risk of a homogenous manufacturing run.
6.) Not a feature of ZFS directly, but ZFS and FreeNAS/Nas4Free/Nexenta have a rather symbiotic relationship. If a NAS is built running a BSD distribution explicitly designed for storage, these distros make it extremely easy to manage the storage array and use the data transfer protocols best suited for the task at hand - all support FTP, SMB, iSCSI, and NFS, with some more exotic stuff generally available as well.

about a week ago

Hackers Claim PlayStation Network Take-Down

Voyager529 Re:progress (97 comments)

Not 20, not living in a dorm, and not living in 1995.

Most of my friends have laptops, and amongst the reasons we play older titles is so that they don't need $5,000 Alienware laptops to join. Setup time isn't terrible, especially since "connect to the wifi" is all it really takes (though we do prefer hardwired where practical)...that, and newer games don't work over a LAN anyway.

"Coordinating everyone's free time" is something that literally everyone does when they throw a gaming is a less acceptable activity to do at a social gathering than getting completely drunk, or pretending to like people you're stuck talking to?

There are advantages for a LAN party, too: we don't deal with 14-year-olds calling us fags the whole time. We have zero lag, ever. We have zero need for headsets, and it's a whole lot of fun to rag on the person sitting next to you. When we play in cooperative mode, planning attacks is much easier.

Finally, when the PSN gets DDoS'd, we're still gaming =).

about three weeks ago

Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

Voyager529 About things "accidentally breaking" (455 comments)

Yes, it will likely happen. However, that is, in my opinion, insufficient disincentive, for the following reasons:

1.) If it "accidentally breaks" 50% of the time, it still means that half the time it's working, which is higher than the 0% we have now.
2.) secondary units could be kept in the glove box; most juries would have a very difficult time believing that both cameras failed, or that a known-dangerous situation wouldn't warrant having both cameras on anyway, or that both police officers involved both had faulty cameras, or if only one went in that he/she was not following protocol....basically, the lack of evidence when there damn well should be would lend more credence to the victim than the police officer, leaving it in the officer's best interest to keep it working (or report it malfunctioning sooner than later).
3.) It would help curb selective enforcement; officers would be more likely to more fully follow protocol.
4.) random footage audits, like random drug tests, would assist in internal investigations; officers whose cameras are 'accidentally broken' during an audit would be much easier to penalize, again, keeping it in the officer's best interest to avoid having a malfunctioning camera.
5.) "I have nothing to hide" is a reason frequently given for giving up one's privacy when prompted to do so. If it's true, then "I have nothing to hide" should most certainly hold accurate for people on the public payroll.
6.) A highly trivial reason, compared to the major ones: checking cameras and footage in and out is a good way to add a few dozen jobs to the local precincts.

It will happen, of course...but if it even partially helps the situation at hand of "he said she said" where either no one trusts the cop (in cases where the officer was either genuinely right or ultimately wrong, but in a split-second decision situation), or victims of police brutality are further victimized by the 'ol boys club', then I'd say it's a hell of a much better use of both my tax dollars and Seagate hard drives than the use of either by the NSA.

about three weeks ago

Hackers Claim PlayStation Network Take-Down

Voyager529 Re:progress (97 comments)

These jerks are targeting everyone. PC and console, Microsoft and Sony.

The GP's point was that Starcraft is possible to play on a server unlikely to get DDoS'd. When my friends and I play Starcraft, it's over a LAN with no internet access at all. If you wish to DDoS my game server, you'll have to trespass to do it.

Targeting any given company's game servers doesn't affect the titles who don't require that players be online to play them.

about a month ago

Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google

Voyager529 Re:Dropbox use AWS (275 comments)

That said, perhaps DropBox could sell a self-hosted version of their software and bring over their ease-of-use.

That's already been done.

The challenge DropBox faces with a self-hosted iteration of its software is that it stops being 'simple'. Existing Dropbox clients would have to be completely rewritten to go from asking "username and password, please" to "username, password, server address, and port, please". Even if we hand-wave away that problem by assuming that users can either correctly type a server name and port number, or that Dropbox will still have 'accounts' but essentially become a DynDNS clone and simply handle network traversal and matching users to their data repositories, we then have to deal with the Dropbox Server software. There may be a market for Dropbox to sell drives like these, but I don't see Western Digital wanting to partner with Dropbox to provide redundant functionality to their existing apps, and I don't see consumers paying more for a Dropbox branded drive if they're already in the "self-contained NAS" market - a handful might, but now Dropbox, for all intents and purposes, finds itself with all the challenges of being an external hard drive vendor...with the added bonus of directly competing with the vendors from whom they're sourcing their parts.

The obvious alternative to this would be for them to sell their software and let it run on a LAMP/WAMP stack, on whatever hardware is on hand, and market it to the enthusiast/enterprise market, like UnRAID or Nexenta. That might be a short term win, especially if they do some fancy stuff with LDAP/Active Directory integration. Conversely, I see it potentially being a support nightmare based on how it deals with storage. Will it install on an Ubuntu desktop containing a hodgepodge of hard disks? Would it be more like FreeNAS where it makes its own software RAID, but requires hardware to be dedicated (or its own VM)? Even at that, how do they bill for the software? One-time use seems like it wouldn't be a good long-term plan, but I don't see too many users being okay with Dropbox charging them an annual fee to use their own hard drives. CALs could be a useful method (arguably the most workable one), but they'd have a hard time managing their consumer-friendly image on one hand with Oracle-style licensing on the other.

Levie is right; 'free' isn't a business model. Dropbox's 2GB number is only sustainable because they're betting that a certain number of those users will go for a paid tier. Either every Dropbox customer will pay, or they start advertising, or they data mine. To my knowledge, those are the three business models that have sustained themselves on the internet. 'Everyone Pays' may be a viable model if Dropbox can do things like sell gift cards for their service (for users unable/unwilling to fork over their Mastercard) and come up with the right formula of how much customers are really willing to pay for storage+ubiquity+simplicity. Although Levie must certainly be feeling the pinch from Microsoft's 1TB of OneDrive for $60/year, the one client we attempted to migrate to that service went back to dropbox VERY quickly because the desktop client was utter crap; I'm left to believe that Dropbox's simplicity still has an edge just yet. Conversely, I don't think that $50/month for 500GB is worthwhile, either - That's only slightly less than it'd cost to buy a 500GB hard disk outright from Newegg every month.

Dropbox is still a well-recognized brand that I'm certain many consumers are still willing to pay a premium for, and Microsoft and Google are competing not only with more storage for less money, but with integration as well - editing a spreadsheet in Sheets or Excel and seamless saving of attachments is not the kind of thing that Dropbox can effectively compete with. Dropbox's best bet right now, in my half-asleep opinion, is to see how much value-add they CAN provide to their existing tiers. I can't quite fathom what that is (a trivial example off the top of my head would be an IM client add-on), but one thing is for sure: they can't easily compete against companies who sell their own gigabytes by selling someone else's gigabytes.

about a month ago

Illinois University Restricts Access To Social Media, Online Political Content

Voyager529 I'm wondering about protocol (130 comments)

According to one of the comments in TFA, https:/// worked fine, so they were only blocking HTTP. This leaves all the other suspects to their devices - the cornucopia of IM clients, VPN traffic, torrent traffic, usenet, diaspora/retroshare, in-game discussion via Steam or Second Life, IRC, etc. Sure, some of those are summarily blocked, but it seems they're doing such a poor job of acting in malice that I'd deem it sufficient to chalk the issue up to incompetence instead.

about a month ago

T-Mobile To Throttle Customers Who Use Unlimited LTE Data For Torrents/P2P

Voyager529 Re:Uh? (147 comments)

Ahh ... So I will improve my question, putting a little context. Here in Brazil, not even the "2G" (EDGE) signal works stably, 3G only works occasionally in the center of the great capitals and 4G is virtually nonexistent. And if that is not bad enough, most carriers provides an unstable connection that practically only serves to make you be charged (is charged per connection in many cases) and then stops working. So imagine what happens when you try to use torrents on this junk.

Your question begats two other questions:

1.) The site redirects to the T-Mobile USA website. I don't know how this works for other subsidiaries, and/or in other countries.
2.) The site explicitly specifies "Unlimited LTE". If you're torrenting at 20KBytes/sec, then your point certainly stands. If you're saturating an LTE tower during peak usages, then that's a different story...but it requires actual LTE service.

about a month ago

T-Mobile To Throttle Customers Who Use Unlimited LTE Data For Torrents/P2P

Voyager529 Re:Uh? (147 comments)

Uh... Who is mad, or desperate enough, to use torrents on a unreliable, slow and capped as hell cellular connection?

I can't speak for where you live specifically, but here in the northeast, I can tell you this much:

1.) T-Mobile is, in most metro-ish areas, as reliable as any other carrier. Also, it's not beyond the realm of realisticness to presume that users torrenting on their phone aren't torrenting while driving - if you're stationary and have four bars of LTE signal, T-Mo is pretty damn solid.

2.) I've gotten 2.5MBytes/sec down on my phone. Not during peak hours, of course, and somewhat varied based on what tower I'm connected to, but >1MByte/sec is quite common - and triple the speed of my home DSL.

3.) T-Mobile still offers kitchen-sink unlimited data plans if you pay enough. On those, they have a cap on tethering, but on the phone, you can download as much as you want. Since Android has a handful of bittorrent applications, it's entirely possible to be torrenting on an unlimited, uncapped data plan.

I don't blame T-Mo for doing what they're doing. Torrenting, by nature, takes a significant amount of bandwidth, requires lots of network connections, pounds the Carrier NAT with connections that can't be completed, requires a metric ton of extra routes, and doesn't stop seeding unless the user sets it as such.

If there's a protocol that's terrible from a cellular provider's standpoint, it's bittorrent. Blocking it on cell phones is about the least objectionable form of "network non-neutrality" that a carrier could implement. On a similar note, I don't know that T-Mobile's music streaming policy is terribly unfair, since they're whitelisting all the major streaming music providers. If they made Pandora free while Slacker had to pay, that's not 'net neutral'. Since everyone who streams audio is included, it's a blurry area for net neutrality.

about a month ago

Yahoo To Add PGP Encryption For Email

Voyager529 Re:Oh, god (175 comments)

I don't particuarly mind the current iteration of Yahoo Mail. It looks loosely like the lovechild of Gmail and, and works about the same.

If the interface is unbearable, a local installation of Roundcube ( will give a different, quite nice alternative, and of course using your favorite POP/IMAP client is viable as well (though admittedly it costs $20/yr for that access).

about a month and a half ago

Expensive Hotels Really Do Have Faster Wi-Fi

Voyager529 Other explanations (72 comments)

Part of this could indeed be network infrastructure - more expensive hotels can afford more robust networking solutions and wireless installers worth a damn that can optimize the way the network works. Other reasons could be upstream - more affluent hotels in more affluent areas will find cable companies caring *just* enough to split nodes where necessary, so the fancier hotels are less limited by their upstream providers.

More likely though, people in ritzy hotels simply aren't using the Wi-Fi. Even if they're not spending the night with a hooker, they're probably using the pool or the spa or the movie theater or the 75" 4K TV in their room to use their own laptop. Some certainly will, but there's a difference between "available for use" and "the only thing to use", which is more the case with the budget hotels.

about a month and a half ago

Inside the Facebook Algorithm Most Users Don't Even Know Exists

Voyager529 Of course they can. (130 comments)

Well I think the idea is that for 99% of accounts that is not possible. There is more content than you could ever read (1500 posts per day).

So FB can either filter out the content based on chronology. Or it can take an educated guess like, he always reads, and often comments on John's posts, so instead of hiding them, we will put them right at the top of his feed when he logs in. And he had never even paused scrolling when confronted with a post from the official Coca Cola page, so maybe he cares less if we filter these out.

I do not know about you, but I do not want to miss some major announcement for my best friend, simply because I liked coca cola and they posted 20 things after he made the announcement.

Here are the answers:

1.) sudo showeverypost. Think it's too much content for me to handle? You're welcome to believe that. Let me decide that, not Mark. If it takes me an hour and a half to sort through everything, then so be it. Either way, I won't see it all.
2.a) eHarmony style. I couldn't possibly send a request to everyone on eHarmony, so they ask me an hour's worth of questions to help filter the kind of person I'm looking for. Facebook could easily do the same thing, and it'd be worth some people's time to help curate it manually. Hell, include a specific section where I can explicitly choose the kinds of ads I want. You don't get much more customized than people explicitly telling you what kind of ads they will respond to.
2b.) sub-categorize re-posts. "Stuff from Buzzfeed", "Stuff from Huffington Post", etc. If they're directly categorized like that, it helps me see what's trending easier, while simultaneously clearing out stuff when I'm looking for stuff from friends.
3.) Auto-Sort. This is what they currently have now.

This is what Facebook needs to implement. Thus, they never will.

about a month and a half ago

Is the App Store Broken?

Voyager529 Re:Recent purchases/downloads (258 comments)

This is already a solved problem:

The first thing you see on the page is the most recent entries, no matter what they are. Genre pages are available, with each genre getting their own page of recent entries. Completely separate to that are 'charts', which show the top tracks from this month, past six months, and 'all time', with both site-wide and per-genre charts available.

The site's search feature needs work, but that's a different problem altogether. The point is that there is room for both a 'recently added' and a 'most popular' set of rankings, and the way to do it is already in place, and in service. Crooklyn Clan has plenty of the same issues that cause the problems shown in the App Store (lots and lots of contributions, poor SnR, frequent turnover, fickle customers), and they've been doing it right for years. All Apple needs to do is forego their adherence to "not invented here".

about 1 month ago

Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

Voyager529 Re:Time Shifting? (317 comments)

This is totally a trolling lawsuit. I mean, just look at their website.

It's fucking stock wordpress.

So, a major company uses open source software and Slashdot complains about it? There's just no winning.....

about 2 months ago

How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

Voyager529 There's only one way that that's a good idea (285 comments)

It's only a good idea if they can negotiate a peering agreement with Verizon so that they don't end up getting the slow internet anyway...but then Verizon will be mad at them and try to get the internet on their side by writing a public nastygram, which might actually be a good thing because Verizon will find itself on the wrong end of the "Think of the Children!" argument.

about 2 months ago

Critroni Crypto Ransomware Seen Using Tor for Command and Control

Voyager529 Re:Backups (122 comments)

As so often, the solution is called "Backup".

Also you could not store your documents in the "My Documents" folder, make a folder on your C drive, store your docs, pics & important stuff in that. So if you do get cryptoransomed they will have done the wrong files.

That will only take you so far. With so many programs defaulting to the My Documents folder, it'd be annoying at best to have to point to c:\realdocs "because viruses". The user could point the "My Documents" folder to c:\realdocs, but now we're in the same boat again. Even if a user decided it was worth the hassle to deprecate the use of the system variable, c:\realdocs would still be accessible by the same user. From Windows' security standpoint, there's no difference between the user being attacked by ransomware, and the user adding a password to an Excel sheet. Thus, ransomware doesn't need root privileges to mess up a user's files.

Even beyond that, the next generation of ransomware wouldn't exactly need a foundational rewrite to go to %user%\recent and see where those files point to and encrypt all the .docx, .xlsx, and .qif files there. I'm sure that somewhere in userland, there's some indication as to where the Dropbox/OneDrive/Gdrive folders are, and encrypting all that stuff. Even less complicated would be to search all available hard drives for user generated file types. .dll files wouldn't be worth it, but .qbw files very much would be. Ultimately, trying to thwart an attack of this nature would be of limited success, because from the most literal of standpoints, the virus is doing nothing different than what a user would be doing.

Amongst the things that makes this kind of attack so successful is that very problem: if you're trying to prevent outbound traffic at the firewall, you've already lost, basically. How does security software distinguish. technically, between a cryptovirus taking a file hostage, and a user passwording a file with WinRAR and uploading it to SpiderOak? That, good friends, is a question that I pay ESET a nontrivial sum to discuss and determine.

about 2 months ago

Google To Stop Describing Games With In-App Purchases As 'Free'

Voyager529 Exposed Stats? (139 comments)

See. what I thought would be a useful stat to show would be "the average amount that those who spend, spend". In other words, if Google showed how much was spent on a given "freemium" app by those who spent >$0. This would give users a meaningful metric with which to decide whether it's worth it to attempt to use the app, because they could, on average, expect to spend that amount. If an app has a spending average of precisely $4.99, and the pro version costs $4.99, then it's fair to assume that users only pay for the 'pro' key within the app, and it won't nickel-and-dime all day. If $25 is the going rate, it's clear that the game is a skinner box and isn't worth it.

Of course, the bleeding obvious issue is that developers wouldn't be too fond of that number getting too high, which people would be less inclined to do once they have the feeling of going 'above average'.

about 2 months ago

Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

Voyager529 Re:Don't ask; I'm not telling ... (383 comments)

You should have offered to help.
For $200/hour + expenses.

Too cheap.

You're negating the value of the "plus expenses" part when paired with a little creativity...

"I'd never make it there in time to help you if I didn't rent that Aston Martin!"
"The only place to eat between my location and your office was Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I certainly didn't want to drive out of my way and delay this further!"
"The only laptop capable of handling that kind of process was the top-tier Macbook Pro...but I negotiated a discount on the iPad that I gave to the CEO in your name to ensure that you get full credit for leveraging the synergies!"

about 2 months ago

FreeBSD 9.3 Released

Voyager529 Re:What is BSD good for? (77 comments)

So I am honestly asking, what is BSD good for. I presently use CentOS and I am perfectly happy with it but for some reason BSD has a magical "hard core" allure. So what I should ask is: what excuse do I need to use it?

Three reasons I personally can think of. First, NetBSD specifically is a fork intended to run on basically anything with a microprocessor. CentOS will run on x86 hardware, and in the form of Pidora and similar, runs on ARM. Try it on an Itanium or SPARC or PowerPC Mac, and things get a smidge more interesting.

Second, ZFS. Now cue those who believe that file system nirvana is found in btrfs or ReiserFS or HFS+, but I'm a huge fan of ZFS as a file system. If you're like me, you'll be using BSD in the form of one of its descendants, like FreeNAS or NAS4Free, where ZFS makes lots of other things much easier.

Finally, the license. I'm neither a programmer nor a recompiler so my use of BSD licensed software is essentially identical to my use of GPL software ('free as in beer', with the occasional bug report). For purists and programmers, there is a difference in what is and isn't allowed under the respective licenses.

about 2 months ago

With New Horizons Spacecraft a Year Away, What We Know About Pluto

Voyager529 Re:Anyone have Cliff Notes? (128 comments)

There's actually an even dumber reason than that.

The RTG on New Horizons was a spare from Cassini. It was very much "use it or lose it" as finding more plutonium for a RTG is getting more difficult every day.

Oh c'mon, you're trying to tell me that *nobody* at NASA had the common sense to call a few Libyan nationalists and order some used pinball machine parts off of Amazon?

about 2 months ago



No Windows 7 XP Mode for Sony Vaio Owners

Voyager529 Voyager529 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Voyager529 writes "While virtually every Core 2 Duo processor supports the hardware virtualization technology that powers the Windows 7 XP Mode, The Register UK reports that the Core 2 Duo processors in the Sony Vaio Z series laptops had the virtualization features intentionally crippled in the BIOS. Senior manager for product marketing Xavier Lauwaert stated that the QA engineers did this to make the systems more resilient against malicious code. He also stated that while they are considering enabling VT in some laptop models due to the backlash, the Z series are not among those being retrofitted."

Linux replacing Active Directory, but with AD UI?

Voyager529 Voyager529 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Voyager529 writes "In about three weeks, I graduate with a BS in Information Technology. The curriculum is largely Windows based. In the token Linux class I did take, my professor spent half the time talking about Roman coins, and the time that we did spend in Linux, we spent using the cat and ls commands, along with other simple scripting issues. These things are useful no doubt, but it seems to be a case of putting the cart before the horse.

Being as most of the system administration stuff I learned on Windows Server and Novell. I would like to learn more about how to administer a LAN using a Linux system as opposed to Windows Server. I tried using SuSe Enterprise Server in a virtual machine at one point. DHCP, DNS, and the like were pretty easy to pick up. The issue I ran into was trying to do the things that are done in Active Directory on the Windows side.

I know that this is slashdot, and all the purists will tell me that I should learn to do all of this on a command line and whatnot, and I don't entirely disagree with you. I just want a place to start. Is there a Linux distro that *gasp* emulates the interface of Windows Server to a sufficient extent that I wouldn't be completely lost in?

Thank you in advance!"


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