top Death Wish Meets GPS: iPhone Theft Victims Confronting Perps
Google drive ... Backup, Check
Wiki Weapon + 3D Printer ... Guns, Check
Pure Evoke ... Radio, Check
Superdry ... Jacket, Check
top Turkish Finance Minister Defends Twitter Ban
Interesting debate. Not new, but still interesting.
If Twitter does not comply with Turkish law, it is considered natural, since Twitter is based in the US of A and thus not governed by Turkish law. When BETonSPORTS did not comply with American law, their CEO, David Carruthers was arrested in 2006 when in transit to Costa Rica and the following year, founder Gary Kaplan was arrested in the Dominican Republic and extradited to USA — all this despite BETonSPORTS was based in the UK and thus not governed by American law.
top How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?
20 TB is an awful lot of data for backing up over the net.
What I do is backing up over the net to my brother's NAS. (He lives in another country.) I use rsync and it works like a charm. It is a bit of a bother when I have been taking a lot of pictures but as it works in the background and is traffic shaped with low priority, it is manageable. I've got a fairly slow 1Mbps/6Mbps connection, so it takes some time. 20 TB would take the better part of a year, but since I do it incrementally as I get the data, it has been manageable so far. The Raspberry Pi server at my brother's replicates it to a friend's NAS as they both have 10/10 Mbps lines.
I keep a local copy on a Raspberry Pi with a couple of USB drives, just for the fun of it.
Worst case scenario that my house burns down or similar total catastrophe: My brother copies my data to an external disk and sends that by courier to me. Downtime around 24 hours.
And, obviously it is fairly easy to restore individual files over the net.
top Ask The Linux Foundation's Executive Director Jim Zemlin What You Will
I know Linux is all about freedom, especially freedom of choice, but is The Linux Foundation doing anything actively to encourage consolidation instead of fragmentation to avoid the situation Randall Munroe describes in
The current situation: Distributions galore, a profusion of system initialization versions from simple to incomprehensible, a plethora of desktop metaphors (probably stopping this year and next year from being The Year of the Linux Desktop), ...
top New 'pCell' Technology Could Bring Next Generation Speeds To 4G Networks
I know the NSA is behind this
... I mean, tracking phones down to centimeter precision.
top Ask Slashdot: How Do You To Tell Your Client That His "Expert" Is an Idiot?
The best thing to do is communicate your doubts (with functional and technical arguments) and document every step.
Some years back I was hired as technical consultant for a public tender. I dealt with the head of the department that needed the solution and did my work independently of the CTO. After the usual pre-qualification round, we had about five or six companies lined up for the tender proper.
I wrote the Requirement Specification and sent it to the CTO for approval. It came back with exactly ten demands for changes and not one of them made sense, being purely technical requirements. I wrote a memo to the CTO countering each of the ten changes — with a copy to the department head. The CTO wanted a meeting to discuss the issues. The department head and I attended the meeting, which had seven people from the IT department attending (but strangely, not the CTO). I once again countered each change and the IT people seemed to come around in the end.
A couple of days later the department head called me in and said that I had to give the CTO something, at least concede on one point. After reminding the department head that all the changes demanded were for specific ways of solving the problem (i.e. purely technical) and that a Requirement Specification should be purely functional, I had to find the one that was least likely to cause actual harm.
In the end I chose to include one of the CTO's requirements, stating that "the solution should be based on a relational database", hoping that none of the companies would use other types of databases. I changed the wording, informed the CTO and the department head (in writing, naturally), still emphasizing that I thought it was not the best idea and that it potentially could stop one or more of the companies from bidding. The CTO now approved the Requirement Specification and it was duly sent off to the pre-qualified companies.
Shortly after, one of the companies told us they had to opt out as their database was not relational but rather object orientated. The department head sent me a furious note asking me why we had included that requirement. I calmly told him, with a copy of the previous correspondence, that it was the CTO's requirement and that I had warned him at the time.
It did, luckily, not have any influence on my future work for that department, but the CTO only lasted about six months in all before discreetly being replaced.
top Ask Slashdot: Distributed Online Storage For Families?
Having a setup with a number of Windows PCs (some family members cannot live without it due to DOCX files from school/work) as well as a number of Linux PCs and servers in three locations in two countries, I have set up a number of scripts to handle backups between the locations.
The PCs (i.e. laptop/desktop computers) have an icon for backing up to a remote server. This is done on demand via rsync started from scripts (bash or BAT files) to one of the three servers. The servers replicate internally to each other via cron jobs that start rsync (via a script) every hour. I could have set up automatic backups via cron on the PCs, but have chosen to do it on demand to save bandwidth.
This is the main backup of stored items such as multimedia.
For own-produced files like essays, stories, presentations, etc. I have set up a time-machine-like system using perl and the rsync --link-dest option to create a new directory structure if there are any changes since the previous version. The --link-dest option creates hard links to unchanged files, which means that it is essentially an incremental backup and yet preserves the structure of the source system for each new version. This setup has proven itself useful inasmuch that we can go back to previous versions of our files fairly easily, although that functionality has not yet been wrapped up in nice scripts or fancy graphics like Apple's product.
With a little tweaking, this setup can support encrypted storage in each location, making it possible to store private data without giving other family members access to the stored information.
Oh, and one last bit of information: The storage in each place is a NAS box with RAID.
top Former CIA/NSA Head: NSA Is "Infinitely" Weaker As a Result of Snowden's Leaks
I find many of these threads fascinating as a non-USA citizen and think the government of the USA with their information gathering agencies should consider the impact their activities have on the rest of the world — after all, the United States of America represent less than 4% of the world's population
... but hey! who cares about a measly 96+% of the people of the world?
It seems to me that USA has a holier-than-thou attitude where anything in USA's interest is allowed and anything against USA's interests is illegal. If Snowden (USA) shares intelligence information with The Guardian (UK), it is illegal; if NSA (USA) shares intelligence information with GCHQ (UK) it is perfectly legal ... er, what?!?
Lastly, more as an example of the attitude of the USA government than because it has anything directly to do with Snowden et al: If somebody creates a website that is perfectly legal in their home country (like creating a gambling site) but illegal in USA, that person cannot enter USA or any of its territories without the risk of arrest, whereas if somebody from USA creates a website that is perfectly legal in their home country (like a website advertising prescription drugs) but illegal in many other countries, that would not normally have any impact on their travel in those countries.
top How much of your media do you store locally?
All my important files (including media) are hosted on the machines they primarily "belong" to, then they are backed up locally to a file server and then to two overseas destinations several hundred miles apart. rsync and creative scripting are indispensable tools for this.
When I take pictures, my attitude is that nothing is secure until the pictures have been downloaded to the local fileserver and replicated to at least one of the overseas destinations. (Isn't that what friends and family are for????)
What, me paranoid? What made you think that????
top UK Government Surveillance Faces Legal Challenge.. In Secret Court
... and Terry Gilliam's Brazil depicts a Utopia compared to today's standards.
top An Open Letter To Google Chairman Eric Schmidt On Drones
... Uhh, durr, how would you like it if your neighbor just built a tall treehouse in his yard and stared at your house all day! These treehouses have to be regulated!
Not quite a proper analogy. There is a natural restriction on the number of neighbours you have, which reduces the risk of somebody watching you and makes it difficult for non-neighbours to peep into your garden. With drones you can do your peeping from a public road or maybe even from home. The laws in many (most?) countries make it illegal for people to look into your property and outlaws publication of pictures of your property and people there taken without your consent. If a neighbour invades your privacy and you see it, you know who to pursue, whereas a drone could be impossible to trace.
Think about the consequences if drones become ubiquitous, cheap and long range: Lindsay Lohan (replace name with any suitable celebrity) would not be able to get a tan in her back yard with the drones flitting around and covering the sun.
top Microsoft Creative Director 'Doesn't Get' Always-On DRM Concerns
... or (maybe more up his creek) take a nice trip island-hopping in the Caribbean in a sailboat without satellite connection.
Either place may lack a proper, always-on Internet connection, but why should that stop the people from enjoying a game on their console?
... Oh, DRM!
about a year and a half ago
top If I could change what's "typical" about typical laptops ...
For a number of reasons, my next "laptop" will be a 10-inch-ish tablet with high density display:
* It is easier to transport.
* It is lighter. * It is better suited to read E-books on (and I have quite a few I would like to read in PDF format, like Linux Journal). * It can be used to watch videos on. * It can be used for VoIP (SIP, Skype, you-name-it, ...). * It can be used for E-mail. * It can be used for smaller, business-related jobs like editing a document or creating a spreadsheet. * It will be able to hold about a week's worth of multimedia consumption (i.e. videos, music and books). * It will hopefully have a very long battery life. (12+ hours would be ideal!)
So, in order of preference:
* Better battery life.
* Higher density display. * High capacity storage. * Sunlight-readable display.
For the occasions where I need a keyboard, a good quality, lightweight Bluetooth keyboard would suffice and I could live with the point and tap interface.
about a year and a half ago
top How Do You Backup Your Data?
I know I may be a bit over the top, but I have teamed up with a friend and with my brother to have a trans-national backup system with servers in three locations in two countries.
I back up to my friend's server abroad via rsync. This server (which is also my main mail server) backs up to my brother's server (the backup mail server) with a Time Machine-like perl script so I have generations of backup available on my brother's system. (It is a deliberate choice not to have generations of data available on my friend's system.) My brother backs this server up to a NAS appliance, which makes my historical data slightly more vulnerable than my active data, being in one location only.
I have a local backup on an external harddisk, to make any immediate recovery quicker — I am going to upgrade this soon with more capacity and implement my Time Machine-like functionality on it.
My brother's own data and my friend's are similarly distributed to each other and to me.
In this, somewhat convoluted system, I have a pretty robust backup-scheme — and I cannot wait until my ISP runs fibre optics to my house, promising speeds well above 50Mbps down and 15Mbps up.
about a year and a half ago
top Learn Basic Programming So You Aren't At the Mercy of Programmers
Yes sir, I have done a full service on your car, changed the indicator fluid and greased your brake pads so they do not squeak anymore.
about a year and a half ago
top Ask Slashdot: How To Collect Payments From a Multinational Company?
When I was working (in the EU) for a huge international company based in the US, I had a similar experience and when I realised that my normal contact person could do absolutely nothing, I slowly crawled up the corporate ladder by asking my contact for the details of his manager, whom I contacted. Nothing happened and I asked for the next higher level
... no result. At the third level up, though, it started to happen and after several phone calls, E-mails and a couple of nicely phrased letters, I got my money ... after three more months, making it almost nine months in all until payment.
I never got any of the late payment penalty invoices paid though - they never pay late payment fees as a corporate policy, I was told.
Thank you so much!
about a year and a half ago
top If I could print 1 replacement organ ...
My wife consistently reminds me that I lack it.
top Can Anyone Become a Programmer?
I think software development, apart from the most basic programming, is an inherent trait that cannot be learned -- much the same as playing an instrument. I played in a school orchestra and one of the other musicians played the French horn. He could get the basic tones out but had no sense of beat and could not play syncopes or counterpoint, no matter how much we helped him.
Programming is a mix of skills ranging from "language" skills, where the programmer needs to understand:
- The syntax of the programming language
- The semantics of the programming language
The programmer also needs to know how to "interface" and thus understand:
- The interaction with the OS
- The interaction with storage systems
- The interaction with networking systems
- The interaction with the presentation layer (this includes communicating with the user)
- The limitations of each subsystem
And lastly the programmer has to solve the problem and therefore needs to understand:
- The problem
- The solution
- The different ways of achieving the solution and select the best in the circumstances
- What can go wrong at every step and catch each possible error in a meaningful way that does not break the functionality
On top of this, any seasoned programmer knows a number of "tricks", methods and algorithms, and can select the best for the current job. The list is probably not even complete, but the best I could do at short notice.
Many of the above skills can be learned, but some are just beyond many, if not most, people like understanding the semantics of the programming language (Perl is notorious in this respect) and the intricacies of the interaction with the subsystems (like how a program can fail miserably when ported from *NIX-type systems where filenames are case sensitive to Windows where they are not), to name two. And coming up with a solution to even simple problems is impossible for many -- believe me, I have seen quite a few failing. What can go wrong and how to catch it is a challenge for even the most seasoned programmer -- it is near-impossible to learn this if you do not have the "gift".
top Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Collecting and Storing User Information?
I think everybody would agree that the data should be encrypted, but often the problem with encryption is access to the data. If the server-side application stores the encryption key, this key could potentially be found (maybe through a vulnerability) and thus give access to the entire database.
Best practice is to encrypt each record with a unique key. This key could be generated by some unique identifiers per user like Visible User ID (maybe E-mail address) and Password and Hidden User ID (different from the visible and generated independently from it) and Android ID.
To create the database entry:
1. Collect the information to store
2. Key = Hash(Visible User ID, Password, Hidden User ID, Android ID)
3. Send Visible User ID and Key to a receive-only system with as little an Internet Surface as possible (i.e. one that is next to impossible to hack into, if done correctly) -- This information is used retrieve the user data for analysis and such
4. Store the information in the more accessible database encrypted with the key
To retrieve the data from a user's application:
1. Collect Visible User ID, Password, Hidden User ID and Android ID
2. Key = Hash(Visible User ID, Password, Hidden User ID, Android ID)
3. Use the key to retrieve the necessary data
To retrieve the data from the inside:
1. Use the User ID to Key data to decrypt the data
top Your Favorite Technology That Didn't Come To Pass
... Computer Teacher, but then I remembered Salman Khan of Khan Academy fame -- that is almost like the real thing. (I
do like Khan Academy, really!)
What I really wanted to say was commercial Space Travel with Space Hotels, but that was not an option, so Underwater City got my vote, which is not too bad either as I have always been fascinated with living under water.
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