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On my death, my data ...

Displaying poll results.
Will go to a friend/relative (all set up)
  755 votes / 4%
Will go to a friend/relative (still arranging it)
  1617 votes / 10%
Awaits anyone who wants to grab the drive
  7310 votes / 47%
Will go with me to the grave
  4970 votes / 32%
(A more complex answer, explained below.)
  716 votes / 4%
15368 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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On my death, my data ...

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  • Let them try. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by olsmeister (1488789) on Friday December 30, 2011 @04:29PM (#38541992)
    I have all the good stuff on a TrueCrypt volume, so it dies with me. I have concerns about the various accounts I have with money in them, but I assume that if there is money involved, someone will figure it out.
    • Re:Let them try. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dragon Bait (997809) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @12:01PM (#38548412)

      I have all the good stuff on a TrueCrypt volume, so it dies with me. I have concerns about the various accounts I have with money in them, but I assume that if there is money involved, someone will figure it out.

      If people don't know about the money accounts, there's a chance that it will revert to the state as an "abandoned account." If you don't interact with your financial institution every N number of months, the state considers the account abandoned and takes the money. The "N" varies state-by-state (and in California is surprisingly short amount of time).

      Once the state takes the account, you can still get it back -- but the state won't pay you interest on the abandoned property.

      • My data will go to wife and/or kids provided they honor the wishes expressed in my will. However, my Will specifically requires that my brain be stored in a glass jar labelled "AB Normal - do not use this brain!"

      • by hedwards (940851)

        I found out about that when I was a kid. It was really irritating because it was a savings bond and they didn't bother to notify me before they sent the money to the state.

        Fortunately, I got off light, apparently in California the state just takes the contents of the safety deposit boxes without notifying anybody and sells the contents. I'm not sure if that's still the case, but I remember seeing an article about that a few years ago when I was in Berkeley on vacation.

    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      I have a few pounds of thermite in a ceramic funnel/crucible mounted above my hard drives. There's a timer reset on particular conditions. If those conditions aren't met, the charge goes, it melts through the drive, and probably through the concrete floor below. The ultimate dead-man switch, resulting in a localized fire, which shouldn't spread beyond the immediate area (computer case, and floor). It'll be nasty and smoky, but non destructive to anything but it's intended target.

      Just kidding. :)

      I actual

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      RE: Bank accounts; banks have procedures in place for deaths. If your executor contacts them and gives them your death certificate, the bank will figure out the rest- so no need to go giving your account numbers and PINs to your next of kin.

      Obviously it's trickier if your estate doesn't know about the account at all. In that case it depends on your local country's/state's laws. In the UK, the bank will eventually move the money to a "dormant account"; the bank will have use of the money until the government

  • More complex (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mccalli (323026) on Friday December 30, 2011 @04:39PM (#38542084) Homepage
    I've handed over some passwords to my wife. I try to keep them up to date, but admittedly that lags a little - at least she will know I have accounts there and may be able to act from that.

    However, there's plenty of accounts that will simply wither. This one, for instance. It's not that I have anything to hide, it's just that I haven't enumerated the account as being one that needs dealing with. That's Slashdot, a relatively major case. I also have hundreds of accounts on single-purpose forums that I used maybe once in my life and that's it. VMware Forums? Cinemaware? Various coding sites? Music software sites? All that information will just go because I barely know every case I've registered for let alone be in a position to hand it to other people.

    My hard drive? Again, my wife knows how to log in as me and is perfectly capable of using my machine. A few things, like the family accounts etc., are encrypted and she also has the password to that. Everything else - well, it's there but would she necessarily know there's something to look for? Again it's not deliberate, but I haven't pointed much out so it is an open question if everything relevant would be found. And if it is, in what format. A .pages document is one thing, a local svn repo in /opt/var or my local Confluence install is quite something else.

    A lot of my stuff would disappear. A lot would seem to - wood for trees and not knowing where to look. In the end though, I think everything drastically important is covered.

    Cheers,
    Ian
    • What if you and your wife die in the same car accident?

    • My passwords will be with my will in my safe. Some of my data will go to the local Genealogical library. It may help other researchers, and leaves some breadcrumbs behind for future generations. Perhaps.

      • by vlm (69642)

        Some of my data will go to the local Genealogical library. It may help other researchers, and leaves some breadcrumbs behind for future generations.

        Uploading to ancestry.com is free. If you wanna search you have to pay. Even if its an "artifact" that you can't upload, like maybe a genuine paper marriage cert, at least you could document it exists, or transcribe whats on it.

        Humorously (or depressingly?), once you upload and link up with your cousins or whatever on the site, you may discover that no one really needs "your" data, there are already 15 people out there with a copy. That's what happened to me, all that "original" work with census microfil

  • Who can guess? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Haeleth (414428) on Friday December 30, 2011 @05:05PM (#38542314) Journal

    If I were to die today, most of my recent stuff would die with me, but my older offline backups are still unencrypted. And goodness knows what Google and Facebook would do with the stuff they have.

    But supposing I live a normal lifespan, who has a clue? My data storage and privacy habits have changed unrecognizably in the last decade, just as they changed unrecognizably in the decade before that and the decade before that. Who knows what the next decade will bring, let alone the next 50-70 years, assuming that no medical breakthroughs in that time extend my life even further?

    • Re:Who can guess? (Score:4, Informative)

      by dingen (958134) on Friday December 30, 2011 @06:09PM (#38542894)
      It's funny you consider the stuff on Facebook as your data. The truth is of course that it's their data.
      • by danbert8 (1024253)

        In 20 years, data will be the way data is... Observable to everyone. No one owns data, it simply exists. In the same manner that you can do an experiment and find data that already existed and someone else can do the same. In 20 years, privacy will only exist in your bedroom and your bathroom. Anything you make digital will be public. However, there will be so much data that no one will access yours unless they are specifically looking for it.

        • In 20 years, privacy will only exist in your bedroom and your bathroom.

          What's with the bedrooms and bathrooms? The expectation of privacy better extend a lot further than that. For example, my wife and I have humped each other in the privacy of our gardens and forest, as well as on the threshhold of each house, and in several other rooms in both houses. We expect privacy all around our houses, including in the parts of our forests[*] which are close to each house, and often go nude in the garden at our summer home.

          [*] Expectation of privacy out of sight of the house/garden

        • by vlm (69642)

          In 20 years, privacy will only exist in your bedroom and your bathroom.

          There are crackpot political groups trying to control what goes in your bedroom, at least in some backwards countries if not your own.

          1) God told us blah blah blah which coincidentally happens to match the beliefs of some ancient 4000 year old obsolete racist patriarchal agrarian society, what good luck those beliefs were popular back then, what a "surprise" they are obsolescent today.

          2) If God existed and/or were all powerful he certainly wouldn't be wimpy enough to need us to enforce his will, but he does

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Copyright and the Data Protection Act (UK) says otherwise. You could sign away the former if you are not careful, but not the latter.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Who knows what the next decade will bring, let alone the next 50-70 years, assuming that no medical breakthroughs in that time extend my life even further?"

      As a Boomer, I'm entitled to immortality and expect it be provided me.

      I'll take care of my data. It's the least I can do.

  • Some data - financial stuff, for example - is already shared with others, so that wouldn't disappear, but plenty of my data is hard to collect - scattered on online services, on encrypted drives and CDs, in my cellphone, or just in my memory.

    Personally, I don't expect anyone to take the trouble to learn about my systems and accounts and collect all that stuff; it'll probably just linger there until its deleted due to inactivity or chance.

    Frankly, I couldn't care less. Having just re-watched George Carlin's

  • I'm having it all printed out, you insensitive clod.....

  • by nevermore94 (789194) on Friday December 30, 2011 @05:48PM (#38542688)

    I have all of the data in my main computer locked behind a fingerprint scanner,
    so they will have to literally pry it from my cold dead fingers.

  • The stuff that's interesting to others is already released to the public. My private stuff isn't, and will probably be thrown away along with my other stuff. But that's ok I suppose, who cares about my private data anyway? It's of little to no value to anyone else during my life, I don't see the reason that would change upon my death.
  • Business owner (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wolfling1 (1808594) on Friday December 30, 2011 @06:08PM (#38542888) Journal
    I own a software engineering company, and this particular issue was quite problematic for me.

    My spouse wouldn't know what to do with source code, but I want her to be entitled to the royalties from my software products. This is not an insignificant amount of money. I discussed the challenge at length with the company lawyer, who also happens to be a good friend, and we were able to write up specific clauses in my Will that arrange for a neutral third party software support/development company to be engaged to value the asset - and then continue development/support with appropriate royalties going to my spouse. For the remaining useful life of those software products (which could be as much as 20 years these days), she will reap up to 10% of the annual turnover generated by my products.

    As part of the exercise, I had to prepare fairly detailed documentation of the software products - which turned out to be an excellent thing to do anyway. All in all, a very productive (and reassuring) exercise.
  • It depends (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2011 @06:12PM (#38542948)

    The pr0n hard drives will be the heirloom of my house. As for the rest, TrueCrypt followed wiping the disks, which will be carried out by the one responsible for delivering the pr0n to my heirs, still to be selected. Concerning online/cloud data, those will remain online along with my spirit which will be lurking this interblag of ours forever and ever.

  • by trims (10010) on Friday December 30, 2011 @06:27PM (#38543082) Homepage

    I've made sure that all the legally-important data on me is available to my will's executioner (i.e. the person handling my estate trust). Plus, of course, a couple of letters and videos for specific people.

    Beyond that, everything I care about is encrypted. It all goes away when I die, since I don't record the key or passphrase anywhere, and, barring a breakthrough in quantum computing, no one is going to be guessing that key outside a large TLA agency. I'm not in the position in my life where I have to worry about a TLA, though I'd like to be. :-)

    -Erik

    Slightly Offtopic: I would incredibly, massively, can't emphasize it too much recommend that everyone meet with an estate lawyer and get a trust set up for themselves to handle all their affairs. It's relatively inexpensive (mine was $500, including all lawyer time), and is by far the best way to handle all those sticky end-of-life (and afterlife) issues, like a living will, disposition of estate, medical power of attorney, etc. I did it at 30, and I'd really say that everyone should do it as soon as they're done with school and have a professional job.

  • Cowboy Neal option (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gatzke (2977) on Friday December 30, 2011 @07:06PM (#38543452) Homepage Journal

    Maybe I am old school, but I still only vote for the Cowboy Neal option.

    And I like hot grits.

    Especially when petrified with Natalie Portman.

    What is this "explain below" garbage?

  • Some will indeed go to the grave, a few dvds in the pocket, containing what I consider worth keeping, all my own work, in the rawest least compressed and (hopefully) most easily recovered format. Not quite a saxon's knife, but close.
    Some (eg. slashdot posts) will stay in C space, slowly fading and degrading, lingering until the inevitable errors wipe them out.
    Some will be looked after (probably badly) by the agencies who think they own it. I worked on defense contracts and some aerospace jobs which have le

  • I will never experience the true death. My computer will continue to seed to millions, my life insurance beneficiary is my isp.

  • by reboot246 (623534) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:26PM (#38544160) Homepage
    My son (tresstatus) reads slashdot, so he will probably read this.

    Hey! There's a hidden text file on my computer and it contains all the usernames & passwords - bank account, 401k account, websites, message boards, email, everything. You'll find it.

    P.S. Ignore the porn
  • by DERoss (1919496) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:36PM (#38544256)

    I prepared a document that lists where important papers -- hardcopy or electronic -- can be found. I printed it and give a copy to my wife and each of my two children. Another copy is in our safe deposit box at our bank.

    Files containing sensitive data (e.g., credit card numbers, tax returns) are encrypted. I documented how to decrypt those files; the document contains all my important passwords. The online document itself is encrypted; it's strictly for my own use in case I need to update it. A plain-text printout of the document is sealed in an envelope in the safe deposit box. Note that all "important" passwords are in an encrypted file on my PC. Passwords for accessing Web sites are also in an encrypted file that my browser can decrypt if I give it the proper pass-phrase. The pass-phrase exists only in my head and in the document described in this paragraph.

    Also in the safe deposit box is a printout of the ASCII-armored form of my OpenPGP keys (public and private) and a floppy containing those keys. We recently changed safe deposit boxes; the new one is wider but shallower than the old one. I think it is wide enough to hold a CD. If so, I will write those keys to a CD and put it in the box.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:48PM (#38544382)

    Thousands of Hebrew slaves constructed for me a massive, monolithic thumb-drive, tetrahedral in shape, with a base of FF feet square, and a height of A0 feet. It has a storage capacity of 320 GB, four camels, ten chests full of gold and jewels, and of course, my mortal remains.

    My data will be entombed there, along with the gold and jewels, and the camels that will sit loyally by my corpses' side in death for all eternity. The immortal part of my being will be uploaded directly to Ra's chariot, where it will ride daily by his side, bringing the sun from its nightly hiding place amongst the western stars to return it to the east to illuminate the world of my people once again. My name shall be remembered forever, carved in letters taller than ten men standing each on the previous man's head, emblazoned upon every ten-thousand-stone-weight brick of the structure... Kittypawpaw1977! Long live Kittypawpaw1977, and may He reign ten thousand years!

  • ...will be posted on the Pirate Bay for all to see!

    Well, not really, but that's a great idea.
  • Everything (Score:5, Funny)

    by lightknight (213164) on Friday December 30, 2011 @11:52PM (#38545580) Homepage

    All the good stuff goes with me to the grave. I figure if anyone really wants it, they'll have to bring me back.

    Plus, I just can't have family members browsing my weird porn folders. I won't be there to defend my fur / clown fetish, and that's just not right.

  • by Cow Jones (615566) on Friday December 30, 2011 @11:52PM (#38545582)

    I don't get it. About half of the upmodded comments on this poll recommend a password manager like KeePass or LastPass. KeePass I can (somewhat) understand; it's free software and an obvious candidate for frequent code reviews by the security scene. But a closed-source commercial online service? And you just give them all of your passwords? I'm much too paranoid to trade my secrets for convenience. YMMV.

    And I've seen several comments praising KeePass because it's got versions for Android, iOS and Blackberry. How can you even *think* of entering your master password on something as intrinsically insecure as a mobile phone? Aren't you worried that the Funny Fart app that you downloaded for a laugh might go looking for your password cache? Or the BestMobileSecure(tm) app developed by ProfessionalSecurityTeam(tm), which has just about all the permissions it can get (short of root)? All of those apps are closed source, written by completely unknown entities. Oh, and how about CarrierIQ and whatever else your vendor or service provider has decided to install without your knowledge?

    I don't know... Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm paranoid, maybe I'm getting old. But I'll never do online banking from my phone, I'll never pay for anything except with a cheap prepaid card, I'll never log into my servers from my phone, and I'll sure as hell never access my password cache on my phone.

    CJ

    • by downhole (831621)

      Sounds pretty paranoid to me. Millions and millions of people do all of the things that you say you'll never do every day, myself included, and how many have ever been burned significantly by them?

      To evaluate the real level of a threat, go by people you have personally spoken to, not news stories and what supposedly happened to a friend of a friend of a friend. One of the problem with the way news is done is that news organizations have the power to make things that are in reality incredibly rare seem commo

      • by swillden (191260)

        To evaluate the real level of a threat, go by people you have personally spoken to, not news stories and what supposedly happened to a friend of a friend of a friend. One of the problem with the way news is done is that news organizations have the power to make things that are in reality incredibly rare seem common.

        The flip side of this is that if the threat is both interesting or scary *and* not in the news on a regular basis, you can be sure it's really, really uncommon, and not at all worth worrying about.

        Well, unless it's the sort of thing the government/illuminati/aliens want to suppress, of course.

    • by rdnetto (955205)

      I just use TrueCrypt and a text file. Works perfectly.

      • by Pieroxy (222434)

        I was tempted to go down that route, but I still have a problem with it:

        How do you read that on your phone? Is there an app for that?

  • by SilverJets (131916) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @01:18AM (#38545984) Homepage

    I'll be dead.

    I am not my data, my data is not me.

    • Sure, you'll be dead. But you'll probably have a family, or other people you care about, that will need access to your financial data and would enjoy access to other things like your family pictures. If nothing else, there'll be stuff you're leaving behind that somebody will have to clean up. It's easier for somebody to ditch most of your data than to get rid of all that junk in your garage, and unlike leaving your toolbox and workbench to your kids, probably nobody's going to want your compiler collecti

      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        I dont encrypt my pictures, I have no reason to keep encrypted pictures of my kids on my personal system (what are you some kind of weirdo?) , and the wife has the exact same pictures on her computer, + there are dvd's and cd roms, financial data? what did you think we did not have banking before the internet? just go to the fucking bank

        and your right, no one will want my compiler collection, just delete it, no big fucking deal

      • by derfy (172944)

        Sure, you'll be dead. But you'll probably have a family, or other people you care about, that will need access to your financial data and would enjoy access to other things like your family pictures.

        As you said, he'll be dead, so he won't care.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Well, that covers 79%+ of the people taking the poll, the "for anyone to grab" and "take it with me to my grave" and maybe some of the others since both really mean "I haven't been arsed to think about it". I encrypt my data, but I encrypt them to protect me against identity theft and whatnot now, I don't really care if they'd spontaneously decrypt at my death.

  • As is. I want my data to live forever, as is, where is. I want my family to keep paying on my server, or redirect my domain to archive.org. I want my facebook profile to be ghostly. And maybe even have an automated bot to send out responses to messages that writes pissy three word response emails the way I do. I don't even care if it's in context really. Maybe I can even write one to leave comments on friends profiles, or what not; at least until there's another big change in the api. Same with Google+, and
  • Seriously not an option on the poll?

    My data will be uploaded into a construct to reconstruct my consciousnesses in some form of another one day in the (near) future.

  • by Tom (822) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @04:50AM (#38546684) Homepage Journal

    My personal data is stored in a FileVault (OS X encrypted home directory), and nobody but me knows the password. Unless someone is very, very interested in finding out, it will go with me simply because nobody can get access to it.

    And really, why should they? The stuff that is worth publishing I have published. The rest is either unfinished or personal, and probably of no value to anyone.

    • My personal data is stored in a FileVault (OS X encrypted home directory), and nobody but me knows the password. Unless someone is very, very interested in finding out, it will go with me simply because nobody can get access to it.

      And really, why should they? The stuff that is worth publishing I have published. The rest is either unfinished or personal, and probably of no value to anyone.

      Your family might still want to know what sorts of "unfinished" work you have done. If it is of no value to anyone, why would it matter to you if someone else were to see it?

      • by Tom (822)

        If it is of no value to anyone, why would it matter to you if someone else were to see it?

        It doesn't, not for after my death.

        But it matters to me now, which is why I have it encrypted. If there were a magic option to decrypt it when I'm dead, I'd probably use it.

        • If it is of no value to anyone, why would it matter to you if someone else were to see it?

          It doesn't, not for after my death.

          But it matters to me now, which is why I have it encrypted. If there were a magic option to decrypt it when I'm dead, I'd probably use it.

          You could put the keys and instructions on an archive-quality CD/DVD and put it in a safe deposit at your bank, or with your lawyer/will.

          • That's not magic, ergo it doesn't qualify.
            It is a viable solution to the original problem though.
          • by Tom (822)

            You are assuming Aristotelian logic in my part. The opposite of "I want to keep it secret even after my death" is not automatically "I want it to be available on the event of my death", in this case it literally is "it doesn't matter to me", aka "I don't care", aka "I won't go to any effort to ensure what happens in that case one way or the other".

  • My work stuff is mostly on a LUKS encrypted volume - when I go, that's toast. Same with all the data that lives in my OS X keychain.

    My video and music collections will still be accessible to my wife and/or my daughter. Hopefully they'll figure out how to replace drives if/when the primary or the backup fail...

    Theoretically our joint financial information will still be available to my wife; but she's terrible about remembering passwords - or, more accurately, terrible about remembering that I've even given h

  • I'm immortal, you insensitive clod!

    • by quixote9 (999874)

      I'm immortal, you insensitive clod!

      Exactly. (But kindly don't correct me if I have my facts wrong.)

  • It depends on the kind of data.

    There is a lot of stuff that I have created as proof of concepts, or things I've started but never finished. I haven't invested a lot of time in thinking about what happens to that.

    Then there are things I have created that I think are useful to the world at large. I continue to create more of that and to publish it. I care what happens to this data in that I want it to be around after I die.

    Finally, there are things that are basically between me and one or a few other people,

  • by PPH (736903)

    ... of course.

    That will motivate quite a few people to keep me alive.

  • If I die before 2045, then the important data (financial, insurance, and so on) will be available to my next of kin by virtue of their being my legal next of kin. The ultimately unimportant data (slashdot, sourceforge, boingboing) will just float around, accumulating bit rot.

    If I reach 2045, then most likely I will not die, and my data and my self will be one and the same :)

    • It is better than 2030, but I guess all those timings on the Singularity err on the optimist side. Don't expect Moore's law to last after 2020.

      But, of course, there is the possibility that I'm severely pessimst, and somebody creates a nanoassembler tomorrow. If so, the Singularity may be here before 2014...

  • It's all behind passwords and 128bit encrypted. No one has either key so it all goes into the great bit bucket in the sky once the hardware is tossed in the trash/sold/recycled/whatever.

  • I posted it all to the internet and left the permissions wide open for the public to read. Figured I'd cut the "biography writer" out of the loop in case anyone ever gave a damn about what I did with my life. Why should a book company act as a gatekeeper and profiteer?

    • by msobkow (48369)

      More importantly, why would I want someone else editorializing what I was trying to say, picking and choosing favourite quotes or topics instead of letting the reader come to their own conclusions about what I actually said.

  • ... I dont know, I'll be dead.

  • is what I answered. However, I hope it won't be called a "drive" anymore, at this time...
  • Already, though I do not necessarily want it this way, my data is in "the cloud" (shudder). I've gmailed so much of my useful data to colleagues and friends over the years that, presumably, it'll never be gone. So, if I die tomorrow, it'll live on in a hard drive owned by google somewhere...kinda like Raiders of the Lost Ark. The better question to ask would be: After you die, will anyone care about your data?
  • When my father died we went through all his drives. None of the stuff was encrypted so we could get to everything, including the source code of the accounting program that had fed us for a decade. Documentation was poor or lacking. Most of it obsolete by then. It was originally written in QuickBasic and nobody had heard of object-oriented programming at the time. My father was self-taught and frankly it's amazing how well he did. When this program was written, open source libraries were hard to come by (int
  • About Schmidt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by osjedi (9084) on Sunday January 01, 2012 @07:25PM (#38559230)

    Ever seen the movie About Schmidt? The actuary who retires after decades of dedicated data collection and interpretation? When he retired they boxed up his priceless data and sent it to the landfill. Nobody else cares about your data no matter how precious it is to you (unless it's a journal and you have descendants). True story.

  • by rts008 (812749) on Sunday January 01, 2012 @11:25PM (#38560522) Journal

    I have rigged sensors throughout the house, connected to The Master Computer®, to detect family members' presence, and my semi-daily log-in to my PC.

    The Master Computer® will know when the family is gone and I don't log-in to my PC at a scheduled time, thus setting off the thermite bombs on my HDD's, five minutes from releasing ten billion cubic meters of methane/oxygen mix I've saved up and compressed from my farts over the past twenty years, thus setting of a FAE of preposterous proportions.
    It may seem like a nuke, butt it's not.

    My insurance is paid up, I woke up alive today, and logged in, so all is good....so far. ;-)

  • I keep all the good data locked in the foamy grey stuff. I can carry nearly eighty gigs of data in my head. Good luck decrypting that mess.

    StinkyDog

Optimization hinders evolution.

 



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