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Comment: Re:Why do you want pieces of plastic (Score 1) 204

by Sarten-X (#47509635) Attached to: Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

Over 70% of homes in the US have broadband access

That's the thing... I have "broadband", but it tops out at 3Mbps downstream, and is noisy enough that it often drops under 1Mbps..

I know I would never live in a home without access to non-satellite broadband [faster than 3Mbps]

I once thought so, too, but the rest of the situation is, as noted, practically perfect. That's was the gist of my post: connection speed is just one of many factors to consider in a house. To hold such an absolute hard line on it is silly, in my opinion.

The scenario you describe is a very rare one, if you are being truthful that is.

The only thing I'm not being truthful about is the implication that my housing cost is low for the area. I live in one of the least-inflated metropolitan areas in the United States, in a very old suburb. Since everything about the area is cheap, that includes taxes and the salaries needed to get good teachers. The downside, as noted, is that the buildings are old.

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 430

by Sarten-X (#47508463) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

That said, All world wars have started in Europe. So Europe is a good example that we just aren't there yet.

Two data points is not a statistically meaningful sample size.

The argument could also be made that it was the United States leading the persecution of Germany after WWI, directly causing the nationalism that triggered WWII.

Comment: Re:Why do you want pieces of plastic (Score 1) 204

by Sarten-X (#47508439) Attached to: Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

I wouldn't live in a place with inadequate bandwidth for a simple video stream.

Wow. You're quite picky.

I live in one of the nicest neighborhoods in my city, with good neighbors, great schools, and near one of the best fine arts districts in the world. My house is a three-story colonial, with a finished basement, which costs me around $900/month.

Now, the house is old enough that the phone company's disconnect is in the middle of that finished basement, so replacing the wiring to support a faster connection isn't really an option, there's no cable service on the little side street, and the state forest next to me interferes with satellite service.

I guess I should just give up my otherwise-perfect home and move, because I can't get that all-important bandwidth.

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 2, Insightful) 430

by Sarten-X (#47506375) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

If you looked at libertarian socialist societies them you'd likely find they are less likely to cheat thanks to a high degree of social trust. Also, in a capitalist society, you'll find that the rich are more likely to cheat.

[citation needed]

I'd more easily believe that the libertarians would cheat more, because they assume the rules don't prevent it, and that rich capitalists would actually cheat less, but they'd exploit every nuance of the rules to their advantage.

Comment: Re:Warrants are supposed to be narrow (Score 1) 148

by Sarten-X (#47504183) Attached to: New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Let's fix it: a nosy neighbor reports you to the police for luring the underaged to your house, and so the cops get a warrant and search it.

A tip usually isn't enough for a search warrant. There's a spectrum of how much proof is required. A search requires less than an arrest, but there's still a significant threshold to pass.

So they remove all your photo albums and find the pictures of you sitting on a couch made out of bags filled with marijuana

...and that might be enough for a new search warrant to look for drug paraphernalia.

and bring you up on drug charges

...which would require an arrest warrant, with an even higher burden of proof, and a prosecutor that thinks they can make a case on more than just a few pictures of you not even taken in your house.

That's not very Scottish, either.

Comment: Re:Warrants are supposed to be narrow (Score 4, Interesting) 148

by Sarten-X (#47501867) Attached to: New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

It always seems like you're on the side of the government, whether it's the NSA or what have you.

Often, yes. You see, I actually understand the design of the US government. It's built to continually revise and improve, and it's been doing so for over 200 years. On the other hand, your opinions have been forming for less than a century, and since you're only a single person, you've undergone far fewer revision cycles, all of which have been from a very limited perspective.

For example:

Also, any warrant asking to just search the entire house should be rejected, too.

Is that just, though? It may appeal to your sense of privacy, but would it appeal to your sense of justice to know that any criminal could effectively conceal evidence by simply putting it in a large enough box? How would your neighbors feel about it, knowing that you could be seen kidnapping their children, and the police could do nothing because they wouldn't know what room they're being held in?

Sure, the examples are hypothetical, but the underlying issue of deciding what is right predates your consideration by quite a long while. The best we have so far is a system where certain activities are absolutely permitted, and certain activities are absolutely forbidden, and deciding which category a given situation fits into falls to a judge whose primary interest is to bring the legal precedent closer to a state that everyone considers to be fair. It's not perfect, and likely will never be perfect, but it's closer than having Random Internet Guy simply decide that privacy trumps justice, because he says so.

Comment: Re:Long live the 'desktop' and mobile 'laptop'. (Score 1) 57

by mlts (#47501723) Attached to: China Has More People Going Online With a Mobile Device Than a PC

I wonder how long it will be for a phone to take over the desktop role in a meaningful way (assuming a docking station). We have had some attempts at this, especially with the Motorola Atrix line (RIP) which were pretty good, although the best use (IMHO) was a Citrix receiver [1].

Already, we are seeing the tablet/desktop line blur, as Microsoft's Surface Pro [2] models get better. I wouldn't be surprised to see in a few years, a phone with 256-512 GB of SSD be usable in a docking station for basic desktop functionality, with USB 3.1 ports, maybe even Thunderbolt ports.

[1]: Would be nice to have a multiplatform F/OSS project comparable to Citrix Xen Desktop. No, VNC with its eight digit max password, does not count. X-windows over SSH is good, but doesn't play well with MS-Windows based items.

[2]: The Pro is the keyword... The plain old Surface is ARM based. The Pro is an X86-64 machine.

Comment: Re:Warrants are supposed to be narrow (Score 5, Insightful) 148

by Sarten-X (#47500137) Attached to: New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Could be. If several witnesses see an assailant bludgeon someone on the sidewalk with an obscured object, then run into a house, the police may not be able to ascertain exactly what the weapon is, but they'd certainly have enough evidence for a search, and they could keep a record of any potential weapons seen in the house in case forensics can later get them a better description of the weapon used. As in this case, they'd have to get as narrow a warrant as possible, specifying that they're searching for the weapon and not, say, evidence of tax fraud. Of course, if they found readily-visible evidence of such fraud during the course of the authorized search, they are not required to ignore it.

Comment: Re:Stop copying hard drives too! (Score 2) 148

by Sarten-X (#47500069) Attached to: New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

A neutral 3rd-party should copy the drive, perform an appropriate search, then erase the copy.

The police are that neutral third party. Clearly they are not you, and they are also not the people who accuse you (or the prosecutor representing the people).

A large part of our justice system is focused on keeping them neutral. The fact that the investigators did not erase their copy, but rather retained it, is why the appeals court in that case reversed the judgement.

Comment: Re:Warrants are supposed to be narrow (Score 5, Insightful) 148

by Sarten-X (#47499873) Attached to: New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

Ummm, isn't that PRECISELY the point?

No. The point of the fourth amendment is to prevent investigators from harassing people looking for reasons to prosecute and persecute.

What seems to be happening here is that there is already evidence enough to justify a search, but the details are not specific enough to be able to ask someone else to execute it. As a physical analogue, there's enough evidence to search a house for a murder weapon, but the investigators don't know it's taped to the bottom of the third dresser drawer. In the case of email, I'd expect the investigators don't know all aliases that might have been used, or in what timeframe the relevant emails might have been sent.

Comment: Re:Backups (Score 1) 121

by mlts (#47497795) Attached to: Critroni Crypto Ransomware Seen Using Tor for Command and Control

I wonder how many generations of ransomware we will see before backups come back into "style". It used to be in the '90s that people actively did some type of backups, and even PCs shipped with some form of tape drive. Then disks got cheap, and offsite storage become viable, so backups were not done, or if done, were just kicked to the cloud.

Any backup is better than none, but I wouldn't be surprised if the next generation of ransomware would either encrypt files slowly (but use a shim driver to decrypt stuff until it is done, and then completely zap all decryption keys and tell the user to pay up), or if it does notice a backup program being run, actively or passively corrupt it... or just erase the hard disk or the file share it is being backed up to. A simple TRIM command would make the data on a SSD unrecoverable. An overwrite of a directory synced with a cloud service will make that unrecoverable.

I wouldn't mind seeing tape come back, as it isn't slow, and it is relatively cheap (I've seen ads for LTO-6 tapes for $10 each.) The drives are pricy [1], but tapes are reliable [2], LTO4 and newer have AES-256 encryption in hardware (and very easy to turn on, be it by third party software, the tape silo's web page, or the backup utility.) A tape sitting on a shelf takes zero energy to store (other than HVAC), and if dropped, unless there is major physical damage, it is almost certain the media will be usable.

Will tape be 100% against malware? Nope. However, it keeps the data offline, so that a single "erase everything" command won't touch the data [3]. One can buy WORM tapes to protect against erasure/tampering as well, as well as flip a write protect tab.

In a ransomware scenario, WORM tapes would be very useful, especially if the malware decides to try to force an erase on all backups. The fact that tapes tend to be offline brings even more security since if the tape isn't physically in the drive, it can't be touched. Again, nothing is 100%, but the barrier for ransomware to destroy all backups goes a lot higher with offline media than with cloud storage or an external HDD.

I wouldn't mind seeing backups be done again, and done in a smart, time-tested way... done to local, archival grade media that is very inexpensive, but yet super reliable.

[1]: I think there is a market niche for USB3 tape drives at the consumer level. Newer drives have variable speeds to minimize/prevent "shoe-shining", and with all the space on a tape, if areal densities similar to HDD are present, it would store quite a lot of data, even with multiple layers of forward-ECC. LTO tape drives are even bootable so a bare metal restore can be done with just the tape in hand and the drive on the machine, no other media.

[2]: In the past decade at multiple IT shops, I've gone through thousands, possibly tens of thousands of LTO tapes. The total number of tapes that I introduced to the degausser were fewer than five, and all the errors thrown when read/written were all soft errors, so all data was recoverable. This is pure anecdotal evidence, but it has impressed me personally on the reliability of these drives. It is wise to have a backup process of rotating tapes and having some task just verify data when nothing else is going on, and goes without saying to use multiple media just in case hard read errors do happen.

[3]: One can tell a tape silo to zero out all tapes sitting in it, but that is going to take some time, and not be instant. It can be done... but if one has a basic offsite procedure in place (where all tapes leaving get the write protect tab sent), even this can be mitigated without much time and effort.

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