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Comment: Re:Security theater (Score 2) 224 224

In San Francisco Airport (SFO) PreCheck is often the longer slower line now. It makes more sense NOT to do PreCheck now.

An alternative would be to default people to PreCheck, call it "regular", and do away with the security theater parts of TSA immediately and forever. Like the quart container of liquids limit - which you can easily circumvent if you are a terrorist in several undefeatable ways - such as hiding liquids in prescription liquid bottles (hint: they do not ask you to produce any prescription) Or alternatively two terrorists meet in the bathroom past security and combine their liquids into one - instant and full proof defeat.

Comment: Re:I record all my calls (Score 1) 237 237

I've always felt this would be THE "Killer App" for iPhone. (It wouldn't surprise me that Android can already do it, not looking to get into that argument.)

An option to record all calls or only calls involving certain people, etc. Just set it and forget it.

The legality could easily be solved using GPS. For instance Texas is a one-party-consent state so recording could be enabled without that worry. Travel to a two-party-consent state and the phone disables recording or beeps every 10 seconds or something to alert everyone on the call.

Comment: Re:You mean the camera market? (Score 2) 422 422

What is your viewpoint (what type of photography do you do)? My viewpoint is that the photography market is not strong, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics claims an overall loss of 10,000 full-time photographers between 2008 and 2010:

"As of 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics counted 139,500 workers who claimed photography as their full-time jobs, earning a mean annual wage of $36,330. The 2010 BLS count of photographers was down sharply from that of 152,000 working in 2008."

source: http://work.chron.com/being-ph...

Comment: Camera industry isn't the Photography industry (Score 2) 422 422

The article intermingles two completely different industries, the production of cameras with photography services. ("...the photography industry for 2014....the real story behind the big fall of the camera industry market in 2013...."). That is, camera makers versus photographers.

There has been a change in the photography industry recently, with new photojournalism graduates unable to earn a living in photography (a NY times profile on this trend was published last year). Established photographers are leaving the field due to loss of revenue. Just sayin', that's the photography industry and this article is about camera manufacturing. Both changes are interesting and significant.


"Disco Clam" Lights Up To Scare Predators Away 49 49

sciencehabit writes When predators get close, the bright, orange-lipped "disco clam" flashes them to scare them off. But it's not just the light that's important. Researchers have found that the clam has sulfur in its fleshy lips and tentacles and suspect that, like another clam species that drop tentacles laden with sulfuric acid to deter predators, the disco clam's sulfur also gets converted into a distasteful substance. The flashing may warn predators away, similar to the bright orange of a monarch butterfly warning birds of its toxic taste.

Comment: Re:speeds (Score 1) 173 173

> BackBlaze could find a way to get more bandwidth so their shitty service backed up a rate faster than 300KB/sec per client

You should absolutely be getting more bandwidth than that, you might contact our support to see what's up? We have students from Universities hitting 100 Mbits/sec upload rates, plus I suspect a few engineers in datacenters are getting even higher. We do not inherently throttle, although we use RAID6 with groups of 15 drives so inherently you are probably rate limited to 1 Gbit/sec by either the 1 Gbit/sec network card in the pod, or ?? which is the disk drive transfer rate.

Comment: Re:Little more than free advertising (Score 1) 173 173

> counter Linux-unfriendly Backblaze's propaganda

Backblaze employee here. By the way, we're not "Linux-unfriendly", every single last datacenter machine is running Debian, that's like 950 machines! Most laptop customers use Windows or Mac so we did those versions first, and we're trying to get the Linux client finished up, it just got pushed down in priority a few times, but we don't mean it as a slight against Linux.

About CrashPlan - I have ALWAYS liked CrashPlan, and I think they are great and people should certainly consider CrashPlan if it fits their needs. You might also consider Carbonite and Mozy, I think these are all good products with a few tradeoffs here and there. Backblaze isn't perfect for all customers, for example, we don't yet have a Linux client. I believe Mozy has a better small business administration portal than Backblaze has also, if that's what your needs are.

Comment: Re:Backups are not secure (Score 1) 173 173

> unclear that Backblaze supported incremental backups

Backblaze does support incremental backups, but it is a fairly simplistic incremental. For any file less than 30 MBytes there are no partial files, we just push a whole new copy to a whole new location in our datacenter. For any file more than 30 MBytes, we break the file into 10 MByte "chunks" and push each individual chunk if that chunk has changed. So the WORST thing you can do is prepend a single byte to the large file - this essentially causes every single 10 MByte chunk to change (slide to the right?) and so we have to retransmit the entire thing.

For a lot of programs dealing with large files, they tend to append bytes to the end of their file formats, which works great. If it is an entire bootable computer image, a lot of stuff will probably not move around (like huge swaths of binaries sitting in that computer image) and a lot of stuff WILL move around that will "accidentally" be backed up.

One final hint: by default TrueCrypt specifically thinks changing the modification time is "leaking information". Make sure you check the checkbox that when TrueCrypt changes the image, it needs to also update the last modified time. Backblaze uses that as a hint to go examine every byte in the file to see if it should be retransmitted.

Comment: Re:Meaningless (Score 3, Interesting) 173 173

> Then you boys should make an app that every computer enthusiast can use that tracks smart stats/drive failures and collects them at your servers.

I think this would be really awesome. Here's where it gets neat-> we already have an app running in hundreds of thousands of desktop and laptop computers! (Our "online backup application" involves a tiny service that runs to send your files at the datacenter through HTTPS.) So if we just updated the client with a small amount of statistics tracking (and maybe a nice checkbox to opt in or out) then we could immediately start collecting info.

Sort of related: A few years ago I played an online 3D video game (can't remember which one, might have been Quake?) that you could both report your graphics card and RAM configuration to the server, and the server would list the aggregate statistics. So there is some precedent for this kind of data collection and publication.

Comment: Re:Backups are not secure (Score 1) 173 173

> Just have the client use a cheapish symmetric key (AES256 perhaps)

We do use AES to encrypt the files. We used a well known design where we use the public key to encrypt the AES256 key and FEK, then we use the AES key to symmetrically encrypt the file. Then we can use the passphrase to encrypt the private key. So it's kind of an onion, you use the passphrase, decrypt the private key, which is then used to decrypt the AES key and FEK, which is then used to decrypt the file. (We didn't invent this flow, it is used in several encrypted filesystems because it's a great design.) This was it is FAST (symmetric AES) plus has the total awesomeness of pub/private keys and all they imply (the idea that you can encrypt data with the public key that nobody listening can decrypt because they don't have the private key is really quite powerful).

We then use HTTPS to post this data from your laptop to our datacenter. From time to time this "double encryption" of both encrypting on the client and sending the already encrypted data through HTTPS anyway has helped keep our customers safe when HTTPS has been broken for a little while.

Comment: Re:Backups are not secure (Score 1) 173 173

> Private keys (stored on their owner's PC where they should be) are still encrypted
> with passphrases in case the PC is hacked. That's how important keeping the
> private key completely private is.

The flaw in your design is that when the PC dies, you can no longer decrypt the backup because you just lost the private key.

Some online backup companies in the past have solved this by having you store your private key in yet a 3rd party "escrow" location, so you don't have the only copy and yet the company with your backup data does not have the private key either. In essence that is what Backblaze does, just in an "easy to use" way. We store the private encryption keys on one particular server, completely separate from your data. The data is all on "pods". Is it as secure? I don't think anybody can claim 100 % security, we do the very very best job we can.

I leave you with the following thought -> if you would use encryption (like TrueCrypt) on your most sensitive data, *THEN* back up the TrueCrypt image to Backblaze, even if Backblaze wanted to read your data or if the NSA put their processing power on it and cracked your passphrase, they would have nothing, because you encrypted it BEFORE it was encrypted by Backblaze and sent through HTTPS to our servers. Maybe that would allow you to sleep soundly at night?

Comment: Re:Meaningless (Score 3, Insightful) 173 173

> I'm surprised Backblaze has published so much without getting into lawsuit trouble already.

Hopefully "the truth" is a valid defense? :-) Plus I think the drive companies are aware of the "Streisand effect" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... and don't want to call even more attention to the fact that every hard drive is fully expected to fail eventually.

Comment: Re:Meaningless (Score 4, Informative) 173 173

> retail at the 10,000 drive order level

You might be surprised how little discount we get. Our last purchase of 4 TByte Hitachi drives (960 drives in one purchase) we paid $135 each before tax and shipping. "B&H Photo" sometimes wins the bid (I don't know how or why), but you can basically get that same price within a couple bucks in units of 1 or 2 from their website. Note: we have no affiliation with B&H other than satisfied customers, and B&H do not win the bid every time.

With that said, if anybody knows how to get more than $2 off "retail" please PLEASE let us know!!

Comment: Re:Backups are not secure (Score 5, Informative) 173 173

> Their backup scheme require them to have access to your private key (the one you encrypted your backup with).

Disclaimer: I'm a Backblaze engineer who wrote a lot of that code.

Your statement is a bit misleading, there are two levels of security in Backblaze. Data is always encrypted, and the "private key" is a totally standard OpenSSL PEM file that yes, we store for you. By default, this PEM file is secured by a passphrase that Backblaze knows, so your data is essentially only secured by your email address and password and you can recover your password by email. This is pretty light security (if somebody has access to your email they can recover your password), so it's best for backups of stuff you wouldn't mind too much if somebody got ahold of it, like say pictures of your cat. Don't laugh, I backup my public website on Backblaze servers, there is valuable data in the world that does not need encryption, that would be info you don't want to lose but is ALSO publicly readable.

So if you are concerned at all about security, you can set your own personal "passphrase" on that PEM file that Backblaze absolutely never writes to disk - we don't store it. But if you do this you MUST remember that passphrase or your data is GONE. Without that passphrase, nobody will ever retrieve your data, not you, not the US government, not the NSA, NOBODY. You cannot "recover" that passphrase, and we don't know it. This is a good mode of security if you would be arrested on the spot for the contents of your files if the NSA got ahold of your data, because we really don't think it is breakable.

Comment: Re:Marketing (Score 5, Informative) 173 173

Disclaimer: I'm an engineer at Backblaze.

We do these drive statistics and observations originally for our own selfish internal reasons - this is information that is important for running our business. When we then release this kind of information, the info release is largely because it helps people hear about our company (and also maybe a little of "good for humanity" motivation thrown in there, we're Slashdot kind of people, we work in technology in Silicon Valley). But let me be clear: the information is as accurate as we can possibly make it, and we aren't pulling any punches and we aren't "in bed with" any drive manufacturers. I see this as a WIN-WIN. You get accurate and free information, and a few people hear our company name and look into what we do and maybe we gain a few customers. These posts are often written by the engineers working on the system and are trying to be as straight-forward and non-marketing as we can be.

There's a whole WORLD in a mud puddle! -- Doug Clifford