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Comment: No earthquakes here, just power failures (Score 0) 191

by Striek (#47751867) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?
I don't care about my data. The only data I have worth worrying about is a few thousand pictures, all backed up in the cloud.

Where I live (Toronto), we don't have earthquakes, generally. We had a 5.0 in 2010 and a 5.1 in 2013, and those are the only earthquakes of mention in anyone's memory. I don't plan for earthquakes, or tornadoes (we do get those), or floods, or anything specific. I have general emergency plans, which should see me through a week or so after any major emergency. The worst of our disasters here are multi-day power outages. We had one last winter (some know the occurence as the polar vortex). We got hit hard enough that we were without power for three days. It happened also during the Great Blackout of 2003. Beyond that, I've only seen a single tornado, and a pretty bad flood. While I can't speak for everywhere on Earth, I've found that communites tend to band together in disasters. Looting and pillaging is rarely a concern (or maybe I'm just Canadian).

The most important thing to keep around in an emergency (and bear in mind that most "emergencies" last only for a few days to a week) is toiletries, and personal cleaning supplies. We have a supply of soap, toothpaste, and toilet paper in the first aid kit. We keep enough probably for five families. After that, a means of communication is esserntial. Cellphones cannot be relied on in an emergency, although from experience, they do actually work - they worked fine in both the 2003 and 2013 blackouts here - but I just don't trust them, even if only because batteries run dead and I can't guarantee a way to charge it, especially in winter. I have a couple of old rotary phones around and have always kept a landline, just in case these things happen (and as it happens, we're frequently the only household in the neighbourhood with a functional phone in a power failure).

My military survival training taught me there are five basic survival needs, in any situation, those being 1) first aid 2) shelter 3) fire 4) water 5) food, in that order. In an urban environment I would also add communications and sanitation to that list.

Here's what I do:


Food is a commonly misconcieved need in an emergency. It is dead last on my list of survival necessities, as I know I can survive about three weeks without food, if I keep my activity levels low. That being said however, I do have approximately a weeks' worth of food in the pantry at all times (not for emergencies, but mainly because we like having a large selection of foodstuffs at all times), which obviates the need for a primary emergency food source. I'm also an avid wilderness canoeist, and usually keep about a months' worth of IMP's (Canadian MRE's, but taste better) in storage which gets cycled probably around every 10 years. So I'm good for food.


Again, this need is commonly placed too high on a survival needs list. You can survive three days without water. We have freshwater streams running through town which could make a suitable source of water in an emergency (though not in winter, and it wouldn't be enough for my whole town). There is always 200 litres in the hot water tank as well. Water is bulky, heavy, and outdoor storage is impossible here as it would freeze. Much more important is a method of purifying what water you can readily find elsewhere. We keep silver nitrate, water purification tablets, large quantities of bleach, and two pump action water filters on hand, just in the camping gear, plus the campstove can be used to boil it.


I go camping a lot, so extra tents are not a concern, nor are tarps, should our house be destroyed or sufficiently damaged. We have enough that we could easily house others if the need was there.


I have two or three campstoves, plus a barbecue, so there's not too much concern there. All my campstoves use readily available fuel sources (mostly kerosene), and can also operate on gasoline or diesel oil with a few minor midification if needed. One can also run on propane or butane or LP gas as well.

First Aid:

We have a very well stocked first aid kit, which aside from the obvious bandages, alcohol, peroxide, and tensor bandages, also contains silver nitrate sticks, collapsible splints, two courses of antibiotics, narcotic painkillers, surgical needles and thread, and lidocaine. We also keep the emergency supply of tampons and pads in there, which are useful for a great many things besides the obvious (however still very important to have around in a disaster for their intended purposes)

What I don't have is an emergency radio, or the ability to recharge batteries if the power fails, which it most likely will in a disaster, or a gas generator, however I imagine gasoline supplies would run out in any major emergency - that's been my experience, anyway.

Comment: Sorry, but they agreed to it. (Score 0) 147

by Striek (#47665577) Attached to: T-Mobile To Throttle Customers Who Use Unlimited LTE Data For Torrents/P2P
Yes, in this case, "unlimited" means "unlimited by quantity", not "unlimited by any means of delivery". Verizon's TOS clearly state that (emphasis mine):

You agree not to misuse the Service or Device, including but not limited to: (a) reselling or rebilling our Service; (b) using the Service or Device to engage in unlawful activity, or in conduct that adversely affects our customers, employees, business, or any other person(s), or that interferes with our operations, network, reputation, or ability to provide quality service, including, but not limited to, the generation or dissemination of viruses, malware or “denial of service” attacks; (c) using the Service as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections; (d) tampering with or modifying your T-Mobile Device; (e) "spamming" or engaging in other abusive or unsolicited communications, or any other mass, automated voice or data communication for commercial or marketing purposes; (f) reselling T-Mobile Devices for profit, or tampering with, reprogramming or altering T-Mobile Devices for the purpose of reselling the T-Mobile Device; (g) using the Service in connection with server devices or host computer applications, including continuous Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine-to-machine connections or peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing applications that are broadcast to multiple servers or recipients, “bots” or similar routines that could disrupt net user groups or email use by others or other applications that denigrate network capacity or functionality;

And in the very next section states that:

WE MAY LIMIT, SUSPEND OR TERMINATE YOUR SERVICE OR AGREEMENT WITHOUT NOTICE FOR ANY REASON, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, if you, any user of your Device, or any user on your account: (a) breaches the Agreement;

They are well within their rights under the agreement that every user signed on to. Now while the classic argument is that nobody reads the TOS, that is not Verizon's fault, nor is it their responsibility to make sure you do, and it is certainly not their responsibility to verbally advise you of every condition of service before you sign. It is a perfectly fair argument that "unlimited" can mean "unlimited, but not to the point where it interferes with other users".

Now, some will argue that they have a responsibility to deliver truly "unlimited" services at the advertised bandwidth. However, I don't think it states anywhere in their user agreement that unlimited services are exempt from throttling. The affected users' bandwidth plans are still unlimited, however, at a slower speed, and even if it is stated somewhere that connections will not be throttled, they have already established under contract, their right to limit service in the event of a breach of the TOS.

The affected users still have unlimited bandwidth. They are being administratively punished for a breach of Verizon's TOS, which is a legitimate activity. They cannot cry foul because they don't like the terms. They agreed to them when they signed up.

Personally, I think Verizon is doing this the right way.

Comment: It all depends (Score 0) 208

by Striek (#47544241) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would You Do With Half a Rack of Server Space?
This all depends any a number of factors. I can think of quite a few uses for half a rack.

The first question, asked elsewhere in this thread, is whether or not the cost of power is included. If you are also paying for power, it might well be best to shut them down and leave them idle as a cost saving measure (which is why, I assume, that you are moving to the cloud in the first place).

Now, if the cost of running these machines for a few months is not a concern, here's a few ideas:

1: Do you currently host any office resources (fileservers, authentication, backups, VPNs, etc...) in your office in a wiring closet? This could be a perfect opportunity to showcase how some of these might better be handled in a proper datacentre.

2: Are there any projects still on the drawing board, which have been hitherto delayed due to a lack of resources? You could use this time to develop a proof of concept.

3: Further to #2, this is a perfect opportunity to build a DIY private cloud. Generally, the barrier to entry to these projects is the sticker shock associated with the initial cost. An empty half rack full of unused servers is perfect for this, and could be an excellent proof of concept for management. Done correctly, your private cloud could exist as a backup to your public cloud.

4: If this is a company that does any kind of software development, this is a chance to build a prototype developmnent cluster as well. You could even build a development cluster on top of the aforementioned virtualization cluster.

5: Do you do business with anyone, or do you have any sister companies that are in need of temporary rack space? You could conceivably rent this space out (and even the hardware, too), to a firm that needs some quick and temporary rack space, and possibly even turn a profit, if this is permitted under your agreement with the datacentre.

Essentially, if I had half a rack of unused servers I would use them as a way to prototype a project I've been wanting to do for a while but until now have not had the resources to build. Failing that, I would try to rent it out. But be careful - do not build anything on these servers that you might become dependent on; this might be viewed by management as a challenge to their authority. Make sure that whatever you use it for is temporary.

Comment: Re:Millionare panhandlers (Score 0) 200

by Striek (#47544101) Attached to: Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs
I suppose I should have been more verbose. Yes, parent said this form of panhandling exists. Reply then mentioned how people use these stories to justify not caring about those in need.

My point is - the very few examples of this do not justify their use as a reason to ignore the plight of the homeless and disenfranchised. Sure, there are many valid reasons for that, however this is not one of them.

I have seen these people in Toronto as well, and I know who some of them are. We have had similar news stories. Five examples (I could likely find a couple more from around here), while indeed non-zero, is still statistically insignificant, and not sufficient reason on its own to alter our views on the homeless IMO.

Comment: Re:Millionare panhandlers (Score 0) 200

by Striek (#47539557) Attached to: Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs
This is anecdotal evidence, not statistical. Finding five examples (yes, the first and third link are the same person) and extrapolating that to the entire population of panhandlers still counts as "complete imaginary bullshit". A perfect example of confirmation bias. These are exactly the types of anecdotes people use to rationalize their "abandonment of their fellow man".

Mystics always hope that science will some day overtake them. -- Booth Tarkington