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Comment: Re:Security theater (Score 2) 224

by brianwski (#49330261) Attached to: $1B TSA Behavioral Screening Program Slammed As "Junk Science"
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.

"Disco Clam" Lights Up To Scare Predators Away 49

Posted by samzenpus
from the stayin-alive dept.
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:Interesting. I'd think the opposite (Score 2) 208

by blahplusplus (#48668105) Attached to: The World Is Not Falling Apart

Problem is both the above posters are ignorant. Modern publics are so illusioned they don't know which end is up.

Reasoning and the human brain doesn't work the way we thought it did:

Manufacturing consent

Most have no clue what's really going on in the world... the elites are afraid of political awakening.

This (mass surveillance) by the NSA and abuse by law enforcement is just more part and parcel of state suppression of dissent against corporate interests. They're worried that the more people are going to wake up and corporate centers like the US and canada may be among those who also awaken. See this vid with Zbigniew Brzezinski, former United States National Security Advisor.

Brezinski at a press conference

The real news:

Look at the following graphs:

IMGUR link -

And then...

WIKILEAKS: U.S. Fought To Lower Minimum Wage In Haiti So Hanes And Levis Would Stay Cheap

Free markets?

Free trade?

"We now live in two Americas. One—now the minority—functions in a print-based, literate world that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other—the majority—is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. To this majority—which crosses social class lines, though the poor are overwhelmingly affected—presidential debate and political rhetoric is pitched at a sixth-grade reading level. In this “other America,” serious film and theater, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of society.

In the tradition of Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges navigates this culture—attending WWF contests, the Adult Video News Awards in Las Vegas, and Ivy League graduation ceremonies—to expose an age of terrifying decline and heightened self-delusion."

Important history:

Comment: Re:Pretect for more draconian DRM (Score 1) 160

by blahplusplus (#48629697) Attached to: To Fight Currency Mismatches, Steam Adding Region Locking to PC Games

"Maybe, but many people (including myself) will just go back to piracy. I buy lots of games on steam"

Problem is all new games will be locked to a backend server as technology advances. Notice Starcraft 2 and diablo 3 are always online, two major games. Corporations have made huge inroads against gamers rights. The vast majority of the gaming masses are too illiterate and stupid to know how they are fucking the intelligent half of the gaming community over and completely fucking over game preservation.

Comment: Re:Why Steam? Why? (Score 1) 160

by blahplusplus (#48629425) Attached to: To Fight Currency Mismatches, Steam Adding Region Locking to PC Games

You have a DRM system that is the least hated (and actually liked in some cases) by the users of any.

The fact they have DRM at all speaks volumes of what they think of gamers, the fact that people like you think corporations give a damn when they've been steadily taking your rights away is proof most of mankind is hopeless.

Comment: Re:speeds (Score 1) 173

by brianwski (#48629379) Attached to: Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off
> 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

by brianwski (#48629367) Attached to: Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off
> 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

by brianwski (#48629309) Attached to: Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off
> 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

by brianwski (#48629229) Attached to: Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off
> 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

by brianwski (#48621233) Attached to: Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off
> 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

by brianwski (#48619973) Attached to: Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off
> 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, Interesting) 173

by blahplusplus (#48619761) Attached to: Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

I work at Backblaze.

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. It'd be great to monitor drives across the internet with an application that you could just have minimized to the taskbar, maybe you could kickstart the funds for one? Many of us would gladly pitch in to get reliable drive data on a massive scale. Many of us are on the net anyway it would be great to report drive usage/characteristics in realtime across the internet.

I've been using stuff like below to "wing" whether a drive needs to be replaced or not, but usually drives start clicking before they go.

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

by brianwski (#48619493) Attached to: Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off
> 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" and don't want to call even more attention to the fact that every hard drive is fully expected to fail eventually.

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors