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Comment: Re:This seems different (Score 1) 109

by dgatwood (#48473719) Attached to: Wikipedia's "Complicated" Relationship With Net Neutrality

The thing is, every company could do those things if they want to. Individuals could do so if they wanted to. It's no different than having a 1-800 number. You pay so that the person calling you doesn't. There's no neutrality violation there; if anything, it improves net neutrality by providing a reasonably priced mechanism for allowing other companies to be on equal footing with Comcast, who almost certainly does not charge their customers for the use of their own, in-house video-on-demand service. You might reasonably argue, however, that it does so only if the cost of said toll-free service is regulated.

Comment: Re:Waiving data charges is fine with net neutralit (Score 2, Insightful) 109

by dgatwood (#48473687) Attached to: Wikipedia's "Complicated" Relationship With Net Neutrality

Yeah, but nobody talking about net neutrality wants all packets to be equal. They want all destinations to be equal, i.e. they want traffic from Netflix to have roughly the same likelihood of reaching its destination as traffic from the cable company's VOD service.

Subsidizing traffic doesn't violate net neutrality, because it doesn't affect the delivery of data, only the cost to the end user. Even if the Internet were regulated in precisely the same way as telephone, subsidized traffic would still be allowed, because it is fundamentally no different than a 1-800 number or a collect call.

So using that as an excuse to argue against net neutrality represents a very fundamental misunderstanding about what net neutrality is about. It isn't about preventing content delivery companies from using the tools at their disposal to deliver content better and faster; it's primarily about preventing content delivery companies who also own last-mile infrastructure from having an unfair competitive advantage over content delivery companies that don't.

Comment: Re:Shyeah, right. (Score 1) 274

by dgatwood (#48469499) Attached to: Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

Tapes aren't really archival, either, unless you have several copies. I've done batch recapture off of DV after a few years, and swore when I found serious dropouts. That's relatively low density data compared with LTO (though admittedly with less redundancy and error correction). After that, I dug around and found a copy of the captured files on some old hard drives, which unlike the tape, were intact.

So basically, from what I've seen, nothing is truly archival unless you have multiple copies, and if you have multiple copies, just about everything is archival, so the difference between tape and hard drives is that tape drives require a large up-front investment in a drive in exchange for cheaper per-TB costs for the media and higher physical density (because you don't have redundant electronics going along for the ride). If the per-TB costs aren't less and the density isn't higher, then tape offers no real advantage over spinning disks, IMO, unless your data storage needs are so massive that you have automatic libraries, and even then, only if you can't find a company willing to build a hard-disk-based librarian robot.

Comment: Re:Technically correct?? (Score 2) 147

by dgatwood (#48469369) Attached to: Clarificiation on the IP Address Security in Dropbox Case

For home users, it is not a useful identifier because it usually changes regularly. For government users and business users, it is a fairly robust identifier, because most of those folks have static IPs (or at least fixed IPs assigned by a DHCP server).

Of course, there's not a 1:1 mapping between user and IP. So it would be more accurate to describe it as familially identifying information.

Comment: Re:Shyeah, right. (Score 1) 274

by dgatwood (#48467305) Attached to: Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

Yes, when you purposely try to take up as much space as humanly possible, it ends up being really big. The least you could do would be leave the raw images on your home media server and keep versions of them compressed to a halfway sane size on the laptop.

Why would I want to do that? I use Lightroom on my laptop for managing my photos. Doing it the way you suggest would A. be an unholy hell, and B. make it impractical to import photos in the field.

Comment: Re:Um, what? (Score 5, Interesting) 416

by dgatwood (#48467091) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Considering US Presidential Run

The ultimate horror for me, as a voter, is realizing that I may have to choose between Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton—between someone who nearly bankrupted one of the most profitable companies in the Bay Area and someone who seems to be hopelessly authoritarian in her positions on most issues—in effect, a choice between an incompetent Republican and an ultra-competent one.

Comment: Re:Shyeah, right. (Score 1) 274

by dgatwood (#48467049) Attached to: Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

Sorry, but you are not going to be lunking around HDs for backups after manually bar-coding, labeling, and cataloging them all for a decent sized business.

Most businesses don't have large storage needs. More and more businesses have users back up their desktop machines to a second drive (e.g. with Time Machine), store critical data on servers, and have IT people back up those servers. And just as many businesses outsource their email to Google, it isn't a big leap from there to outsourcing their server backups to any of the dozens of online backup vendors that are out there.

In the business side, some executives likes to believe that copies of data in different Datacenters are all you need for DR. It's cheap! This works great until you have a replicated corruption that you can't recover from and lose years worth of data.

A live mirror is not a backup. With that said, you can perform periodically rotating replication to multiple backup servers, and use that as a backup solution. That's no different than reusing tapes.

Comment: Re:Shyeah, right. (Score 1) 274

by dgatwood (#48466917) Attached to: Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

Consumers have mostly moved to external hard drives or cloud storage. I know everyone on Slashdot hates the cloud, but as a backup medium it isn't bad.

Oh yes, it is. It's fine for grandparents who just have a handful of files. For people who either take lots of photos or buy movies and music, it's terrible. Ever back up a 3 TB hard drive at 300 kbps? One backup takes 2.5 years. Even at ~9 Mbps (the U.S. average), it takes more than a month. Internet speeds are just not sufficient for backup purposes. They're two orders of magnitude short of being usable. We really need a nationwide fiber network with gigabit speeds or faster.

Comment: Re:Shyeah, right. (Score 1) 274

by dgatwood (#48466855) Attached to: Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

If you think 250TB of backup is a lot, then you don't need tape.

Need? Strictly speaking, no. But I'd be a lot happier being able to mail tapes for backup, rather than having to use fireproof hard drives locally. To fully back up my digital life once, I need somewhere on the order of 10 terabytes. I'd like to have several copies, so 50 TB would be convenient. That's 13 hard drives at 4 TB apiece. That takes up a fair amount of shelf space, and is very expensive to ship offsite. By contrast, if tape had kept up, I'd be able to store that data on five tapes, and I have plenty of room for five tapes and a single drive. And I could mail five tapes in a padded envelope.

And hard drives really don't work well for backups. You either keep them constantly spinning (in which case they are likely to be destroyed by the same power event that destroys the main drive) or you have to physically plug them in whenever you want to make a backup. This does not encourage folks to make backups regularly. Compare this with a tape drive attached to a computer, in which the media is effectively offline as soon as you switch tapes (and to some degree, even before). It's just an entirely different world.

On the other hand. I called a shop a while ago to see what they'd give for our 5x LTO4 tapedrives since we upgraded to LTO6 and they only offered us 30 euros per drive. So if you don't need the latest drive out there, you can save a lot of money by buying second-hand.

That might be what they would give you, but that's not what they'll sell it for. Assume that they'll resell that used drive for at least the equivalent of $500 U.S.

Comment: Re:Shyeah, right. (Score 1) 274

by dgatwood (#48466779) Attached to: Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

Also, we use raw storage in the context of _individual_ incompressible backup sets, not backup data at scale, because very few places backup a high ratio of incompressible data overall.

I'm not convinced that's true. At home, my NAS uses compression, so the raw capacity of the tapes is likely the relevant one, unless the tape somehow manages to recompress lz4-compressed blocks and gain a benefit (not entirely impossible, as lz4 is optimised for speed, but pretty unlikely). At work, the NetApp filer that the tape backups run from also uses compresses and deduplicates online, so not much redundancy there either.

My impression is that a growing percentage of data these days cannot be compressed further:

  • Media (pictures, movies, etc.) makes up a growing percentage of data, and is already so compressed that it won't compress further.
  • Source code stored in a git archive uses LZW, IIRC, so unless you're compressing a checked-out copy, compression won't buy you much, if anything.
  • More and more document files are compressed—Pages files are ZIP archives, EPUB books are ZIP archives, and so on.

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. - Henry Spencer, University of Toronto Unix hack