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Comment: Re:My proposal (Score 1) 110

by KitFox (#47953453) Attached to: Data Archiving Standards Need To Be Future-Proofed

I propose storing it in a new medium. A "molecular chain", which should withstand the effects of EMP, right?
A name for it. Hmmm. How about the Destroy-Not Archive, or D.N.A. for short.

But then cosmic rays and ionizing radiation and other things will still introduce errors.

So we would further need a method to reliably store the chains themselves and that could replicate the data to ensure there was a high chance of accurate data surviving. Little cartridges with all of the necessary environment and materials to power the reading system and maintain the chain and that could, as needed, replicate the data into new cartridges. The second versions, Contained Environment II (CE-II) work decently.*

(*Hey, I couldn't think of anything with L. I guarantee I gave it at least four seconds of thought too!)

Comment: Pragmatic: continual, active refresh (Score 1) 110

by michaelmalak (#47953255) Attached to: Data Archiving Standards Need To Be Future-Proofed

One can whine and wax poetic all one wants, but since we don't have a good archival format, the practical solution today is continual refresh of data: periodically copying data to fresh, and technologically up-to-date media. It's not sexy, but it does address three of the four points at the end of the linked piece (end-to-end data integrity, format migration and secondary media formats). The unaddressed point, access audit trails, makes no sense given the premise stated at the beginning of the piece that "No matter what anyone tells you, there is data that does not need to be on primary storage".

Yes, this is expensive. Yes, it would be nicer (cheaper) if a one-time single format could address the archive problem.

P.S. There is also this gem from the piece:

creation of a collision-proof hash

Of course the whole point of a hash is a mapping from a high-cardinality space to a low-cardinality space, and thus collisions are always a possibility. Collisions are minimized when a good hashing function uniformly distributes the resulting hashes, but given a large enough collection of source documents (no more are needed than the cardinality of the hash space), collisions will occur.

Comment: Re:Fallacy (Score 2) 912

by michaelmalak (#47899369) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

It's a strawman argument, lacking an understanding of what actual science and the scientific process is.

And yet it is a common misunderstanding about the scientific method, namely:

"If it can't be proven by the scientific method, it must not be true."

This misunderstanding is false because there are things that are true that we know from outside the scientific method, namely by reason (e.g. Calculus and other philosophy of math) and by faith (religion).

The grandparent comment asks "show me the Spockists". To which I answer, show me where in public school curriculum the scientific method is explained and its relationship to philosophy, religion and truth (or even just philosophy and math, to keep things secular).

Comment: Seven letters (Score 1) 819

I travel a huge amount for work, and I am required to select the cheapest available option (within a window)

Three letters: ADA

Four more letters: OSHA

The $20 for Economy Plus is a "reasonable accommodation." However, if you're able to use frequent flier miles earned on the job to obtain Economy Plus, your case is much weaker.

IANAL, nor have I tried this yet (because I've never had an employer decline my initial polite request).

Comment: Re:Moderately well prepared - Oakland, California (Score 1) 191

by Cliff Stoll (#47744875) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Hi gang,

        Thanks for the reports of stale gasoline - I'm convinced. Tonight I'll head out & recycle my old gas. The problem isn't getting things together; it's keeping it all up to date & ready. Your comments hit me in the right place: be prepared.

        I'm associated with a ham radio emergency group; the rule is that the station's equipment must be immediately ready for action. In an emergency, you don't have the luxury of stringing a cable, or figuring out which power supply can work with which rig. If the transceivers aren't wired up, tested, and set to go, they might as well be underwater. Same's true for on-the-air skills. You gotta check into the 2-meter net at least every month, or you'll get rusty and screw up when things get hot.

      And so it is with earthquake readiness. It's not enough to put away a survival stash and let it molder. Gotta keep things fresh - gotta keep my skills sharp.

Best wishes,
        ps to ksmithderm ... sure, I've got Klein bottle hats (and Mobius scarves). They're on m'website.

Comment: Moderately well prepared - Oakland, California (Score 4, Informative) 191

by Cliff Stoll (#47743541) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Background: I live on North Oakland, next to Berkeley, in the Rockridge section. Urban, detached 2 bedroom house about 100 years old.

We bolted down our house, fully reinforced the stemwalls, and installed shearwalls. For our little 2-bedroom bungalow in Oakland, this set us back around $20,000. Earthquake insurance seemed outrageous (around $2,500/year, with very limited benefits). Along with the earthquake retrofit, we set aside a few cases of food & twenty 5-gallon jugs of water. A 2Kw Honda generator. Radio, flashlights, FRS walkie-talkies, etc. Small amount of medical stuff.

Yes, I have onsite and offsite backups (that's easy); the real problem would be connectivity after a quake. There's probably a hundred telephone poles between my house and the central office.

Some challenges: Keeping food & water fresh is a problem - cans get rusty as water condenses on cold surfaces. Some camping food goes bad. MRI rations taste, well, horrible. We should replace water & food annually, and generally forget to. (We discovered diapers in our earthquake stash, left over from when our college kids were infants)

    Storing gasoline for the generator is a problem. I'm told that gasoline gets stale after a few months (is this true, or an urban legend?). It's a pain to lug a 3 gallon gas can around, and it's not something I want under my house. (I store it in a shed, where it's out of sight & out of mind - so I rarely refresh it. Is there a small, 5 or 10 gallon under-ground gasoline storage tank?). I should start and exercise the generator every month; it's more like every two years or so. Our experience in the 1989 quake was that gas stations can't pump after an earthquake (no power).

  Our neighborhood's quake group (the Oakland - Rockridge Shakers) meets every summer, and the earthquake drills have been quite useful - we've had several fun practice sessions, where we hunt for human dummies hidden around the neighborhood, search for downed wires, and practice using walkie-talkies. Afterwards, it's a block party, and we compare notes while sharing lunch.

    My home business, Acme Klein Bottles, lost two glass Klein bottles in last night's quake. Both fell off a shelf and shattered on the floor. Good lesson: keep my glassware stored down low, with holders to prevent boxes from shifting. Since most of my glass Klein bottles are stored under our house; a major local temblor that destroyed the house would also wipe out the business.

Comment: Marketing vs technology (Score 1) 87

by michaelmalak (#47731097) Attached to: What's After Big Data?

From the linked piece:

In hindsight, his remark was a clear sign that the marketing hype around "big data" had peaked.

This is true, and it provides the context missing from TFS: "Big Data" is over as a marketing term. But as technological term and as far as actual implementation, it is the status quo and forevermore will be.

From a technological perspective, "Big Data" has a simple definition: more data than can be stored on a single machine. And this need will only grow as hard drives and maybe even SSDs plateau while of course enterprise data only grows.

Indeed, TFA itself states (that TFS omitted):

A particularly hot sector has matured around Hadoop, an open-source analytics software platform. Many tech companies are writing software to make Hadoop industrial strength and integrate it with new and existing types of databases.

So, from TFA itself: Hadoop is hot, but the term "Big Data" is not.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler