If you're not willing to make the hard calls when someone can't do something as simple as patching, you're doomed from the start.
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Who's going to compromise the Linux kernel servers, and leave the linux kernel alone?
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I'm pretty sure this is being done already.
I've had the similar experiences. Mine usually make it to just a month outside the warranty period. One had the distinct honor of only lasting 3 weeks. I was able to recover most of the data, but after that incident, like you, I've only bought non-WD drives. I've had 5 WD drives die. All my other drives have outlived the WD drives by a long shot.
Unfortunately that only changes the login for your router admin page. That has nothing to do with WEP/WPA/WPA2.
I decided to go with the Drobo. It works as a JBOD raid, and you can mix and match disks and capacities. The drawback with the drobo is that it doesn't have a native networking capability. For that you need to buy a droboshare, or hook it up to a box & share it. And it has USB2, and 1394b, but not 1394a. So if you don't currently have firewire 800 capabilities, I recommend you get a card immediately if you choose to hook it up to a PC.
I ran a test on my home pc on speedtest.net, and noticed that on the same pc, that largely my download speeds were very similar but my upload speed had changed significantly from the ubuntu install vs. the vista install.
On Ubuntu (9.04): 19612kbps down; 6851kbps up
On Vista: 19259kbps down; 18703kbps up
My ISP is Verizon.
I've been doing this for a long time. I simply hold my hand in front of my eyes. Viola! Object remotely cloaked.