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Comment: Re:Government Intervention (Score 1) 127

A market where utilities have government-mandated monopolies is not free.

Google is demonstrating that there isn't a mandated communications monopoly per se, but just an extremely high barrier to entry and some incumbent legislation that moves out of the way as soon as enough people are teased with hyperfast internet hookups.

Comment: Your standards were low. Soooooo low. (Score 1) 127

Mid 90's was when modem technology still hadn't caught up to the phone line standards that were deployed far and wide across the US. Sure, you could get a nice solid 14400 or 28800 (if you were living high on the hog) and have lightning-fast IRC sessions. A few years later, you will be connecting at 31200 and bitching that you can't get a 56k handshake in your neck of the woods (as distance to the local CO and quality of lines really started to matter) and a few years after that you would have been bitching that no cable or telephone company wanted to bother spending $1M+ rolling out to a tiny town to try to grab a few hundred customers paying $40/mo for 1Mbit broadband. Meanwhile, those who did live in urban/suburban areas were being "treated" to broadband from the phone company and the cable company, neither of which was really prepared to deal with thousands of customers with 3Mbit+ connections all trying to pirate music. So, service "upgrades" were nonexistent as all the providers played catchup with customer demand for about 10 years.

And then, as if by some dark magic, wireless operators started rolling out handsets that could best all but the fastest wired connections (50Mbit+ coverage for 90% of the US pop). What a strange land we live in.

Comment: Re:Old news (Score 1) 68

by jeffmeden (#48932057) Attached to: Georgia Institute of Technology Researchers Bridge the Airgap

Yes and you could call those trojan horses "keyloggers".

Some rather enterprising (yes its a pun) security experts use a "read-only" usb ports policy as a way to have a quasi-airgapped system, where you can still bring in software updates on a usb flash drive but can't exfiltrate any data via the same. This would totally side-step that measure, making it novel in some situations.

Comment: Re:Old news (Score 2) 68

by jeffmeden (#48931639) Attached to: Georgia Institute of Technology Researchers Bridge the Airgap

Missing from the summary: THEY HAVE SOFTWARE INSTALLED ON THE VICTIM LAPTOP that modules the CPU usage.

You don't need any fancy equipment, any AM radio will do.

Given how successful Stuxnet was at infecting across the airgap (by way of poor USB policies) it is rather plausible that you could rely on a trojan horse (in the most literal sense of the term) to get inside and start broadcasting sensitive information out, be they keystrokes or fragments of files or whatever.

Comment: Re:stone tablets (Score 1) 247

by jeffmeden (#48917945) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

I don't think that's the question at all.

I think that the question is, what medium will still be around and functional decades from now?

And I think the best predicable answer is Compact Disc, mainly due to the ubiquity of music CDs, which while not as popular as they once were, are still extremely common and will probably continue to be common. 12cm optical readers may eventually stop reading video formats like DVD, or Blu-ray, or other shorter-lived formats once new formats replace them, but there really hasn't been another digital music format with a physical component to it with the longevity and widespread popularity that CD has enjoyed.

When a huge heavy cakebox of 50 CDRs can hold just 30 GB, I just hope whatever it is that you're storing doesn't take up much room and isn't going to grow.

Comment: Re:stone tablets (Score 2) 247

by jeffmeden (#48917443) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

OK hotshot, how sure are you that the medium those *wonderful* answers are stored on hasn't deteriorated, resulting in us looking back on bad advice?!

Assume it will, or that it already has. Which, has more or less been in all those answers which came before.

Buy 4 HDs ... back everything to all four, keep two at home, and keep backing up to them, put the other two in another physical location. Periodically rotate one of them.

If you have at least two backups of very recent vintage, and two of an slightly older vintage ... you're constantly making new backups.

Over time, assume even the ones you're still using.

In other words: Hint: The consensus recommendation was to pick at least two different media, and store them in a least two different geographical locations, then migrate to different media as technology improves.

Which is precisely what the GP said.

Don't assume you've made a static backup which will suffer from neither bitrot nor obsolescence. Plan accordingly.

This is literally a decades old strategy. The more important the data, the more discrete copies you keep, and the more regularly you do it.

What makes this Ask Slashdot different (it doesn't, but here goes) is that the submitter is asking for the best long term media for a personal archive, which implies storage untouched, for long periods. In other words, if I die tomorrow, how can I be sure my great grandkids will get to see my vacation photos in 2077 after my worthless kids and their worthless kids shove all my shit in their basement to deal with "next spring"?

It seems to me that the correct question is either: A) what backup service can you pour money into today with the hopes that it will outlive you and keep your data safe? or B) how do I convince my worthless kids to rotate my archives off of SATA3 disks in 10 years when the last compatible PCs are getting recycled?

Comment: Re:DVD (Score 1) 247

by jeffmeden (#48917299) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

Tape media may still be a good bet, and probably better than magnetic HDDs. Tapes are small, store lots of data, and are pretty resilient.

I wonder how long they require/expect the data to last for? Years? Decades? Generations?

The complexity of making a tape drive work has to be at best, 2x that of an off the shelf hard drive given the number of moving parts. And, unless you spring for the really really expensive version a tape cartridge wont come anywhere close to the density of a 2TB 2.5" HDD.

That being said, the only real obstacle to longevity of any medium is maintaining a good backup regiment. How hard would it be to, once every 2 years, purchase a new reasonably-priced USBx flash drive, copy the backup from the last flash drive (assuming your storage needs are modest, currently in the 100GB range) and put the new one in the safe? 24 months is definitely within the safe time range of even the cheapest flash media.

This morbid interest in "time capsule" media that will survive untouched for 50 years so your grandkids can come along and see your vacation photos from spring break after you die from a heart attack at age 30 is really bizarre. If no one has come for your data in 10 years or so, guess what: it wasn't worth anything.

Comment: Re:DVD (Score 2) 247

by jeffmeden (#48917019) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

I have DVDs that I've burned as a teenager kept in a nice, high-quality soft "archival" binder for the last 18 years. Nearly all of them, of varying quality/expense, are unreadable due to degradation.

OTOH, I've got old 500MB harddrives that read/work just fine and are just as old. I'd expect sealed HDDs to be as good as it gets - tape is nice, but maintaining a supported/working tape drive was always difficult (used to have one). But, unlike every other type of storage, harddrives are actually capable of warning you of an impending failure. (I've been *saved* by S.M.A.R.T. at least twice, over the years.) Add some rudimentary RAID, and you're probably good. The only way I can think of to go further is to use two/three, and cycle them between your PC(often/all the time), a nearby firesafe(When you are heading in that direction), and a safety-deposit box (seasonally?).

It's hard to ignore spinning disks if your archival requirements are in the midrange (2-4TB) where optical media would take up far more room. Just keep an extra drive around for spare parts in case you lose a motor or something.

Comment: Re:stone tablets (Score 5, Funny) 247

by jeffmeden (#48916741) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

... have always worked for me.

Here's an even better solution: Since this exact same question has been asked on Slashdot multiple times, and the topic has been beaten to death, just look in the archives and see what everyone recommended last time. Hint: The consensus recommendation was to pick at least two different media, and store them in a least two different geographical locations, then migrate to different media as technology improves.

The submitter is leaving out most important information: How much data? Storing terabytes is different than storing gigabytes (which will fit on a thumb drive). How long? The submitter says "backups" not "archives", which implies that long shelf life is not a priority, but many people use the terms interchangeably.

OK hotshot, how sure are you that the medium those *wonderful* answers are stored on hasn't deteriorated, resulting in us looking back on bad advice?!

Comment: Re:why the fuck (Score 1) 101

by jeffmeden (#48875279) Attached to: Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint and T-Mobile

Would any wireless company enter into an agreement like this?

As a consumer I'd love to see google kill one of those fuckers off but why would they put themselves in that position?

MVNO agreements are very lucrative for the operators, and every US operator does them already. They capitalize on an existing resource (And de-prioritize the traffic accordingly) and don't have any overhead of managing payments or tech support. It's exactly like "store brand" foods at the grocery. Price-sensitive consumers flock to MVNOs and the carriers make just as much profit per person (because they still control the actual resource) while expanding their user count and not devaluing their original product by very much.

Comment: Re:enterprise will need some kind of offline mode (Score 1) 570

by jeffmeden (#48868489) Attached to: Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

Enterprise versions usually work differently anyway. For example the enterprise edition of XP doesn't require any sort of activation - install and go, change hardware to your hearts content, it just works (well, aside from driver issues). Like all operating systems used to do. Presumably 7 and 8 work the same way - if you've got a single customer buying and managing thousands of licenses you don't want to make them dick around with activating them individually. I suspect 10 will be basically the same, except for the automatically scheduled license audit if you fail to pay for your subscription on time.

To say that it "just works", ignoring the complexity of running a KMS (and juggling VLKs), is a bit disingenuous. 7, 8, and presumably 10 do indeed *all* need activation of some sort regardless of flavor.

Comment: Re:Only for the first year (Score 1) 570

by jeffmeden (#48868405) Attached to: Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

That's not what it means. It means you have the choice to upgrade to 10 for free within 1 year. If you wait more than a year after release you have to pay. Anyone who got a free upgrade will continue to have a full 100% working and updated OS after the 1 year.

This is exactly how they did things with 8. I don't know why the article author is pulling BS out of his ass.

The Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 "free upgrade" had dubious generosity, since the user-visible part revolved around sidelining the much-maligned desktop replacement "start screen" in favor of something that slightly resembled the one in Windows 7. It was more of a "half upgrade half downgrade" that almost every user desperately wanted.

Comment: Re:Only for the first year (Score 4, Informative) 570

by jeffmeden (#48868353) Attached to: Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

The Ars Technica post was a little more useful and less FUD-ridden, although I won't hold my breath til I see it directly in Microsoft product marketing materials:

Update 2: A blog post from Terry Myerson clears up what "Windows as a service" means, though the duration of "the supported lifetime of the device" is still foggy. "This is more than a one-time upgrade," writes Myerson. "Once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device—at no additional charge

Comment: Re:Exactly (Score 1) 106

by jeffmeden (#48867289) Attached to: Gender and Tenure Diversity In GitHub Teams Relate To Higher Productivity

This, and studies like it, are used to impose diversity on groups that would otherwise not have it, whether by intentional exclusion or by unintentional "doesn't fit the organizational culture." It's not surprising to me that groups which are spontaneously diverse are productive, and I'm perfectly happy to go with the 'open minds accept diverse solutions and diverse people' argument. The question that interests me is whether you can impose social diversity on a group, force them to open their minds, and subsequently become more productive.

I can certainly see where putting a person of color, or a woman, in a group of racist, misogynist bigots would disrupt their happy groupthink and break up their productivity. Regardless of whether that productivity started out a little lower than an equivalent group of non bigots.

The question that interests me is: if you are employing "a group of racist, misogynist bigots"... whatthefuck? Clan members aren't a protected class. Fire their asses.

"Free markets select for winning solutions." -- Eric S. Raymond

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