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Comment Re:this is why (Score 2) 67

I take an easier approach. If I'm selling something I'll replace the drive.

However, for a machine I'm giving to a friend or family member, what I wind up doing is just a format command, then a pass with cipher /w (assuming Windows.) Since all my volumes are BitLocker protected, a format command overwrites the areas on the hard drive with the volume master key multiple times. Even with the right BitLocker password or recovery key protector, the data is gone, since the master key cannot be retrieved. The cipher /w just does a simple three pass (zeroes, ones, random numbers), which is good enough for almost anything.

SSDs are even easier. A format command zaps the keys, then I boot a Linux live CD, run hdparam to do a secure erase, or at the minimum, a blkdiscard on the entire drive, and call it done. The secure erase or the TRIM command ensures that all data on the drive is zeroed (or at least reported to the reading OS as zeroed), so there is almost no chance of recovery whatsoever. If by chance some data is recovered, it will just be encrypted stuff. If I wanted to, I could run an erase pass on the entire drive, but why shorten the drive's life when the secure erase or TRIM has pretty much ensured the drive will be clean.

Comment Re:Just (Score 4, Informative) 186

Solar panels are going quite well. What would be nice is to see is battery capacity drop in price. Having charge controllers and inverters get cheaper, but still maintain the same level of quality and safety wouldn't be bad either.

Batteries are the weakest link in the solar equation. We get banks that are reasonably priced for individuals, have a long life, can handle charge/discharge cycles, and can store a decent amount of ampere-hours, and that will go a long way in helping with energy issues.

Of course, the ability to pull CO2 from the air and synthesize a fuel using solar wouldn't be bad either, especially if it were ethanol or a synthetic diesel. This would provide for long term storage in an energy-dense manner.

Comment Re:GOOD GRIEF! (Score 1) 568

What I have wondered about is something plain and simple:

Canned water. Yes, cans are not perfect, but they are completely recyclable, and can store water indefinitely. Pretty much what Anheuser Busch did for a day for Texas flood victims, but a constant product [1].

Costs per item would be cheaper than soda water, as all that is needed is filtered tap water.

For an added bonus, add a 5-10 cent deposit onto each can. That will pretty much ensure they come back.

[1]: One could always make a joke about it not being a change from their beers, but what they did was a good thing, regardless.

Comment Re:Solution! (Score 1) 205

Before updating/upgrading, make an image of the system with wbadmin (wbadmin.exe start backup with the usual options.) This way, you can recover not just the C: drive, but the recovery partition and others with ease.

Of course there is other Windows backup software, but virtually all of it is junk, except the enterprise stuff like NetBackup. Main reason is that most programs are unable to back up open files or make a usable snapshot image without booting from offline media.

Comment Re:Cleaning cruft isn't the answer... (Score 1) 205

AIX also has a "preservation install" which saves /home and non-OS logical volumes, but blows away everything else.

The ironic thing is that I have yet to actually need to have to use that feature with Linux. Usually it is some subsystem that gets trashed, so that is rebuilt. The exception is a security breach, and from there, I copy the data files off to removable/remote media, erase the machine completely, and install from scratch, so the chance malware remaining is extremely low.

Comment Re:Disturbing Privacy Implications (Score 4, Insightful) 117

You pretty much described it. My photos are never stored in a world accessible place, and if they are stored on the cloud, it is behind an encryption layer like BoxCryptor. Even though it doesn't mean much if the provider itself is compromised, 2FA goes without saying.

One can't control "leakage" like people popping pictures of you and tagging, but what doesn't go to a public forum doesn't get indexed, so just keeping vacation photos private is the best thing. Want to share them with friends? There are means to do it with others privately (well away from mass indexers), as opposed to tossing them onto a social networking site.

Comment Re:Single line of code? (Score 2) 618

AFAIK, in California, they do that for older cars, newer ones get a device that plugs into the OBD II port and they log from that.

Texas is similar. If the vehicle has an OBD II port, they plug in their reader, pull the values from that and call it done. The only time exhaust checking might be actually used is if it is obvious someone did a custom tune (the OBD II port showing clean on a coal roller truck, for example.)

Comment Re:Yawn... (Score 1) 65

I remember one company that did a dog/pony show for an all-SSD SAN product that did this, although I forgot the name of the company.

Their SAN had fast Intel SSD for the landing zone where the data had one pass at being deduplicated. Then, there was a background task that deduplicated the data a lot better (but took more CPU power) and moved the data to slower, but higher capacity solid-state drives. Both the faster Intel SSD and the slower (but bigger in capacity) Samsungs would definitely have a place in something like this.

Only thing that made me scratch my head was the fact that (IIRC) they didn't factor in for failure on the landing zone SSD. If that failed, you would have to completely down that respective SAN controller to replaced the dead modules. At least they used some redundancy on the main storage array.

I can see another use for these fast SSD units. Windows Server 2016 offers Storage Spaces Direct, which is similar in functionality to VMWare's Virtual SAN, where it presents all the compute nodes' hard disks as one backing storage (in MS's case, a CSV replacement.) Having a SSD like this on all the nodes in a cluster will wind up being useful, just to handle the ton of random I/O that virtualization requires.

Comment Re:Given the hype around 3D printing ... (Score 3, Insightful) 101

3D printers remind me of the beige box PC industry in the 1990s, bicycle parts makers in the 1990s (with everything CNC machined and anodized), and the inexpensive MP3 player market.

What I see is that a bunch of little guys are going to fight amongst themselves, and as soon as there are a few big players, some big company will swoop in, buy them out, and own the playing field, either a single company, or 2-3 firms (just like how paper printing is now, with just a relatively few companies offering models.)

One can be creative with 3D parts, but there is a limit that the plastic from the current generation can handle. At best, it is something to make to hone an injection mold from so "real" parts can be manufactured. Plus, the parts are rough, so they need sanded and coated with something like Smooth-On's epoxy if using them directly for a task.

Comment Re:Stupid FUD (Score 1) 303

Done right, it can be useful. Things like manufacturer MAC blocking and having one MAC per port is a way to ensure someone doesn't attach a switch or Wi-Fi AP to an internal network.

On some networks like POS networks, it is one extra security measure, just because someone can't unplug a cash register, plug in their laptop and go at that segment. Not foolproof (as one can figure out the POS's MAC and spoof it), but it does stop the guy who wants to plug into a network jack because the public store wireless is too slow for his video streaming. For networks that have more machines, MAC locking isn't worth the time, but for static networks, it can be a help, similar to a lock on the bank doors leading to the vault.

Comment Re:Stupid FUD (Score 1) 303

My sentiments exactly. There is a lot more someone can do who has physical access, is willing to face felony level malicious mischief charges and is willing to end any chance of a meaningful career in IT (heck, a meaningful career anywhere, for that matter.) Just walking up to a rack and yanking all drives out will bring a data center to its knees. Yes, some data centers actually take the time to use the locks on the equipment, but most don't bother since the locks tend to be engineered to hold plastic bezels in place and provide nuisance protection as opposed to actual physical attack resistance.

Comment Been going on since as long as I can remember. (Score 2) 303

This is absolutely nothing new. Back in the early 1990s, I worked with a guy who had "adapters" which were 120VAC to coax Ethernet, 120VAC to serial, 120VAC to thicknet, and 120VAC to SCSI.

One place I worked at had someone use customized surge suppressors on Ethernet drops that went from a public area to a private area, because they were afraid of this.

This is nothing new... This is in the same category of stuff like sticking blobs of Superglue into the locks on a building as part of a "denial of service" attack.

These days, the fix is easy... if really worried and wireless isn't an option, go with single mode fiber if concerned that someone is going to use a network drop for an attack. If someone blows out the NIC on the other end with a 100+ laser, it will only blow out the SFP.

Comment Re:That's what Nokia, Moto, and Microsoft said (Score 4, Insightful) 535

What Tesla brought to the table was making electric cars good looking, cool, fast, and fun to drive. Before that, we did have electric cars. However, they looked like the ZAP Sparkee, cute, little, underpowered bubble things with a range of footsteps. Tesla brought interstate travel to the table for electric cars. They also got places to install electric charging stations, and legitimized people plugging into the wall at stores and such [1], which was considered theft previously.

Tesla definitely doesn't sell cars like Toyota... but for what they offer sets a standard for other automakers to follow. Things like vehicle updates that add features, even for vehicles several years old, decent service (even in areas where they are forbidden to sell vehicles), a very good safety record, and excellent customer service. Plus, when you pop the hood of a Tesla Model S, it is awesome -- another place to toss suitcases and other items.

[1]: Well, except for Alaska where stores and other places have outlets to plug into to keep vehicle heaters going.

Comment Re:May not act as expected (Score 1) 79

The trick is to tag an expiration date on all info. John Doe tells the robot about his drink preferences, and the robot will retain those preferences either until the drinks are served and the tab closed, or until there is a certain point in time, where the drink preference info is flagged to expire. Every so often, a garbage collector task runs, purges all robot preferences that are expired and not flagged for retention [1].

In general, expiration timestamps might be something to have in a database row, because when combined with a garbage collection task, it ensures that data will be tossed without having to actively go and delete it. Backup systems do this already, where if I don't flag a backup snapshot, after a certain time, snapshots expire, and eventually get overwritten.

[1]: A transaction could be flagged for retention if the dining parties decide to checkwalk, for example. Of course, this can be abused by setting the threshold for retaining transactions extremely low, but it should be in place if need be.

Comment Re:Vetting of apps? (Score 1) 246

The problem is that on Marshmallow, the dev has to have a manifest allowing for the switched permissions to happen included with the APK file, otherwise, it will default to its traditional all or nothing.

As mentioned elsewhere, I will plug xPrivacy. If an app wants everything under the sun, it can have it. The camera will happily give black frames, the app can slurp all the video from /dev/null it can handle, the user is always located in the same spot, and the IMEI/UDID is always different each time it is asked.

On iOS, I recommend PMP, but that requires a jailbreak.

"Falling in love makes smoking pot all day look like the ultimate in restraint." -- Dave Sim, author of Cerebrus.