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Neither Rain, Nor Snow, Nor Dark of Night... 278

Digital_Quartz writes "This week's I, Cringely discusses possible plans for ensuring your data survives Hurricane Frances. I've always though remote backups would be the best solution to a problem like this. Maybe even something as simple as hiding a DVD-R under your desk at work, with all your worldly data on it. How do you secure your precious data against earthquakes, hurricanes, and swarms of locusts?" Reader pillageplunder writes "CNN is reporting: 'Scientists say more storms like Frances -- both very intense and very large -- are likely.' They theorize that warming oceans natural cycles are setting the stage. Some interesting facts throughout the article... Forecasting has gotten better, with a 3 day forecast now having a margin of error or 'only' 200 miles." And an anonymous reader writes "For those peer-2-peer geeks stuck in hurricane Frances, you can now listen to Central Florida Indymedia's coverage of the hurricane. In addition to giving updates about the hurricane, they are playing music, interviews, and relaying other radio stations. Possibly more interesting than the content to Slashdot readers will be the fact that it is being done via peer-2-peer. The java program p2p-radio from is being used in conjunction with shoutcast to deliver the content. Details on how to connect are available here on Tampa Indymedia's Website."
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Neither Rain, Nor Snow, Nor Dark of Night...

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  • Acts of God (Score:2, Interesting)

    by loid_void ( 740416 ) *
    Keep a nitro sniffn' DeLorean parked in the garage with a terabyte of storage on board, then, with any amount of Warning, 1,2,3 days, hell, one hour, you best hall ass!!!!!!! of course, in the proper direction. If you have other valuable computers you do not want to leave behind, you will need a trailer and a hitch.
  • nuke it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Slashbot Hive-Mind ( 810267 ) <> on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:18AM (#10155679) Homepage Journal
    lets just nuke it! []
    • Re:nuke it! (Score:4, Funny)

      by AlexMidn1ght ( 705563 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:24AM (#10155705)
      From the aforementioned article : "If we think about mechanical energy, the energy at humanity's disposal is closer to the storm's, but the task of focusing even half of the energy on a spot in the middle of a remote ocean would still be formidable. Brute force interference with hurricanes doesn't seem promising.

      So you mean I've been blowing at it for nothing?
    • Re:nuke it! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Veridium ( 752431 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:30AM (#10155728) Homepage
      Somebody mod parent funny. From the article:
      Apart from the fact that this might not even alter the storm, this approach neglects the problem that the released radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas and cause devastating environmental problems. Needless to say, this is not a good idea.

      I guess I shouldn't be laughing so hard that this answer is under the frequently asked questions section on the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory website, but I really can't help myself.
    • Eh guys, you can't blow up everything that you don't like. Especially not me, ok?
    • Re:nuke it! (Score:4, Funny)

      by mooredav ( 101800 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @01:41AM (#10155964)

      Nukes won't work because they don't have the power to counter the hurricane. A better approach is to build a giant plexiglass shield off the coast. This is also a solid defense against shark attacks.

      • Re:nuke it! (Score:3, Informative)

        by kelzer ( 83087 )

        This has got to be one of the stupidest ideas I've ever heard. I live in Orlando, and have known a lot of Sea World employees, and those who have worked the "Shark Encounter" exhibit tell me they have to replace the plexiglass every year because the sharks are relentless at gnawing through it.

        What we really need is a shield made of transparent aluminum.

      • Re:nuke it! (Score:3, Informative)

        H-bombs the scale of Bravo (1954 test on Bikini - 1000 times the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima) do have the power to create nuclear hurricanes. Nuclear hurricanes are capable of killing with the radiation alone a hundred miles from Ground Zero, making them far worse than normal hurricanes. Generating a nuclear hurricane is not going to help you much.

        Hurricanes are a force of nature with the fury of an angry god. There are only three things we humans can presently do about them:

        1) Secure yo
    • Re:nuke it! (Score:2, Funny)

      by LiSrt ( 742904 )
      That site also considered the possibility of coating the ocean in a substance capable of preventing evaporation -- wonder if crude oil would work for that?...
      • Re:nuke it! (Score:3, Funny)

        by kelzer ( 83087 )

        Wow, I didn't realize the President read Slashdot! That's almost as good an idea as the one you had about clear-cutting, er, I mean, thinning forrests to prevent wildfires.

        Yet another example of your common-sense approach to the environment. Keep up the good work!

  • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:19AM (#10155686) Homepage
    Don't forget the guy from UCLA that is predicting a 6.5ish earthquake [] in southern california within the next few days.
    • No, he isn't "predicting a 6.5ish earthquake in southern california within the next few days". He predicted there would be a big earthquake in the next 9 months, and that time period is almost over.

      I know, doesn't make it sound as menacing as the way you put it, but exaggeration does that.

      Personally, I'm rather surprised his prediction didn't work out. A prediction that there won't be any major quakes in a large section of California for the next 9 months, would be just as unlikely to come true.

      That pr
  • Simple... (Score:5, Funny)

    by k4_pacific ( 736911 ) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (cificap_4k)> on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:26AM (#10155710) Homepage Journal
    Bury it on the moon. If several underground lunar data repositories are set up, then the data will be safe from anything that can happen on Earth. By using multiple repositories, we are protected in case a meteor strikes the moon as well. Maybe the economic impetus that drives future space exploration will be the need to maintain intellectual property in perpetuity rather than mineral resources.


    As Linus suggested, put it on an FTP site and let the world mirror it.
    • by MoralHazard ( 447833 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:44AM (#10155786)
      I prefer the time-honored method of exploiting the guilibility and horniness of the human species (may the supply never run short!):

      1) Tar your data up in a nice, big file--pad it with BS to get it up to at least a couple dozen megs;

      2) Encrypt it with something strong--AES-256 should do it--and keep the key safe;

      3) Rename the ciphertext file to "XXX Brittany Spears Double Penetration ATM moneyshot!!!.mpg" or something similar;

      4) Share it with your favorite KaZaA client, rate it high, and watch the mirroring happen.
  • by Mulletproof ( 513805 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:26AM (#10155715) Homepage Journal
    "his week's I, Cringely discusses possible plans for ensuring your data survives Hurricane Frances."

    Your harddrives. In a nice, heavy, watertight safe. It's not going anywhere.
    • Unless it collides with a tree at 200mph+...

      Now, if it were bolted down onto a slap of concrete and the drives were mounted directly into the safe itself...
      • No hurracane is going to propell a SAFE at 200 mph. A safe has thick metal walls and a huge weight to surface area ratio. Even if the building it's in collapses, the safe would be in more danger from a fall than from the wind.

        Also, If you had bolted the safe to a concrete slab (such as a foundation) why mount the drives to the safe? It's not like they're going to be blown around by the wind inside the closed safe.
        • ...because there wouldn't be much point in posting if the GP didn't have anything *different* to say.
        • No hurracane is going to propell a SAFE at 200 mph. A safe has thick metal walls and a huge weight to surface area ratio. Even if the building it's in collapses, the safe would be in more danger from a fall than from the wind.

          Maybe not the wind, but flooding will carry that puppy downstream just fine. (Hint to the poster talking about the freeway... it wasn't the wind or rain that did that, it was the tidal surge and flooding.)

          So maybe the trick is to mount that safe above flood level...
    • Your harddrives. In a nice, heavy, watertight safe. It's not going anywhere.

      Saltwater can do some pretty crazy damage and given that they're predicting up to a 15ft storm surge, there are probably a lot of houses in Florida that are lower than that.

      125MPH winds can do a lot of damage too...
      • What part of "safe" didnt you read?
        Watertight safes arent going to melt away like cotton in h2so4 just because there is salt water, end even the ceiling falling on a normal sized safe should produce more shock to the drive than placing it down on the desk.
        Of course you should prevent it from bouncing around, e.g. by putting it into a padded drawer,ect, but that shoulnd be a problem
    • Larger, roomier, and probably more readily available than a proper heavy floor safe (I think they sell them at Walmart). Plus, you can bolt most of them down, and many come with fire-resistant liners.

      Add a waterproof container and lock your safe, and you can probably evacuate with impunity.

      Side note: a friend of mine was researching buying just such an item a few years back, and had literature from a bunch of companies. The funniest brochure had a series of pictures of safes involved in various disaste
    • by waynelorentz ( 662271 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @09:04AM (#10156920) Homepage
      Your harddrives. In a nice, heavy, watertight safe. It's not going anywhere.

      You'd be surprised what a hurricane can throw around. Or even just a tropical storm.

      Look at a map of eastern Texas from a few years ago and you'll see Highway 87 running along the coast. Most of that highway doesn't exist anymore. Traveling north from Galveston for about 15 miles you run into a blockade in the middle of the road re-routing you to the north. If you park there and walk along the highway, it disappears after a few hundred yards. This is what Tropcial Storm Francis did in the late 90's. When I first went there, there were huge slabs of freeway sticking out of the beach at odd angles. You could look at the layers of asphalt and concrete that had been laid on it over the years. Some were sticking almost straight up like giant monoliths. THIS USED TO BE A FREEWAY, and you think your little safe isn't going to move? At some parts you could look out into the Gulf at low tide and see more chunks of highway. Even if your safe didn't move, if you lived near the coast it might get buried under 30 feet of sand. Good luck finding it.

      To summarize:
      Tropical storm Francis blew apart a freeway.
      Hurricane Frances is much stronger.
      You can't escape nature.

      Oh, and that stretch of beach is now mercifully free of tourists, so it's great for shell collecting.
  • lt.asp?area_2=imc/open%20newswire/2004/Aug/41755.7 7734375.dat []

    Frankovich says the children of survivors of Hurricane Andrew were recently asked to bring in their baby teeth when they fell out, for what was called the "Tooth Fairy Study." It was found that these children had radiation levels seven times higher than what is considered safe.
    Frankovich lived directly behind the Metrozoo. While the zoo reported that only a few animals died, in reality 95% of
    • Come on... with articles like "The Invisible U.S. Military Offensives in Weather Weaponry": au lt.asp?area_2=imc/open%20newswire/2004/Aug/66619.8 671875.dat

      How can you say that? :-)
    • Insane? It's only as insane as the people who post there, which is a group with a fairly broad range of political views.

      The neat thing about indymedia is that generally (there are some minor checks and balances), anyone can post anything. You get nutty posts like the first one, and everything else in between.

      From reading your other posts, I get the feeling you're the sort of person who equates criticism of the Israeli government with anti-semetism, so I won't even address the second link you posted.
      • I do not equate criticism of the Israli goverment with anti-semetism. Bitch about them all you want to, just don't claim that killing a 3 year old on a bus is a legimitate military target.

        The leaders of the PA have to keep their population upset with Israli because they do not want their people to know how much money they have taken from them. With as much aid as the PA gets from the EU, USA and the UN it should be a much better place to live.

        And, don't you think that Israel would stop counter attacking
        • just don't claim that killing a 3 year old on a bus is a legimitate military target.

          I certainly won't, and I hope you won't either. What do you think happened when an Israeli F16 shoots missiles into an apartment building in one of the most densely populated places on Earth? Innocents get turned into "legitimate military targets." Is the inevitable civilian carnage and misery, and the bus-bombers it creates, worth a couple dead possible Hamas supporters?

          The leaders of the PA have to keep their popula
          • On the other hand, if the occupation was less brutal, if people's houses stopped being demolished, if soldiers stopped humiliating and murdering people for sport**, I think Hamas wouldn't be able to find a single recruit, and the violence would stop.

            Of course, Arafat said he'd put 5 bullets in the chest of anyone who stops the PA from making Jerusalem its capital, and he refused to go through with Oslo because it required giving up the 'Palestinian right of return' to Israeli territory. Fufilling such a r
    • Actually that's not insane. There have been studies done on baby teeth. Strontium-90 was found in the teeth of those living relalitively close to nuclear power plants. Baby Teeth offer radioactive clues []
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:39AM (#10155760) Homepage Journal
    The snake's head is rising from the ocean. All the energy we've pumped into the ocean/atmosphere over the past 300 years of industry, accelerating the past 100 years in the gathering Greenhouse, is coming howling back down our throats. Undersea ocean currents have gotten twistier, as extra energy has moved them kilometers out of their old tracks. The energy in a 1Km-wide, thousand-Km-long current, twisted twice as loopy through the viscous sea, is enough to send hundreds of force-5 hurricanes, made of fluffy air and nebulous raindrops. By the time the beats in these cycles are noticeable, they're undeniable. And unstoppable. At least humans have some species experience, from past Ice Ages, in surviving these catastrophic climate changes. But only genetically - the Earth washes irritating civilizations from its surface like an eyelash floating in tears.
  • Simple. (Score:5, Funny)

    by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:40AM (#10155767) Homepage
    Make a nice USB keychain drive suppository or two. If something happens to the data there, then your data will be the least of your concerns.

    Remember, it isn't that the wind is blowing, it's what the wind is blowing.
  • Thanks to a JNLP distribution, It took me all of 1 minute to get p2p-radio working. Too bad the station election [] sucks, but hopefully that'll change if this thing gets a good userbase.
  • mail it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:43AM (#10155784)
    mail a dvd backup to seattle prior to the storm. address it to a non existant address. it will be returned shortly after the storm.
    • You need to mail it to an address with no mailbox instead. If you mail it to a nonexistent address they'll probably discover that it doesn't exist when it's scanned for destination and you'll get it back right before the storm hits. Not very useful.
  • DVD-R (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trickster Coyote ( 34740 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:48AM (#10155806) Homepage
    Why hide your DVD-R backup under the desk? Carry it with you. That way you will always have access to your data, no matter where you are.

    Also, if something happens that is severe enough to destroy the disk, it will probably also kill you, so you won't be needing that data backup anymore.

    • Also, if something happens that is severe enough to destroy the disk, it will probably also kill you, so you won't be needing that data backup anymore.

      Great, until you trip over something on the floor in the dark at the shelter because the power's out, trip, and fall flat on your face, with the disk in your jacket pocket.

      DVD-R's and CD-Rs are remarkably fragile.

    • Why hide your DVD-R backup under the desk? Carry it with you. That way you will always have access to your data, no matter where you are.

      You can access data from a DVD-R wherever you are? What, do you have a drive in your butt?

      I assume it's slot-loading. Because discs would fall out of the mechanical tray, right?

      I can just see you over at tech support one day:
      "Hey, guys. I've got a coasterized CD stuck in my drive. Can one of you strap on some gloves and get it out?"
  • Trade Space (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:48AM (#10155807) Journal
    I set my father and my sister up with linux boxes to act as web server, mail server and storage.

    Now, I send 20G to my sister's system (arizona), my sister sends up to my father's system (stuart fl), and my father's system will be sending it to me (Colorad) (Unfortunately, it was not a high priority, but it will be that way once he gets home and cleans up).

    Simply trade space with friends.
  • by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @12:50AM (#10155816)
    It looks like Jacksonville Beach is going to be spared the worst of this storm, but as usual, you really don't know where the storm is going to land until the last minute.

    If the storm turns towards us at a bad time a lot of people are going to be heading to shelters. I'm heading to our hosting facility. Diesel backup power, redundant Internet connections, built like a bunker, away from the ocean.

    My servers are in the safest place I can think to go.

  • 1. Make a rar archive of your data, complete with password encryption and recovery data
    2. Rename it to something like "Star Wars Trilogy DVD Complete Rip.avi"
    3. Share it on P2P network!
  • Duh, that was too easy. Never mind those earthquakes and fires and mudslides and power failures and RIAA/MPAA lawyers, at least we don't get hurricanes out here. (Or if you don't like living here in civilization, you could move to Phoenix, like lots of banks and other companies that want low-risk locations for their data centers have done over the last decade or so. Eventually the telecom boom of the late 90s built enough fiber out there to actually support them, and unlike the dotcom/software business
    • at least we don't get hurricanes out here.

      I live in the California desert. I have also been through a hurricane (when traveling, in the mid-west).

      I can safely say that the wind gusts blowing through here on a weekly basis, are actually hurricane-force.

      Of course, we live through them with very little property damage, and it isn't raining hail at the same time, so we do get off a bit easier. But on the opposide end, in other parts of the country, you know the trees around you will be standing, on a day-t

      • I have also been through a hurricane (when traveling, in the mid-west).

        No, I'm afraid you haven't. A thunderstorm maybe, which can be really nasty in the midwest, but they aren't hurricanes and lack the most destructive part of the hurricane. The ocean.

        Live in Florida? Have a nice big cement dome built, with bullet-proof plexiglass windows/skylights.

        This works until it gets hit by a ship or the ground underneath it simply ceases to exist. Florida's bedrock is saturated limestone and not to be trusted
      • Live in flood territory? Have your home built on 6 foot-tall columns, anchored in cement.

        Six feet? You obviously have never lived long-term in places where it seriously floods. In Houston in 2003, there was 18 feet of water in my building.

        In Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky it can flood 30 or 40 feet.

        I'm sure there are other parts of the country that get it worse.

        Are you suggesting people build their homes on top of five-story pilings?
  • Forecasting... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ktakki ( 64573 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @01:03AM (#10155860) Homepage Journal
    In 1938, before NOAA and the National Weather Service, before satellites and the Weather Channel, a Category 3 hurricane hit Long Island and New England. A junior forecaster at the U.S. Weather Bureau had predicted its track, but he was overruled by the senior staff.

    Hurricanes tend to lose energy over land, but a few days of stormy weather had created a warm, wet carpet beneath its path. Long Island was temporarily cut in half (and a new inlet -- Shinnecock -- was created and exists to this day). Wind speeds exceeded 120 MPH. Fifty foot waves hit Gloucester, MA. The Connecticut River rose 35 feet above its banks. Falmouth, MA (on Cape Cod) was under 8 feet of water. According to historian William Manchester, people in Vermont, 300 miles inland, could smell the ocean.

    When it was over, 700 people were dead, 63,000 homeless. Nine thousand buildings were destroyed, along with over 3,000 boats. Wreckage from this hurricane could be seen well into the 1970s. The cost of the damage was $6.2 million in 1938 (Depression) dollars, adjusted to over $15,000,000,000 today.

    Two billion trees were blown to the ground. And this was "just" a Cat 3.

    So, yeah, the OP bitches about 200 miles give-or-take. Hell, we can see these forming off the coast of West Africa now. When was the last hurricane that killed 700 people here in the US? (Yes, I know about cyclones killing thousands in Bangladesh, and evacuating everyone is nigh unto impossible.)

    There's always going to be property damage. But property can be rebuilt. Even a +- 400 mile forecast saves hundreds, even thousands of lives.

    Oh, and about that data thing? Just ftp your stuff somewhere and let everyone else mirror it. Worked for Linus, right?

  • by RonBurk ( 543988 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @01:08AM (#10155872) Homepage Journal
    You can actually read (elsewhere) in realtime panicky messages being posted by website operators who just discovered their hosting service is located in Florida and is going to be going down for at least a few days. People think they've got their bases covered when they have a backup copy of the data files comprising their website, but they often get a nasty surprise like this.

    It doesn't take a hurricane to teach website operators about backup problems, though. Worms that infect and destroy hosting service servers, or router attacks that effectively shut a hosting service down for days produce the same kind of collection of panicked webmasters.

    Just backing up website data files is only a part of a website backup plan. You really want at least two independent (that means both geographically independent, and not run by the same company -- don't forget the "FBI shuts down hosting company" scenario) DNS servers listed as authoritative for your domain. Very few websites meet even that lone requirement.

    You don't have good data backup if you can't demonstrate that you can recover from disaster, and the same is pretty much true for website backup. If you can't show that you can, within at least a matter of hours, have your website running on a machine it's never lived on before and serving "real" requests from the outside world, then you shouldn't really bother reading the fine print about whether your hosting company claims it offers 99.9% uptime or 99.99% uptime.

    • You make several good points but there still seems to be some massive confusion about why we "backup" data.

      The main reasons are:
      1) recover short term data loss (i.e. does rm move it to the trash?)
      2) recovery of bad hardware (disk, power supply dies and kills the box)
      3) disaster recovery (tornado, earth quake, building fires)
      Each of the three have different requirements and one solution doesn't fit all unless its real expensive.

      For example for #1, a big hard disk with a slow mirror of the main file server
  • I happen to be visiting DisneyWorld right now from Winnipeg, Canada. I would recommend using DisneyWorld as a location for your data centre. They have their own back up generators, and no above ground power lines. That said their pursuit of endless copyright term extensions is totally lame.
  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @01:15AM (#10155892)
    Gmail, Yahoo Briefcase, blah blah there are a dozen ways to upload all of the "you life depends on it" data to disaster-proof service.

    If you are in business you should be using something like DataSafe, who will take your backup tapes and put them in very safe keeping should you need them.

  • to 28 years of hurricane forecasting, I can say it most certainly has not gotten better, at least not for many years. I could do a better job throwing chicken bones and reading the stars. The weather forecasters here are rarely right, and when they are, it can be atributed to chance.

    Unless they meant better at fear mongering, in that case they're top-notch.
  • by mattjb0010 ( 724744 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @01:19AM (#10155899) Homepage
    We're about to enter the peak of the hurricane season. Any day now,
    you're going to turn on the TV and see a weather person pointing to some
    radar blob out in the Atlantic Ocean and making two basic meteorological

    (1) There is no need to panic.

    (2) We could all be killed.

    Yes, hurricane season is an exciting time to be in Florida. If you're
    new to the area, you're probably wondering what you need to do to prepare
    for the possibility that we'll get hit by "the big one." Based on our
    insurance industry experiences, we recommend that you follow this simple
    three-step hurricane preparedness plan:

    STEP 1: Buy enough food and bottled water to last your family for at
    least three days.

    STEP 2: Put these supplies into your car.

    STEP 3: Drive to Nebraska and remain there until Halloween.
    Unfortunately, statistics show that most people will not follow this
    sensible plan. Most people will foolishly stay here in Florida.

    We'll start with one of the most important hurricane preparedness items:

    HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE: If you own a home, you must have hurricane
    insurance. Fortunately, this insurance is cheap and easy to get, as long as
    your home meets two basic requirements:

    (1) It is reasonably well-built, and
    (2) It is located in Wisconsin
    Unfortunately, if your home is located in Florida, or any other area
    that might actually be hit by a hurricane, most insurance companies would
    prefer not to sell you hurricane insurance, because then they might be
    required to pay YOU money, and that is certainly not why they got into the
    insurance business in the first place. So you'll have to scrounge around for
    an insurance company, which will charge you an annual premium roughly equal
    to the replacement value of your house. At any moment, this company can drop
    you like used dental floss.

    SHUTTERS: Your house should have hurricane shutters on all the windows,
    all the doors, There are several types of shutters, with advantages and

    Plywood shutters: The advantage is that, because you make them yourself,
    they're cheap.

    Sheet-metal shutters: The advantage is that these work well, once you
    get them all up. The disadvantage is that once you get them all up, your
    hands will be useless bleeding stumps, and it will be December.

    Roll-down shutters: The advantages are that they're very easy to use,
    and will definitely protect your house. The disadvantage is that you will
    have to sell your house to pay for them.
    Hurricane-proof windows: These are the newest wrinkle in hurricane
    protection: They look like ordinary windows, but they can withstand
    hurricane winds! You can be sure of this, because the salesman says so. He
    lives in Nebraska.
    Hurricane Proofing your property: As the hurricane approaches, check
    your yard for movable objects like barbecue grills, planters, patio
    furniture, visiting relatives, etc... You should, as a precaution, throw
    these items into your swimming pool (if you don't have a swimming pool, you
    should have one built immediately). Otherwise, the hurricane winds will turn
    these objects into deadly missiles.

    If you live in a low-lying area, you should have an evacuation route
    planned out. (To determine whether you live in a low-lying area, look at
    your driver's license; if it says "Florida," you live in a low-lying area.)
    The purpose of having an evacuation route is to avoid being trapped in your
    home when a major storm hits. Instead, you will be trapped in a gigantic
    traffic jam several miles from your home, along with two hundred thousand
    other evacuees. So, as a bonus, you will not be lonely.

    If you don't evacuate, you will need a mess of supplies. Do not buy them
    now! Florida tradition requires that you wait unti
    • by CobaltTiger ( 671182 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @02:53AM (#10156151)
      Credit to Dave Barry might be in order, no?

      Hurricane season can make a storm shudder []
  • I've been working with CDs and DVDs a lot lately. (My day job is writing backup software) A large portion of the media I have fails within just a few months. Not everything, but just one unreadable sector is enough to cause problems.

    Therefore I have to reccomend that you make several backups of everything important. Note however that important doesn't mean everything. You can download linux from anywhere, save the pictures. (though family and friends can get you copies of many of them too) IF y

    • Many years ago, I was writing backup software for tapes. Tapes are prone to bad spots but apart from the ECC in hardware, we would record backups in groups of blocks with each group protected by an XOR of the preceding data blocks. Bad spots on tape may be big enough to defeat ECC, but single block recovery was possible using the XOR block. As long as only one error occurred per redundancy group, it could be recovered.

      Is there anything public domain that will do this? I tried Google and found nothing.

      • It's not quite what you are asking for, but parity files are great. PAR's have become a mandatory part of USENET binary groups. Plus, the crazy-magic math that is involved in PARs to recreate missing chunks of files can do wonders with damaged media - particularly the newer PAR2 algorithms. I run my little home data backups through it, and I feel pretty comfortable with it.

        Somewhere there is webpage and graphics of someone testing PAR2 data recovery by using a felt pen to blot out chunks of a CD, and the
        • I have discussed the idea of using PAR2 files for backups at work.
          The situation is this: we have some 200 workstations. These have way too much diskspace, as you cannot buy small disks these days anymore. 4GB would be plenty for a business-use workstation (just the OS and some applications are stored there), but the workstations have 40 or 80 GB disks.
          This means there is about 8TB of unused diskspace.

          The servers have much less diskspace than that, in total. It would be possible to store several backups
          • A long time ago, I had some dealings with enterprise-level backup systems. The system backed up to exchangeable volumes such as tapes or to special files. It could handle evrything from individual files throgh to whole volumes. The same program could also handle disk duplication (and optionally resizing or cleaning). With such overloaded functionality, it was a monster.

            The worst part though was if you took a backup from one system with access control lists to another. Normalising the identifiers was *hard

            • Fortunately we have only a single domain. Access control lists should not be a problem, but they should be included (they often aren't in programs intended for file transfer rather than backup).

              If I remember correctly, RAR can do almost what we need except for the requirement to store the different parts on different machines (= in different destination directories). And except it does not do on-the-fly PAR2 generation but leaves that to a separate utility that again reads all the files.

              And of course, t
          • 4GB would be plenty for a business-use workstation

            My advice to you is whatever you are running, don't switch to XP.

            Just a base, patched install of Windows XP runs just over 2 Gig, then when you try to put SP2 on it (dont bother) it'll need just under 4 for the install process.

            But like I said, after fooling around with it, I have found no reason to bother with SP2.
            • We run Windows 2000 SP4 with all fixes, and about 10 applications (Mozilla, OpenOffice, ICA Client, SAP GUI, Acrobat Reader, JAVA runtime, etc plus MS Office on a few systems).
              There are even some old systems with 3.2 GB disks and they have room to spare.

              But it does not matter, replace the 4 GB with 8 GB if you like and you still see a lot of free space on a business workstation with the smallest disk available today. All data is of course stored on servers.
  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @01:29AM (#10155932) Homepage Journal
    CNN is reporting: 'Scientists say more storms like Frances -- both very intense and very large -- are likely.

    So what CNN is basically saying is that we'll continue to have seasonal storms just like we have for all of human history.

    They really needed "scientists" to tell them that?

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @01:40AM (#10155960) Homepage
    High resolution surveillance cameras [] in Florida are still up and online. Not much to see at night, but check back tomorrow.

    The best camera is the Miami Beach ultra high resolution panoramic webcam. [] 8000 x 2320 pixels.

  • RAIS (Score:2, Interesting)

    thinking of keeping data intact, do you think it's possible to store data in the internet.

    if you had enough hosts constantly passing packets between each other it should be theoretically possible to store some information exclusively within the packets during the routing transfer.

    Meaning, as soon as the data was passed to a router the node running the host sofware could free the memory space it previously occupied.

    imagine RAIS (Redundant Array of Independant Systems). A p2p network on which you dedicate
  • by CatGrep ( 707480 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @02:04AM (#10156022)
    Maybe even something as simple as hiding a DVD-R under your desk at work, with all your worldly data on it.

    Better check your employment agreement before you do that. If you develop code 'on the side' it could be difficult to prove that you didn't do any work on it at work. Maybe the company could claim ownership simply because it was on their premises. Definately could muddy the legal waters - tread carefully.
  • Whenever I hear about these hurricanes doing all this damage, I wonder why they don't start building their houses differently down there. What if instead of wooden or brick boxes (not very aerodynamic) they started building concrete domes - something that wouldn't catch the wind nearly as much. I suppose it wouldn't help with flood damage (though they might be able to do something waterproof, I suppose), but it would certainly help minimize the damage from wind. And they shouldn't allow trailers/mobile h
    • How to make homes more hurricane resistant: :

      1. Let the insurance companies raise the homeowners premiums to astronomical amounts or flat out deny coverage
      2. Deny _any_ federal disaster assistance

      to property/homeowners that own/build in high risk areas and don't build/upgrade to withstand a major storm with only minimal damage.

      The idea of living on the beach is nice and all, but those who fail to remember that Mother Nature is in charge should get what they deserve. If you want to build your $2,000,

  • The answer is redundancy. Every day, thousands of cells in your body are screwed up due to interference from background radiation. Your body contains numerous mechanisms to detect cells with screwed up DNA and termminate them.

    Your IT technology must do the same. Here's what I use in keeping data safe for a hosted application:

    1) The primary server is configured with RAID1 - either hard drive fails, I can pull the bad one and continue working while I replace the primary drive. It has 3 independant redundant
  • In-House Security (Score:3, Interesting)

    by consoneo ( 442007 ) <> on Saturday September 04, 2004 @02:42AM (#10156127)
    Concrete Nail Gun, 4 Nails, 4 Lenghts of Chain, one Personal Safe with an attachment point.

    Place 250 Gig hard drive inside, packed in bubble wrap and newspaper one foot thick.
  • Man, my shit hasn't fit into four gigs since 1998. By which I mean my shit. Not mp3s, or divx, or warez, or operating system CDs or any of the other STUFF that accumulates over the course of seven years of hardcore machine immersion.

    Hell, I've generated something like sixteen gigs of data in the last ten weeks. Which is slightly above average, but not by much. As a digital (and video!) artist, I eat hard drives, and backups are something of an annoyance- more for the tedium of the burn or tape time tha
  • I remote backup with rsync to a machine that's over 4,000 miles away. I guess that means I should have a reasonable expectation my data will survive :-)
  • What about ARPNET, from what the Internet spawned from?

    The beginnings of the internet go back at least as far as 1957, which marks the founding of the Defence Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in response to the Soviet Union launching Sputnik.
    In 1963, ARPA asked the Rand Corporation to ponder how to form a command-and control network capable of surviving attack by atomic bombs.

    The Rand Corporation's response (made public in 1964) was that the network would "have no central authori
  • by ScienceThinker ( 785481 ) on Saturday September 04, 2004 @06:17AM (#10156581)
    ...begins by people who have no idea what they're talking about.

    Hurricanes are a natural part of the weather system, folks. The only unnatural thing about the path of Hurricane Frances is the large number of mobile homes, wooden framed building, expensive condos and idiots who refuse to evacuate from all of the above.

    The number of Atlantic hurricanes has DECLINED over the last 50 years. Put that in your climate model and smoke it.

    And for those fascinated by climate models, here's a kicker from the IPCC 2001:

    "In sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate is not possible."

    I shall use my patented slashdot idiot model to predict that the next few posters will claim that:

    - the majority of scientists believe human induced global warming to be a fact (not true, and since when has science ever been decided by popular vote?)

    - that "ScienceThinker" is not a scientist (guess what?)

    - that there are "ominous signs" of climate change (when weren't there?)

    - that the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is unprecedented (no it isn't) ...and so on.

  • How do you secure your precious data against earthquakes, hurricanes, and swarms of locusts?

    Don't worry. Locusts eat plants, not data.

  • With the storm about to pummel the Bahamas, I'd say if you're in Florida it's past time to be doing your backups. By now if you & your data are/were in any danger, the backup media should be in the car and you should be getting the F outta Dodge.
  • I was going to pack my PC in the trunk and take it with me (full tower packed with hard drives) but changed my mind.

    I backed up all my critical personal data to DVD and took it with me to our data center near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where I spent the night on an air mattress in an empty office.

    The data center is rated to take a high category 3 strike on the outside of the building (140 mph reinforced glass windows) and up to a category 5 strike on the reinforced concrete data center core. We also have 2 X
  • I'm reading Slashdot instead right from not-so-sunny South Florida. With my worldly data backed up on several servers and burned to CD/DVD just to be sure.... You insensitive clods. Oh wait, the Hurricane made some Slashdot news. I guess you guys aren't so insensitive.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"