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Comment backup to USB disk (Score 1) 983

Buy a cheap large USB disk.
Sort the files by creation time, remove the ones in your list of files already backed up (empty at start) and fill your USB disk using the oldest files first.
Add list of backed up files to your collection of disk indexes, (excluding files that you want the backup to process again).
Label the disk as "files from xxx to yyy"
Repeat until you're duplicating current files into a current disk.

If the data is sensitive then truecrypt the disks before writing the data, being aware that losing your password would also lose your backup and be prepared to wait days building the encrypted container.

I wrote an awk script to do this, though at the time I was writing 4Gb DVDs rather than multi-terabyte USB disks.

At some point in the future, when disk sizes have grown you can copy multiple old smaller disks into larger ones to avoid being stuck with old technology. I expect after the submitter has moved to a 100Tb NAS in 2018 they'll be using the 20 as a backup.

Comment ScreenPlay(TM) TV Link, Director Edition (Score 1) 516

I have acquired a "ScreenPlay(TM) TV Link, Director Edition" to replace my old Emprex-1 which was nice but not perfectly reliable. It plays music (MP3) and videos (AVI or ISO) from SMB shares It also handles Mythtv streams allowing me to provide recorded programs over UPNP. When appliances like this fetch data from a network share you have a risk whether it will support your data format but the ScreenPlay seems to be sufficiently capable for my purposes.

I recommend this over many of the other suggestions for the following reasons:
      1. cheap - £80.
      2. Small - about 1cm high (smaller than a DVD case), slides in next to my V+ box.
      3. energy efficient, I think about 10 watts.

FAQ below:
One recommendation I would offer if you bought one - put something over the activity LED as it is bright enough to read by.

Comment Re:whitelist (Score 1) 396

Whitelisting applications would work if this could control what is run on your system. Variously implemented by either looking up a hash (e.g. md5) or signing the code. Unfortunately we can make the following observations which indicate this does not provide total protection:

  By Design:
      Some applications allow interpreted code (macros, visual basic inside documents, perl/java etc.).
      Some applications are inherantly data (excel spreadsheet etc.).
      Some applications change their behaviour dependant on libraries and plugins which may not be checked against a whitelist (e.g. activex, greasemonkey).
      Some applications self-modify (maybe to try and prevent software theft).

      Some applications have flaws that allow code injection (buffer overflows etc.).
      Some features can be used for inappropriate purposes (updater that can be fooled into downloading the wrong files).
      Sometimes signing keys are reverse engineered or leaked, allowing malware to be whitelisted.
      List or key management requires ongoing maintenance and if it goes wrong can mount a denial of service attack on your customers.

  Lack of omniscience:
      Some people can use a secure application in a secure OS and still do something insecure (phishing etc.).
      As new attacks are found, old protections become ineffective.
      There is a chance that malware could be whitelisted.
      You have to update your whitelist for every update by every vendor.
      It is really really hard to be sure that the application does what you are told it does - either deliberately to produce trojan horses or accidentally (see above).
      Each user may require a different whitelist as they have different requirements - some may wish to run p2p data sharing wheras others may regard this as a huge security risk.

  Lack of omnipotence:
      Some flaws are not in the applications - they may be in a hypervisor, loaded onto network cards, on routers, hosted remotely.

IMHO whitelisting requires reducing the functionality of applications (e.g. no java) and adds hoops/costs to professional developers and upsets users but unfortunately malware writers will focus on the easiest route using what they can get. c.f. http://www.securecomputing.net.au/News/161167,analysis-iphone-malware-evolution-on-overdrive.aspx

Comment Interesting but flawed article. (Score 1) 405

I agree about the benefits, and the hidden costs due to externalities. I'm afraid there are some flaws in the plan:

1. Even a patched antivirus is not full protection - oddly enough the virus writers also have copies of recent antivirus software and if their virus is spotted they tweak it until it goes undetected.

2. Patching is not full protection - Ever heard of zero day exploits and social engineering?

3. The historical codebase of Windows applications can significantly affect how tightly you can lock down permissions whilst keeping functionality. Of course, locking down an operating system not only requires skill and effort but can have an adverse effect in itself.

4. Some attacks arrive via trusted routes (e.g. media or websites from well respected companies).

5. Is it fair to throw money at people who deliberately use insecure operating systems. A flat fee could allow securer operating systems a financial benefit for the work they do protecting their users.

I agree more with Landsburg and Esther Dyson, but perhaps you should pre-emptively pay for your system to be cleaned (or de-virused) up as part of the cost of connecting to the Internet. In the event that you are infected you have a visit from a support engineer to fix the issue and you then put down another deposit against next time before being allowed to reconnect.


DNA So Dangerous It Doesn't Exist 454

Panaqqa writes "A group of researchers at Boise State University is investigating the theory that there are genome sequences so dangerous they are incompatible with life. Greg Hampikian, a professor of genetics, and his team are comparing all possible short sequences of nucleotides to databases of gene sequences to determine which ones don't exist in nature. The New Scientist reports that the US Department of Defense is interested enough in their work to have awarded them a $1 million grant. I for one am not sure I like the possible directions this research could take."

Pictures of Titan's Lakes 119

sighted writes "For decades, scientists have wondered if the thick orange haze that shrouds Saturn's giant moon Titan hid lakes of liquid methane on the surface, but there was no way to confirm it, until now. The Cassini flyby of July 22, 2006 took these striking images and were released today."

Submission + - Searching for a new Linux Phone...

gQuigs writes: My contract with Cingular is up and now I get the ability to get a new phone for free (as in beer) with a new contract. I was hoping that someone has found a good phone running Linux with a built in Audio Player (MP3,Ogg, etc). Suggestions?

Of course I would also like to see:
A gstreamer like modular multimedia framework. I want to be able to add whatever multimedia capabilities I want. Does such a thing exist for phones?

Connectivity with PC with no special software (USB, standard drive)

I so far have found phones that run Linux, but not with Cingular, Free or with the Audio options. I have a Family talk plan so staying with Cingular is preferred.

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