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Comment Re:Current Version is GIMP 2.8.18 (Score 2) 117

I must be getting in early as there is no whining so far about GIMP being far inferior to Photoshop.

What real world work can be done in Photoshop but not GIMP?

Vectors. I'm not sure to what extent Photoshop can do them because I don't use it much, but I do receive PSD files with speech bubbles and such that aren't there once GIMP has imported it.

I think Photoshop can also do significantly more advanced layer effects than GIMP currently has - the nondestructive editing features may cover that, but it's maybe a decade away at the current rate of progress.

The most aggravating thing for me at the moment is the layer masking capability - GIMP can do it AFAIK but it can't import the masking in from a PSD file. Which is not altogether surprising given that PSD is proprietary and effectively undocumented.

A lot has been said about Krita as a substitute for GIMP, and although it seems to have made astonishing progress recently, it's aimed almost exclusively at digital painting. Last I saw (2.9) it fails miserably if you attempt to use it for pixel art, cel-shading and other comic-related tasks that I currently use GIMP for. I will certainly keep an eye on it, though as it shows a lot of promise.

Comment Re:I used to do this (Score 1) 171

I worked for the company that used to provide this service (and a lot fo other 800, 866 and 900 numbers) for the NJ and NYC areas.

It was fascinating equipment. Ancient but robust. It was a constantly turning magnetic drum that had the recording on it about 6 inches tall with a little oil reservoir on top that had to be filled every few months.

If you want something approaching steampunk, the UK had a speaking clock system using 1930s technology:

The Australian system was installed in the 1950s and is more compact and easier to see working, but the basic mechanism is the same:

Comment ZFS RAID, external disks and tape (Score 1) 229

The main data pool is a 2-disk RAID mirror using ZFS-on-Linux. The system uses ECC memory and ZFS is self-checksumming. The data is backed up mid-month into an external USB disk. I have two, one at work, one and home and I alternate these. WIP files for my webcomic and music are usually kept on Dropbox so those are synced to the cloud and also various other machines under my control.

Recently I've considered the possibility of a cryptovirus getting into the system and chewing up the backups, which they have been known to do to things like Dropbox and external disks attached to the machine. To this end I've obtained an LTO-5 drive, which allows for cheap, compact snapshots of the data pool (I have slightly more than 1.5TB so this is split across two tapes, one for /home and one for everything else). Crucially, they can be set read-only and in any case require special software (tar/mt/mbuffer) to get at which is vanishingly unlikely for ransomware.

Comment Re:We use Lync (Skype for Business now) at work... (Score 1) 224

We use Lync (well, formerly known as Lync, now re branded as Skype for Business) for our work IM system

The server is constantly locking up /dumping connections and just generally feels quite unreliable...

We frequently get this weird glitch where the voice has some high-frequency ring modulation, giving it this weird crystalline dalek sound to it. The strength varies a lot so it's usually just an annoyance, but sometimes it's totally garbled and you go into a conference call to hear this weird alien chipmunk sound instead of intelligible speech.

It has also done this thing where it gets delayed and then tries to catch up by speeding through the buffer creatingthisweirdrushofbarelyintelligiblespeech until it catches up again.

Comment Re:Why, or why not ZFS? (Score 5, Informative) 150

What is it I can do with ZFS in Linux that is so important?
What is it I can't do without ZFS?

It does a lot, but the features I'm interested in are the protection against bit-rot. Specifically, if you set up a mirrored pair of disks in a ZFS pool, it will checksum everything on both sides of the mirror.
When the array is checked (scrubbed), it verifies the checksums. If there is a mismatch because the data has glitched on the media, the checksum won't be valid on one disk, but it will be valid on the other disk so it can repair it. If there's a mismatch in a more conventional mirrored pair, the controller wouldn't really have a way to know which one is correct.

This capability is also in BTRFS, but much has been written about how BTRFS is still experimental. Also, last time I looked, BTRFS was only available for Linux - with ZFS it would be possible to migrate to FreeBSD if Linux does jump the shark.

The other thing is that the scrubbing process is done in the background. My main data pool is a pair of 4TB disks, which was EXT4 to begin with, then BTRFS and now ZFS. The system is a desktop which is powered down at night. Every 180 boots it would run FSCK, which took something like 2 hours to run on EXT4, during which the system was unusable. With BTRFS and ZFS, the scrubbing takes place while the pool is mounted. So yes, you can do this with BTRFS as well, but ZFS is the more proven option of the two.

Comment Re:"user permissions" != "full control" (Score 1) 109

As 7z must be able to read and write arbitrary files to do its job, there is _nothing_ the permission system can do, not even MAC like SELinux would help. All those people blaming the "OS" really do not understand what they are talking about.

An excellent point. A granular permission system similar to Android's would help in many cases, e.g. preventing a text editor from performing a DDOS attack, but it cannot stop a file manager or archiver from attacking the user's files.

Comment Re:"user permissions" != "full control" (Score 1) 109

And Linux is just as bad. So what if the OS protects itself from the users? The OS has literally zero value; if it gets wiped, it's 30 minutes work to rebuild it from scratch, less if you made an image. It's the _data_ that is on the machine, completely unprotected by all those clever permission schemes, that will be lost if any compromised software is allowed to run. If you run "rm -rf /", you remove precisely all the files anyone cares about.

Depends what you're trying to do. If the aim is destroy the user's data, hold it hostage or sift through it for credentials or other useful info, yes, you're screwed.

But you can't spam email or run a phishing server on a standard port because opening a listener on any port below 1024 requires root. Installing system-level malware requires root. You could set up some kind of user-level autorun but the implementation will likely depend on the shell they're using, Unity, Gnome, KDE, XFCE.

Comment Re:So how do you open ZIP files these days? (Score 2) 109

So, when installing a new machine, how do you choose to open zip files? Winzip has that irritating registration screen, Windows native zip opening lacks features, 7zip sucks too, so what do people use these days that's free and downloadable?

I doubt there are many implementations of 7zip out there. Chances are anything which can open a .7z file does so by using 7zip's SDK. It's public domain, so there's no reason not to unless you're working in a language that can't link to C libraries.

Comment Re:What's a CD? (Score 1) 63

What's a CD?

Am I going to have to change my sig?

It's a way to legally get music at full quality without the lossy compression you get in streams or MP3s. You also get a booklet with the words to the songs and neat artwork free as part of the bundle. It doesn't need an internet connection to work, can't be remotely deleted and it's easy to make your own if you're in a band.

Comment Re:What is attraction for under 30 crowd? (Score 1) 120

What do millennial and younger crowd love about vinyl? why do think it is regaining in popularity? Please post.

The physical aspect of it. Large cover art, booklets and the like. I see it as a reaction to MP3 and similar digital formats which exist purely electronically. MP3s and such are way more convenient to listen to, but they just don't look as good on the shelf.

Many trends act like a pendulum. Mobile phones were large, became unusably tiny and are now in their 'large' phase again. Centrally managed computers gave way to PCs so the users were in control and now things are heading into the cloud and back to the mainframe model again. I don't see why the tension between physical media and digital downloads should be different.

Comment Re:Autobackup (Score 1) 108

This is exactly why I run an autobackup of all my files to separate backup files every single night. The most I would ever lose is 24 hours of data.
This is 2016, folks. Ransomware shouldn't even be a blip on anyone radar by now.

Given that modern ransomware actively seeks out file shares and removable disks to prevent this kind of easy recovery, I'm curious to know what backup mechanism you're using. And also how far back that backup goes. Another strategy these things use (or could potentially use) is to encrypt things slowly over a long period of time so the backups are chewed up as well unless you're regularly taking snapshots onto read-only media or some kind of versioned filesystem.

Comment Re:The solution is pull based backups... (Score 1) 108

However, the next best thing is probably burning data to Blu-Ray, and finalizing the media, so it cannot be written to after the backup is done.

That was my plan if the LTO plan fell through. However, even with BDXL it would take a lot of disks to back up the main data store.

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