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LAN Turns 30, May Not See 40? 279

dratcw writes "The first commercial LAN was based on ARCnet technology and was installed some 30 years ago, according to a ComputerWorld article. Bob Metcalfe, one of the co-inventors of Ethernet, recalls the early battles between the different flavors of LAN and says some claims from the Token Ring backers such as IBM were lies. 'I know that sounds nasty, but for 10 years I had to put up with that crap from the IBM Token Ring people — you bet I'm bitter.' Besides dipping into networking nostalgia, the article also quotes an analyst who says the LAN may be nearing its demise and predicts that all machines will be individually connected to one huge WAN at gigabit speeds. Could the LAN actually be nearing the end of its lifecycle?"

China Vows to Stop the Rain 214

Since the Olympic stadium doesn't have a roof, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau has been given the task of making sure the games remain dry. According to Zhang Qian, head of weather manipulation (best title to have on a business card ever) at the bureau, they've had success with light rain but heavy rain remains tough to control. I see a hurricane cannon in some lucky country's future.

Don't Double Dip That Chip 2

A study by some Clemson University undergrads has shown that putting a food item in your mouth and then putting that item into a bowl of dip, causes that dip to have more bacteria than normal. Transfering 50-100 bacteria between mouths with every dip to be precise. Amazing. The results of their, "running downstairs with scissors in your mouth" study have been inconclusive.

Spectrum Auction Could Be A Game of Chicken 193

Ardvark writes "Google promised some time ago to bid at least the reserve price for the C block of 700Mhz spectrum if the FCC accepted its demand for an open access rule for devices using the band, which the FCC did over Verizon's objections. If the reserve price is not met the rule will be dropped and the block re-auctioned. It appears now that bidding has stalled just short of the reserve price. It's assumed that Google has no interest in becoming a cell phone company and with a recession looming the 700MHz spectrum now seems worth a whole lot less. If Google's strategy was to force the bidding above the reserve but still lose the auction, Verizon could be calling their bluff, threatening them to live up to their word and buy what to Google could be the equivalent of a $4.6 billion 'doohickey.'" Update: 01/31 16:01 GMT by Z : And just like that, the plot thickens: the C block has hit the reserve price during bidding.

Comment backup, backup & once again backup! (Score 1) 535

People will call me paranoid for the backup system I maintain (for personal and commercial purposes), yet here it is:

Our Linux file server uses LVM on top of RAID-5 (4 120GB SATA and PATA drives, resulting in 240GB of space with 1 drive in hot standby). We do a full backup to (SCSI based) DDS-3 tape (using LVM snapshots) every Sunday. We then do incrementals each day to DDS-3 tape. Data is stored using standard tar format (so there is NO chance of NOT being able to access the data in 5, 10 or even 50 years). We also do not use DDS-3 compression, so there is no tying the data on the tape to a specific drive format (we currently have both Sony and Seagate drives). Our critical data requires 6 12GB DDS-3 tapes (72GB) - we are currently looking at upgrading to DDS-4 (24GB per tape so only 3 tapes needed).

Each weeks worth of tapes are then stored in a safe. The first backup of each month is then transfered to our safety deposit box at a local bank. After six months or so we purge every second monthly backup set (just re-use the tapes). After a year we perform the same operation to yield 3 monthly backup sets per year archived forever. We have been doing this since 1997 (back with only DDS-2), so you can imagine that we have quite a few tapes.

Although tape is not by any means a perfect medium (it is susceptible to strong magnetic fields and tape tension can be a problem) it has proven itself to the IT world for decades to be very reliable. We plan on staying with DDS based technology, which is backwards compatible (at least for reading). If for some reason DDS is no longer a viable technology we will have to re-visit our archived data (at least one snapshot per year) and transfer it to a new medium.

Why do we keep data for so long? Well, I have personally lost files that were supposed to be on a hard-drive which ended up being corrupted. Our so-called backup was using an unreliable medium, which had degraded. There was only one backup made so we lost the data. This system was designed to avoid such a problem, yet nothing is perfect.

Where loved ones are remembered:

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