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Comment Absolutely (Score 1) 382

--Some people may want optical to die out, but I think that's premature. I still use it a lot -- all of my PCs, laptops and servers have optical drives. (Not necessarily hooked up for security on the servers, but at least available if needed.)

--Creating a reliable USB-based boot media is still something of a black art, it seems to be different for every distro; altho System Rescue CD is pretty easy. Optical is cheap and Just Works 99.98% of the time. The media is cheap enough to give away or only use once if needed (altho I do try to use R/W media for that) and if you get a bad burn or you use it enough that it wears out, you can just burn another one.

--I do a lot of Linux installs and lately have been doing Disaster Recovery tests (bare-metal restores) to VMs and new drives. Years ago, I took the time to learn how to burn from the Linux command line, and most of my stuff is burned right from Linux with scripts; Torrent ISO downloads coupled with ZFS has been doing a great job of keeping the ISOs from bitrotting. Burning the recovery-environment ISO is dead easy since I have spare media, and I don't have to spend $$ for a reliable high-speed USB thumbstick or three to re-use for that purpose.

--Yes, a good USB3 thumbstick is faster. But in my experience, optical is easier, as long as you buy good media -- I buy and recommend Taiyo Yuden wherever possible. You have to buy specialized models of USB thumbstick if you want to block Writes, and quality on some drives is iffy; Optical is write-once by default unless you go out of your way (not finalizing the disc, packet writing, using RW media.) So yes, I intend to keep using optical because it meets my needs.

Comment Re:Come the fuck on (Score 1) 354

> Btrfs is a lot more flexible about expanding the filesystem, especially in mirror mode.

--Yah, most of the confusion about expanding ZFS filesystems OTF stems from RAIDZ. You *can* expand RAIDZ, but if you want your I/O to stay "sane" you need to duplicate the configuration to another vdev and add it to the pool. E.G. you have a RAIDZ of 5x1TB disks, you kinda need to create another vdev of 5x1TB disks and add that to the pool, or else it won't be balanced right.

--Expanding a *mirrored* ZFS pool however, is dead easy. You can start with a single disk, add a mirror to it, wait for resilver, and then add another set of (same-size/brand) disks to make it zRAID10. Then add another similar-hardware set of mirrored disks whenever you need to expand. ZFS also makes it easy to replace disks in-place AND will "see" the extra space every time you complete a mirror "column" (2 disks in the same set) if you set the pool properties right (autoexpand=on, autoreplace=on). You can also do triple mirroring, which I would definitely recommend if you have 8TB+ disks.

--So who cares if you lose 1/2 your disk space with RAID10, I would argue that with anything 1TB+ you *need* that real-time mirror - and disk prices have come down, you can get a 2TB NAS drive for under $90 these days. RAIDZ rebuild times (at least on Linux) are reported to potentially be extremely long since they haven't worked on the "speed" part of ZFS yet; rebuilding a RAID10 column/mirror is orders of magnitude faster since it doesn't have to replay every transaction or do a bunch of calculations.

--Took me a while to do the research on Linux+ZFS, but if you implement it correctly you can get a *lot* of benefits. ;-)

Comment Re:Yes, because optical is READ ONLY. (Score 1) 382

--I bought that exact drive (Kanguru 16GB USB3 with write-protect switch) and it has been a *great* little drive. Very fast read speeds; I mostly use it for client-PC troubleshooting and carry around all my utility software on it. Handy if you're not sure a client's PC might be infected, and more space than a standard DVD. A tad pricy, but well worth it.

Comment Re:USB to sata dongle plus 2TB SSD (Score 2) 354

--Umm, you do realize that SSDs are:

a) WAY expensive for backing things up to, and

b) An un-powered SSD drive will eventually degrade and LOSE ITS DATA in a fairly short amount of time (for Backup purposes)? This gets worse with Triple-level-and-up (TLC) Cell structures, BTW. They basically need an electric refresh to keep the cell structure from flipping to another position.

--Depending on the temperature/humidity it's stored in, SSD degradation could be detected in as low as several months or - if you're lucky - possibly as much as a couple of years. But if you don't fire it up every so often and run a data-consistency check, how would you know if your files are succumbing to bit-rot?

--There are many, many more options for backups that don't cost *nearly* as much as SSDs - that's not really what they're intended for. I can see buying an SSD if you want faster startup times on your PC, are into gaming, or you do a lot of virtualization suspending/resuming (R/W multiple gigabytes) every day. SSD's are designed to be faster than spinning disks, NOT necessarily long-lasting without power.

--For now, it looks like the best thing to do is keep your data online, have multiple rotating backups, store some stuff off-site, and copy data from old-drive to new-drive before it breaks. (I would even say real-time Mirroring or RAIDing is getting to be essential for any disk over 1-2TB.) But if you're storing your main backups on SSD media, you're over-spending *and* may be risking data loss if you don't power up the drive every so often.

--JMHO, but I would look into something like M-DISC for reasonable amounts of long-term archival storage. 4.7GB DVD M-Discs were made to the highest standard; 51% sure about the 25GB Blu-Ray M-Discs, not sure about the 100GB BD-R multi-layer discs. (Cloud backup is OK I guess as long as you don't mind 3-letter-agency snooping and you don't have a slow Internet with data caps, but encryption is definitely recommended before uploading.)

Refs:
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/h...

http://www.anandtech.com/show/...

https://www.maketecheasier.com...

Comment Re:DVDs (Score 1) 354

--It's not very popular these days, but you could buy a Blu-Ray M-disc burner and a pack of 16x25GB M-Disc Blu-Rays for archival storage(think "stone media") for under $180, and burn ~375GB (uncompressed) onto 16 Blu-Ray DVDs...

--Actually I just checked and it looks like you can now buy 100GB M-disc blu-rays, albeit for a higher cost (and it may not be the same reliable stone-based media with scratch-resistant coating, according to 1 review I read.)

--About a year ago, I did a serious appraisal of all the data I *really* had to put under a "NEVERLOSE" label; and across all my PCs and laptops, it was under 25GB. Most of that was my CD music rips collection. You don't have to keep EVERYthing if you prioritize a little. Most of the other stuff is VMs and copies of things that are available on $something-else in the house.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

http://www.mdisc.com/

Comment Re:Come the fuck on (Score 1) 354

--Best answer I've seen so far, except for the ZFS responses.

--My question is, how has Synology gotten btrfs to be "stable" when it's still considered to be "experimental" on a regular Linux distro? I've seen reports of people losing all their data on btrfs and still consider it to be at *least* 3-5 years behind ZFS.

https://wiki.archlinux.org/ind...

https://lwn.net/Articles/67681...

Android

Facebook's WhatsApp Data Gambit Faces Federal Privacy Complaint (vice.com) 94

Sam Gustin, writing for Motherboard: Facebook's decision to begin harvesting data from its popular WhatsApp messaging service provoked a social media uproar on Thursday, and prompted leading privacy advocates to prepare a federal complaint accusing the tech titan of violating US law. On Thursday morning, WhatsApp, which for years has dined out on its reputation for privacy and security, announced that it would begin sharing user phone numbers with its Menlo Park-based parent company in an effort "to improve your Facebook ads and products experiences." Consumer privacy advocates denounced the move as a betrayal of WhatsApp's one billion users -- users who had been assured by the two companies that "nothing would change" about the messaging service's privacy practices after Facebook snapped up the startup for a whopping $19 billion in 2014. "WhatsApp users should be shocked and upset," Claire Gartland, Consumer Protection Counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a leading US consumer advocacy group, told Motherboard. "WhatsApp obtained one billion users by promising that it would protect user privacy. Both Facebook and WhatsApp made very public promises that the companies would maintain a separation. Those were the key selling points of the deal."

Comment Terrible track record (Score 1) 29

The FBI tried to pressure Apple into developing a back door to their iPhone. Whenever a company revealed that they provided a back door to the feds, their customers abandoned their devices. Obama and Nixon have both demonstrated the danger of abusing agencies as political weapons. It is safe the say that the federal government should stay the f--- out of cybersecurity standards, and OEMs already know it will be bad for business to rush to adopt them.
NASA

NASA's Voyager 2 Flew By Saturn 35 Years Ago Today (space.com) 61

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Space.com: Thirty-five years ago today, a NASA spacecraft got an up-close look at beautiful, enigmatic Saturn. On Aug. 25, 1981, the Voyager 2 probe zoomed within 26,000 miles (41,000 kilometers) of the ringed planet's cloud tops. The discoveries made by Voyager 2 -- and by its twin, Voyager 1, which had flown past Saturn nine months earlier -- reshaped scientists' understanding of the Saturn system and planted the seed for NASA's Cassini mission, which began orbiting the ringed planet in 2004, NASA officials said. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 launched a few weeks apart in 1977, tasked with performing a "grand tour" of the solar system's big planets -- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The two spacecraft accomplished that goal, eyeing all four gaseous worlds up close, and also studying 48 of their moons. (Voyager 1 flew past Jupiter and Saturn, while Voyager 2 had close encounters with all four planets.) The Voyagers weren't the first spacecraft to fly by Saturn; that distinction belongs to NASA's Pioneer 11 probe, which did so in 1979. But the Voyagers broke a lot of new ground; they discovered four new Saturn moons, for example, and revealed an incredible diversity of landscapes on satellites such as Dione, Tethys and Iapetus, NASA officials said. August 25th appears to be a good day for nerds. You can view some out-of-this-world photos from NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 probes here.

Comment Re:massive parallel processing=limited application (Score 1) 114

Also, there is caching, and also, some loads are heavy on longish FPU operations.

So... it doesn't quite work out that way. Also, multicore designs can have separate memory.

One example of multicore design that's both interesting and functional are the various vector processor graphics cores. Lots of em in there; and they get to do a lot of useful work you couldn't really do any other way with similar clock speeds and process tech.

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