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1426  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Wave? Good-bye! on: July 02, 2013, 10:03:55 AM
   Sorry to resurrect this thread, but I thought it could be useful/informative to share a brief review of its history and collect the relevant bits and pieces together, since I was doing this for myself anyway.

   Though I lamented the death of Google Reader - it was so useful and thus had a high utility value for me - I did not lament the death of Google Wave. Having given Wave  a pretty good "suck-it-and see", I found it of no real/potential use (this was after trialling it on a collaborative side project with @superboyac).

   So when Google Reader was killed off, I decided to find out what had happened to Wave, just out of curiosity. Well, in short, after being released as Open-source under the name Apache Wave and Walkaround, work seems to have halted quite soon thereafter.

   Google Wave was based on Etherpad, which Google acquired and shut down, with the Etherpad software being released as Open-source.
Etherpad was a pretty nifty and unique tool, and I have used it - or branches of it - on separate collaborative bits of document-writing. Etherpad projects are alive and well and quite active as you can see from here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etherpad

   A perspective on what actually happened to Etherpad and Wave is covered in this summary on Hacker News, from Aaron Iba, cofounder and former CEO of EtherPad:
The strange story of etherpad
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)

The announcement and presentation of Wave is caught in this YouTube video: Google Wave Developer Preview at Google I/O 2009
The players in that presentation are:
  • Vic Gundotra, Google Vice President, Engineering (apparently still with Google).
  • Lars Rasmussen, Google, Engineering Team Leader (apparently now at Facebook).
  • Stephanie Hannon, Google, Project Manager (apparently now at Facebook).
  • Jens Rasmussen, Google, Engineering Team Leader (apparently still at Google?).

Here is the transcript to the above presentation:

In the transcript there are a number of what I refer to as BS/buzzwords, clichés and alarm triggers, including, for example:
Word/cliché   No. of occurrences
excited         6
unbelievable      2
great            5
cool            10
[laughs]         24
amazing         5
1427  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process on: July 02, 2013, 03:26:57 AM
Taki's Magazine has a disturbing post about the demise of not just the peer review process, but of science and rational thought:
(Snippets copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
A Requiem for Science
As a science geek from way back—Andrade and Huxley were favorite childhood companions—I try to keep tabs on that side of things. This can be disheartening. To quote from that intergalactic bestseller We Are Doomed:
Scientific objectivity is a freakish, unnatural, and unpopular mode of thought, restricted to small cliques whom the generality of citizens regard with dislike and mistrust. Just as religious thinking emerges naturally and effortlessly from the everyday workings of the human brain, so scientific thinking has to struggle against the grain of our mental natures. There is a modest literature on this topic:...

...In a society such as the modern West, where intelligence is declining, where fertility trends are dysgenic, where cognitive elites enforce assent to feel-good ideological claptrap and the mass of citizenry is absorbed in frivolities, science hovers always on the edge of extinction....
1428  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: KPMG: Say it ain't so. on: July 01, 2013, 05:06:56 PM
Hopefully, this is an isolated incident.

I'm sure it is, as the truly experienced crooks on Wall Street never get caught. This guy is just -- trying to help a buddy out -- low hanging fruit. Hell he was probably gifted to an SEC investigator by someone higher on the food chain to pay a turn-your-head-and-cough debt.

Yes, an ex-KPMG colleague of mine was overheard to say that, after the several tax fraud/corruption/malpractice cases against the global Big 5 auditors (now the Remaining 4, and of which KPMG is one), though KPMG did not change it's initials, the meaning of those initials was changed in the Articles of Association from the original "Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler" to "Keep Plundering Money Greedily", so as to be more aligned with current professional best practice.

In similar vein, I heard a senior banking executive joke that, after the '80's property/financial crashes, "LOMBARD" came to stand for "Lots Of Money But A Real Dope". There were some rather more rude versions than that, I gather.
1429  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process on: July 01, 2013, 08:39:19 AM
On the other hand, here is what seems to be a rather tongue-in-cheek proposal to ban peer review altogether: Peer Evil – the rotten business model of modern science
1430  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: How to concatenate a number of text files which may have different encoding? on: July 01, 2013, 08:34:24 AM
Ah, thanks for that. I had forgotten the TYPE command.
I knew there was some way to normalise all the encoding to the output file, but could not recall what it was.

Unfortunately, the COPY command seems to be no good in any shape or form, as there is apparently no way to force it to normalise the encoding to the output file.

What worked: for %i in (x*.txt) do type %i >> combined.txt
I have assumed it took the input files in alphabetic order - the out put looks as though it did, anyway.
1431  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: July 01, 2013, 07:41:00 AM
I was just reviewing the comments to the article in The Register - per the OP to this thread: When a country goes off the rails, why should we trust its computing systems?
I rather liked this one: (my emphasis)
Posted Saturday 8th June 2013 12:52 GMT
by Should b Working

I did enjoy one comment I saw somewhere on the interwebs (sorry can't remember where) - that the public would be much more accepting of this behaviour if the NSA gave away a browser, search engine, provided a free mapping service and hosted email.

I think that's a very good point indeed. All that would need to be done would be to formalise the shift that Google has already made from being an independent corporation to it being a department of the NSA. Problem solved.
1432  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: July 01, 2013, 03:10:24 AM
   As I have stated elsewhere in this forum, I am apolitical and do not really understand US politics.
However, I have been able to gather from my many American friends, colleagues and contacts how, in the US, one's religio-political beliefs/affiliations/leanings can be very important and seem to tend to - if not be expected to - override one's reason in any given matter.
   If, whatever the issue, how one thinks about an issue seems to be primarily dictated through the lens of one's religio-political paradigm - which would then necessarily colour one's stated views - then it may often be necessary for the individual to engage in a backwards rationalisation to justify said views.
   On the subject of the NSA PRISM surveillance leaks and associated revelations, there sometimes seems to be a general tendency to try to blame this on a particular political party/individual. Many might see this as being irrational, because it seems to be effectively abrogating the responsibility of the voters for whatever party was voted into power with whatever mandate(s) it had.
   In a democracy, you generally get what you voted for.
If you voted for (say) "the lesser of two evils", then that is what you will get - and it'll still be its evil self.

There is an interesting post on The Reference Frame blog which touches on this: Pros and cons of the U.S. surveillance program
A well as the pros and cons being interesting, this bit of the post caught my attention:
...I was sort of pleasantly surprised by the New York Times editorial

    President Obama’s Dragnet (via NewsMax)

which sort of concludes that the Obama administration has lost all credibility on this issue. The surprise is nice not because I am sure that I agree with the Grey Lady – my feelings are mixed – but because I would agree that the newspaper's approach to similar questions has been consistent throughout the Bush and Obama administrations.

Some partisans who have criticized Bush for certain things suddenly get unbelievably silent when the same things are being done by Obama but the New York Times doesn't seem to belong to this hypocritical club. ...

The current situation regarding the NSA PRISM and related surveillance seems to be, for better or worse, a fait accompli, and the surveillance seems to have become well-established and was apparently accelerated over a number of years (probably starting since before 9/11/2001), and to have gone worldwide. So maybe it's time to accept, adapt, and move on - since one is generally likely to be impotent to shove these things back into Pandora's box.
Whatever happened before was then. This is now, and if you thought you understood the situation, then what you probably don't understand is that the situation just changed - again.
(I forget who it was who said that last bit.)
1433  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process (in Post-Modern Science) on: July 01, 2013, 01:32:19 AM
I was reading an article the other day on the distortion/misuse of science, when I came across a link to an explanation of what "Post-Modern Science" was, and why it is in use today. It is a different and political approach to science, and it could help to explain why the abuse/misuse of science and why the lack of rigorous peer review occurs:
Post Normal Science:
Politicized Science? An excuse to stretch facts?

The Post Normal Science doctrine comes from a 1993 paper by the philosophers Silvio
Functowitz and Jerome Ravetz (refer Funtowicz and Ravetz "Science for the Post-Normal Age", Futures, 25/7 September 1993, 739-755).

Post Normal Science is promoted as appropriate when science is complex, uncertain, and the situation involves high stakes. It may be a mistake to call it science at all, since it appears to be a method for deciding on a course of action. In Post Normal Science, the players in the scientific quest are extended beyond scientists to include an “extended peer group” and even investigative journalists. Post Normal Science might better be referred to as participatory science.” The standards of evidence are relaxed to allow anecdotal information that ordinarily would not be acceptable in formal scientific investigations.

There are problems. Take the case of the possibility of an atomic bomb in 1942. The science was uncertain  would it work, could isotope separation be performed? The stakes were high  would the Germans get it first? The circumstances met the conditions for using Post Normal Science. But there was no extended peer group and investigative journalism was forbidden . The decisions were made by a small group of politicians, military leaders, and scientists. Lesson: If the stakes are high or there are competitors, secrecy is often essential. ...
...Post Normal Science should be seen as a political device that can be used to push a particular policy.

Source: Article here and paper here.

As one commenter to the article mentions:
"...a distressing number of posters are using broad brush terms to challenge the integrity of the many many scientists participating in the IPCC process. This is just wrong. Remember that the politicians have the final say in the contents of the final report."

That may be a fair comment, but it does not explain why only relatively few of these "many many" scientists seem to be standing up and denouncing what manifests as a generally unprincipled misuse/abuse of science and the peer review process. It seems to be simple dishonesty.
1434  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / How to concatenate a number of text files which may have different encoding? on: June 30, 2013, 09:31:37 AM
I wanted to concatenate all my MBAM (Malwarebytes) text Log files into a single text file, with a view to using the latter as a database that I could search and analyse in some way (maybe as input to a spreadsheet or DB tool).

  • 1. Set up a SCRAP working directory.
  • 2. Copy all MBAM Log files from their folder into the SCRAP folder - there were 87 files, ranging from mbam-log-2010-12-28 (23-38-53).txt to mbam-log-2013-04-17 (04-38-12).txt.
  • 3. Mass renamed the 87 log files to the form xnn.txt (where nn = 01 to 87).
  • 4. Concatenated all 87 filenames into one long string with a "+" sign between each filename - e.g. x01.txt+x02.txt+…
  • 5. Turned this string into a DOS COPY command: copy [string] /A concatALL.txt /A
  • 6. Ran the COPY command.
  • 7. Examined the output file concatALL.txt

Examination of the output file concatALL.txt showed that it was fine up until somewhere before the middle of the file, when the text became weird-looking with embedded spaces, right after the end of the content from file 34.
Further inspection of the source files showed that:
  • files 01-34 had been encoded in Windows 1252 Western European.
  • files 35-87 had been encoded in Unicode, UTF-16 little endian.

  • I concatenated files 01-34 into file concat01.txt
  • I concatenated files 35-87 into file concat02.txt

The latter two files each seemed to read fine in a text editor. It was only when you tried to concatenate them that problems arose.
I then copied/pasted all the text in file concat02.txt onto the end of concat01.txt, then saved and closed the concat01.txt file. Opening it subsequently, the text read fine all the way through. Problem solved.

My question is: What approach could have enabled me to do this quicker, or with more automation?
1435  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Google Balloon ('Loon for all) - initiative for a balloon-distributed Internet. on: June 30, 2013, 04:58:14 AM
Yes, but it will probably be no laughing matter if the balloon is doubling as an NSA surveillance device - which it probably will be...
1436  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Told You So: If You used a centralised comms service, you were wiretapped on: June 28, 2013, 07:51:18 PM
I have put this here for information as something in the wider context of total communications freedom and privacy, rather than just the Internet per se.
Depressing that the evidence we now have apparently shows that reality aligns very well with what we had often presumed or suspected to be the reality, and which reality would be an understatement to call a less-than-ideal norm.    Angry
Told You So: If You Have Been Using A Centralized Comms Service, You Were Wiretapped[
Saturday, June 29, 2013
tags: Headlines, Privacy
Rick Falkvinge

This night, news broke that the USA’s security agencies have been wiretapping essentially every major centralized social service for private data. Photos, video conferences, text chats, and voice calls – everything. We have been saying this for years and been declared tinfoil hat and conspiracy nuts; it’s good to finally see the documents in black on white.

This night, European time,  the  news  broke  that the USA’s National Security Agency (NSA) has had direct access to pretty much every social network for the past several years, dating back to 2007, under a program named PRISM. Under the program, a number of social services voluntarily feed people’s private data to the NSA. In short, if you have been using/uploading
  • e-mail
  • video or voice chat
  • videos
  • photos
  • stored data
  • VoIP calls
  • file transfers
  • video conferencing
  • (and more)

…from any of…

  • Microsoft (incl. Hotmail et al), since Sep 11, 2007
  • Google, since Jan 14, 2009
  • Yahoo, since Mar 12, 2008
  • Facebook, since June 3, 2009
  • PalTalk, since Dec 7, 2009
  • YouTube, since Sep 24, 2010
  • Skype, since Feb 6, 2011
  • AOL, since Mar 31, 2011
  • Apple, since Oct 2012

…then you have been wiretapped, and still are.

This piece of news broke just after it was revealed that the same NSA is demanding phone records from one of the major telco operators in the USA, and presumably all of them.

In short, practically every single service you have ever been using that has operated under the “trust us” principle has fed your private data directly to STASI-equivalent security agencies. Practically every single one. The one exception notably missing from the list is Twitter (but Twitter uses broadcast messages – you shouldn’t write anything secret on Twitter in the first place).

Carefully note that this PRISM program is not unique to the USA: Several European nations have the same wiretapping in place, Sweden among them. Also, these agencies share raw data freely between them, trivially circumventing any restrictions against wiretapping the own population (“I’ll wiretap yours if you’ll wiretap mine”).

This piece of news practically detonated when it hit this night. We have been saying that this is the probable state of things for years – it’s good to finally get rid of those tinfoil hats, with facts on the table. Predictably, the social comms companies named in the NSA slides are out scrambling with statements and comments.

Google, for example, said in a statement to the Guardian: “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a back door for the government to access private user data.”

As a politician, what strikes me is how carefully crafted this statement is to give the appearance of denying the allegations, without doing so. It stops exactly short of saying “the presented allegations are lies”.

[UPDATE: The follow-up response from Google's CEO changes this picture completely. See the followup article. You've still been wiretapped if you've been using a centralized communications service, but through no fault of Google.]

For example, a system could be in place that continuously fed the NSA data from Google servers in accordance with the NSA documents, and the above Google statement would still be true (if Google feeds data to the NSA, rather than the NSA fetching it from Google).

Microsoft – whose motto is “Privacy is our priority”, the Guardian notes – was the first to join the PRISM program in 2007. On the other hand, that company was never trusted much, so I don’t see a lot of surprise.

What we learn from this is something that us net liberty activists have known and practiced all along: if you want your data to be private, you can trust no one with it. No one. You must make sure to encrypt it yourself. Only then can you place it in the custody of somebody else. Putting an unencrypted file on Dropbox, Google Drive, sending it in e-mail, etc., is and has been the equivalent of shouting it out to the entire world.

A system that requires privacy, but is built on the assumption on trust in a third party, is broken by design.

You can only trust systems that are built around the principle of distrusting the entire world (like bitcoin, nota bene), or systems that are physically under your control. Note that I say physically: having virtual servers “in the cloud” is not enough, for an administrator of that cloud can trivially go in and take everything you’re processing there and feed it to whomever they like, and must be assumed to do so. For the same reason, having your own servers in a rented datacenter is not enough, either: an administrator of the datacenter can give access to your computers to whomever they like. That is the reason why I have servers for this site and other sites of mine running on my own balcony:
The servers for this journalistic site, and other sites with more sensitive personal information.

The servers for this journalistic site, and other sites with more sensitive personal information, are under my physical control.

This is the reason you cannot trust Dropbox and similar services with anything remotely sensitive. If you have sensitive data, you need your own servers to store and communicate it. Servers that are physically under your control. That is why you should be running encrypted SparkleShare on your own file servers rather than Dropbox in the cloud; that is why you should be running default-encrypted Mumble on your own servers rather than using Skype; that is why you should be using RedPhone from your cellphone instead of regular voice calls.

It’s already a matter of life and death in many places on the planet. Also, do note that it may not be the laws today you have to worry about: Everything is recorded and stored, and your innocent words today may come back to haunt you 30 years down the line under a different administration.

Privacy is your responsibility. You can trust no one.

As a final note, this shows very much why pirate parties are needed – worldwide – to kick politicians who authorize these egregious violations out of office, off the coast and into the ocean. (I usually write “next state”, but people from that state always complain how people there don’t want them either.)
1437  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Calibre - e-Book (Personal Library/Document) Management - Mini-Review on: June 28, 2013, 08:10:32 AM
Updated 2013-06-29: Changes to opening post aligned with latest version 0.9.37.
See details of changes in the link to the Change Log in the table.
1438  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Any way to automate news compilation (rss feeds, websites, etc.) daily? on: June 28, 2013, 01:47:04 AM
...What I was hoping for was something that could support a few different collections of RSS feeds. Something that could take three different feed lists and use them to produce a daily newspaper, a weekly journal, and a monthly magazine, all on an fully automated basis.
calibre can't do that. But it's soooo close it makes me want to scream.
But that won't accomplish anything worthwhile.
So now I'm firing up my email program and composing an extremely polite message to calibre's developer Kovid Goyal to ask what it would take to get that capability added. ...
@40hz: I had cross-linked your post on this to the Re: Calibre - e-Book (Personal Library/Document) Management - Mini-Review, and as I am in the process of updating that Mini-Review, I wondered whether you had some news/response from  Kovid Goyal. If you do, then could you please post it here? I could add it in to the update.
Many thanks.
1439  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Qiqqa - Reference Management System - Mini-Review on: June 28, 2013, 12:50:50 AM
2013-06-28 Update: Qiqqa v55s released end of May 2013.
Release notes: per the Qiqqa blog.
  • - Premium Fields allow you to restrict your searches to ANY of the fields that you have added in your PDF BibTeX records.
  • - Qiqqa now supports the Bluebook legal CSL style.
  • - Qiqqa supports the “short form" of journal name in your bibliographies.
  • - You can refresh the Annotation Report for a PDF or jump straight to a full blown Annotation Report.
  • - Qiqqa warns about DropBox conflicts.
1440  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 27, 2013, 09:27:07 PM
"Shadow on the Land" was from 1968? Seems remarkably prescient.
IFS = DHS/NSA/Militarily Armed Police?

On a lighter note, there is a super little post in Googland:
Securing your WiFi network
Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013

This post is part of a regular series of privacy and security tips to help you and your family stay safe and secure online. Privacy and security are important topics—they matter to us, and they matter to you. Building on our Good to Know site with advice for safe and savvy Internet use, we hope this information helps you understand the choices and control that you have over your online information. -Ed.
...(Read the rest at the link)
It ends with a cute little narrated cartoon video, probably for people who maybe cannot read or are deaf, that gets the message across and emphasises the need for you to use WPA2 Wifi security keys.
This little missive comes hot from the press after Google had:
  • (a) deliberately collected Wifi location data in their StreetView video vehicles - which seems to have got them into legal hot water in Germany, but, strangely nowhere else;   tellme
  • (b) been pretty clearly identified as a major Big Data co-conspirator in breaching Internet users' privacy/security as per the Guardian's published NSA leak details.

On reading the post and watching the vid, my amazement at the barefaced effrontery of this post was followed by the thought "Supposing they are serious? Now why would Google seem to be so concerned about our improving/maintaining Wifi security?"

Then a possible answer hit me. I've done quite a bit of work in the area of what's called "Data Quality" for corporate databases. It's a complex subject, and difficult to achieve consistently good results. Google are probably obliged to ensure the quality and integrity of the surveillance data that they gather for the NSA is not only maintained, but also improved, and one of the ways that they can do that is to ensure that it is secure at source. That way, it is validated - it has its author's indelible "fingerprints" all over it, so to speak.

The NSA have an incredibly difficult surveillance job to do, and to do it they will probably need the data to meet at least three basic criteria:
  • (i) Accessibility: Is it fully accessible, and is that access controlled by us? (Check.)
  • (ii) Timeliness: Is it timely - i.e., not delayed? (Check)
  • (iii) Data Quality: Is the source security, quality and integrity of the surveillance data certain? (No, not yet.)

1441  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: June 27, 2013, 11:45:33 AM
Spinoff from the Snowden thread:
"Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage."
1. Why are they using descriptive notation?! Is that a metaphor for outdated information and thinking in this whole thing?
2. Snowden's playing White as the "first to move", right? So charging Snowden is a defensive move ... so that's ...Nc6. But what was the US's first move? 1 ...e5 headed into a Ruy Lopez or 1...c5 headed into a Sicilian?
Har-de-har-har. Very droll.
1442  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: June 27, 2013, 11:41:19 AM
^^ Yes. "The Front Fell Off" is a classic. Based on a real-life event, it was good satire.

Saw this today, had to take a screenshot of it. Unintentionally funny. Must be ever so easy to do.


1443  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Google Reader gone on: June 27, 2013, 03:39:34 AM
BazQux reader: I have been trialling https://bazqux.com/ on and off for 20 days now, and it is very impressive indeed - if anything, it's better than Google Reader.
I had been hoping one of the "FREE" readers would come up to the same sort of standard, but they don't - not even the moribund Google Reader.
1444  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: How to prevent screen flickering when scrolling chrome? (nvidia issue) on: June 27, 2013, 02:10:24 AM
Interesting charts found here: How Much Physical Memory Can Windows Actually Use (or See)?

1445  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Test: Does latency reduction via RAM upgrade lift software performance? on: June 27, 2013, 02:08:43 AM
Interesting charts found here: How Much Physical Memory Can Windows Actually Use (or See)?

1446  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: One year on with Windows 7 on: June 27, 2013, 02:00:08 AM
Interesting charts found here: How Much Physical Memory Can Windows Actually Use (or See)?

1447  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 26, 2013, 10:14:29 AM
@40hz: I'm confuzzled. Do Americans really need things like the 2 articles by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts before they can see the stark reality of what has been happening and what is still happening to their country and the US Constitution?
1448  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications on: June 26, 2013, 08:05:43 AM
This NSA business had left me with the nagging feeling that I had seen it in a movie.
Tonight I was cataloguing one of my portable drives (all movies) using BooZet's Visual CD Version 4.0 and found the answer amongst a collection of short films. It's from YouTube: PLURALITY

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzryBRPwsog" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzryBRPwsog</a>
1449  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Connectify Dispatch User Experience on: June 26, 2013, 12:29:39 AM
I haven't tried this out yet, but I'd be interested in reading about any users' findings.
Watching this YouTube vid was interesting (65-85Mbps wifi connection?):  Use Ten Internet Connections at Once with Connectify Dispatch!
1450  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Secure Cloud backup -e.g., Digital Lifeboat - what alternatives are there? on: June 25, 2013, 11:58:10 PM
Doing some research to see if there was a really secure Cloud-based backup solution, I googled the subject, and one of the things I came up with was a rather novell (to me) service called Digital Lifeboat. The service was apparently launched sometime in early 2011, however, for unexplained reasons it is to be shut down on 2013-06-28.
If you go to their website: http://www.digitallifeboat.com/
you get shunted to: http://www.digitallifeboat.com/ShuttingDown.aspx
- where you get this message:

The email sent to users apparently said (this from a utorrent forum post):

What is Digital Lifeboat?

  • The operational principle of the service seems to be automated data backup via distributed encrypted file fragments (using steganographic techniques) across a P2P network, offering a highly secure and sort of virtual RAID storage with "repairable" data. It looks amazingly secure and potentially useful for any PC user wishing to have a high level of security, privacy and anonymity of backup.

  • The concept is explained:

Whereas I would always evaluate such a service after trialling it and before using/buying it, my initial impression of this untried service is that it would seem to meet all the requirements for a high level of security, privacy and anonymity of backup, with the major potential costs being:
  • (a) the direct costs of service and
  • (b) the indirect costs of bandwidth utilisation.

Like most other Cloud-based solutions, one major risk this service has/had would relate to its potential for persistent reliability (QED, it has just been unilaterally and summarily discontinued). I would like to know why the service had to be killed.
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