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Topics - The Gorn

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All Technology & Tech Help / Linux backup: What's now working for me
« on: April 21, 2018, 05:17:25 am »
Here is what is currently working for me, which I have been using since early March several times:

- The file compression utility package "dar." Dar is included in the package manager for Linux Mint. for more info.

- The backup utility backup-manager. See for details. Also seems to be part of the Mint package set.

DAR has HUGE advantages over all other backup formats. It saves file attributes, and the data storage format is designed to be recoverable even in the event of errors in the archives.

Here is my backup regimen:

Manual, using a portable hard drive. It could be easily automated if I were continuously connected to backup media.

I have created a series of content-specific config files. If you run backup-manager without any arguments it uses a default /etc based config file. Otherwise you can have per-task configs that you pass it on the command line.

I have chopped up backup into about 5 major groups based on total file sizes. The initial master backup of each group took a couple of hours apiece, at least.

- All "business" files: home based directories for email, Quicken/Quickbooks data, website archives, client work directories.
- All "self created media" files: images I take, video clips, etc.
- All downloaded media such as TV programs and movies we watch through streaming
- All Virtualbox hard disk files.
- A backup of /home/gorn but only files NOT covered by above backup groups.

Here's the relevant, important config file statements from the backup-*.conf files hat support my backup style.

# The mounted backup hard drive. Never changes.
export BM_REPOSITORY_ROOT="/media/gorn/SeagateBackup/linuxdesktopbackup"

#This forces incremental backup plus DAR archives (DAR captures all Linux file attributes like ownership, etc
#so I can use any external media such as vfat, SSH based remote drives, etc) Tar does not support many features of DAR.
export BM_ARCHIVE_METHOD="tarball-incremental"

# I left encryption off!

# Example of inclusion of files for a specific backup cluster
export BM_TARBALL_DIRECTORIES="/home/gorn/html /home/gorn/clients /home/gorn/accountingdata /home/gorn/personal /home/gorn/swprojects /home/gorn/agent-email

# For the /home/gorn catchall backup ONLY, I must exclude all of the file paths specified by other backup config files.
# So the following exclusion  statement in the /home/gorn file will look like this:

export BM_TARBALL_BLACKLIST="/home/gorn/images /home/gorn/music /home/gorn/html ...

There is no order in which the various backup configs may be applied. You may also backup some sets of files more frequently than others.

Last night, having an established set of backups already on the external hard drive, I had backup times for each script measuring from a couple of minutes, to 20 minutes for one, to an hour and a half for the 12 GB of changed data for the virtual machine files.

I'm making a content decision ... threads about technology policy will go into the public technology discussion forum. This includes but is not limited to discussion about social media policies and policy makers.

Discussions - Public / Using Fiverr for a real project
« on: March 26, 2018, 09:08:42 pm »
This stub post is provided for the benefit of search engines.

Only cool people who register and log in get to see the real meat of the thread at

A few months ago, I was asked in a thread:

> Encryption -- just check the default when you install and you're done (why CryptKeeper?)

The user meant check the encryption for the hard drive.

I don't think encryption for the hard drive is necessary or desirable. But there is always a need to cloak personal, financial and business files.

Also, I want to make that decision of what and how much to encrypt on the fly, not dedicate a fixed portion of the drive to an encrypted partition.

Cryptkeeper is a Linux system utility (with user interface accessories) for creating and mounting an encrypted virtual folder, say to your /home directory.

The programs Veracrypt and Truecrypt (discontinued but available in old versions) are available for Linux.

These programs, along with "rsync", are responsible for causing my PC to reboot or stop/power off for no good reason.  I have heard of something called a "kernel panic" which forces an OS shutdown. I am guessing these apps cause such a kernel panic even though they are user mode programs.

Rsync will quite often crash my system if I attempt to do a task kill of an rscync process (I ran into this a lot when debugging rogue backup processes.)

When Veracrypt has a drive mounted, my system can crash at any time when accessing that mounted volume.

Cryptkeeper has an entirely different method for mapping a file system compared to the usual encryption tools. This different method ensures the safety of the stored data. And, oh, I haven't had one crash attributable to Cryptkeeper.

In Veracrypt, you have one large file system file that contains the entire encrypted volume. Corrupt that file and you may lose the entire volume.

In Cryptkeeper, if you create an encrypted volume called, say, /home/fred -

The software creates a parallel hidden folder named .fred_encfs

When you mount /home/fred, every file you then create and work with is saved to an encrypted file with an encrypted name within the .xxxx_encfs folder. Folders and subdirectories are created in parallel within the encrypted file space directory, again with encrypted individual names.

It looks like this:

The important thing here is that only individual stored files, not all of the files, are subject to loss.

Also it's more efficient for backup/restore: a backup or restore can operate just on changed files, not by literally re-saving an entire encrypted volume that has changed.

Discussions - Public / Ok, So I Made Some Changes!
« on: March 16, 2018, 08:23:06 pm »
Inspiration struck last night. Then I spent intermittent hours repairing the damage caused by my inspiration. :P

New domain name:

My inspiration was simple: "Tech Career Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition". It hit me that this short phrase is the crux of what the forum has been about for the last 5+ years.

Not pie in the sky pseudo opportunities, not feelgood, but rather enduring and perhaps prospering some from IT during our civilization's end phase of capitalism.

The Wordpress site is now

I fell out of love with the "LifeAfterTechCareer" moniker once this new idea hit me. Life-After-tech-Career was too restrictive, and pedantic, and too much like self-help.

Tech Career FUBAR captures the idea of humorous cynicism, It's the spirit of nodding along to some company's bloated empty mission statement announcement while you attempt to catch a well deserved 40 winks in the back row of the employee auditorium.

This forum is

For at least the next year, will seamlessly redirect all article links and pages to the corresponding page of this site.

We needed a change. You guys hardly use this site. We badly needed a clarified mission, reflected in the title, plus some minimal graphics to rise above the aspie geek monotone of Verdana type everywhere.

Discussions - Public / Explanation of Changes to Board Areas
« on: February 26, 2018, 06:45:55 pm »
I did some content curation this evening. I believe the board will be more attractive to old members who should come back, current members, and possible new members, by creating broad but extremely specific subject matter areas.

In other words Brother Unix believes we had too MANY sections, but I went and added EVEN MOAR SECTIONS! BWAH HAH HAH!

I brought back some content-rich sections that I had for whatever reason buried several years ago. I also combed through the Public and the Logged in Member groups for subject specific posts. Lastly, I moved many topics that are not really sensitive or which fit one of the categories to their respective places.

I went through both the Public general and the logged in member general boards and moved stuff going back into early 2017 to subject related boards.

One other objective I have here is to increase the amount of stuff that Google will pick up, to drive traffic.

So here's the lineup now:

Discussions - Public
same agenda as before

Discussions for Logged In Members
same as before. Like the Public group, generalized but made hidden to visitors and web search.

I may ditch this section or I may not. I gutted it by curating its content to subject related sections so it doesn't have that many topics now.

B2B, Contracting, Consulting, and Real Business
A resuscitated board. Visible only to logged in users to promote frankness.

FTE, Job and Career Discussion
A resuscitated board. Visible only to logged in users to promote frankness.

All Technology & Tech Help
A resuscitated board. Public visibility. This is intended to be omnibus for ALL tech, from career related IT, software and programming to consumer electronics reviews.
Politics and Society
Same as before but now membership and visibility is only for members, who are added manually by admin. Ask and ye will be added or removed at will.

Private By Approval Discussion Area
Same as before - as always membership and visibility is only for members, who are added manually by admin.)

This is a technical experiment with the content from this board.

As you guys may know, this forum software (SMF) has a "Who's Online" display. (It's a link at the bottom of the home page of the forum in the "Info Center" block under a heading labeled Who's Online.)

Ordinary users see only a cut down version of this display without IP addresses (for privacy's sake).

A moderator or admin sees something that looks like the following:

Mostly this displays bots and search engines constantly visiting the forum. It's also always changing. But if you look at this image you'll see a couple of lines in the "Action" column labeled "Viewing the topic".

I've noticed that during the day these "topic" lines can be fairly numerous - perhaps 8-10 on each viewing.

Today I realized something significant: the visitors viewing these topics MAY be an expression of interest from real visitors, which may be funnelled through some search engine that is spidering the site.

I've noticed that when I click through these linked articles, they're often fairly classic, lengthy threads we had here a few years ago.

This might be a key to understanding how to attract more users to this site: monitor which threads are being requested the most.

So, I just built a simple shell script that is running every 10 minutes on my Linux desktop as a cron job:

1) It requests the URL of "Who's Online". (using wget)
2) The text from that page is run through grep and sed, in order to locate all lines containing the "viewing the topic" text and then strip out the URL.
3) The URLs being collected on each pass are appended, along with a time stamp, to a file containing the collected links.

I could put the script on one of my internet hosting servers to run 24 hours a day,  but at night the activity dies down and therefore having it run while my PC is active is just fine.

I'm noticing that almost every thread being viewed by bots, search engines or whatever is pretty high quality and interesting to revisit.

If anyone is interested I'll post a cleaned up list to the private section.

Discussions - Public / Amusing or Outstanding Image Memes
« on: February 22, 2018, 05:54:17 pm »
These CCF - approved image memes from unknown, possibly copyrighted sources may be used indiscriminately for social media, shitposting, and harassment of others.

Feel free to add to the thread.

Credit Linux system tools with this, actually.

The groundbreaking magna opus featured in this post:'s-1999/

1) I found this gif on someone's page.

2) I decided that the Hampster Dance tune from the idiotic web site from 1999 would fit the action in the GIF perfectly. (Note: real animals are called hamsters. The website page is called Hampster Dance.) This was complicated by the fact that almost every version I could find was a techno remix, not the original tinny DIsney movie style tune.

3) I finally found a faithful clone of the oldest site on this page:

4) I dicked around with the inspector in Firefox and finally located an include of a JSON file.

5) The JSON file source had the reference to a WAV of the tune which I then downloaded. (up to here is  the hardest part! )

6) I then opened the WAV file and played it (on my Linux desktop.)

7) I opened the PNG file and the file viewer in Linux displays the animation.

8) I decluttered the screen and opened the PNG to about 1/3 the screen.

9) I opened "Screen Recorder" from Linux which records a window plus sound.

10) Specified the rectangle of the PNG viewer and started the screen recording. Making certain to not get my mouse or anything else in the recorded rectangle.

11) Saved the recording, an .mkv file, and uploaded it to Youtube.

In other words I didn't use any video compositing tools or something like HandBrake. I did this in a quick a dirty "kluged" way.

The PNG quality is so low and so is the WAV that I believe no quality was lost.

Discussions - Public / Anyone Watched Star Trek: Preaching (Discovery)?
« on: February 12, 2018, 07:48:51 am »
I watched the entire season. TORRENTED. No way I will pay for their politically correct dreck.

They have nice subliminal nods to the rest of the franchise and even to the seriously underrated "Enterprise" series. Even incorporated classic TOS series bridge sound effects into the background noises.

But too pompous exposition about social issues and idealism. Weird, silly, fantastical plots. The mirror universe story arc felt fantastical. Star Trek always made even far fetched scenarios somewhat plausible if you allow this and that but they went 10x beyond that just to over-use movie grade special effects.

It's been called "too gritty" but that's not the issue I have with Discovery. Rather the opposite. Too perfect, too manicured, too "woke for 2018".

^ I was going to suggest EXACTLY the same thing.

I've now been using Linux as a primary desktop for almost 4 months. I recently considered moving back to Windows as the boot OS. Right now I really don't want to do that!

I bought a very cheap copy of Windows 7 Pro from a seller on Ebay ($30) and installed and activated it as a VM under VirtualBox. I need Win7 for Quickbooks, Quicken, and, soon, TurboTax.

Linux has MANY UI and usability quirks that turn me into a raging madman. Also I insist against what aspies may declare, that Linux's UI is consistently slower than Windows. Just not as crisp.

But above all the core of Linux is *predictability*. No forced-upgrade bullshit and no continual battle for my machine and data against Microsoft's fiat imperatives.

This afternoon this individual joined the site:

The IP address of this new person resolves to the University of California Office of the President:

But what was very strange was that the "Guest" (not-logged-in) visitor count escalated around that time to over 80. That is extraordinary and there's no reason for it. This is a small unpopular site.

...Except that  there were dozens of visitors visiting one single post on this forum. There were maybe 4 or 5 posts each of which had many "visitors" landing on those pages.  And I kept seeing "Attempting to register" statuses.

It was too much of a coincidence for me.

I deleted the account of this "Sumprit" asshole with the Hotmail address. Who is probably a marbled mouthed SE Asian spammer.  I'm assuming that Sumprit was scoping the board out in preparation for spamming or an attack and that he was responsible or tied to the invasion of bots. 

I then located a plugin for SMF that lets me throttle the number of unregistered guests. I set the limit to 10 guests. It will still let search engines in.

It makes me angry how many utter jerkoffs there are on the internet. We dont' even have anything worth stealing here, and someone wants to rip us off anyway.  >:(

Bitcoin is distinctive for fiat currencies in that the cost to create one of the symbols of currency has a huge real world cost in computer equipment and electrical power.

The cost to create a unit of BTC currency approaches a large fraction of the current highly inflated market value of the unit. In some cases the bitcoin's minting cost approaches 50% of its market value.

THAT'S not an insane bubble? It would be like a $20 bill costing $10 to print.

According to a new analysis compiled by the Crescent Electric Supply Company, Louisiana could be the most appealing state in the country, based on one unusual metric.

Why? It’s cheaper to mine bitcoin there than in any other state in the U.S., based on the different electricity rates in different regions of the country.

Mining a single bitcoin costs $3,224 in Louisiana, a relative bargain considering the digital currency BTCUSD, -1.54%   last traded at $17,652.30, up 6.8% on the day, which brings its year-to-date rise to a massive 1,723%.

The most expensive state, in contrast, is Hawaii, where the cost of electricity brings mining costs up to $9,483, meaning it is nearly three times more expensive to mine bitcoin in Honolulu than New Orleans.

Rather than buying expensive bitcoin mining machines, criminals are seeding the computers the world-over with malware like "Fareit," which then implants bitcoin mining software on victim machines, sending the results of the mining process to intermediate transactional bitcoin wallets, which are harvested on a regular basis, moving bulk collections of bitcoin shards into anonymous bitcoin wallets not obviously connected to the intermediate harvesting wallets.

The result is criminals are able to extract the cost of production from the bitcoin mining process, making bitcoin mining almost infinitely more profitable for law-breakers than law-abiders.

How it can happen: I received a security alert email from "Wordfence", a popular security plugin for WordPress websites, that indicated that several plugins on's site have been taken over (purchased usually, by new developer-owners) and modified  in order to do Bitcoin mining calculations. The plugins when recognized get banned immediately as malware. I'm assuming that if the plugin is contaminated, the web hosting account that serves someone's WP site starts performing distributed BTC calculations.

Finally, the immense waste:

According to a research conducted by a U.K.-based energy comparison tariff service called PowerCompare, the average electricity used to mine bitcoin this year has surpassed the annual energy usage of some 159 countries. Specifically, the global average energy spent on bitcoin mining has far exceeded the electricity consumption in Ireland and most African nations.

I've gotten an impression that the computational effort to mine Bitcoin will increase asymptotically (IE, toward infinite or extremely large energy requirements) as the end of the possible BTC set is reached. So it will not get better.

Discussions - Public / My board identity
« on: December 22, 2017, 08:30:09 pm »
I've decided to keep up with the times by pivoting to crypto-currency.

Hence I have rebranded as Blockchain Gorn.

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