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Messages - The Gorn

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FTE, Job and Career Discussion / Re: Short term projects?
« on: May 01, 2018, 07:38:38 am »
^ Good observations from pxsant. Conforms to my own experiences.

This short termism and incompetency of following through used to be a hallmark of small businesses attempting complex projects. 20 years ago on boards like this I would describe such experiences I had with my clients and I would be told it was my fault for being such a loser that I worked with small businesses. In fact most borked contractors that I knew had no idea what I was talking about.

Today it's everywhere.

The individual who used to post here and is still a full member has not been seen in over a year here.

Some time ago the guy subscribed me to his mailing list. I don't think I did it. His emails are along the line of business intelligence and meta about current affairs and ideas affecting business. He sends it out to his business prospects for his own IT related business.

It was passingly interesting but long winded stuff.

I emailed the guy a few weeks ago and said "hey, cuz you subscribed me to your emailing list which I don't think I requested but I don't mind, I'd love it if you stopped in to this board."

His reply was he was too busy with projects to even consider it.

I'm sure it's more personal - he was one of many who bailed here when I made the horrific mistake of revealing my political leanings.

So very many people are not my friend now for reasons.

Anyway, I decided to unsubscribe.

It's like - buddy, you won't give me 2 seconds of your time, why the hell should i do the same with you?

Increasingly I view this board the same way. People only post here to wail about their own problems and are never seen for conversation unless it's some outrage that triggers them.

FTE, Job and Career Discussion / Re: Short term projects?
« on: May 01, 2018, 07:00:07 am »
Most board members here are from the corporate world. I worked with small businesses all of my contracting career so I've always been out of step of being exposed to corporate "best" practices, instead I've dealt with the always reactionary and ignorant responses of small clients.

So, all I can do is frame this as the long term secular trend of the IT business. Businesses are increasingly retarded and are run on a short-term, panic basis. Back in the 1990s I had several small company software development projects that lasted 6 mos - 2 yrs at the longest. That collapsed in the early 2000s and then it began to be about producing something actually salable within 2-3 months.

Tech writing? I dabbled in freelance writing a few years ago and I have a heart for writers. But my experience is the farther away you get from the revenue flow in the business and more toward support roles, the more irrational and stupid the decision making will be.

My short answer is, it's definitely the business environment plus the role of millennials who now manage and run things being weasels. Low integrity, poor personal character, impulsiveness, short attention span == throwaway projects.

(I sincerely hope someone on this disengaged sleepwalking forum where people only pop in when THEY PERSONALLY have a problem can be bothered to give you an informed answer that is more than two words long and more helpful than what I can.)

I'm positive that something like Cryptkeeper isn't intended as an encrypted file system suitable for the entire OS or all user home directories. It's a lightweight and stable alternative to Veracrypt/Truecrypt which are unstable on my system.  I'd use Cryptkeeper to store a few GB of files... not hundreds of GB.

All Technology & Tech Help / Re: Did you ever visit the Dark Web?
« on: April 29, 2018, 02:38:10 pm »
Three things.

It's just a marketing angle.

Norton cashing in on a current awareness of something almost nobody (not even here on this supposed IT board) really understands, the dark web.  It adds plausibility to paranoia.

Obscurity? Think - reformed black hats. This information is semi-well-known in hacking circles. How do journalists and whistle blowers find out this stuff? They probably have reformed black hats as sources who look for or are aware of this stuff.

Thirdly, about "searching for". If Norton even HAS this information then Norton *probably* crawls the dark web based  data  files  or websites for evidence. I doubt it's a real time up to the second transactional database of hacked information.  Norton doesn't have to store everything, just the key identifying information such as personal email addresses.

Doable if they actually back up the marketing hype with actions.

My feeling about this is, if you want to use linux, you're probably techie enough to install virtualbox. So I don't really get the purpose except for geek cred.

Have you looked into the Linux subsystem in Windows 10? Hearing about that shocked me.

I've read some user comments. Basically, much faster to launch than a VM, but the file system is considerably slower than native Linux.

It's mainly for developers and to re-establish some techie street cred for Windows and Microsoft.

All Technology & Tech Help / Re: Did you ever visit the Dark Web?
« on: April 27, 2018, 06:06:08 pm »
The dark web is all of the web that's visible through the Tor router and Tor browser. Allegedly even government spooks can't identify users from their dark web addresses alone, because it was CIA/NSA engineering used to create Tor in the first place, as an intelligence tool. So anyone trading stolen information on the darkweb is pretty well anonymous. Basically it's another "internet" side by side the public/real internet.

When I've used Tor and moused around there I guess I never found all of the good places where snuff movies and bomb making are available.

Once in awhile on some internet bulletin boards (example: the forum on "" gets this a lot) thieves will post offers of stolen credit card numbers and CV code lists for sale. I suppose even this board could get used to host such offers, until I see it and take it down.

So Norton is saying that they know places on the dark web where stolen ID credentials are available and they crawl that data?

All Technology & Tech Help / Re: Lenovo Spyware - update
« on: April 25, 2018, 10:04:36 pm »
Uh, hmmm. My Moto G5 (phone) is made by Lenovo, according to the splash screen. Motorola is now a Lenovo company.

Hmmm. I thought Huawei (state owned electronics concern) was a top contender for Trojan horse style espionage.

The pivot of this mini-project was the package backup-manager. I just figured out a lightweight way to automate the creation of multiple task-specific backup config files.

You must still know a lot to use the generated configs correctly. It's anything BUT a product.

Rsync and straight file copying is a non-starter for backups unless you have total control over the destination backup media and you can format it as a Linux compatible file system. That's what many Linux backup solutions do. Otherwise, you need to use tar (or the more advanced tar replacement dar) if you want to write your backups to anything available.

Amazon doesn't crack down on this because they probably consider product review content to be "caveat emptor". And it would totally piss off legitimate reviewers to be blocked/canceled for suspicion of review gaming. I think it would create many more problems for Amazon than just allowing scammers to run free.

My story...

Since last December I've received a total of 6 or 7 boxes and padded envelope packages from Amazon containing one or more products. I did not order them, there is no gift receipt or note enclosed, and none of them show up on my order history. They are all addressed to me at my street address.

The contents of these packages:

Hair growth supplements @ $40/bottle of 60 day's worth.
A grand total of 3 decent looking Bluetooth headphones.
Several children's sized coiled mosquito/bug repellent bracelets.
A automobile smartphone cradle to attach to the dashboard air vent.
A chintzy looking men's sized medium faux black leather (vinyl) jacket.
Some other crap I forget.

All very random. Some packages came a week or two after I ordered something legitimately.

I've read since then and seen it reported on local TV news that these unwarranted product shipments are intended to cover fake product reviews being posted under the recipient's name by the vendor. I've taken a look on the product listing's reviews and the products I get always have hundreds of reviews in place and no real way to find one posing as me.

The FTC guideline or law on receiving merchandise not ordered is that the vendor is prohibited from requesting or demanding payment or return of the merchandise. They may not bill you for it. (Why: Imagine the "profit potential" if you could sell stuff by forcing people to pay for it.) So right now it's cluttering up a shelf in my garage and in the house.

I think most of the backup tools built for Linux like mintbackup use rsync as a back end.

Rsync generally means that the tool just does file copies. Is not incremental. And Rsync crashes my box.

I love what I'm now using because the output is so general-purpose. You could FTP/SSH the slice files out to a remote server, no problem.

At this point what I have set up almost has an Acronis feel to it - flexible, powerful, pretty fast, and a HELL of a lot more reliable than Acronis. But without the commercial lock-in aspects. And allegedly more robustness so that a disk error won't trash an entire archive.

The specific package is called: "backup-manager". The one on my box is version

dar on my system is v. 2.5.3-1ubuntu1.

backup-manager will use other archivers other than DAR as a back end, but DAR has the best  capability for creating incremental, compressed archives out to any medium.

backup-manager also can do what the rsync-based backup tools do and just copy and sync files out to a backup drive, but you must use a Unix compatible file system on the storage device in order to do that. dar will create incremental backups on anything, even FAT32.

I also customized the "slice size" which is the size of individual created files. Dar will span the slices as need be if, say you have a huge virtual disk file. In the config file:

# With the "dar" filetype, you can choose a maximum slice limit.

About the size of a DVD. Which I have found is a nice size to work with in case I need to copy backups around.

Actually, I already documented the bash script I used to generate these config files:

To add to this info:

There is a non-distribution "wrapper" program for DAR called "DarGUI" that makes it easy to work with the generated backups. It is similar in concept to WinZIP on Windows.

I think I got it here:

One VERY important thing I found about these archives. Once you start a set of archives under a particular master name with a particular backup-manager config file, pointing at ANY of the Dar archives related to that master name on the external hard drive will allow you to see ALL of the backup history of those sets of files.

DAR files are extremely "smart."

In other words, extracting backed up data is not fussy at all.

I use DarGUI because the Dar command like switches are fairly difficult to understand and put together, and DarGUI has that knowledge built in.

You can extract/recover your files to any arbitrary path, not just file system root, so it's possible to pull out backups manually for comparison or manual recovery work.

You can, of course, just recover everything onto a new file system.

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.

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