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All Technology & Tech Help / Re: Linux backup: What's now working for me
« Last post by The Gorn on April 21, 2018, 07:49:21 pm »
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.
All Technology & Tech Help / Re: Linux backup: What's now working for me
« Last post by The Gorn on April 21, 2018, 07:46:42 pm »
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.
I read FB is in the process of moving all its data on EU citizens to the US to avoid conforming to the new EU privacy law the GDPR. That dodge must have been in progress even while Mr Zuckerberg was testifying before Congress. I wonder if FB can really avoid the new GDPR rules by locating the data outside the eurozone, or whether the GDPR protects EU citizens regardless of where the data is stored.
All Technology & Tech Help / Re: Linux backup: What's now working for me
« Last post by benali72 on April 21, 2018, 07:33:51 pm »
Thanks so much for sharing the results of your backup quest! This is really useful stuff I'm saving.

It's funny, I think I heard of DAR years ago but forgot all about it. It sounds like a good tool for the job.

I don't know which backup tool is shipped as default in my particular version of Mint. It's labeled BACKUP TOOL in the menu and doesn't have an About box in the product! The execuable is called mintbackup.

Thanks again.
Discussions - Public / Re: Discuss State Of Smart Phone Photography
« Last post by unix on April 21, 2018, 08:04:11 am »
All Technology & Tech Help / DAR archive handling, after backup - DarGUI
« Last post by The Gorn on April 21, 2018, 05:31:39 am »
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
« Last post by The Gorn 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.

Discussions - Public / Re: Discuss State Of Smart Phone Photography
« Last post by ilconsiglliere on April 18, 2018, 07:34:57 am »
Great subject for IT people because digital photography intersects computer science and tradtional optics sciences. Plus art.

I believe that smartphones *mostly* replace low end point and shoot cameras. The one factor to keep in mind is the size of the camera sensor. The larger the camera sensor, other things being equal (such as resolution), the less thermal noise introduced into images in low light conditions. Also, again because of better/less noise with larger sensors, they can be "driven" to extremely high ISO ratings and still perform decently.

Digital photography low-light noise looks like colored speckles, which aren't visible or present in normal sunlight or under flash.

Because of the tiny focal length dictated by the thickness of smartphone cases and bodies, their image sensors are commensurately really tiny. So their ISO range is usually pretty limited.

I have a Moto G5 (a 2017 model) phone. The imager is 12 megapixel (3000x4000 roughly.) It amazes me how nice the images are. It does fairly well in available light. But, no tripod socket.

I also own a Canon G16  prosumerish point and shoot  actual camera. I can set it to 12000 ISO. The images are very rough but they are somewhat usable.

At 1600 or 3200 ISO I can take really good nighttime sky exposures with this camera. I could not do that with the phone.

Lastly there is the shooting stance. The Canon "real" camera is easy to hold for steady, sharp images. Smart phones make you adopt goofy, less stable shooting stances. And you're always having to avoid touching the glass so you don't trigger software.

Nighttime July northern sky behind our house a couple of years ago... with the G16. Click to zoom/expand.

A digital SLR would have no visible grain and would be even sharper.  The dark blob at the lower right is not a dark matter nebula. :D It's a neighbor's tree.

The exposure was 15 seconds at 800 ISO.

Everything you say is true. Generally speaking the bigger the sensor the better the low light performance. That low light performance comes at the expense of weight in the case of a DSLR.

Years ago I had a Canon G7 which took great pictures in bright light but not so great in low light. Same a smart phones today. The G7 was the ancestor of your G16. The G7/G16 are very portable with the compact lens. Compared to a DSLR which would fire away.

I have a older Canon Rebel DSLR circa 2011. It still takes great pictures even though its dated. I also bought some Canon EOS M's which have the DSLR sensor in a small body. Though the sensor is big and they focus better than the point and shoots its still not a DSLR.

For years I have wanted a take anywhere camera that would not annoy me to carry. In the case of the DSLR with the lens its not always so much fun to carry. Sure the DSLR has power and flexibility but at the expense of bulk. Even though the smart phone does not do as well as a DSLR the portability and ability to share the pictures are far beyond what most cameras are capable of. 

I have an iPhone 7 and what blown me away is the quality of the pictures. Considering the tiny lens and sensor it does really well.
Discussions - Public / Re: Discuss State Of Smart Phone Photography
« Last post by The Gorn on April 17, 2018, 07:25:19 pm »
I had an old -- 2006 vintage Canon with the Imagine stabilization feature. Now that was nice. It ran on 4xAA batteries. I gave it away because its pictures were not any better than the ones made by modern phones.

I have one 2005 vintage Nikon p&s I use as a secondary/roughing it camera. That is ANCIENT. Image sensors much slower, cameras much much slower in cycle time, etc. That's 12 years ago. Look how laptops have improved in that time. Same thing.

A modern p&s is a monster in terms of quality, speed and features in comparison. However, as the OP observes, 99% of the time the quality differential isn't a big deal for kid, cat meme or holiday pictures.

I gave up on buying a decent p&s that uses AA batteries a LONG time ago. Yeah, the flexibility is great, but  I went through AAs like cheap cologne. The battery pack in the Canon G16 is proprietary, but its charge lifetime is fine, much better than AA rechargables I had to use with older cameras.
Discussions - Public / Re: Discuss State Of Smart Phone Photography
« Last post by unix on April 17, 2018, 07:14:43 pm »
I had an old -- 2006 vintage Canon with the Imagine stabilization feature. Now that was nice. It ran on 4xAA batteries. I gave it away because its pictures were not any better than the ones made by modern phones.
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