Recently, my computer at work died.
I work for a small clinic. We don't have much network architecture to speak of, and we don't have an IT department. We have one server -- it's our file server and everything-else server -- which allegedly has backups made of it, we have antiquated desktop machines in the clinicians' offices, and we have a company we can call to come, eventually, and take care of our computers.
I'm enough of a geek to be concerned about the security ramifications of this situation. So I set up TrueCrypt on the computer in my office, and I made an encrypted volume to store my Highly Confidential Patient Data files (and everything else). If I recall correctly, it's 200MB. Or maybe 2G. I forget.
But the important thing here is that it was big, as far as transporting it on our network goes. It took about 20 minutes, plus or minus depending on network congestion and device contention, to move the damn thing up to the server or back down from it; because of that, I couldn't mount it from the server and run it across the network. I couldn't keep the volume on the server with its alleged backup system. So I kept it on my desktop machine, and periodically remembered to make a backup copy (and header copy against corruption) up to the server.
So, now, my desktop machine died. I discovered that, for a while, if I let it cool down for about an hour (minimum), I was able to boot into it for about 6 minutes at a time.
My most recent backup was two months old. I had all the critical stuff in hardcopy (yeah, we still do paper charts), so this wasn't a catastrophe, but it was mondo inconvenient. So I attempted to use those 6 minute windows of up time to get my TrueCrypt volume off the dying box.
It was too big. I would get to about 4 minutes left to go, and the box would seize before completion.
Ultimately I managed to rescue my bytes by -- as unlikely as it seems -- mounting the TrueCrypt volume where it was on the dying device, and copying as much off the volume as possible onto a USB drive, until the box seized, then waiting an hour for it to cool down and picking up where I left off. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I succeeded, to the best of my knowledge. I got everything.
The whole experience is pretty frustrating, because it seems that this illustrates an example of how good security practice is directly opposed to system robustness and proper backup policy.
1) Windows XP (which is what I'm stuck with, but for all I know, all versions of Windows) will not let you copy a TrueCrypt volume while it is mounted.
2) We're not supposed to leave machines on over-night.
Consequently, for me to manually (or otherwise?) make a backup of my TrueCrypt volume to the server, I have to shut down everything I'm doing, and take a 20 minute break from my workday, to do so. (In case you were wondering, my lunch breaks are about 10 minutes.)
It would be neat if there were a way for me to manually launch a process which would (1) make the backup, (2) fire me off an alert somehow (email?) if it doesn't succeed, (3) shut down the computer once it was done -- or if it hangs. So that I could do that last thing before leaving at the end of the day. (Please note: cron jobs are the wrong solution to this problem, because I don't leave at the same time every day, and I need to manually authenticate against the server to copy there, no really.)
3) I made the TrueCrypt volume the size I did because I want all my confidential materials in one place, and so I only have to authenticate once to get in (well twice -- once for the computer and once for the volume) and get to work. I can think of various ways to slice my pie -- for instance, each patient's folder is its own volume, or the Current Patients in a separate volume from other things -- but none of those would have saved me much: there were new files in all of them, so I would still be stuck having to copy all of them off; and meanwhile, I'd proliferate the number of volumes I had to authenticate to access every day.
I'm open to suggestions for how to improve things. I do have administrator privs on my box, so I can install software there. I cannot run processes against the server, and no, I'm not even going to ask. I'm pretty ignorant of Windows, so I'm kinda stuck in bad-attitude "if only this were Linux" land, and would be pleased to learn how these problems are solved in the Realm of Gates.
Also, I imagine this is not a Windows-specific problem. Is there some widely shared opinions about Best Practices for backing up encrypted volumes? For setting up encrypted volumes for maximal backupability?
I got an email a couple of hours ago from LJ that says the following:
Did you get this email? It is unclear to me if I am receiving this email because my journal is positively believed to have been compromised, if I am on a cluster or otherwise a member of a set believed to have been compromised, or if just everybody got that email.
From: "LiveJournal Abuse Prevention Team"
Date: Mon, 2 Dec 2013 16:25:40 +0000
Subject: Your LiveJournal account
Dear LiveJournal user siderea
We are contacting you because yesterday, multiple journals were accessed by a 3rd party which posted content to those journals. Immediately a security response team started reviewing the incident and taking action.
We are currently reviewing user security as a precaution, and will follow up with any findings and recommendations soon. LiveJournal security and privacy remains a priority, and our security team is continuing to improve security and prevent abuse of LiveJournal.
Further updates will follow, but our top priority is finishing our investigation and review.
You are encouraged to keep your password secure, and as a precaution we recommend a password change ASAP so new password strength requirements implemented 10 months ago can be applied to all LiveJournal accounts. You can change your password at https://www.livejournal.com/changepassw
But neither status nor support says anything about a breach.Received: from localhost (theschwartz [127.0.0.1]) by livejournal.com (TheSchwartzMTA) with ESMTP id 11d504db8b90ad673a853b 6249a5af420021563762781; Mon, 2 Dec 2013 16:25:42 +0000 (UTC)
Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, this email was sent from firstname.lastname@example.org, and was also posted at http://livejournal.livejournal.comOh, lookie! Another wonderful benefit of being in the Top 100 Users list. *rolls eyes* Goes with the spam friendings.
where many announcements now take place simultaneously in English and Russian (the entry will appear in whichever language you have chosen). Several people in the top 100 list of users in the Cyrillic segment of LiveJournal were targeted by the action described, and this email was sent to all people listed in the top 100 users of both the Cyrillic and English sections of LiveJournal as a precaution.
I wanted to make Lamb and Lentil Casserole but the price of lamb was exorbitant, so I decided to try it with pork.
~1.75 lb pork for stewing
3/4 cup lentils -- used green
5 tsp minced garlic (for a somewhat generous definition of "tsp")
About one onion, chopped -- used frozen
A sploosh of olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
2 cup water
1lb carrots, chopped
1 can (14.5oz) greenbeans, cut
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 tsp tumeric, ground
1 tsp cumin, ground
3/4 tsp ginger, ground
3/4 tsp salt, table
3/4 tsp black pepper, course ground
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Big frying pan with lid.
Big baking dish with lid.
1) Chop carrots; measure all the spices into a bowl (DO NOT BREATHE), and measure the lentils in on top of the spices (okay, you can breathe now.) Pre-heat oven to 350degF.
2) Put oil in pan; saute onion and garlic. The frozen onion will express a lot of fluid; keep sauteing until that is cooked off.
Now, here we diverge into three tracks: What I meant to do, What I did, and What I think I should do next time:
3a) What I meant to do: Saute the garlic and onion into the olive oil. Brown the meat in the sauted garlic and onion. Dump onion, garlic and meat into casserole dish, then deglaze pan with chicken stock. Pour stock in casserole. Mix in lentil+spice mixture. Mix in greenbeans and carrots, and 2 cups water.
3b) What I did: Sauted the garlic and onion into the olive oil. Added the chicken stock, having forgotten to brown the meat. Dumped the garlic, onion and chicken stock into the casserole dish. Put more oil in the pan and browned the meat. Remember, "Hey, I don't care about browned meat in stews. What the hell am I doing, anyways?" The meat expressed rather more fluid that I expected, so I knocked a half cup off the fluid the recipe originally called for (3.5c). Put the lentils+spices + 2c water into the casserole with the garlic, onion and chicken stock, stirred thoroughly, added greenbeans and carrots.
3c) What I should do next time: saute garlic and onion into the olive oil. Mix in chicken stock, 2 cups water, spice and lentil mixture, in the pan. Put greenbeans, carrots and raw meat into casserole dish, in that order. Poor garlic-oinion-spiced-lentil-in-stock mixture in the casserole.
4) Bake covered for a long time (1.25hr? 1.5hr?) at 350degF. Do not proceed to next step unless the lentils are thoroughly cooked.
5) Mix in 1 tbsp red wine vinegar. Re-cover and bake for another 10 or 15 min. Meat should be falling apart and carrots should be cuttable with a fork.
Came out very nice. Not lamb flavored, but don't really care. The vinegar was a great suggestion, thanks fredrickegerman.
Mr. S, an ordinary American, is minding his own business outside his East Coast home when he is suddenly abducted by short large-headed creatures like none he has ever seen before. They bring him to their ship and voyage across unimaginable distances to an alien world both grander and more horrible than he could imagine. The aliens have godlike technologies, but their society is dystopian and hivelike. Enslaved at first, then displayed as a curiosity, he finally wins his freedom through pluck and intelligence. Despite the luxuries he enjoys in his new life, he longs for his homeworld. He befriends a local noble who tells him that the aliens in fact send ships to his world on a regular basis, quietly scouting and seeking resources while the inhabitants remain blissfully aware of these incursions. He gets passage on such an expedition.The awful thing is, it's not fiction at all. It actually happened. Just like that.
Before his ship gets far, he is abducted and sold into slavery again, only to be rescued by a sect of alien priests who believe he may hold the key to saving his entire race. They are kind to him and ask him to stay, but when he refuses they reluctantly arrange him passage home.
Yet when he returns, Mr. S finds a postapocalyptic wasteland utterly unlike the world he left. America is empty, its great cities gone, a few survivors fighting for scraps among the ruins. 95% of the population is dead, slain by a supervirus unlike any doctors have ever seen. The few rumors from afar say Mexico, Canada, and lands further abroad have suffered the same or worse. He finds the site where his hometown once stood. There is nothing. Wandering in despair, he is captured by a gang of roving bandits and awaits execution or slavery.
Instead, the bandit leader reveals he is the state governor, reduced to his current station by the devastation that destroyed his capital and entire government. An alien ship has landed, and a handful of colonists have set up a little settlement. The governor’s scouts have been watching them from afar and noticed their strange powers. With their help, he could defeat his rivals and re-establish control over the state, restore his old position. “You have been to these creatures’ homeworld,” he says. “You know their ways, you can speak their language. Negotiate an alliance with them, and I will let you live.”
Mr. S is split. The aliens have shown themselves capable of terrible cruelty. They might kill him or enslave him. But they have also shown themselves capable of something resembling kindness. In the end he decides they are neither fully good nor fully evil – just alien. And his own people now seem as alien to him as his former abductors.
So Mr. S heads to the alien settlement, where once again he finds dystopian squalor and shocking ignorance combined with fantastic technology. The aliens are unfamiliar with even the basics of agriculture and desperate for aid. He quickly makes himself indispensable, and although he successfully gets the ex-governor his treaty, he starts forming grander plans. What if he could use these aliens as a tool to unite the warring bands of survivors? Break the ex-governor’s stranglehold on the region? Start rebuilding civilization? What if he could make something completely new, a merger of American ingenuity and alien technology?
Gradually establishing a base for himself in the alien colony, he starts sending out feelers to the local warlords and bands of survivors, speaking of the aliens’ power, implying but never stating outright that such power could be theirs. At first it seems to be working. The warlords treat him as an equal, start to listen to his ideas. They just need one little push. He decides to try an insane bluff.
The apocalypse, he reveals, was no plague but a bioengineered alien superweapon, an attack unleashed by their warships in retaliation for some offense real or imagined. The aliens have brought caches of this weapon from their homeworld and buried it underneath their colony. If they are crossed, they will unleash a second cataclysm, killing even the scattered survivors who made it through the first. And the one who manipulates the aliens, who can unleash their wrath upon a target of his choosing and who is thus unstoppable? This guy.
Just as he seems on the verge of some success, Mr. S takes a step too far. He tries to free himself from his old nemesis the ex-governor by “warning” the aliens of his plot to kill them; the alien leader discovers the subterfuge and the strike against the ex-governor never takes place. When the surviving Americans learn of this betrayal, they accuse Mr. S of going native and turn against him en masse. He dies a few months later of what is suspected to be poison, perhaps planted by one of the governor’s men. The aliens seem to take it in stride.
And then a few generations later, they kill nearly everyone. Mercilessly. They do it while praising and admiring their victims. When their genocide is over, they make loud protestations of regret, and try to placate the survivors with gifts. But they do not stop until the massacre is complete. They are neither fully good nor fully evil – just alien.
Then, still caught up in the legends of their homeworld, they forget everything more than a slight inkling that an apocalypse ever happened. A few strangely shaped hills that look like they might be artificial – who built them? Hundreds of miles of groves – who planted them? It is not in the aliens’ nature to think too much about such things.
As for Mr. S? The man who traveled worlds, who pulled the puppet strings behind the scenes, who tried in vain to reverse the fall of civilization? The aliens remember him fondly. Their legends record him as the person who taught them how to fertilize corn with fish heads.
I think I have been waiting most of my life to read that article. I knew the story was there, somewhere, but I could get no one to tell it me, not by tongue or page.
Warning: very long, and a tragedy (in, yes, both senses). But marvelously told, a thumping good read, and incredibly important, most especially for New Englanders. A yarn for a bitter winter's night: plan on settling in with it and a beverage of your choice. It will be time very well spent.
Peeps! I have a fantasy, and it involves buying fresh-made sufganiyot this coming late Saturday afternoon. I am willing to wait for nightfall, but not very late. Is there any place (presumably in the greater Brookline-Newton area) where this can happen? I will have a car at my disposal.
The tricky bits are:
1) I've heard that some more famous bakeries, they sell out in advance?
2a) Are there, like, reform sufganiyot?
2b) Or how soon can completed sufganiyot be bought after cooking can commence?
(I am reminded of my mother's stories of roadtripping with friends from Allston to NYC, to this place they knew, where you could show up around 5am Sunday and knock on the factory door, slip in a five, and get back a sack of fresh baked bagels.)
Opus 1.1 just hit release candidate; pending any last minute bug discoveries or showstoppers, this will become the final 1.1 release.
The release candidate includes two major improvements over the previous 1.1 beta.
We've further improved surround encoding quality and tuning of both surround and stereo at lower bitrates. As an example, full 48kHz 5.1 surround is now tested and tuned down to 45kpbs (it's nowhere near audiophile quality at that rate, but it is surprisingly good).
In addition, we also landed additional encode/decode optimizations for all CPU types, but especially ARM which now includes NEON encoding optimizations.
And of course, we hopefully cleared the 1.1-beta buglist :-)
By Meridith Phillips
Under blankets my boys slumber
While I, awake, await the plumber
Missing Zumba and TRX
to tone my glutes and build my pecs
the house a balmy 52
but I have housecleaning to do
a pile of dishes, laundry, dust
Instead of weights to tone my bust
I'll vacuum, scrub and put away
but those efforts won't last a day
a three year old will make short work
of all those labors, what a dork
would I be now to waste a day
in such a useless fruitless way!
The dust and dishes tend to keep
the laundry will stay in its heap
and yes, I should be working out
instead of scrubbing sink and spout
but since I'm stuck here in my lair
with my peaceful slumbering pair
and I have had more than one day
this week with dragons for to slay,
instead of being maid and cook
I think I'll sit here with a book.
My writing degree, ladies and gentlemen.
Look, it's a long story. Just....
One of my patients asked me to ask youse guys which brand of 55" or 60" TV you recommend she buy.
*shrug* What the hell. Anybody have an opinion for her?
The reason nobody has submitted a support request in 11 hours is not that for once nobody has any problems with your site. It's that the link to open a new support request on the Support page, i.e. "open a support request" takes one to a 404.
Navigate: (Previous 10 Friends)