I’ve been backing up some of my larger files to Bluray lately, instead of trying to upload them over a 10 Mbps uplink.
In the past, I used GPG (on a .tar or compressed .tar.xz) or Veracrypt (on a file container) to encrypt at rest, before burning those files onto a standard UDF/ISO9660 optical disc. Now that I use a Linux desktop, I wanted something slightly more native — a method that
protects the directory structure and filenames without needing to use an archive file (like .tar);
would be generally unintelligible on a Windows PC (this is a feature, not a bug); and
could be scripted on the command line for server backups, without requiring a GUI.
Based on some resources online, I settled on using LUKS.
On one of my sites running WordPress, Akismet (and other antispam plugins) is not installed. In some ways, it has served as a honeypot, revealing interesting tidbits about how spambots work.
Fascinatingly, there were several hundred of these comments, all identical to each other. They look like templates for comments to be generated by spam-producing software, except that the software never processed the templates and posted them verbatim instead:
If you’re a freshman at Penn or many of the other universities that are raking in revenue from freshmen beyond tuition and fees, you may have received e-mails and letters offering all sorts of wonderful things. The one that caught my attention was something called “Campus Backup Service”.
It’s a cleverly marketed service that tries to leverage the anxiety of freshmen and parents to sell you something you don’t need — or rather, something you need, but not from this company.
There’s a disaster scenario — a student without backup suffers a virus infection on her laptop and… “her sleep, her composure, and her GPA all suffered… it was horrible”. There’s an alternate scenario — someone uses this company’s service, and avoids the disaster.
Yes, college students need a convenient and viable form of backup, just as all computer users do, but not from this company. This is almost a scam (but not quite). (Notice how they target “parents of incoming students”, who might be less tech-savvy than college students?)
Vinay Dinesh and I are both Information Technology Advisor Managers (ITA Managers, for short) at the University of Pennsylvania, and we are writing, as individuals, to help you find the right backup solution, whether it’s as simple as copying files to an external hard drive, or syncing files to the cloud. But Campus Backup Service isn’t right. (See our upcoming collaborative post to see how you can back up your files the right way.)
It’s ridiculously easy to get back into Canada from the United States, it seems, especially for a Canadian citizen.
“Where do you live?
“What were you doing in the States?
“What are you bringing with you?
“Any alcohol, tobacco, or controlled substances?
“Any weapons or firearms?”
Meanwhile, the guy is processing my passport in a reader. The whole interaction was under 20 seconds. Efficient enough, it seems.
When I entered the US on F-1 status, on the other hand, baggage had to go through an X-ray machine, questions were asked about fresh produce (why does that even matter), officers grilled other people for a long time, and the overall trip time gained about two hours from the border.
I don’t think there’s any difference in effective border safety/security on the two sides of this bridge.