Site Backups And Bandwidth Fun

I keep regular backups of everything on this server just in case something happens. Recently I switched to a more automated and secure (PGP encrypted) solution for this blog due to it’s fast-paced nature. Just the critical stuff (database, media, templates). I choose PGP (implemented using GPG) since it’s easy, and I only have to store the public key on the server, making it safer than most alternatives.

I’m strongly considering moving it all eventually over to Amazon’s S3 storage. At $0.15 per GB-Month of storage used and $0.20 per GB of data transferred it would be very affordable to keep backups in an even more secure fashion. I’d still use my own encryption on top of theirs for extra security. For things like media, I could even see myself hosting it solely at Amazon. It just seems like that may be a more practical and scalable approach.

Unfortunately until either FTTH or DOCSIS 3.0 comes to town, it doesn’t look like Amazon’s S3 will be practical for home backup purposes. This server has a beefy connection to a few large pipes to the internet (Level3, Global Crossing, and Cogent last I checked). They provides high speed connectivity so a backup would take only a few seconds. At home with a cable modem on a DOCSIS 1.1 network (such as Comcast) the bandwidth is just to slim to allow enough upload capacity. Comcast still only allows 384kbps up. Even the top plans in select areas don’t top 1Mbps. Of course these are Comcast’s numbers (the actual performance is often less). In areas that they currently serve, Verizon FiOS (FTTH) is available at 15 Mbps/2 Mbps. Much better suited for such purposes (though more would be welcome). As strange as it may seem pricing is quite competitive, giving cable a run for it’s money. Perhaps one day DOCSIS 3.0 will appear, though that seems to be a while away. Perhaps one day all homes will have 100Mbps full duplex connections with low latency.

The only real way to get around this limitation is to perhaps use rsync to perform backups. Initial backups would still suck, but after that it wouldn’t be too bad. Though that wouldn’t work with services such as Amazon’s S3, which are token based. There is an rsync-like clone, but it’s still not the real thing. Perhaps Google’s upcoming GDrive will be cool enough to allow the use of rsync over SSH (I could dream) in addition to WebDAV (which is what I expect to see). Last I checked rsync doesn’t support WebDAV because WebDAV is done over HTTP. If I understand it right, RFC 3229 would add Delta encoding support to HTTP, making something like rsync over WebDAV possible since it uses delta encoding.

Bayesian Spam Filter Poisoning With RSS

Overview

Bayesian Filtering is a great method for fighting spam. Unlike rule based filtering which spammers can easily adapt to with simple modifications, Bayesian adapts with the spammers changes, making it much more difficult for them to defeat the filtering. As a result it’s used in server side mail filtering as well as client side filtering in various products including Mozilla Thunderbird, SpamAssassin, and SpamBayes. Despite this level of “intelligence” it’s not foolproof. Like anything that analyzes unsanitized input, its vulnerable to poisoning. To be fair, there is a debate on if it exists or not. I personally believe it does exist.

Continue reading

Coming Soon: Bluejacking

If you have bluetooth on your phone, there’s yet another reason to turn it off when you don’t use it. Besides saving battery life (which is always a good thing), and just general security you’ll be seeing more and more spam as time goes on if you keep it on. It’s already a problem in some places. Here’s an auto translated version of the linked article in English.

It’s to easy to just spam cell phones with phone book entries, video’s, text messages, pictures, etc. Even if you don’t accept them, your phone will still go off to let you know you have an incoming request. I would bet it won’t take long befor apps exist for PDA’s to automatically spam any bluetooth device in range. Then a spammer can just walk through the streets, malls or stores to send spam. Talk about discrete marketing.

What a mess, and I doubt it will be fixed anytime soon. We’re still getting email spam with no end in site.

Using Norton AntiVirus With POP3 Over SSL

I didn’t find this anywhere online, so I thought I’d post it. Norton AntiVirus up to and including 2007 doesn’t support POP3 over SSL. That’s a problem since sending mail without SSL is insecure, and sending mail over SSL with no virus scanning is also insecure. There is a fix.

Please note these directions, and intended to be a casual guide for experienced individuals. I’m not providing assistance or support.

Continue reading

Nokia N800 Looks Interesting But Large

The Nokia N800 looks really cool, but I wonder if it’s size is a little to large to make it practical to carry around. The lack of good Flash support, and weak MPEG4 (my guess would be lack of an onboard decoder and using software to make up for it). The fact that it’s Linux powered means you can run a fair amount of desktop software on it, with a little patience.

The size is really what hurts. If it were a little smaller, it would be a really cool PDA-like device.

I’m still curious what people will figure out can be done with the hardware. It’s still too new to tell. From what I’ve read it’s somewhat powerful, so the potential is there.

Is Vista For Me?

CNet’s review pretty much sums up my feelings on Vista after playing around with it for a little while:

The bottom line: Windows Vista is essentially warmed-over Windows XP. If you’re currently happy with Windows XP SP2, we see no compelling reason to upgrade. On the other hand, if you need a new computer right now, Windows Vista is stable enough for everyday use.

I don’t see a reason to upgrade. There’s nothing I really want/need in Vista that I’ve seen. Aero is a giant waste of battery life on laptops, not to mention it’s GPU hungry. So I don’t see my laptop enjoying that. Then there is the issue of all the DRM, and “security” (aka annoyances) they built in. Not to mention the added cost of upgrading older software to work with Vista. XP seems to do the job just as well as Vista does. Oh yea, it’s not exactly priced to sell.

Perhaps by Vista SP1 there will be some compelling feature or benefit. At least for now I don’t see what the big deal is.

On the other hand, I’m somewhat impressed by the Office 2007 release. In my opinion it’s much more polished than past releases. I’m still using Microsoft Office XP (2002) since there was nothing in subsequent versions worth upgrading for. This one may be worth getting, though I’ll likely wait until they shake the remaining bugs out and it’s a bit more used in the real world. I have a feeling corporate adoption may be a little slower due to the UI changes. This upgrade may require some retraining of employees, and I’m sure many companies won’t be into that.

Secrets In Websites

When a you browses the web, a fair amount of code is transfered from a server sitting in a cold lonely datacenter to your computer. It’s mostly serious business, but sometimes developers like to embed small jokes, and traditions.

A lot can be told by just a quick glance at a website’s design and it’s underlying data. From Infrastructure, design methodologies, CMS (content management system), among other things.

Here are some of amusing, interesting, and [in some cases] strange things I’ve seen on websites. Everything in this post is valid as of the time of the post. Keep in mind websites constantly change so anything seen here may be invalid as time goes on.

Continue reading

Apple 802.11n Upgrade Fee

According to CNet and Engadget, the upgrade for 802.11n support on Intel Macs will be $1.99 ($2 in my book). Not much, but rather sad considering you already purchased the hardware, this is merely a regulatory deal. I presume we’ll also see sales tax.

Now will Apple break the mold and deliver 802.11n upgrades for older hardware? I’d love to eventually upgrade my Mini, but don’t really like the idea of an ugly external adapter hanging around my desk. Internal is so much cleaner. If I do have to go that way, I’d likely buy an Ethernet bridge rather than any sort of USB adapter, since that doesn’t waste USB bandwidth and won’t hog a USB port.