Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

Linux Backups

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

As I covered in a previous post, I use an online backup service as part of my backup strategy for my laptop. When I wrote that post I was having horrible problems with Mozy and decided to evaluate other options.

After considering a number of factors I decided on Backblaze and so far it has worked exactly as promised without excessive resource and CPU usage like the old mozy client. However, the problem is that now only my laptop is protected from dataloss. I still have a linux machine (Debian) that needs to be backed up and I have been searching for a product that would allow for unlimited storage and secure backup.

Enter SpiderOak. As I mentioned in my older post, I looked at spideroak and thought it looked like a really good solution. I mean who wouldn’t like true zero knowledge privacy (unlike Mozy) and clients for Windows, Mac and Linux?

While doing some more testing tonight I realized that the SpiderOak client does not verify that you know your current password when you go to change it. What does this mean? Well, if someone steals your computer and wants access to your data on SpiderOaks servers, all they have to do is change your password and they are in. In addition to this, you don’t have to know the current password to restore files from any computer in your “network”. What does this mean? Anyone with physical access to your computer has access to everything you have backed up with SpiderOak. No thanks, until this glaring security hole is fixed I’m not going to be using SpiderOak for anything sensitive.

So what am I using to backup my Linux box? Duplicity+S3. Duplicity has it’s own issues, primarily that it requires a large number of arguments and has no graphical restore functionality, but it’s working well for me.


Sunday, March 8th, 2009

After working in the storage industry for four years you develop a certain mistrust for hard disk drives and other forms of storage. I’ve been struggling for years to create a backup strategy that ensured I would not loose data and wasn’t inconvenient for me. Initially, I was using CD’s and DVD’s but this method is slow and hasn’t been able to keep pace with the constant increases in drive capacity.

This is why, at the beginning of 2008 I began using the online backup service The reason mozy was attractive, was because it offered the ability for me to have offsite backups that were encrypted using a key I picked for a reasonable price. Other services in the past didn’t provide encryption and I am in no way about to trust that a company isn’t doing something unexpected with my sensitive data.

So far, this service has worked great and they have a nice native Mac OS client which is an added bonus. However, a few days ago I discovered that the mozy client wasn’t backing up my “hidden” files which includes such important items as my GnuPG encryption keys, and various other configuration files in my home directory. I guess this stems from mozy’s PC heritage? In either case, I discovered an option in the client to show “hidden files”, enabled this and selected the files I wanted to add to my backups.

Unfortunately, the mozy client didn’t like this and after I told it to perform a backup announced that it was unconfigured. Fantastic, all I need is to have my backup client decide it doesn’t remember what it was supposed to backup. Looking at logs I realized there was a problem with the SQLite files mozy uses to keep track of various settings, and sent the log files along with a description of my problem to mozy support.

Now, I know that I can’t expect a whole lot for the measly $49/year I paid for mozy’s services, but you would think the support staff would at least read my email, right? No. I got a response from support that was simply acknowledging that my files were backed up. They didn’t address any of the problems I’m having with the mozy client and hidden files. So, I sent a second email. Guess what? No response… Ugh. Mozy if you are listening, will you please respond?

In the mean time I’ve been looking at SpiderOak which claims to offer “zero-knowledge” encryption which means that not only are your files encrypted, but they don’t even know the names of the files you backup. The only problem? Their Mac OS client is a python/GT app that seems to work, but isn’t designed for the mac. Hopefully a cocoa client is coming soon?

MythTV Gone?!

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

This past week I turned off my MythTV box for the first time in months so that I could do some cleaning and prepare for a new TV. Much to my surprise, when I tried to turn the machine back on it wouldn’t power up!

I’ve tried replacing the power supply and clearing the CMOS but neither changed anything :(. So for now I am without a PVR of any kind and it’s really messing with me. I had completely forgotten how irritating it is to have to mold your schedule to the TV producers idea of when shows should be on.

On another note, Hockey Month is now over (thanks for reminding me Preston!).