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Friday, September 07, 2018

Boomer humor

Every now and then they crack me up:
OneDrive is a personal cloud service for users of MS Windows 10. It sounded spiffy when I read it up in David Pogue’s book. The Cloud is the way to go, right? The way of the future! You don’t want to be left behind, do you?

I yielded to all the propaganda and signed up for OneDrive. What a blunder! The thing is a total dog. I’m working on a file. Where is it? I mean, where actually is it? Is it on my disk drive in my PC, or is it in the Cloud? I never had a clue.There is a syncing process you can set up, but I never mastered it. When I temporarily switched off OneDrive as an experiment, half the files on my PC were out-of-date versions. Copying big files took forever.

At last I bit the bullet: painstakingly restored from OneDrive all the files I knew to be out of date, then switched the damn thing off and uninstalled it. Good riddance! Now I know where my files are: they’re on my hard drive. For backup, I bought an 8-terabyte external drive with RAID. The hell with the damn Cloud.
Poor old Derb! That could serve as a fitting epitaph for the entire g-g-generation.

"I yielded to all the propaganda. What a blunder!" 

When the whole Cloud thing started being marketed, I wondered who on Earth would fall for it. I mean, it's bad enough to run your programs on someone else's machine, but to actually store your files somewhere else?

And remember, Derb is much smarter than the average bear. He's absolutely correct to worry about the consequences of the dehobbying of computer technology.

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113 Comments:

Blogger Tars Tarkusz September 07, 2018 11:59 AM  

You would think, Boomers, who remember terminals, would be highly suspicious of centralized computing.

So-called Cloud Computing is just glorified terminals. Cloud Computing is not the future, it's the past!

I don't use any software I can't install and I don't ever put my files anywhere I don't control. I will never rent or use software that requires a monthly payment and internet connection (other than internet apps). I try to use open-source freeware for everything.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 07, 2018 12:01 PM  

My (Gen-X) IT-manager boss keeps insisting there's such a thing as "serverless" computing. He thinks we should just trust Amazon and go with the current fad.

Blogger Wuzzums Fuzzums September 07, 2018 12:03 PM  

What's your opinion on VPNs? I see them as a complete scam. Not only are you willingly giving your internet browsing history to a company but you're also paying for the privilege. Plus who's to say the VPN actually does anything, it's not as if you have access to their database or Google's database to see if you left any traces there.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 07, 2018 12:05 PM  

40 years later, and we all being forced to jump on the centralized, big-iron, managed IT cloud. Despite the fact that it's slower, more expensive, less secure. We're putting our entire company on the line as a bet on Amazon's (or Google's, or Microsoft's) competence and trustworthiness.

There aren't that many Boomers left in IT @Tars. It's all Gen-X running things now.

Blogger Martin September 07, 2018 12:05 PM  

There is no cloud. It's just somebody else's computer.

Blogger Jack Ward September 07, 2018 12:07 PM  

yeah to all above. My latest laptop 'required' me to have win 10. Not all bad, by any means, but I have pleasant dreams of xp.
I did not fall for one drive though they keep pushing the darn thing. And, I believe that microsop pushed a few things onto one drive without my permission. I will uninstall the morlock as well. Should have long ago.
barf, barf,barf, etc. rinse and repeat as you think on the microsoppy ghoul over in Redmond.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 07, 2018 12:08 PM  

Wuzzums Fuzzums wrote:What's your opinion on VPNs?
Conceptually VPNs are very simple, and yes, they work exactly as advertised. The question is, do you trust the VPN provider? Because that is what you're paying for, that they will NOT store your metadata.

I don't know how to answer that question satisfactorily.

Blogger Nate September 07, 2018 12:09 PM  

a local cloud... a big hard drive connected to your wifi that sucks up everything its told to every time the specified devices connect to the wifi is fantastic. No more fretting over the wife's photos. No more fiddling with iTunes to pull the photos off the iphones or ipads… it all happens seamlessly... and no matter what device I am on I can access any and all my files.

But it is my cloud. My drive. And it is secure.

Blogger Wuzzums Fuzzums September 07, 2018 12:10 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:Because that is what you're paying for, that they will NOT store your metadata.



Exactly.So there is absolutely no way to prove your data went through they system in the first place. Catch-22

Blogger Jeffrey Johnson September 07, 2018 12:11 PM  

I've never understood why people would store anything on the so-called "Cloud." I shoot lots of high resolution videos and photos. I'm easily in the top 2% of hard disk users and I've barely got more than 3 Terrabytes of stuff stored on an external hard disk. For the average user a single 1 Terrabyte external storage drive will be more than they could ever use in their lifetime and you can get one of those things for about $50. You also get the peace of mind knowing that you control all of your stuff instead of somebody else who can just cut you off for any and no reason at all.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 07, 2018 12:13 PM  

Amazon has managed to re-invent the mainframe.

Blogger Out of Nod September 07, 2018 12:16 PM  

The Cloud is a tool used by corporations in their efforts to minimize tech costs - which for some reason is portrayed as a loss by accounting.

My concern would be, what if your company doesn't align with the Cloud provider? Another means to deplatform...

Blogger DraveckysHumerus September 07, 2018 12:16 PM  

I was an early pitchman for the industry, organizing cloud camps and the like, because I wanted cloud providers as patent clients. Ditto for big data services. Any attendee with half a brain could discern my clients did not have a user's best interests at heart. Derb's issues weren't bugs, he was experiencing design features. Nothing worthwhile is truly free.

Blogger Silent Draco September 07, 2018 12:20 PM  

I'm waiting for Amazon to re-invent this really cool box called "modem," with its own app, for only $159. Look at the blinking lights and listen to the funny 8-bit sounds! Oh, the very slow connection and timeouts are your fault; our cloud and network are fine.

I stand with Nate on this, but also keep a periodically backed up copy of the files on another drive in a secure (to me) location. It ain't paranoia if you know someone or some bot is out to git ya.

Blogger LRN_News September 07, 2018 12:22 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger LRN_News September 07, 2018 12:23 PM  


I would be interested to hear your opinion on VPNs Vox. I am currently using one called Virtual Shield. I was wondering whether or not it's a waste of time and money?

Blogger Bultz September 07, 2018 12:24 PM  

Notice the GUID's that apple are automatically assigning to images they upload to sites using their iPhone when cloud sync is turned on? Is that a feasibility study for the EU meme censorship, meme life cycle tracking, or what?

Blogger Tars Tarkusz September 07, 2018 12:25 PM  

@10 Don't ever trust a $50 hard disk. Buy only enterprise hard drives with long warranties. The longer the warranty, the better the drive is made.
Much of the massive drop in prices for PCs and accessories is due to massive plummets in quality. I have MFM hard disks from the 80s when I was a teen that still work. When you spend $50 on a hard disk, you get what you're paying for.

Blogger steb September 07, 2018 12:30 PM  

Cloud storage is the only realistic defense against a ransomware attack. Having external storage is fine, but you won't realise it's corrupted until you lose your main hard drive and try to do a restore.

If you want to write things that you seriously think would get flagged by Microsoft, buy a pen and paper.

Blogger Unknown September 07, 2018 12:31 PM  

One Drive rules. I use it for everything. Synchronizing with my local computers is not difficult. Having instant access to all my stuff is very convenient and I don't have any tinfoil hat worthy material that I need to protect, at least not at the moment. Local backups are important too, that way you don't lose anything if big tech decides they hate you. I have not experienced the issues of the derb, at least not in the last 5 years. The early days of One Drive were less satisfying.

Blogger Dave September 07, 2018 12:33 PM  

OT NFL Season Opener Fumbles In Early Ratings Again

With a 13.4/5 in the metered markets, the post-midnight ending game is down 8% from last year’s kickoff of September 7, 2017. In one of the lowest season openers ratingswise and facing portions of a cable news-covered rally by a very NFL critical President Donald Trump, last night’s game is not only down from last year, but 2016, 2015 and 2014 – all of which saw successive declines.

To add more injury to that, the 2017 8:42 PM ET-starting season opener between the victorious Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots ended up with a weak 7.7/29 rating among adults 18-49 and 21.8 million viewers. That was a double digit decline from 2016 and the worst total audience an opening game had since 2009.

Blogger carnaby September 07, 2018 12:34 PM  

Unknown no longer

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother September 07, 2018 12:36 PM  

OneDrive is garbage. We have Dropbox, so sexy!!

Blogger Ominous Cowherd September 07, 2018 12:37 PM  

Nate wrote:But it is my cloud. My drive. And it is secure.

Nate, what hardware and software combo do you use?

Blogger Dave September 07, 2018 12:38 PM  

Alt★Hero:Q reaches first stretch goal $65,002 USD raised by 844 backers

Blogger JACIII September 07, 2018 12:39 PM  

Same goes for your household "AI". There is absolutely no reason, with the cheap processing and memory available, to need to access a cloud based "AI".

Surprised there is not an open source "Alexa" or "SIRI" analog.

Blogger rycamor September 07, 2018 12:42 PM  

Thankfully, there is still plenty of room for hobbyists in the computer field, as long as you don't learn everything you know about computing from PC Magazine and ZDNet.

You can still build your own computer from purchased components (very cheaply, these days), and install an open-source operating system with no corporate interference. My favorite is FreeBSD or TrueOS, but there is a huge list of smaller tinkering-friendly operating systems, including the original Minix.

And then you can program with any of a hundred or more different programming languages, most of which are available for free.

Blogger Dangeresque September 07, 2018 12:45 PM  

Gotta love boomers. It's really simple. You're always working on your local copy of the file. The sync process just detects any changes and pushes the changed files up to the server which then pushes those down to any other associated devices whenever they sync up next.

It's all fine security wise as long as you either encrypt the files or only put stuff with non-sensitive info in there. Cloud is just a new word for Internet, because apparently we needed a new word for that...

Blogger Warunicorn September 07, 2018 12:46 PM  

Nate wrote:a local cloud... a big hard drive connected to your wifi that sucks up everything its told to every time the specified devices connect to the wifi is fantastic. No more fretting over the wife's photos. No more fiddling with iTunes to pull the photos off the iphones or ipads… it all happens seamlessly... and no matter what device I am on I can access any and all my files.

But it is my cloud. My drive. And it is secure.


This.

Cloud storage isn't bad; it has its uses. (Creatives collaborating on a project, for one.) But no way in hell would I use it to store my documents and files as a primary location. Maybe as a backup.

Blogger S. Thermite September 07, 2018 12:48 PM  

OneDrive is garbage, but unfortunately my employer decided it wasn’t worth the cost of maintaining our home directories on traditional network shares anymore when the cloud storage came “free” with Office 365. There’s a bug preventing Windows’s search function from working with it...I can be staring at directory full of text files, but a search for *.txt gives No Results Found. And when I used the option to recover an older copy of a single file using the web interface, it deleted all the other files in that subdirectory. The only recourse was rolling my entire OneDrive back to the prior day’s copy. Like I said, garbage.

Blogger Unknown September 07, 2018 12:50 PM  

Karl Denninger has always said that if your data isn't on hardware you control directly, it isn't your data.

I follow that axiom as well. I do not use any cloud for anything. I've got a 8 TB media library in quadricate, that is on one NAS, one ZFS pooled file server, and two workstations.

--Unknownsailor--

Blogger Damelon Brinn September 07, 2018 12:55 PM  

In the mid-1990s when PCs were still pretty expensive and a pain to work on, there was some thought that we might be moving to a "thin client" model. Your computer at home would be little more than a display, and your apps and files would be on a remote server with lots of power and storage. Bandwidth was just too slow for it then, though, so it never went beyond junk like WebTV.

Now they've kind of achieved that, with people using thin devices and Google/Microsoft app suites. That's one thing for a phone, but there's no excuse for hooking a PC into any of it. Today's bandwidth makes it possible, but we have more CPU and disk space in our local systems than we know what to do with, so there's no point. Remote storage for backups is fine (if you know what you're doing); remote primary storage is idiotic.

Blogger The Deplorable Podunk Ken Ramsey September 07, 2018 12:58 PM  

I believe the default settings in Windows 10 hosts "My Documents" on OneDrive, whereas it was always hosted locally in the past. It does store local copies of the data, but it mirrors everything to OneDrive. So a lot of people are using cloud storage without realizing it. My dad was one of them, he was upset to find out.

Blogger Christopher Chantrill September 07, 2018 12:58 PM  

It's "dear old Derb," not "poor old Derb." Whaddya think he is, a victim or something?

Blogger KSC September 07, 2018 12:59 PM  

What do y'all think of cloud-based streaming like Spotify? On the one hand, all of your music could be taken away in the blink of an eye. On the other, you get access to an absolutely insane amount of music for very low cost (if you even want premium for ad-free listening and albums.) Most of the stuff I keep in the cloud is non-sensitive ebooks, and everything is backed up onto an external hard drive.

Nate's idea sounds fantastic and I'd love to know what the combination of products is.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 07, 2018 1:01 PM  

steb wrote:Cloud storage is the only realistic defense against a ransomware attack.
Cloud storage does not protect against ransomware attacks. Not at all.

Blogger Lance E September 07, 2018 1:03 PM  

Wuzzums Fuzzums wrote:Exactly.So there is absolutely no way to prove your data went through they system in the first place. Catch-22

Of course there is. First of all, if it uses a standard VPN protocol like L2TP/IPSec, then you don't need to rely on their software, and you're either connecting through the VPN or not connecting at all. If they also support ESP, then it guarantees confidentiality (non-tampering/spying).

Even if some service requires you to use their software, you might have to trust them regarding your privacy, but you can trivially prove that your requests "went through their system" by visiting a site like whatismyip.com. Anyway, these business would get sued into oblivion if they were actually fake.

Blogger Eric Castle September 07, 2018 1:15 PM  

VPNs are just fine assuming there is control of the server and clients. In secure Corporate environments it is very useful but again no third parties.

I run a VPN on a server I personally administer and control for those rare times I have to use public WiFi. The traffic is encrypted before hitting the live internet so anyone at the proverbial coffee shop cannot sniff it.

There are cool freeware options with tutorials out there like OpenVPN etc.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer September 07, 2018 1:17 PM  

You would think, Boomers, who remember terminals, would be highly suspicious of centralized computing.

https://infogalactic.com/info/Desktop_virtualization

Blogger Mr.MantraMan September 07, 2018 1:21 PM  

Win 10 a Russian or Apple plot to ruin PC

Blogger Damelon Brinn September 07, 2018 1:29 PM  

Cloud storage does not protect against ransomware attacks. Not at all.

I can't figure out why anyone would think it does. Sure, if your local system gets infected, then your cloud-stored files are still clean -- if you happen to catch the fact that you've been infected before your apps make their usual connection to the cloud and allow the ransomware to encrypt those files too. Ordinary backups, whether to the next room or the next continent, would give you at least as much protection.

Blogger James Dixon September 07, 2018 1:32 PM  

> What's your opinion on VPNs?

Depends on how paranoid you are.

> I see them as a complete scam.

Some of them probably are. But many aren't.

> My latest laptop 'required' me to have win 10.

VirutalBox, Linux Mint. Or you can set up the proper bios settings in Virtual Box and install XP, your choice. Either way, problems solved.

> Cloud storage does not protect against ransomware attacks. Not at all.

Agreed. If you computer can access it without your assistance, the malware can too. That's also true of an external drive.

> Nate, what hardware and software combo do you use?

I can't speak for Nate, but take a look at OwnCloud and NextCloud. He could also be using either the Western Digital or Seagate personal cloud products (https://www.amazon.com/Cloud-Personal-Network-Attached-Storage/dp/B00EVVGAD0 and https://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Personal-Storage-Device-STCR4000101/dp/B00PZZZDP2/ respectively).

Blogger James Dixon September 07, 2018 1:35 PM  

> It does store local copies of the data, but it mirrors everything to OneDrive.

Only if you have a Microsoft account and allow it to connect. I only use a local account on Windows 10.

Blogger James Dixon September 07, 2018 1:37 PM  

> There are cool freeware options with tutorials out there like OpenVPN etc.

I understand that Private Internet Access actually uses the OpenVPN client for it's connection.

Blogger Henry Lee September 07, 2018 1:38 PM  

Like me, Derb is a dinosaur mainframe programmer of the COBOL/FORTRAN days. We think in terms of datasets and are accustomed to be in control of our data. I can't imagine having my data anywhere but on media I can put my hands on. Kind of like putting your money under the mattress.

Blogger rumpole5 September 07, 2018 1:52 PM  

If you interact with the contemporary world in any meaingful way most of your life, including all of your photos and personal data are out there somewhere subject to download by someone else. It is just a fact.

Blogger Wuzzums Fuzzums September 07, 2018 1:53 PM  

Lance E wrote:"went through their system" by visiting a site like whatismyip.com

But can't I just change my IP? I used to do that all the time in XP because the modem kept restarting and I had to keep changing my IP because there were conflicts in the system.

Snowden also revealed IP security is trivial. They can detect a user using any computer from anywhere in the world with a shocking degree of accuracy. They call it a digital fingerprint which is an amalgamation of your habits on the internet. Such as I check X site for Y minutes, then check an email service, then check facebook for Z minutes, etc. The system recognizes this pattern regardless of IP.

Furthermore I don't understand that if Facebook, YouTube, Candid, Uber, Google, and so on got away since their inception with backstabbing their customers how come VPN sites can't pull off the same trick? One might even think it's the same companies behind the VPNs and they just found out a clever way to squeeze some dough directly from their "customers" as well.

Blogger James Dixon September 07, 2018 2:05 PM  

> But can't I just change my IP?

Your local IP usually has very little to do with the IP a remote site sees for you. Whatismyip.com and other such sites report that external IP address, not your local one. If it changes when you start the vpn service, then you're going through the vpn.

Blogger DraveckysHumerus September 07, 2018 2:10 PM  

@47
What OS are you using? All windows versions provide a command line for administrators. Then it's just flush/release/renew.

Blogger RobertT September 07, 2018 2:15 PM  

For me, onedrive is a God send. Everything has drawbacks, including your phone, and from what I hear, even the wiring in your home. Welcome to the future.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 07, 2018 2:19 PM  

Wuzzums Fuzzums wrote:But can't I just change my IP? I used to do that all the time in XP because the modem kept restarting and I had to keep changing my IP because there were conflicts in the system.

The IP address on which you communicate to the internet (as opposed to ones internal to your network) is assigned by your internet service provider. You can't usefully set it or change it.

Blogger Resident Moron™ September 07, 2018 2:26 PM  

The entire back end corporate systems of the company I work for are 100% Cloud based.

It's an epic disaster just waiting to happen.

Blogger Lance E September 07, 2018 2:30 PM  

IPSec is not what you're calling "IP security". It's a VPN protocol. It has nothing to do with privacy; that's ESP.

https://infogalactic.com/info/IPsec

Blogger DraveckysHumerus September 07, 2018 2:39 PM  

The IP address on which you communicate to the internet (as opposed to ones internal to your network) is assigned by your internet service provider. You can't usefully set it or change it.

@51

Not necessarily true. It depends upon your provider. From a provider perspective they must always track you and do. Outsider perspective can be easily changed depending upon what most providers allow. Your internal change matters because it can confer legal denial plausibility.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer September 07, 2018 2:43 PM  

It would be pretty trivial to test whether your VPN provider is actually encrypting your data, just put a protocol analyzer on your network and analyze the captured packets. For that matter using ipconfig and netstat and noting what protocol the VPN adapter is using.

Blogger Damelon Brinn September 07, 2018 2:56 PM  

But can't I just change my IP?

You probably can't, but if you could, it would be irrelevant. Your ISP almost certainly keeps track of which customer is using which IP address at any given time. They have to, so they know where to send the DMCA takedown notices.

Let's say your computer connects to your wireless router and gets assigned a private address like 10.0.0.2, then your router connects to the Internet and is assigned a public address of 11.22.33.44. That's the typical situation, whether that public address is static or dynamic. If you browse a web site, it sees you coming from 11.22.33.44. If you download the latest movie from a honeypot, they can contact your ISP and threaten them, leading to them possibly cutting you off.

Now let's say you run VPN software on your local system, and it creates an encrypted tunnel to a server at 55.66.77.88 in some other country. Now when you browse a website, it sees you coming from 55.66.77.88. Your packets all still have to pass through 11.22.33.44 to get there, but your ISP can't see what's in them or what websites you're visiting, because that's all encrypted end-to-end. If you download that movie, the owners can only track you to your VPN provider, the actual owner of 55.66.77.88. They can't know your ISP or your home IP address unless your VPN provider gives you up.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd September 07, 2018 2:57 PM  

@55 Ron, how do we know any particular VPN is not simply a man in the middle attack?

Blogger Tars Tarkusz September 07, 2018 3:10 PM  

@39 To some extent, it makes sense in a corporate environment, but still comes at a very high cost when the system goes down. Spotty outages are no big deal because people can take their lunch, do other work etc, but system wide outages are another story. There is also a performance penalty. This would not be cloud anyway, as the servers are local.
This makes absolutely no sense for your own personal stuff or for a small business. All work should be done locally with locally installed software and local files. Backup to an external storage device.

Things like streaming services are fine. There is no big loss if suddenly the streaming service fails. It's just music or video and not your music or videos.

Blogger jaericho September 07, 2018 3:12 PM  

There some great private cloud software out there: OwnCloud and NextCloud can replicate Dropbox functionality.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer September 07, 2018 3:15 PM  

@57

If your VPN provider wants to inspect your traffic I don't see any way to prevent it. They will cooperate with the authorities. VPN is a way to keep your traffic private connecting to a public wifi. Or connecting satellite offices and connecting to a corporate network from your home or while on the road. If you really don't want someone else to see your data or where you are located I would suggest TOR. But since the NSA originated TOR, how can you rely on it? We live in a surveillance society.

Blogger James Dixon September 07, 2018 3:22 PM  

> Ron, how do we know any particular VPN is not simply a man in the middle attack?

You can't know. That's why the VPN provider's reputation is so important.

Blogger Stilicho September 07, 2018 3:37 PM  

The cloud is the watering hole of the data storage Serengeti. The usual suspects love it: hackers, NSA, FBI, CIA, DHS, the hosting companies, foreign gov'ts--because they have access to everyone's data stored there. One stop shopping.

The hosting agreements are carefully drafted to avoid liability for breaches/hacking and the privacy policies are drafted to allow the hosts to monetize any data they acquire about you. What could go wrong?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 07, 2018 3:48 PM  

Ominous Cowherd wrote:Ron, how do we know any particular VPN is not simply a man in the middle attack?
You can't.
Just like you can't protect yourself against Amazon if you run all your services on AWS, or Microsoft on Azure.

Beyond a certain level, the question is not "Is this secure", the question is "do I trust them".
Somewhere between the 1st and the 30th time you've been betrayed by a vendor, you learn to never ever ever trust the bastids.

That's why the headlong rush into Cloud Computing is so frustrating for experienced IT pros. The idiot Gen-X IT managers are literally incapable of seeing the exposure to disaster. You're not only trusting their competence, which is not a given, you are trusting the integrity, not just of the company, but of each employee.

Blogger FP September 07, 2018 3:58 PM  

Boomers (many gen-x too sadly) love the cloud because it makes them money. The boomers of the tech world have hit retirement age and want to see those stock values grow. Many have sold out despite years of pushing data security. Plus, you know, this internet computer stuff just works! Until it doesn't.

What happens when even that local, in your city based server host goes down for a day? My local medical clinic can't access their records to check what orders were put in for blood tests. The nurse says they'll call me if I have to come back in for another blood draw. The next week I end up having a 5 minute conversation with my doc over the perils of cloud computing as he bitched about spending $40k on a computer system that doesn't work aka has no local backups for the inevitable down time.

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener September 07, 2018 4:00 PM  

"What's your opinion on VPNs? I see them as a complete scam."

When you use a VPN, assuming your connection to the VPN is secure, then you are effectively using a second ISP. You're not immune from spying and if you're using a VPN of any size it's logical to assume that you are being spied on. But there are circumstances when it may be advantageous to have your data traffic analyzed by and appear to originate from another jurisdiction. That's all a third-party controlled VPN gets you.

Blogger rycamor September 07, 2018 4:09 PM  

Resident Moron™ wrote:The entire back end corporate systems of the company I work for are 100% Cloud based.

It's an epic disaster just waiting to happen.



Large portions of the Federal and State government systems are on the cloud these days, including tax records and the like.

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener September 07, 2018 4:10 PM  

And what happens when one of these Cloud providers becomes so illiquid that its utilities get cut off? It's only a matter of time before that happens if it hasn't already.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine September 07, 2018 4:16 PM  

"When the whole Cloud thing started being marketed, I wondered who on Earth would fall for it."

You and me both. Cloud processing could potentially make sense. Cloud storage certainly does not.

"Cloud storage is the only realistic defense against a ransomware attack."

Cloud backup. Cloud storage is the best way to enable a ransomware attack.

Blogger Spud September 07, 2018 4:20 PM  

The Cloud can be incredible if used appropriately and intelligently. Do not store anything there without a physical backup and realize that anything can become public with a single vulnerability exploitation.

I love being able to access important documents from any location on any device and this alone has saved me so much time and money in my industry.

On the other hand you can use it as strategically as you wish, but if the Cloud system's owners choose to screw with your information then you have no control. Play smart and cautious but fully take advantage of it.

Blogger kurt9 September 07, 2018 4:21 PM  

Why do you need cloud backup? Why not back up on any kind of removable media instead? I've never bought into this cloud thing at all. Why would I trust a third party with my company or even personal data? Of course I'm not going to do that.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 07, 2018 4:40 PM  

@kurt9
As data volumes go asymptotic, the mere physical act of backing up data has become, in many cases impossible. how do you execute a conventional backup of a 4PB database?

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer September 07, 2018 4:40 PM  

Why do you need cloud backup? Why not back up on any kind of removable media instead?

The reason to backup over the internet to offsite storage (which is how it was described before "the cloud" became a marketing term) is for disaster recovery. If your house or business catches on fire or is flooded or hit by an earthquake or hurricane or tornado you can recover your data which is not an option if the backup media is on the same site as the destroyed computer system. However, the backup should be encrypted and only you should have the keys to decrypt it.

Blogger Alt London September 07, 2018 4:42 PM  

If I ran a VPN provider, I'd advertise that I store no logs and it'd be a dollar cheaper than everyone else, and faster. All strictly true.

I'd also have a stake in second company, with lots of storage and a syslog server. And a deal with Facebook, Google, Amazon and Pornhub.

And this is why the only VPN service I trust is my own OpenVPN server.

As for the cloud, the only Gen-Xers who truly buy it are idiots. Then there's the Gen-Xers who see no moral objection to making a shitload of money out of helping Boomer CIOs 'stay relevant'.

Still, you can't stop the river, so you may as well dip your cup in, eh?

Blogger steb September 07, 2018 4:45 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:Cloud storage does not protect against ransomware attacks. Not at all.

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Restore-a-previous-version-of-a-file-in-OneDrive-159cad6d-d76e-4981-88ef-de6e96c93893

Blogger Jack Ward September 07, 2018 4:46 PM  

@42 - 44 James

Thanks James. A very informative series of comments. Will save and ponder. yet another good reason to lurk this blog.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer September 07, 2018 4:47 PM  

As data volumes go asymptotic, the mere physical act of backing up data has become, in many cases impossible. how do you execute a conventional backup of a 4PB database?

Replication to another DB and RAID 6

Blogger Lance E September 07, 2018 4:47 PM  

The security of a networking protocol is independently verifiable. It doesn't care whether or not you trust it.

Most people need to spend less time worrying about elaborate fraud and technical exploits, and pay more attention to basic opsec. They voluntarily give out a ton of personally-identifiable information on public forums, and it doesn't take a state or corporate actor to "crack", just a good PI or some 4chan autists.

Blogger Jill Domschot September 07, 2018 4:50 PM  

I use DropBox occasionally. I originally signed up because I was hired to write/edit ad copy, and this was how the company shared files with me. It has since proved useful for editing when a client needs to send me multiple files, but it's not necessary. Any way they share them, the files are going to end up stored on my hard drive.

Blogger Scott Birch September 07, 2018 4:51 PM  

My hard drives never last. Right now, my "cloud" is the Sent box of one email account and the Inbox of another. How much trouble am I in?

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer September 07, 2018 5:00 PM  

They voluntarily give out a ton of personally-identifiable information on public forums, and it doesn't take a state or corporate actor to "crack"

Remember way back when some guy was able to use the Wikipedia entry on Sarah Palin to gather info to answer the "personal" questions that were used to allow her email password to be reset? Well now, with Facebook and LinkedIn, everybody is putting that info out there. The term is "cognitive password hacking."

Blogger Alt London September 07, 2018 5:10 PM  

It's a gift to the remaining IT guys though. (A company of any size still needs them, even if everything is in the cloud)

Before: "OMG email's down. You IT dorks had better work 24x7 until it's fixed, or you're fired"

After: "OMG email's down. Microsoft had better just prioritise me over their other 40 million corporate accounts or I'll cry. And then I'll be fired for putting everything in the cloud."

Happy days :-)

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 07, 2018 5:12 PM  

Ron Winkleheimer wrote:Replication to another DB and RAID 6
"How to fix a lazy, no-effort, low energy hack of your systems"

Blogger spacehabitats September 07, 2018 5:26 PM  

Apparently the n needed to reach statistical significance for inferring a characteristic of the entire boomer generation is 1. Now I understand.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer September 07, 2018 5:31 PM  

#82

The DB wasn't nearly that big, but it absolutely had to be available at all times, no ifs and or buts. So we created two instances in Data Centers several states apart and had them replicate to each other. We sized them so that if one went down the other could handle the load, but load balanced other wise. Of course, we had a budget that many medium sized municipalities would envy.

Blogger Nikephoros II Phokas September 07, 2018 5:33 PM  

If the authorities are serving your VPN provider with a subpeona so they can monitor your traffic, you're fucked anyways.

Suggesting a VPN doesn't have uses because it's not 100% secure is like saying you shouldn't lock your door because it's still possible to break in.

The online drug trade is still thriving. Yet Tor, VPNS, nor Bitcoin are totally secure. Most of the people selling heroin still don't get caught

VPNs greatly enhance most people's privacy, the problem is most of them aren't trustworthy.

Blogger Nikephoros II Phokas September 07, 2018 5:33 PM  

Should read "neither Tor"

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 07, 2018 5:36 PM  

Ron Winkleheimer wrote:#82

The DB wasn't nearly that big, but it absolutely had to be available at all times, no ifs and or buts. So we created two instances in Data Centers several states apart and had them replicate to each other. We sized them so that if one went down the other could handle the load, but load balanced other wise. Of course, we had a budget that many medium sized municipalities would envy.

Sorry, wrong copy pasta. Of course your solution is correct.
The comment was in response to this guy:
steb wrote:https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Restore-a-previous-version-of-a-file-in-OneDrive-159cad6d-d76e-4981-88ef-de6e96c93893

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 07, 2018 5:39 PM  

Nikephoros II Phokas wrote:If the authorities are serving your VPN provider with a subpeona so they can monitor your traffic, you're fucked anyways.

It's not their data. Most IT companies don't require a court order, just a request from a law enforcement agency, or something that looks like one.
And that's assuming your VPN provider isn't owned by the government.

Blogger Feather Blade September 07, 2018 5:41 PM  

Unknown wrote:Local backups are important too, that way you don't lose anything if big tech decides they hate you.

Who says they have to hate you?

IIRC, Apple has gone through two or three iterations of cloud storage over the last 15-20 years. Every time they switched, the users lost access to all of their cloud-stored data.

Merely because the service provider had something new and shiny they wanted to sell everyone.

Blogger EricW September 07, 2018 5:49 PM  

Would be awesome to find a laptop that would run Linux / ESX natively. I'm stuck with Windows 10 host O/S on my Asus because that's the only O/S that has all the drivers.

Blogger Cloudswrest September 07, 2018 6:25 PM  

#29. Agreed. I would certainly never depend on cloud storage for backup, but it's great for gaining cheap and dirty access to files (I want quick access to) from any computer anywhere in the world.

Blogger Cloudswrest September 07, 2018 6:26 PM  

I also use it to transfer files, that are too big to email, to other people by storing them on the cloud and sending them a private link.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 07, 2018 6:48 PM  

EricW wrote:I'm stuck with Windows 10 host O/S on my Asus because that's the only O/S that has all the drivers.
Almost certainly false.

Blogger Doktor Jeep September 07, 2018 7:09 PM  

Let me tell you, boomers, and more often than there should be, GenXers, fall for these catch phrases and fancy names in computing so easily it makes me want to EMP the entire planet. Try working in a field around boomer/genX salesmen reading the periodicals and parroting the latest greatest every two seconds.
Remember the early 1990s when parents were being told that they can use computers to babysit their kids AND educate them at the same time? And that was called "edutainment" and the word itself made me want to become an arsonist. Of course it didn't work out well, too many kids left alone with PCs became tumblrinas and a lot of sex organs got hacked off, or cursed to be forever unused, because of it - but that might be a self-solving problem in the long run.

Blogger James Dixon September 07, 2018 7:20 PM  

Try http://zareason.com. They're not cheap, but folks I've talked to swear by them.

Blogger Johnny September 07, 2018 7:35 PM  

I currently run windows 10 and the thing does all sorts of things I have no interest in. In truth too lazy to switch to something else.

When IBM first came out with the PC, hardware was the big cost and as an economy they conceptually framed the home computer as a terminal. The fabulous development in hardware made a fully empowerd home computer workable, thus producing the home computer. The "Cloud" termonology stuff is just an effort to sell the home computer, again, as something that depends on another computer that is off somewhere. The only difference is that this time it is storage space rather than computing power.

I suspect the real reason for the cloud stuff is to lock people in as customers by making it enough trouble to switch to someting else that nobody does. I would be happy with it, if it were only a backup, but they complicate things.

My view on privacy is that you never have as much as you think because they don't tell you everything. If I really, really needed privacy, I would buy a used computer with cash, never put personal stuff on it, and never have it hooked to the internet while at home.

Blogger EricW September 07, 2018 7:40 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:EricW wrote:I'm stuck with Windows 10 host O/S on my Asus because that's the only O/S that has all the drivers.

Almost certainly false.



___________________
Thanks, that helps a lot.


Need the laptop, I don't have the bandwidth nor the connection reliability to run everything on my server and VPN all the time.

Some of you are pretty obviously more knowledgeable than the average IT jock - which is why I'm throwing this question out there. Is there a quality mid- to high-end laptop out there that will run Linux cleanly? I've seen a few in searches but I don't know the companies.

Back on topic - OneDrive is nasty, Microsoft's whole cloud integration strategy is nasty. DropBox is decent, it doesn't constantly try to backdoor you. Per the Denninger comment, once you upload it the data doesn't belong to you anymore.

Blogger Nikephoros II Phokas September 07, 2018 7:42 PM  

"It's not their data. Most IT companies don't require a court order, just a request from a law enforcement agency, or something that looks like one.
And that's assuming your VPN provider isn't owned by the government."

Yet millions of people conduct illegal activities online every day without consequence.

But leave your door unlocked, because a SWAT team will just kick it down anyways.

Blogger Damelon Brinn September 07, 2018 7:54 PM  

@97 EricW, search for "linux laptop compatibility," and you should find lots of articles and lists of laptops that should work. Or, if you have a particular Linux distribution in mind, see if they have a list of known compatible laptops. For instance, Ubuntu isn't my favorite Linux, but they have a list here.

Blogger Avalanche September 07, 2018 7:59 PM  

@80 "some guy was able to use the Wikipedia entry on Sarah Palin to gather info to answer the "personal" questions that were used to allow her email password to be reset?"

That's why I use a password vault and WRONG answers to all the questions! "City I was born in," "mother's maiden name" -- all that idiot fake security... Yeah, it means I have to check the vault for the answer when asked, but since I don't let my browsers log me in, I have to check anyway.

Blogger Lance E September 07, 2018 8:59 PM  

Ron Winkleheimer wrote:Remember way back when some guy was able to use the Wikipedia entry on Sarah Palin to gather info to answer the "personal" questions that were used to allow her email password to be reset? Well now, with Facebook and LinkedIn, everybody is putting that info out there. The term is "cognitive password hacking."

Good point, and it's not just Facebook and LinkedIn. I saw a guy over at a different blog using an anonymous handle and going into elaborate detail about a previous site he used to post at and got doxed from, even giving an approximate time frame of the incident. He didn't seem to understand that the mere act of posting this information had opened him up to another doxing.

Maybe it's just a subset of MPAI, but most people are unable to imagine what a hostile actor might do. They fixate on threats that are remote but popular, like government surveillance and mass fraud, while ignoring imminent threats from malicious individuals and corporations who spell out exactly what they're doing.

Blogger Lance E September 07, 2018 9:01 PM  

Yep, if you get asked for those idiotic security questions, best thing to do is generate a random string of gibberish each time. Less secure, but still reasonably secure, is to use a secondary password or phrase that has nothing to do with the question.

Blogger Al Du Clur September 07, 2018 9:09 PM  

Another narrative fail about boomers. The younger you are, the more likely you are to use the cloud. This should be self evident. I don't use the cloud but when I consulted to a major cloud company, a common complaint was that boomers were not supportive enough about the cloud.

But I look forward to being amused by the next anti boomer screed.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/710972/us-cloud-computing-demographic-age-group/

Blogger 罗臻 September 07, 2018 9:32 PM  

VPNs let you bypass geographic blocks and censorship. You can't function in China without one unless you're going totally native or going offline. It also let's you access local content that's blocked in your jurisdiction. AFAIK if you use the same browser with and without a VPN, you destroy a lot of the privacy gained from the VPN.

Blogger Paul M September 07, 2018 9:45 PM  

XKCD explained it best:

https://xkcd.com/908/

Blogger James Dixon September 07, 2018 11:28 PM  

> ...search for "linux laptop compatibility,

I know of three well liked Linux vendors. ZaReason (which I linked to above), System76 (https://system76.com/), and Eight Virtues (http://eightvirtues.com/). There are others, but those are the ones that have been recommended to me over they years.

Blogger James Dixon September 07, 2018 11:32 PM  

> The younger you are, the more likely you are to use the cloud.

Because the younger you are, the more likely you are to be only using mobile devices.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 08, 2018 12:21 AM  

No, because the younger you are, the less likely you are to have watched a company go bankrupt because of stupid IT decisions.

Blogger Dire Badger September 08, 2018 3:22 AM  

The only thing the cloud is useful for is as a way to store video from my phone so when it gets taken away by a fed it's a little tougher to simply erase the video I just took of him getting a Blow Job from the local Gangster's daughter.

Blogger Dirk Manly September 08, 2018 6:47 PM  

@57

"Ron, how do we know any particular VPN is not simply a man in the middle attack?"

Encryption. Actually attacking from the middle would create decryption errors, making it obvious.

Blogger Dirk Manly September 08, 2018 6:56 PM  

"You and me both. Cloud processing could potentially make sense. Cloud storage certainly does not."


Cloud processing makes sense when you have some jobs which are appropriate for a super computer and you do NOT have at least 31557600 (60 * 60 * 24 * 365.25) seconds of super-computing tasks per year.

If you have one month of supercomputing tasks per year, owning a supercomputer is rediculous, because the things cost over $1000 PER MINUTE to own....regardless of whether you even take it out of the box. So you had better set it up and plug it in as quickly as possible AND KEEP ALL THE CPU CORES WORKING AT FULL CAPACITY. ALWAYS. Otherwise, you're just pissing money into the wind by owning it.

Blogger Dirk Manly September 08, 2018 7:00 PM  

@71

"As data volumes go asymptotic, the mere physical act of backing up data has become, in many cases impossible. how do you execute a conventional backup of a 4PB database?"

How do you do it over a (relatively speaking) SLOW internet connection compared to the 1-10GB/s rates available on local cat-6/cat-7, using infiniband routers?

If you can't back it up locally, you most certainly cannot back it up remotely, because remote backups are even slower, and if you have enough money in your business to buy 4 PB of disk space, you probably have enough to buy 8 PB of disk. IF you don't, then you are undercapitalized for your 4 PB problem.

Blogger EricW September 10, 2018 12:09 PM  

James Dixon & Damelon Brinn - thanks for the pointers.

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