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Student Offers $1,000 for Data on Stolen Laptop

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#31 MeowPurr

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 02:23

He definitely needs to hire Veronica Mars.


#32 +Karl L.

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 02:55

what do you use to automate all that? and what remote server setup are you using? consumer service or your own server?


The system is of my design and is run on my hardware. I was inspired by similar systems I have read about, so I can't claim credit for all the ideas, although the implementation is my own. I have two servers with a nearly identical configuration. The primary is at my place and the other is a few states away at a relative's house.

The primary server runs Debian and hosts openvpn and rsync servers. I use openvpn on my laptop to create a secure connection to my server, then use rsync to perform the incremental backup. I have a cron job that fires once every twelve hours to automate the process, although I sometimes compulsively trigger manual backups if I feel like I just completed a monumental task, or changed something equally important.

When rsync accepts the connection on my server it creates a new directory for the current backup and hard links to the last backup directory. All changed files are stored only in the new directory and unchanged files remain hard links to the last copy (to save space). My server has cron jobs that ensure that I keep every backup from the last two days, one backup per day for the five days beyond that, the first backup of the week for five weeks in a row, the first backup of the month for twelve months, and the first backup of the year indefinitely. The backup drive uses EXT4, but it is mirrored to an identical drive in a RAID 1 configuration using mdadm.

The primary server runs a cron job at 4 am every day that opens an openvpn tunnel to the other server - which has an identical backup configuration but runs CentOS instead of Debian - and uses rsync to mirror the changes. The majority of the functionality of this system is implemented in the open-source software I described, and the remainder is hacked together with Perl and BASH scripts.

#33 Pong

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 03:10

always love PhD students... they are "smarter then you" or so they like to say..... yet they aren't smart enough to keep backups of something that is literally your life's work.....

and the excuse "I don't know how to" with them doesn't fly.... considering they are (masters in) RESEARCH students... so research it and do it!


The PhD students who have a "smarter than you" attitude are relatively rare, and are mostly the ones who will burn out and drop out within the first year.

A PhD is not about being smart, it's about being able to look at some in a objective manner, make measurements and comparisons, and document them. It's a 60+ hour per week job with terrible pay, and depending on what you're doing your PhD in, quite probably not worth it for either yourself or humanity.

yet if all these guys died tomorrow, we'd all be screwed. do you know how to generate electricity ? treat water so its drinkable?process foods? make toilet paper? know anything about medicine? if the average joe dies,the world continues to function the way it does.


Actually, the entire point of doing a PhD is that you document everything. Everything. You publish papers and you write a several-hundred page long thesis detailing the steps you took to get your PhD. If a PhD dies, then all of there research is documented - that's why they got their PhD in the first place.

I feel sorry for the guy, but if you're not at least backing up years of research (hell, you should be keeping it under version control too), you're just asking for trouble. He should at least have copies of some of the thesis in the form of research papers and publications, so it's not all lost.

#34 Torolol

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 06:29

if were the thief, i would sold copy of the data to Pharma R&D, then ask for that $1,000 money.

#35 primexx

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 08:07

The system is of my design and is run on my hardware. I was inspired by similar systems I have read about, so I can't claim credit for all the ideas, although the implementation is my own. I have two servers with a nearly identical configuration. The primary is at my place and the other is a few states away at a relative's house.

The primary server runs Debian and hosts openvpn and rsync servers. I use openvpn on my laptop to create a secure connection to my server, then use rsync to perform the incremental backup. I have a cron job that fires once every twelve hours to automate the process, although I sometimes compulsively trigger manual backups if I feel like I just completed a monumental task, or changed something equally important.

When rsync accepts the connection on my server it creates a new directory for the current backup and hard links to the last backup directory. All changed files are stored only in the new directory and unchanged files remain hard links to the last copy (to save space). My server has cron jobs that ensure that I keep every backup from the last two days, one backup per day for the five days beyond that, the first backup of the week for five weeks in a row, the first backup of the month for twelve months, and the first backup of the year indefinitely. The backup drive uses EXT4, but it is mirrored to an identical drive in a RAID 1 configuration using mdadm.

The primary server runs a cron job at 4 am every day that opens an openvpn tunnel to the other server - which has an identical backup configuration but runs CentOS instead of Debian - and uses rsync to mirror the changes. The majority of the functionality of this system is implemented in the open-source software I described, and the remainder is hacked together with Perl and BASH scripts.


wow that sounds very nice. I keep thinking to improve my backup scheme but i'm not really in a position to setup any servers atm, so I'm limited to mirroring stuff on multiple devices =(

#36 Javik

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 10:43

Should have installed some anti theft software on it. I use prey on my setup, it's completely free.

#37 jakem1

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 12:34

. If all of the PHDs died tomorrow, life would go on. Phds have 0 to do with intelligence and everything to do with being patient enough to go through 12 years of school for a piece of paper, Higher ed is pretty masturbatory now anyway.

However, if all of the "average joes" died tomorrow, civilization would collapse :) Mostly because the average joes comprise most of the population, but it's also because the average joes are the ones feeding us, getting oil out of the ground, constructing buildings and bridges, and have been doing that **** for centuries. Respect the average joe.


This is probably one of the most ignorant posts I've seen on this site.

#38 Arceles

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 13:16

This is probably one of the most ignorant posts I've seen on this site.


He always makes sentences like that, mostly towards high degree students (he called me prick once... PhD here, admittedly, not the smartest of all :D)

#39 Rohdekill

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 13:36

If I stole it, I'd scribble on the note left "you must have typo'd the dollar amount and missed at least one zero. Five years of labor is worth more than $1,000.00 dollars. If you seriously want the data, provide a serious amount to its value and I'll get back to you or sell it elsewhere."

#40 OP Hum

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 15:59

I couldn't tell you what a thesis is -- but I do back-up once in a while. :p

#41 Richteralan

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 18:07

This is probably one of the most ignorant posts I've seen on this site.

His statement contains some truth regarding PhD in general: that getting a PhD degree does not correlates to your intelligence nor your problem-solving skills. I've seen plenty of PhD candidates and wonder how they finished their program.

If you are not one of those PhD guys you should feel confident about yourself and stop with the name calling.

Well, if you are, then be my guest to feel upset.

#42 jakem1

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 18:23

His statement contains some truth regarding PhD in general: that getting a PhD degree does not correlates to your intelligence nor your problem-solving skills. I've seen plenty of PhD candidates and wonder how they finished their program.

If you are not one of those PhD guys you should feel confident about yourself and stop with the name calling.

Well, if you are, then be my guest to feel upset.


No, his statement doesn't contain any truth "in general" and the idea that people with PhDs are generally unintelligent is just plain ridiculous. However, it's not uncommon for people to make disparaging comments about highly educated people. It's a myth routinely peddled by the uneducated.

By the way, just so you know, I don't have a PhD (although I'd love to have one) and I haven't resorted to name calling in any of my posts.

#43 Tom

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 18:29

always love PhD students... they are "smarter then you" or so they like to say..... yet they aren't smart enough to keep backups of something that is literally your life's work.....


always love when people generalize an entire section of people because of the mistake of one.

Oh and by the way, it's 'smarter than you'.

#44 adrynalyne

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 18:35

always love when people generalize an entire section of people because of the mistake of one.

Oh and by the way, it's 'smarter than you'.


I had pointed that out earlier, but nobody caught it apparently. ;)

#45 Richteralan

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 18:40

No, his statement doesn't contain any truth "in general" and the idea that people with PhDs are generally unintelligent is just plain ridiculous. However, it's not uncommon for people to make disparaging comments about highly educated people. It's a myth routinely peddled by the uneducated.

By the way, just so you know, I don't have a PhD (although I'd love to have one) and I haven't resorted to name calling in any of my posts.

Nobody said that PhDs are generally unintelligent. His point and my point was "PhDs as a degree have no correlation to one's intelligence."

It is also absurd to label individual people's intelligence level based on the degree he obtained. Thus "PhDs as a degree have no correlation one's intelligence."

I've been through Doctorate program and I know how it works generally.


edit: I'm fine with you thinking PhDs are smart and intelligent, makes me feel special heh! Was just trying to tell you it's not a pretty picture from someone who's been through it.



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