We’ve had a visitor at our place recently for a couple of days who used a video streaming service quite a lot. When I had a look at our Internet connection usage statistics, I was quite surprised how differently the service behaved when it came to resource usage compared to the video streaming provider we use in the family. Yes, we only use one! Perhaps a generational thing. Anyway, when I had a closer look at the datarates of the two streaming services I was quite surprised that there is a 10:1 difference.
In 1999, Tim Berners-Lee, together with Mark Fischetti, wrote ‘Weaving the Web‘, a book on how he invented the World Wide Web in the late 1980s and the early 1990’s. It is still published today so it’s not difficult to get hold of it. You can also lend a copy in PDF format from OpenLibrary.org. Written less than a decade after the web had its early break through, it is now two decades old itself and offers incredible insight into the early days, the thoughts of the time how it should evolve and it made me reflect on how it turned out today.
And in this final part of my mini-series on disk and SSD passwords that require interaction over the ATA protocol I’d quickly like to say a few words about another interesting feature that I have previously missed: Securely erasing a device.
In the previous two posts on how to use the password protection feature of hard disks and SSDs and how to unlock them when temporarily connected to another computer via a USB adapter, I mentioned that the adapter has to support the UAS (USB Attached SCSI) protocol. Unfortunately, some (older) USB-3 to SATA adapters do not support the protocol which results in strange hdparm error messages. As I was doing this for the first time, I had the dilemma that I didn’t know if the strange error messages were a result of a mistake I made or if the adapter did not support the required protocol. After a bit of searching I came up with the following procedure to check for support:
In a previous post I have looked at what hard disk password protection would do for me and what its limitations are. One issue is that it’s no longer straight forward to just use a password protected drive in a USB to SATA converter as a lower level ATA command is required to unlock the drive. On Linux, the drive can be unlocked with ‘hdparm‘ but there are a couple of pitfalls that took me quite some time to figure out.
One thing that still bugs me a bit about my Linux installation is that the system partition is not encrypted. In practice that should mostly be o.k. because I mapped ‘/tmp’ to memory and ‘/home’ is mounted to an encrypted partition during boot. But still, it bugs me a bit. And notebooks on the move do get stolen or are lost by accident. So when I recently thought a bit about the password protection offered by hard drives, I investigated a bit to see if this would help me out.
Until only a few years ago, 2D bar codes didn’t really make it into the limelight. That has quite changed now and I use 2D bar codes on a daily basis. And some applications are actually quite unexpected.
For a long long time I wanted to find out a bit more about the history of Digital Equipment Corporation and its legendary co-founder Ken Olson. I’ve never worked on a DEC machine in my career, but many of their machines are famous, e.g. the PDP-1 and space war, the PDP-8 as the first ‘affordable’ mini-computer, the PDP-7 and 11 on which Unix was created, etc. etc. I did, however, use one of their services that they created in their final years. Anyone remember the Altavista search engine? And I remember their Alpha processor design and Windows NT running on it. There are a number of books on the history of DEC and here is a review of “The Ultimate Entrepreneur – The Story of Ken Olson and Digital Equipment Corporation” by Glenn Rifkin and George Harrar.
In a previous post I wrote about installing a Wi-Fi repeater in my home and how I could then reach a sustainable data rate of over 800 Mbit/s. Very close to Gbit Ethernet! Unfortunately the connection was not stable. After a few days the repeater just stops working until rebooted. After experiencing this a couple of times I had a closer look to find out if this was a software instability or something else.
It is interesting to see how the users of my Nextcloud keep pushing previously existing limits, real or perceived. Back in 2018 I had a post of how to increase the maximum file size Nextcloud could handle and I was happy to see that I could easily go up to 5 GB files. I didn’t push it beyond that as I couldn’t imagine anyone would want to send bigger files. But recently, I was asked if a 20 GB file could be stored on my Nextcloud for sharing and I have a to admit I was skeptical. So I set out to try if and how this would work in practice.