Encrypted Email Backup in the Cloud (Windows)

Is your Inbox full? Do you want to combine mail from multiple accounts into one convenient location? Are you concerned that your private messages are being stored insecurely (i.e. not encrypted) on a server that could be accessed by your co-workers, the government, or hackers?

This tutorial will show you how to download your email messages into a local mail reader (Thunderbird Portable) and backup the files securely (with encryption) in the cloud provider of your choice. I use Microsoft’s OneDrive in my example; you could use DropBox, Google Drive, OwnCloud, a network share, or local storage such as a USB drive.

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The Matrix Trilogy: A Man-Machine Interface Perspective

This essay was written by SFAM, founder of the defunct website cyberpunkreview.com on February 4, 2006. See the original at the Internet Archive.

Overview: Since online debate around the Matrix Trilogy has been beaten to death, I’m guessing by now you’ve already long ago made up your mind on whether you liked or hated The Matrix and its subsequent sequels. Truly, whatever you decided is fine with me. As it turns out, I love them and generally think they’re great. And NO, I’m not really interested in having a Matrix Sucks/No You just don’t get it discussion. Please start a new thread in the Meatspace if you’re still interested in such banter. This essay is for something else – it’s about viewing the trilogy, specifically Neo, from a man-machine interface, or cybernetics perspective.

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Preventing VPN leaks on Linux

A Raspberry Pi running OpenVPN with a D-Link DUB-1312 Ethernet adapter
A Raspberry Pi model B running OpenVPN with a D-Link DUB-1312 Ethernet adapter

In a previous post I showed how a firewall app on Android can prevent metadata leaks when you connect to a wireless network but have not yet connected to your VPN. This guide achieves the same goal with OpenVPN or Torguard Lite on a Linux PC, blocking all outgoing connections and then allowing connections only to the VPN server.

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Testing a Titan

We recently acquired a Nvidia GTX Titan graphical processing unit (GPU) for statistical computing at work, specifically double-precision floating point operations on the CUDA API. Before I lock it away in the server room I would like to see how it compares to my primary GPU at home – a Nvidia GTX 680, and my older GPUs – a pair of AMD Radeon HD 5770. This act of comparison is called benchmarking – running a number of standard tests and trials in order to assess the relative performance of a piece of hardware or software.

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OCO-2 v7 L2 Lite: Warn levels visualised

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory has this week released the OCO-2 L2 Lite files. These files contain a subset of the information in the standard OCO-2 L2 product. They are meant to be significantly smaller but still contain all necessary information for typical science analyses.

The lite files also contain warn levels which indicate the quality of the data points. At warning level 0 we can be very certain about the quality. Above warning level 12 we can expect significant error, and data points above warning level 15 should not be used at all. To see how much data is excluded at different warning levels I have mapped the data points for the month of May 2015.

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The Australian Panopticon

The Panopticon is a theoretical prison designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The shape of the prison places every inmate within view of a watchtower. Although it is physically impossible for the watchman to observe all cells at the same time, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that all inmates must act as though they are watched, effectively changing their behaviour.

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Operating System support lifecycle

Windows 10 and CentOS 7 are good for about 10 years of free updates.

Operating System vendors provide free upgrades and security patches to keep our computers safe and functional during the support lifecycle. Some vendors announce the lifecycle ahead of time (see chart above), while others simply end support for old versions soon after each new release.

Without support your device gradually becomes less secure and less useful unless you can upgrade to a new OS version. Sometimes upgrading is not possible and you’re forced to replace a computer that isn’t broken.

To avoid troublesome upgrades or early obsolescence, always choose an operating system with a long planned support lifecycle. Windows 10 and CentOS Linux 7 will receive free security updates for the next 10 years.