Episode-922- Jeremy Lesniak on Technology Preparedness and Redundancy

Jeremy Lesniak of Vermont Computing

Jeremy Lesniak of Vermont Computing

Jeremy Lesniak is the founder of Vermont Computing and the editor of aNewDomain.net a technology news website.  He is also a long time listener to The Survival Podcast and wanted to give a bit back to the audience today by sharing his view of technology as it relates to preparedness and homesteading.

Jeremy holds a degree in computer science and a black belt in both tae kwon do and karate.  His company, Vermont Computing is a technology consulting company that he founded in 2001.  His company provides simple solutions to complex technical problems for both commercial and residential customers.

Jeremy joins us today to discuss the importance of create technology redundancy for your business or home and how technology can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to homesteading and prepping.

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30 Responses to Episode-922- Jeremy Lesniak on Technology Preparedness and Redundancy

  1. Norcal Mike

    Just picked up my grass-fed beef today. To collect the balance my farmer plugged a tiny “squareup” swiper into his iPhone, took my debit card, and emailed me the receipt. Pretty good for a guy with manure on his boots!

    Also related: I found a cool iPhone app called “myHome Scr.APP.bk” for catalogging my belongings in case disaster strikes.

    Jeremy: How can I monitor things like cell phone carriers rolling over on protecting our privacy? Some tekkie news sites? Good interview, thanks.

    • Mike,

      Yes, square is a wonderful product. As there are no monthly fees, I suggest everyone with a smartphone get one – I keep one in my laptop bag.

      I’ve never used myHome Scr.APP.bk, but I have used similar programs. The key is to keep it updated and backed up. I suggest getting into a routine of updating it monthly, and then immediately backing up the data. Make sure that data makes it into your off-site backup. If the file is small enough and you use a local agent, you might want to email it right to your insurance company.

      Unfortunately, part of the reason the cell carriers don’t care to deal with subpoenas is their laziness. I am not aware of any way to determine what entities are accessing your data. I did a bit of research to make sure some new method hadn’t popped up and, unfortunately, it hadn’t. I did bump into this report by the ACLU that goes into more detail than I did. It’s worth a read:

      http://www.aclu.org/blog/technology-and-liberty/results-our-nationwide-cell-phone-tracking-records-requests

      ~jeremy

  2. Great show today.

    Another great cloud backup service to look at is CrashPlan.com. They offer more features than Carbonite including backing up to a friend’s computer, backup from external hard drive and backup locally, i.e. external drive. All this for less than the others.

    My setup for backing up is as follows:

    1. Never store any user created data on the internal primary drive. All of my data (Photoshop files, office docs, web site code, music, video, pics, CAD drawings, etc.) is stored on an external drive in case I need to grab my data and bug out.
    2. Using Crash Plan, back up the daily use external drive to their cloud backup service.
    3. Using the Crash Plan software, backup my daily use external drive to my external fireproof hard drive.

    Now I have a multi-layer backup system for relatively low cost. Also, with the locally stored, fire-proof drive, I have easy access to my files to restore quickly when I muck something up or a full restore from the cloud in the event of a larger disaster.

    Aaron

    • Thanks for sharing the info on crashplan – I had heard of it, but never looked into it. It’s a great idea! I do think that, at $59 a year, Carbonite and Crashplan are pretty close to the same price… after all, <$5 a month is darn close to free. Thus I'd recommend comparing them on the other features. I can't recommend it as I haven't tried it, but I *will* be checking it out.

      I would recommend that you also keep your files on an internal drive – or, at least, a second local drive. Even though you may be able to restore your internet-based backup, it will take a while. Having a local backup is very convenient. Only having the file in one local location doesn't count as backup, even though it's on an external drive. You may recall my "3-2-1 Backup" concept:

      Keep your data in at least 3 locations
      On 2 different types of media
      Make sure one of those is off-site.

      ~jeremy

  3. I just wanted to thank Jack for having me on. I am happy to answer questions. I can’t ptomise to have all of the answers but I will do my best.

    Jeremy

  4. Pingback: The Survival Podcast Appearance - Jeremy Lesniak's Stuff

  5. I wonder if there would be such a thing as peer-to-peer backup. One would store encrypted backup of his/her data on a peer and another user would store his/her encrypted data on one’s pc. The peer would know there would be a backup done on his/her pc but not have access to it.

    • If you’re interested in a service like this, you might want to check out Wuala. I vaguely recall that it works similar to what you’ve asked for.

      ~jeremy

  6. I have listened to the first third of the show , so please excuse me if you already answered this, but what medium is the best for long term storage of all of the digital photos and videos we have?

    I currently burn 2 copies to dvd and have them on 2 different usb hard drives. The 2 burned copies are stored off site(different locations) and the the hard drives are stored at home, one in a fire proof box. I realize burnt media has a shelf life and hard drives are mechanical devices subject to a multitude of failures. I’m really concerned about being able to protect those family memories and haven’t really found a true long term solution that I’m totally confident in. Thank you.

    • bartsdad – that’s a question that comes up a lot! What you’re doing now is a pretty good method. I would just say that the key is to recreate those burned backups periodically. As I mentioned before – it’s all about a schedule. I’d recreate them at least once a year.

  7. 2 things about the ups/power backup:

    The under-voltages are not necessarily from a power company failure. They can be caused by refrigerators, drills, or other appliances and tools around the house. Any time you see the lights dim, your voltage has dropped!

    Also, surge suppressors need to be periodically replaced. The part the does the suppression gets eaten away over time, both by large and small surges. When you buy it, the joule rating gives you an idea of how long one surge suppressor will last relative to another (larger is better). Also, look for an indicator that shows the suppressor is still functioning.

  8. Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for the reminders regarding backups. Even though I often preach the value of backups and data redundancy it is so easy to get lazy.

    You mentioned a list of 13 scenarios (~48:15) and a technology fire drill. Are you willing to provide a link to this material?

  9. Brent Eamer

    I chuckled when you mentioned Toshiba. I originally bought a 110cs in 1997, then a A30 in 2004 and in 2007 an A200. All still work, and oddly enough with Windows 7 on the A30, it is not half bad…

    • I’ve seen Toshiba laptops from the 80s that still work. Of course, you can’t do anything with them, but sometimes that’s not the point!

      🙂

      ~jeremy

  10. I have a Nokia N8, which is a great cell phone. From 2010. One thing Nokia does is Nokia Maps: you can download the entire USA (along with 70 other countries), and the GPS unit in the phone stands alone from cell service, meaning full audio navigation WITHOUT a cell connection. When would you really need a map? In the boondock!…lol.This is free updates for life too. I use Straight Talk, which can use AT&T and T-Mobile towers for $45/month unlimited everything. Nokias also excel in reception strength, and battery life.
    Tech slows me to carry 1000lbs of books on 2 microSD cards.

    • Never played with an N8, but always wanted to – I’ve heard very good things. Google Maps either now does, or soon will, offer offline maps. Very exciting, for the exact reasons you’ve outlined! I wasn’t aware Straight Talk used AT&T for data… I might need to check into that more. Thanks for sharing!

      ~jeremy

  11. As for backup/every day carry of data I wrote some software that I’ve been using for several months now. Decided to put it out on a web site for free to give back to the Survival Podcast community for all they’ve done for me. Been listening since episode #7.
    http://www.Pathware.net

    I keep one copy in my wallet on a microsd card, a copy in a firesafe on dvd or usb thumb drive, one in the car, upload a copy to dropbox (or whatever) etc, makes it very easy.

    It compresses the files and encrypts them so if you lose it or somebody swipes it there won’t be much to worry about. Just don’t forget your password 🙂

    Spread the word , test it out, let me know how it can be improved, how you use it, etc…

  12. Bartsdad & welshrat – Here is what I have in the user manual for the software in regards to data safety/redundancy/edc hope it helps…

    Storage Suggestions
    To keep your data as safe as possible, it is recommended that you have at least 3 copies
    spread out geographically to increase the odds of a successful recovery.
    For maximum protection you will want to account for 2 types of events:
    1. Catastrophic events where you are not displaced. This can be something like theft,
    power surge, or hard drive failure. Simply replace the hardware and restore from any
    of your most current copies.
    2. Catastrophic events where you are displaced. Examples of this are natural disasters
    such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fire, terrorist acts or civil unrest.
    For example, create these copies: keep one copy on a micro sd card that you can carry in
    your wallet or purse, one on a usb thumb drive in a physically secure location such as a vault
    or a fire safe, and one off site such as on a dvd at a relative’s house, or on a web drive or the
    cloud.
    Spreading out your copies like this will give you a better chance to be able to recover the files
    in case of a local, regional or large scale concern.

    http://pathware.net/?page_id=27

    • Chad,

      This looks to be a great piece of software – thank you for sharing.

      ~jeremy

    • Does the software include an executable form that can be placed on the backup location, like the thumb drive, along with the data? Or would one have to locate a computer with the software on it in order to recover the data on the thumb drive?

      • Hi Susan – Great question! Yes, it creates a completely self sufficient package. All that is needed is a windows xp or later box with a media reader matching what you ran it on (e.g. dvd drive or usb port, micro sd reader, etc).

        Thanks Jeremy, for the positive feedback!

  13. Anybody given any thought to replacement technology for broadband? How about packet radio?

  14. Avoid proprietary software as much as you can. Proprietary software manufacturers often require the user to buy a new software license for each computer. So, if the computer crashes without repair, you may have to buy new software. Proprietary software often need activation keys, keys that need to be kept track of. And the software upgrade path is not always straightforward.

  15. Brad. Unlimited everything? Including unlimited data? I had an unlimited data plan from AT&T until they forced me into a 5 Gb plan, so I dropped them. I was paying $50 for 5 Gb, so I’m skeptical one can have unlimited data for $45. I’ve heard it’s a trend for all internet providers. I heard Sprint had unlimited data and that they are phasing it out too. Now, I’m looking into packet radio. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the concept, how to make it work and what kind of performance I can expect. I’m looking at The OpenWrt/X-Wrt AX.25 Project. http://wetnet.net/node/759

  16. Nice show, Jeremy. Glad I listened in.

    -RAP, II

  17. For those that use Zello. I just found out today that your conversations are recorded. Now I’m not sure about Zello but a similar apparently called Boxer is building a platform so LE can access you recorded conversations. Now they have to go in as administrator and change the password which could alert you to the access.