Tag: best practices

Go backup your stuff. Now.

“But I don’t need to backup anything; I keep everything in the cloud/net/whatever.”

You’re doing it wrong.

Yes, we’re all busy, and your idea sounds like an easy solution on the surface. But what happens if you have total system failure?

You’re advocating a

(x) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting data loss. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. 
(One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have 
other flaws.)

(x) Your operating system will need to be reinstalled
( ) It will take too long
(x) All your system settings, utilities and the like will be lost
(x) It is defenseless against malware
(x) You don't store everything in the cloud
(x) If the cloud provider loses your data, you're SOL
(x) If you lose your account with, you're SOL
( ) Too much reliance on network speed
(x) You get what you pay for
( ) How can you call a lawyer when you're unable to speak?
(x) No/poor version control
( ) You're not that smart
(x) If you don't care, why should anyone else?

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

(x) Cloud provider downtime
(x) Data loss
(x) Time to recover
( ) The NSA
(x) Using open WIFI without a VPN
( ) Unpopularity of weird new services
( ) BitCoin
( ) DogeCoin
(x) Protection by encryption
( ) Cloud client software
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
(x) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who pay for 0-day camshots of movies
(x) "If you're not the customer, you're the product"
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Darknets

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) The DMCA sucks
(x) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatibility with some file management systems
(x) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
(x) You only really need it when the fan has been hit

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(x) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
(x) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) You're more extreme than Big Brother


Adding defensive sanity checks

I recently needed to make a set of several favicons, so I went to the web to see if anyone had a script I could borrow steal.

Sure enough, I found one written by Joshua McGee: “Create a favicon with ImageMagick” (not reproduced here for copyright reasons).

It was a simple enough script, just a series of escaped commands. I noticed, however, that it assumed a few things:

  • An image file was specified on the command line,
  • The image existed, and
  • Imagemagik was installed.

In other words, the script was not developed defensively. This makes sense: it was just a bang-out.

The script had no inline documentation, and if a favicon file that already existed in the current directory would be silently overwritten—not good.

I’m clumsy: I delete and overwrite files all the time, so I could use a little help. Maybe I can tidy up the script? (more…)