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tal OP , avatar

Crossposting, as has defederated from and it seemed interesting.

tal , avatar

Can't also use those as a phone, though, which I think the parent comment was intending.

tal , avatar

By March 2024, Ukraine's Navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk said they had disabled or destroyed one third of the Russian Black Sea fleet.[7]

That being said, keep in mind that some of those ships are specialized and interdependent. Like, a seagoing fleet tug doesn't do you nearly as much good without an aircraft carrier to tow and vice versa. So even aside from Ukraine focusing on more-valuable ships, I expect that even a random one-third of ships being lost would probably cause a greater degradation of capability than one-third.

tal , avatar

It works fine for me on Firefox on Android. How is it breaking for you?

tal , avatar

Instead of getting old fighter jets from Russia for those drones they sent, they'd probably have been better-off getting civilian helicopters.

tal , avatar

I haven't used Lightroom or this, but there's apparently an open-source software package named Darktable that's similar.

tal , (edited ) avatar

Texas has also become a hotbed for bitcoin mining, adding to electricity demand, as the state’s deregulated power market and abundance of cheap natural gas became attractive to the energy-intensive sector.


That actually might make a lot of sense.

So, if Texas has inexpensive electricity most of the time, but also has occasional high price spikes...bitcoin mining is something where you do not need power now. Sure, you're losing money on your hardware and space if it's not running, but my guess is that bitcoin miners probably can do just fine shutting their systems down when prices rise above a certain point. That would tend to smooth out electricity prices.

I'd been trying to think of electricity users that could defer usage and use a lot of electricity, which are something that you want if you have wildly-varying demand and want to smooth it out, and I suppose that coin mining is actually probably a pretty good example.

tal , avatar

Pineapple guavas. I can get them where I am sporadically, but they don't ship incredibly well.

Feijoa sellowiana[2][3] also known as Acca sellowiana (O.Berg) Burret,[4] is a species of flowering plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. It is native to the highlands of southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, Uruguay, and northern Argentina.[5] Feijoa are also common in gardens of New Zealand.[6] It is widely cultivated as an ornamental tree and for its fruit. Common names include feijoa (/feɪˈʒoʊ.ə/,[7] /-ˈhoʊ.ə/,[8] or /ˈfiːdʒoʊ.ə/[9]), pineapple guava and guavasteen, although it is not a true guava.[10] It is an evergreen shrub or small tree, 1–7 metres (3.3–23.0 ft) in height.[11]

Ripe fruit is prone to bruising; difficulty maintaining the fruit in good condition for any length of time, along with the short period of optimum ripeness and full flavor, probably explains why feijoas are not exported frequently, and are typically sold close to where they are grown. However, intercontinental shipping of feijoa by sea or air has been successful.[10]

Because of the relatively short shelf life, storekeepers need to be careful to replace older fruit regularly to ensure high quality. In some countries, they also may be purchased at roadside stalls, often at a lower price.

Feijoas may be cool-stored for approximately a month and still have a few days of shelf life at optimum eating maturity.[10] They also may be frozen for up to one year without a loss in quality.

tal , avatar

If you just want more intensity, maybe use an extract? I have some blueberry extract that I wanted to try adding to coffee. It's pretty potent.

Something like this:

Couple drops go a long way.

tal , (edited ) avatar

My favorite type of apple is Jazz. It's less-sweet than the Honeycrisp, which tends to be more-widely-available.

tal , avatar

That said, heirlooms do have all kinds of crazy flavors and differences.

Yeah, I'd bet that some of them don't last as long as the standard red tomatoes that you get in the store, but looking through heirloom tomatoes is kind of a trip, from a visual standpoint. Grocery stores seem to have pretty much standardized on about three red ones -- and I'm not saying that they're bad, but it does kind of mean that people don't get to see a lot of variety. Unfortunately, I'm not a huge fan of just eating tomatoes plain, so never got super-interested in obtaining them, but they do look damned cool.


Here's a retailer that has images:

goes through looking for some interesting ones

tal , avatar

You can order blackcurrant drinks online, as well as getting extract.


It sounds like the problem was that they could host a fungus that affected other plants, but it's been allowed on a state-by-state basis for some decades after they found a resistant variant.

By the end of the 19th century, farmers noticed that blackcurrants had introduced an invasive species called blister fungus that killed white pine trees, per Business Insider. The fungus solely spreads through blackcurrants rather than from pine tree to pine tree. That means the U.S. was faced with a choice at the time: blackcurrants or the white pine. With national forests highly valued for the timber industry sales used to develop the U.S. as we know it, they chose to protect the white pine.

In the early 20th century, the U.S. government made it illegal to farm blackcurrants and put forth resources to eradicate all Ribes plants from the environment, according to Business Insider. Interestingly, European agriculture met this fungus long ago when it was introduced in blackcurrant plants, but they didn't rely on white pine as fiercely as the U.S., and the "white pine was sacrificed to retain the Ribes," according to "History of White Pine Blister Rust Control: A Personal Account."

Blackcurrants come back

After more than half a century, scientists discovered a new variant of blackcurrant that was resistant to the fungal disease that threatened the white pine. Without the threat to the timber industry, the U.S. government "left it up to the states to lift the ban" blackcurrants in 1966 (via Cornell University). It wasn't until 2003 when New York, where blackcurrants were most heavily produced in the late 19th century, became the first state to uplift the blackcurrant ban in the continental U.S. Since then, some other states like Connecticut and Vermont have also rescinded their bans. But neighboring Massachusetts and Maine (or "The Pine Tree" state) are some of the many other states in which such bans remain (per AHS Gardening,

tal , avatar

Put it in a paper bag for a day or two, let the ethylene build up and it'll ripen it?

Can put a banana in there with the avocados if you really want it to go quickly.

tal , avatar

First, note that there are a number of plants called the "huckleberry".

My guess is that @daltotron has good odds of talking about Vaccinium membranaceum. I've had that in Idaho, and consider it to be pretty good.

People pick it in the wild, but it hasn't been successfully domesticated. Much of the plant lives underground, and it depends on very specific conditions that are hard to reproduce on farms. You can buy some wild-foraged berries, but they're a pain to get, so available for limited periods of time and relatively-expensive.

I don't believe that those grow in Europe, and in fact, looking online, the name "huckleberry" only showed up in the Americas, after European colonists misidentified an American berry as the European-native "hurtleberry". You might be thinking of a different type of berry; googling, I don't see people talking about huckleberries in the Nordics.

We also have a plant called "huckleberry" around the Bay Area in California, Vaccinium ovatum, which is easier to find in the wild, grows larger and more (albeit smaller) but a lot less impressive, in my experience.

tal , avatar

Note that there are two different cultivars I've seen sold in the Bay Area.

  • Fuyu. These are typically eaten crunchy (and are so even when ripe), like an apple. They look kind of like a tomato, are short and wide.

  • Hachiya. There are very soft, almost a jell-o consistency, when ripe, and are very fragile. My dad used to grow them in his backyard.

tal , avatar

What type? Most beans ship and preserve well when dried, so you can usually order them online.

tal , avatar

I mean, if the Threadiverse has enough volume to be useful, someone -- probably many people -- are going to be logging and training things off it too.

tal , (edited ) avatar

I mean, China was always gonna develop, and then the much larger population was going to dominate.

The war exacerbates it by isolating Russia, but China was gonna grow in relative strength.

tal , avatar

Luther Burger, or doughnut burger (among several naming variations), is a hamburger or cheeseburger with one or more glazed doughnuts in place of the bun. These burgers have a disputed origin, and tend to run between approximately 800 and 1,500 calories (3,300 and 6,300 kJ).

tal , avatar

The unusual flavour and odour of the fruit have prompted many people to express diverse and passionate views ranging from deep appreciation to intense disgust. Writing in 1856, the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace provided a much-quoted description of the flavour of the durian:

The five cells are silky-white within, and are filled with a mass of firm, cream-coloured pulp, containing about three seeds each. This pulp is the edible part, and its consistence and flavour are indescribable. A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acidic nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In fact, to eat Durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience. ... as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed.[a]

Wallace described himself as being at first reluctant to try it because of the aroma, "but in Borneo I found a ripe fruit on the ground, and, eating it out of doors, I at once became a confirmed Durian eater". He cited one traveller from 1599:[b] "it is of such an excellent taste that it surpasses in flavour all other fruits of the world, according to those who have tasted it." He cites another writer: "To those not used to it, it seems at first to smell like rotten onions, but immediately after they have tasted it they prefer it to all other food. The natives give it honourable titles, exalt it, and make verses on it."

While Wallace cautions that "the smell of the ripe fruit is certainly at first disagreeable", later descriptions by Westerners are more graphic in detail. Novelist Anthony Burgess writes that eating durian is "like eating sweet raspberry blancmange in the lavatory". Travel and food writer Richard Sterling says:

 its odor is best described as pig-excrement, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away. Despite its great local popularity, the raw fruit is forbidden from some establishments such as hotels, subways and airports, including public transportation in Southeast Asia.

Other comparisons have been made with the civet, sewage, stale vomit, skunk spray and used surgical swabs.

tal , avatar

You can buy it online from Amazon wherever you're located. I got a bunch when I was going through a period experimenting with East Asian spices and condiments.

tal , avatar

Why would the USB electronics be particularly likely to fail relative to other electronics on the drive?

tal , avatar

It will have the potency of a god, and the knowledge of 4Chan.

tal , (edited ) avatar

there's some stuff image generating AI just can't do yet

There's a lot.

Some of it doesn't matter for certain things. And some of it you can work around. But try creating something like a graphic novel with Stable Diffusion, and you're going to quickly run into difficulties. You probably want to display a consistent character from different angles -- that's pretty important. That's not something that a fundamentally 2D-based generative AI can do well.

On the other hand, there's also stuff that Stable Diffusion can do better than a human -- it can very quickly and effectively emulate a lot of styles, if given a sufficient corpus to look at. I spent a while reading research papers on simulating watercolors, years back. Specialized software could do a kind of so-so job. Stable Diffusion wasn't even built for that, and with a general-purpose model, also not specialized for that, it already can turn out stuff that looks rather more-impressive than those dedicated software packages.

tal , (edited ) avatar

I think creating a lora for your character would help in that case.

A LORA is good for replicating a style, where there's existing stuff, helps add training data for a particular subject. There are problems that existing generative AIs smack into that that's good at fixing. But it's not a cure-all for all limitations of such systems. The problem I'm referring to is kinda fundamental to how the system works today -- it's not a lack of training data, but simply how the system deals with the world.

The problem is that the LLM-based systems today think of the world as a series of largely-decoupled 2D images, linked only by keywords. A human artist thinks of the world as 3D, can visualize something -- maybe using a model to help with perspective -- and then render it.

So, okay. If you want to create a facial portrait of a kinda novel character, that's something that you can do pretty well with AI-based generators.

But now try and render that character you just created from ten different angles, in unique scenes. That's something that a human is pretty good at. Here's a page from a Spiderman comic:

Like, try reproducing that page in Stable Diffusion, with the same views. Even if you can eventually get something even remotely approximating that, a human, traditional comic artist is going to be a lot faster at it than someone sitting in front of a Stable Diffusion box.

Is it possible to make some form of art generator that can do that? Yeah, maybe. But it's going to have to have a much more-sophisticated "mental" model of the world, a 3D one, and have solid 3D computer vision to be able to reduce scenes in its training corpus to 3D. And while people are working on it, that has its own extensive set of problems. Look at your training set. The human artist slightly stylized stuff or made errors that human viewers can ignore pretty easily, but a computer vision model that doesn't work exactly like human vision and the computer vision system might go into conniptions over. For example, look at the fifth panel there. The artist screwed up -- the ship slightly overlaps the dock, right above the "THWIP". A human viewer probably wouldn't notice or care. But if you have some kind of computer vision system that looks for line intersections to determine relative 3d positioning -- something that we do ourselves, and is common in computer vision -- it can very easily look at that image and have no idea what the hell is going on there. Or to give another example, the ship's hull isn't the same shape from panel to panel. In panel 4, the curvature goes one way; in panel 5, the other way. Say I'm a computer vision system trying to deal with that. Is what's going on there that there ship is a sort of amorphous thing that is changing shape from frame to frame? Is it important for the shape to change, to create a stylized effect, or is it just the artist doing a good job of identifying what the matters to a human viewer and half-assing what doesn't matter? Does this show two Spidermen in different dimensions, alternating views? Are the views from different characters, who have intentional vision distortions? I mean, understanding what's going on there entails identifying that something is a ship, knowing that ships don't change shape, having some idea of what is important to a human viewer in the image, knowing from context that there's one Spiderman, in one dimension, etc. The viewer and the artist can do it, because the viewer and the artist know about ships in the real world -- the artist can effectively communicate an idea to the viewer because they not only have hardware that processes the thing similarly, but also have a lot of real-world context in common that the LLM-based AI doesn't have.

The proportions aren't exactly consistent from frame to frame, don't perfectly reflect reality, and might be more effective at conveying movement or whatever than an actual rendering of a 3d model would be. That works for human viewers. And existing 2D systems can kind of dodge the problem (as long as they're willing to live with the limitations that intrinsically come with a 2D model) because they're looking at a bunch of already-stylized images, so can make similar-looking images stylized in the same way. But now imagine that they're trying to take stylized images, then reduce them into a coherent 3D world, then learn to re-apply stylization. That may involve creating not just a 3D model, but enough understanding of the objects in that world to understand what stylization is reasonable to create a given emotional effect and be reasonable to a human, and when. People may not care that that ship is doing some impossible geometry, but might care a whole lot about the numbers of limbs that Spiderman has. Is it technically possible to make such a system? Probably. But is it a minor effort to get there from here? No, probably not. You're going to have to make a system that works wildly differently from the way that the existing systems do. That's even though what you're trying to do might seem small from the standpoint of a human observer -- just being able to get arbitrary camera angles of the image being rendered.

The existing generative AIs don't work all that much the way a human does. If you think of them as a "human" in a box, that means that there are some things that they're gonna be pretty impressively good at that a human isn't, but also some things that a human is pretty good at that they're staggeringly godawful at. Some of those things that look minor (or even major) to a human viewer can be worked around with relatively-few changes, or straightforward, mechanical changes. But some of those things that look simple to a human viewer to fix -- because they would be for a human artist, like "just draw the same thing from another angle" -- are really, really hard to improve on.

tal , (edited ) avatar

On the other hand, there are things that a human artist is utterly awful at, that LLM-based generative AIs are amazing at. I mentioned that LLMs are great at producing works in a given style, can switch up virtually effortlessly. I'm gonna do a couple Spiderman renditions in different styles, takes about ten seconds a pop on my system:

Spiderman as done by Neal Adams:

Spiderman as done by Alex Toth:

Spiderman in a noir style done by Darwyn Cooke:

Spiderman as done by Roy Lichtenstein:

Spiderman as painted by early-19th-century American landscape artist J. M. W. Turner:

And yes, I know, fingers, but I'm not generating a huge batch to try to get an ideal image, just doing a quick run to illustrate the point.

Note that none of the above were actually Spiderman artists, other than Adams, and that briefly.

That's something that's really hard for a human to do, given how a human works, because for a human, the style is a function of the workflow and a whole collection of techniques used to arrive at the final image. Stable Diffusion doesn't care about techniques, how the image got the way it is -- it only looks at the output of those workflows in its training corpus. So for Stable Diffusion, creating an image in a variety of styles or mediums -- even ones that are normally very time-consuming to work in -- is easy as pie, whereas for a single human artist, it'd be very difficult.

I think that that particular aspect is what gets a lot of artists concerned. Because it's (relatively) difficult for humans to replicate artistic styles, artists have treated their "style" as something of their stock-in-trade, where they can sell someone the ability to have a work in their particular style resulting from their particular workflow and techniques that they've developed. Something for which switching up styles is little-to-no barrier, like LLM-based generative AIs, upends that business model.

Both of those are things that a human viewer might want. I might want to say "take that image, but do it in watercolor" or "make that image look more like style X, blend those two styles". LLMs are great at that. But I equally might want to say "show this scene from another angle with the characters doing something else", and that's something that human artists are great at.

Where to find online communities of people making stuff mainly as a hobby?

Stuff could be anything, digital or physical, but the idea is of discussing and doing it as a hobby without any pressure or push to make it a business or side-gig. Nothing against that, simply that communities/groups with that atmosphere are easy enough to find as-is.

tal , avatar

Well, on my subscriptions list, I've got:

3D printing: !3dprinting

AI-generated images: !imageai

PC Building: !buildapc

Home Automation: !homeautomation

Searching's community search for "maker" turns up a fair number of hits that might be interesting to you:

tal , avatar

I'd call it a "hoodie".

A hoodie (in some cases spelled hoody[1] and alternatively known as a hooded garment)[2] is a type of sweatshirt[1] with a hood that partially or fully covers the wearer's head or face.

Wikipedia says that the zipper can be a defining characteristic:

List of jackets

  • Hoodie, a zippered hooded sweatshirt (non zippered can be considered a sweatshirt only)
tal , avatar

Sounds like it!

The earliest known use of the noun sweatshirt is in the 1920s.

OED's earliest evidence for sweatshirt is from 1929, in Sears, Roebuck Catalogue.

EDIT: I never really thought about the word until now, realized that it's a portmanteau of "sweater" and "shirt".

Google unveils Veo, a high-definition AI video generator that may rival Sora ( )

On Tuesday at Google I/O 2024, Google announced Veo, a new AI video-synthesis model that can create HD videos from text, image, or video prompts, similar to OpenAI's Sora. It can generate 1080p videos lasting over a minute and edit videos from written instructions, but it has not yet been released for broad use.

tal OP , (edited ) avatar

I'm pretty sure that there are some active gopher servers, and I assume that something is indexing them.


Yeah, still there. Here's a Web gateway if you don't have a gopher client.

It looks like they have "Veronica-2" running.

It seems to still be indexing and returning search results for gopherspace. Here's a search for "linux":

EDIT: It looks like SDF is running one of said active gopher servers. I've noticed them also running one of the lemmy instances.

EDIT2: I just fired up cool-retro-term and a gopher client. Brings back VT220 memories:

EDIT2: Heh, I suppose it looks a little goofy in 16:9 aspect ratio rather than 4:3.

tal OP , avatar

Jughead is apparently still around too, and the source is up on Savannah, just been renamed to "jugtail" to avoid potential trademark issues. Dunno if anyone's actually running any instances, though.

tal , avatar

I don't know what services you like, but "victim se" seems to turn up hits elsewhere. The "se" makes it unique enough.

tal , avatar

Although the song is normally performed with electric guitars, vocalist/guitarist Dave Grohl's solo acoustic variation gained popularity after an impromptu rendition on Howard Stern's radio show in 1998.[19] The band has performed it acoustically since then and an acoustic performance concludes their 2006 live CD and DVD Skin and Bones. Additionally, an acoustic version was released on Foo Fighters' 2009 Greatest Hits album.

The very first hit I get on YouTube is for the Greatest Hits version. Is that it?

tal , avatar

Skin and Bones

This is the Skin and Bones one, but that's live, and I assume that you'd have probably remembered if it were live.

EDIT: Oh, I see what you mean. There are about a million acoustic covers of Everlong on YouTube done by other people.

tal , avatar


tal , avatar

It was The Destruction of Laputa from Castle in the Sky.

Edit: Or it was Sora from Escaflowne.

"The Destruction Of Laputa"


tal , avatar
  • Binning. By detecting defects and working around them by making a design that can function without some portions of the processor and disabling a defective part of a processor, and selling it as a lower grade, one can have a higher rate of salable processors.

  • Splitting up the market to permit use of price discrimination. If I know that people who want error-correcting memory are less price sensitive than those that are, I have a separate line of processors and motherboards that costs much more and avoid offering error correcting memory on my cheaper line. This converts consumer surplus into producer surplus.

tal , (edited ) avatar

But despite that mistake and a few other hiccups—my punctuation seemed unnatural because it was too accurate—Daniel offered me the job.

"Baby, I like talking to you and all...but I notice that you're using unspaced em-dashes as the alternate form for parenthetical phrases. No other girl I've ever met on OnlyFans has done that."

Oh shit.

The agency’s manager sent me a background memo about the woman I’d be playing, a purported 21-year-old university student blessed with physical proportions that are in vogue these days. To ensure that my performance was as authentic as possible, I spent two hours committing all of her details to memory: her favorite programming language

You want to avoid those awkward, immersion-breaking moments in the chat where you've got some snippets of code in language that the client happens to know and you don't, I imagine. The real pro route is to choose something adequately-esoteric that nobody is likely gonna call you out on it.

"When it's late at night, sometimes I like to relax with a little coding in REXX, though Prolog is good to mix things up."

I was to be paid 7 cents per line of dialog, with each dialog running for a minimum of 40 lines. For my first assignment, I had to compose 20 dialogs involving sex in public places—10 at the beach, five inside a car, and five in a forest or garden. There was a list of particular sex acts I had to include, as well as a stricture that I refrain from using emoji in more than 30 percent of lines. I had only 48 hours to complete the task.

Yeah, I can see why they want to get AI chatbots working for this.

Robert Carey, a Phoenix-based partner at the law firm Hagens Berman, which specializes in massive class actions, has a less charitable view of the matter. In the midst of my plunge into the chatting industry, I caught wind that he was looking for men to become plaintiffs in a class action against both OnlyFans and the agencies who hire chatters. A lead attorney in the lawsuits that revolutionized college sports by making it possible for student-athletes to get paid for name and image rights, Carey argues that the managers who run creators’ accounts are engaging in a type of bait and switch that fits the classic definition of fraud. “When you subscribe, the very first thing it says is, ‘Have a DM relationship,’” he said. “Well, that’s totally fraudulent … It’s an open secret they’re just defrauding people.”

Carey, who confided in me that his firm plans to file its lawsuit soon, contends that the chatting illusion can lead to serious harm for unwitting subscribers.

Hmm. I wonder how that works. Do they, in the discovery phase of this lawsuit, just require all of the service's chat logs to be handed over?

tal , (edited ) avatar

You never see WonderMan.


Apparently not a "spin-off", though it looks like there was some friction over the relationship to Wonder Woman.

Marvel Comics' then-publisher Stan Lee said in 1978, "You know, years ago we brought out Wonder Man, and [DC Comics] sued us because they had Wonder Woman, and... I said okay, I'll discontinue Wonder Man. And all of a sudden they've got Power Girl [after Marvel had introduced Power Man]. Oh, boy. How unfair."[7]

tal , (edited ) avatar

I'm kind of annoyed by most superheroes as characters because of the costume thing.

The spandex thing that's a pretty-common convention was because the Comic Code Authority disallowed nudity. Solution? Skintight outfits.

Now, I've got no problem with nudity, or salaciousness, or outright adult comics for that matter.

But we've got all that historical baggage of just about everyone running around in skintight outfits. So a lot of the genre winds up with having to come up with elaborate explanations as to why they're wearing the things.

The CCA is long dead. You can have nudity or salaciousness in comic books if you want. But the convention is still with us because of designs that date to that era, and it's just senseless. I feel like it kinda restricts the genre and doesn't help the immersion.

There are comic characters who don't do the spandex thing. John Constantine or Dick Tracy wear trenchcoats. Dream in Sandman doesn't have fixed garb, but doesn't do spandex.

The Parahumans series -- Worm and Ward web serials, not comic books but certainly superheroes -- are what I'd call some examples of modern superheroes that don't have a design dating from an era where there were CCA constraints. Granted, they aren't graphic novels or comic books, so there are different incentives, but even so.

tal , avatar

So she’s a lawyer, so is Daredevil, it’s a job that doesn’t lend itself well to perilous adventures.

Perry Mason's kind of a Sherlock Holmes-type character. Not a superhero, but a lawyer character who does get into dangerous situations.

Perry Mason is a fictional character, an American criminal defense lawyer who is the main character in works of detective fiction written by Erle Stanley Gardner. Perry Mason features in 82 novels and 4 short stories, all of which involve a client being charged with murder, usually involving a preliminary hearing or jury trial. Typically, Mason establishes his client's innocence by finding the real murderer. The character was inspired by famed Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Earl Rogers.

tal , (edited ) avatar

I’m an android user and I shred my files using a app that uses an algorithm that overwritten that bytes of the file

I suspect that it doesn't actually work. I mean, they can overwrite the logical positions in the file file if they want, but that doesn't entail that it actually overwrites the underlying physical blocks, for a number of reasons, starting with some of the stuff at the drive level, but also because of higher-level issues. What filesystem does Android use?


Looks like yaffs2, at least on this system.

rootfs / rootfs ro 0 0
tmpfs /dev tmpfs rw,mode=755 0 0
devpts /dev/pts devpts rw,mode=600 0 0
proc /proc proc rw 0 0
sysfs /sys sysfs rw 0 0
tmpfs /sqlite_stmt_journals tmpfs rw,size=4096k 0 0
none /dev/cpuctl cgroup rw,cpu 0 0
/dev/block/mtdblock0 /system yaffs2 ro 0 0
/dev/block/mtdblock1 /data yaffs2 rw,nosuid,nodev 0 0
/dev/block/mtdblock2 /cache yaffs2 rw,nosuid,nodev 0 0
/dev/block//vold/179:0 /sdcard vfat rw,dirsync,nosuid,nodev,noexec,uid=1000,gid=1015,fmask=0702,dmask=0702,allow_utime=0020,codepage=cp437,iocharset=iso8859-1,shortname=mixed,utf8,errors=remount-ro 0 0

YAFFS is a robust log-structured file system that holds data integrity as a high priority. A secondary YAFFS goal is high performance. YAFFS will typically outperform most alternatives.[3] It is also designed to be portable and has been used on Linux, WinCE, pSOS, RTEMS, eCos, ThreadX, and various special-purpose OSes. A variant 'YAFFS/Direct' is used in situations where there is no OS, embedded OSes or bootloaders: it has the same core filesystem but simpler interfacing to both the higher and lower level code and the NAND flash hardware.

Yeah, note the "log-structured" bit there.

A log-structured filesystem is a file system in which data and metadata are written sequentially to a circular buffer, called a log.

So, what happens is that when you write, it's going to the log, and then there's a metadata update once the write is complete saying "I wrote to the log". The app probably isn't writing to the previous location of the data on the disk, because writing to byte offset 32,000 the second time in a file will go to a different logical location on the storage device than the first time you wrote it, causing the thing to not actually be overwritten.


Secure Deletion on Log-structured File Systems

We address the problem of secure data deletion on log-structured file systems. We focus on the YAFFS file system, widely used on Android smartphones. We show that these systems provide no temporal guarantees on data deletion and that deleted data still persists for nearly 44 hours with average phone use and indefinitely if the phone is not used after the deletion. Furthermore, we show that file overwriting and encryption, methods commonly used for secure deletion on block-structured file systems, do not ensure data deletion in log-structured file systems.

I'd also note that this is a lead-up to proposed solutions, but that's only handling things down to the level that the OS sees, not what the flash device sees; they don't mention things like wear leveling, so they probably aren't taking that into consideration.

EDIT: Oh, they do mention it, but just to say that some of their approach might work (like, what they mean is that if it writes enough data in the background, it might eventually overwrite whatever, even if the OS has no control as to what's being written):

Wei et al. [16] have considered secure deletion on flash storage in the context of solid state drives (SDDs). An SSD makes use of a Flash Translation Layer (FTL). This layer allows a regular block-based file system (such as FAT) to be used on flash memory by handling the nuances of erase blocks opaquely through the FTL’s layer of indirection. This layer has the same effect as a log-structured file system,
where the FTL writes new entries at empty locations, so old entries remain until the entire erase block can be reclaimed.
They executed traditional block-based approaches to secure deletion and determined that they do not properly sanitize
data on flash storage. They also showed alarmingly that some built-in sanitization methods do not function correctly either. They propose to address this concern by having flash hardware manufacturers make use of zero overwriting, and add it into the FTL hardware. They state that circumventing the problem of a lack of secure deletion requires changes in the FTL, but depending on how the FTL is implemented, our userlevel approaches may also succeed similarly without requiring hardware changes.

tal , avatar

Well, physical destruction. Thermite maybe isn't the best route.

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