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Ask Slashdot: Protecting Data From a Carrington Event? 386

Posted by timothy
from the managed-to-save-the-kids-and-the-games dept.
kactusotp writes "I run a small indie game company, and since source code is kind of our lifeblood, I'm pretty paranoid about backups. Every system has a local copy, servers run from a RAID 5 NAS, we have complete offsite backups, backup to keyrings/mobile phones, and cloud backups in other countries as well. With all the talk about solar flares and other such near-extinction events lately, I've been wondering: is it actually possible to store or protect data in such a way that if such an event occurred, data survives and is recoverable in a useful form? Optical and magnetic media would probably be rendered useless by a large enough solar flare, and storing source code/graphics in paper format would be impractical to recover, so Slashdot, short of building a Faraday cage 100 km below the surface of the Moon, how could you protect data to survive a modern day Carrington event?"
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Ask Slashdot: Protecting Data From a Carrington Event?

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  • Don't panic! (Score:5, Informative)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@nOSPAM.beau.org> on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:40PM (#41013575)

    First step is to stop listening to the hype. Yes it would be bad for the large power distribution infrastructure but no solar flare is going to erase optical discs that doesn't also wipe out most life on the planet. It isn't going to erase hard drives that aren't destroyed by the power events that happen in the first few minutes. So a copy in your safe will still be readable. Remember, the safe is metal and entirely enclosed. In other words it is a Faraday Cage. I really don't know how flash memory will react to a strong electro-magnetic field but my money on it also surviving so long as it isn't connected to anything when the balloon goes up. Kinda hard to induce much of a voltage across nanoscale features. And these observations also apply to an EMP attack.

    It things really get bad you might have trouble finding a working system to connect that backup to and electricity to start it up with but if it gets that bad you won't be worrying about the source code to some damned game, you will be worried about God, Gold and Guns at that point.

    While making those elaborate plans to protect your data you might also want to take a few precautions to ensure you are there to need that data when the dust settles. Do you have a bug out bag? Is it fresh? Do you have an escape plan? Odds are that if you are an indie game dev you live in one of the hives where venture capital can be found and everyone there is toast within days; the trucks stop rolling when the gas pumps stop working, the shelves empty and canibalism begins. Do you have a destination in mind? Do you have a few days of survival supplies stashed to allow you a chance to get to it?

    • Re:Don't panic! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:47PM (#41013683)

      This fool is beyond our help -- he thinks optical media will be toasted, so you can bet he'll just label your antihype as denial or conspiracy misinformation so he can maintain his ludicrous delusion.

      • Re:Don't panic! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:20PM (#41014159)

        He probably saw that Nicholos Cage movie two nights ago about a sun EM pulse that "destroyed the ozone layer" and then wiped-out all on mankind in a fiery inferno (even people 1 mile below ground). Hence a massive loss of data.

        Of course no EM pulse could destroy the ozone layer, and even if it did it wouldn't matter because it's the *magnetosphere* that protects us from EM events and that was still intact.

        Plus even if something did set the world afire with flames, the event would not effect the humans living on the dark side of the earth. The U.S. might be toasted but China, Russia, and most of Europe would still be alive & well. (With their 24 hour news channels talking about the death of the heathen Americans... it was an act of God, Allah, Buddha, whatever.)

        Basically this is a ridiculous "Ask Slashdot" arising from too many ridiculous Hollywood terror/fear films.

        • Re:Don't panic! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DJRumpy (1345787) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:55PM (#41014719)

          Agree. If it ever gets to the point where we are stripped of our protection from the Sun, then worrying about your code for a project is probably a little 'out of scope' in the scheme of things...

      • by Splab (574204)

        Not only that, he is talking about extinction level events - if that happens, your data is the last of your worries.

    • Re:Don't panic! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:54PM (#41013773)

      You are correct about flash memory not being particularly vulnerable to EM. I work in data sterilization and modern degaussers that are used by a lot of government agencies to nuke their hard drives are completely ineffective on solid-state drives.

    • Re:Don't panic! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MitchDev (2526834) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:59PM (#41013889)
      If a true "Extinction Event" occurs, no one will be alive to care about your data...
      • by flyingsquid (813711) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:36PM (#41014419)
        TRANSCRIPT: EMERGENCY STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE BY ALL NEWS AGENCIES AND EMERGENCY BROADCAST CHANNELS. "My fellow Americans. I stand before you as President to tell you that at 12:03 AM Eastern Time, a massive asteroid over ten miles in diameter impacted the coast of the North Sea at a speed of over 50,000 miles per hour. This asteroid caused a blast equivalent to over one million of our most powerful H-bombs. At least 100 million souls were killed by the shockwave, but even as we speak, a mile-high tsunami is sweeping across Europe, drowning thousands of years of civilization in the blink of an eye. Molten debris is now being sent hurtling towards us in suborbital trajectories, and will soon ignite wildfires across the globe. Any of you who are unfortunate enough to survive the coming inferno will face an earth that has become a ruined hellscape. With ash blotting out the skies, all crops and plants will wither and die, and the unlucky survivors of civilization will descend into an orgy of cannibalism as they desperately try to consume their friends and families to survive the freezing snows and darkness of our Apocalypse. But I have saved the worst news, the most bitter tidings, for last.

        "For with the destruction of Finland, the source code for 'Angry Birds Rio' has been lost to us. Forever. I ask that you now observe a moment of silence. [chokes back tears]. Perhaps we could have carried on otherwise. Perhaps we could have found the will to carry on. The United States as we knew it would never have survived this catastrophe, but perhaps we could have saved the species, and rebuilt something from the ashes. But not now. With the loss of Angry Birds Rio, all hope has been extinguished. There is simply no reason to carry on living. Even if we could save the species, what would be the point? And so I have decided that, with our remaining resources, the American Government will distribute cyanide capsules to help ease your passing. I will now commit suicide live on camera, to demonstrate to you the proper way to consume the cyanide poison capsule. God have mercy on our souls."

        • by cmburns69 (169686) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:27PM (#41015217) Homepage Journal

          It's ok, though, I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Gecko!

          .

          .

          (pun intended)

        • by EdIII (1114411) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:13PM (#41017497)

          I read this Morgan Freeman's voice and I still have tears streaming down my face I am laughing so hard.

          +5 funny indeed.

    • Re:Don't panic! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:19PM (#41014149) Journal

      In complete agreement with this, but a bit more elaboration is needed IMHO.

      If a full-on Carrington Event irreparably blows the electrical grid, you're going to have a hard time finding something that would compile your source code, let alone having an audience to sell your final products to.

      If electricity blew out for a few days, no biggie. On the other hand, something that damned big may well take out power for months, if not years. Same goes for most modern trucks, trains, and ships - specifically their computer-run engine controllers. Without transportation, most cities would see grocery stores run out of food within 3-5 days. Most home have an average of 1 day up to two weeks of food in a given pantry. The military could conceivably step in as most of their vehicles are hardened against frickin' nuclear EMPs, but there are only so many mil-spec vehicles to go around (less in the US, when you consider how many of them are currently in the Mideast right now). Long story short, relief would be haphazard at best, and would certainly not reach anyone who isn't in one of the top 5-10 metro areas of your country.

      The rest just comes apart from there.

      I'm a sysadmin. I take a rather paranoid approach to DR/BC measures. On the other hand, if something like the sun going apeshit to Carrington levels happened and blew out the infrastructure? Fuck it - I wouldn't even go into work at that point, because we would all have much bigger problems to tackle than a screaming CEO.

      I do disagree with parent about relying solely on a "bug-out bag". Unless you live in a dense urban area where you have no other choice? Once you leave home you're a refugee, period. 3 days worth of food will run out pretty quickly, and if panic truly set in, I doubt you'd find much shelter beyond whatever the government might provide.

      Long story short? You will save yourself a lot of grief and money by preparing your datacenter/source/whatever for the more common outage causes. Anything beyond the typical stuff (fire, flood, hacking, etc) is likely going to make you question whether or not civilization as we know it will even survive - and I'm fairly sure that you place your family/spouse/kids/etc at a far higher priority than a bunch of source code to a game.

      • Anything beyond the typical stuff (fire, flood, hacking, etc) is likely going to make you question whether or not civilization as we know it will even survive - and I'm fairly sure that you place your family/spouse/kids/etc at a far higher priority than a bunch of source code to a game.

        You clearly lack experience of the end of civilisation as we know it! Realistically, in any such senario, the other games providers will be trashed, and if you are the only games provider...

        1) Profit!!!!!

      • Re:Don't panic! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Above (100351) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:39PM (#41016357)

        Haphazard sure, but I think you actually underestimate how resourceful people would be in that situation.

        Take food. Will you be able to pop over to McD's and get a burger and fries for $1.99. No way. Totally dependent on the supply chain. Will your grocery store have Cheerios? Probably not. However there is a lot of food still grown and processed locally. So if you live in corn country that may be all you eat for a month. Maybe you live in peanut land and better hope you don't have an allergy. Plenty of simple diesel farm tractors and old pickups that could be put to use transporting the stuff locally. Guess what, with most cars out of commission there's plenty of gas in your local gas station to power them for a long time as well.

        EMP's would not take out many small generators, dirtbikes, gokarts, and other assorted engines which have no electronics. Hand tools and such would still work. The amount of crap Americans have in their garages that goes unused with modern conveniences is huge, and would be put to use. Flash drives and optical disks would be largely unaffected. With a small amount of warning precautions could be taken to protect a lot of assets.

        Don't get me wrong, such an event would be hugely disruptive. It would take years for life to return to normal. While the impact would be in different areas, Katrina provides some evidence. Would it be worse because less help could come from further away? Sure. Would it be the end of society as we know it? I don't think so at all.

        Keeping his source code safe is easy. Write it to optical, flash, and hard drives. Store all three in a faraday cage enclosure that is grounded. If you want to be crazy paranoid pay one of the vault places that keeps it deep underground in a mine converted to storage. Done and done, doesn't even cost that much. Will anyone care should such an event happen? Doubtful.

    • Re:Don't panic! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Internetuser1248 (1787630) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:25PM (#41014237)

      First step is to stop listening to the hype. Yes it would be bad for the large power distribution infrastructure but no solar flare is going to erase optical discs that doesn't also wipe out most life on the planet.

      The thing that surprised me was that someone who thinks most life on the planet is going to be wiped out is concerned about source code. Who is going to play your games when civilisation is reduced to rubble? You think people fighting over post apocalyptic resources are going to give a shit about some indy game? I am also an indy developer and I thought my delusions of grandeur were about as big as they get. I tell myself I can revolutionise the video gaming paradigm. Even I am not deluded enough to think that my work would have any value whatsoever if the actual species was under threat. Get a copy of Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica or the complete works of Albert Einstein, or Nikola Tesla... bury that shit in an airtight metal box 100km beneath the surface of the moon. Indy games... yeah, right.

      • Re:Don't panic! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by korgitser (1809018) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:17PM (#41015067)

        Then this must be the case. You, sir, are still an indie developer, but he has transcended and "evolved" into the next stage: he is a hipster developer. Sad but true, the indie is the father of the hipster.
        So it is that you are wrong to look for reason in that one, for the hipster o/s code goes like this:

        reason() { return 0; }
        commonSense() { return 0; }
        realityCheck() { return 0; }

        So whenever we would pause to think something through, to understand something, to get a grip on something, the hipster would already be a step ahead, smiling obliviously on his train of thought, incompetent and unaware of it.

      • Makes me think of this XKCD [xkcd.com]
      • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @06:11PM (#41017477) Journal
        What bugged me was that the whole idea is so dumb I couldn't slide in a joke in the guise of legitimate suggestion to use really thick punch cards..
    • Shhh! Don't tell him that stuff. I plan on offering him my patented optical disk Carrington Event protection device. To the untrained eye, it may look like a paper bag, but for the low low price of $999.99 you can own it today.

    • Re:Don't panic! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Paracelcus (151056) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:25PM (#41016153) Journal

      The "extinction level event" will be a 1. Government gone mad (see Germany 1936) 2. A total world banking breakdown (see 1929) 3 A man made environmental collapse (see A Path Where No Man Thought by Cal Sagan/Richard Turco & other similar books).

      You need
      A remote hiding place
      A deep water well
      Firewood/seeds
      Cached supplies (scattered/buried/hidden)
      Gas Masks
      Solar Cell/Power
      Guns/Ammo

      Data? Screw data! Food, Water, Protection, heat! AND A VERY LOW PROFILE!!

  • Dumbass... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:43PM (#41013613)

    Wow, this is one of the most retarded questions to date and that's saying something for an "Ask Slashdot" question.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Wow, this is one of the most retarded questions to date and that's saying something for an "Ask Slashdot" question.

      Yeah. Joan can't possibly interfer with Blake's things anymore as he's R.I.P.

    • Re:Dumbass... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:03PM (#41013953)

      It's a bummer your post was modded down. You bring up a good point, it's really hard to get past this guy's warped sense of priorities.

      I propose a do-over. How about instead of asking how to protect his video game in the event of global catastrophe, how about just a discussion of how we (as a society I mean) bank a few things so that if that event does come it doesn't turn out as bad as what happened in Dark Angel? For example, what if the US Gov't built a vault somewhere that could supposedly survive this even and stored a few computers with tons of data about history, technology, maybe a backup of Wikipedia, etc?

      Well my idea may be dumb but I have to say a discussion about that would be way more interesting to me.

  • by hairykrishna (740240) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:45PM (#41013637)

    The only mechanism I can think of which would case a solar flare to render optical disks unreadable would be radiation damage. A solar flare which delivered that kind of dose would likely wipe out all life on earth so you probably wouldn't be worrying about your backups.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And even if it didn't...

      If it is powerful enough to destroy all your info, wouldn't it stand to reason that *EVERY COMPUTER ON EARTH* would also be destroyed? (Or at least all those in the same hemisphere as yours.)

      Your company's entire purpose for existence just vanished at the same time as your company's data.

      It's one thing if your company deals with data that has use outside computers (banking information, for example, or engineering blueprints for physical objects,) but when your company just writes so

    • by Bobakitoo (1814374) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:55PM (#41013797)
      The optical disks would be unreadable because, presumably, the electronic hardware used to access them would be unusable. Not because the disk itself somewhat melted away.
    • by cowboy76Spain (815442) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:56PM (#41013829)

      The only mechanism I can think of which would case a solar flare to render optical disks unreadable would be radiation damage. A solar flare which delivered that kind of dose would likely wipe out all life on earth so you probably wouldn't be worrying about your backups.

      A good sysadmin would worry about backups even after death... :-P

      • I do. I do a lot of work for company X, and use a hosting account with company Y to do it. Y have written instructions from me to allow X to take over the hosting account should I be dead or incapacitated. Worth thinking about.

        Oh...everyone? OK, point taken.
      • The only mechanism I can think of which would case a solar flare to render optical disks unreadable would be radiation damage. A solar flare which delivered that kind of dose would likely wipe out all life on earth so you probably wouldn't be worrying about your backups.

        A good sysadmin would worry about backups even after death... :-P

        Obligatory xkcd [xkcd.com]

    • I've had this same situation come up with clients and employers. Folks come to me wanting data to be safe from all* circumstances. It's too expensive to do that.

      I can get it up to the situation where if a nuclear bomb exploded over our state they could go somewhere else and set up shop, but for a small business or non-profit would you need to worry about such things if a nuclear bomb exploded over your home and/or business? Probably not.

    • by Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:59PM (#41014779)

      The only mechanism I can think of which would case a solar flare to render optical disks unreadable would be radiation damage. A solar flare which delivered that kind of dose would likely wipe out all life on earth so you probably wouldn't be worrying about your backups.

      Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:45PM (#41013639)

    ...your small indie game company is the least of your worries.

  • Yes (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:45PM (#41013641)

    Punch Cards.

  • UPS Datacenter (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I once toured one of THE TWO UPS datacenters that could run for a week on its own diesel generators. They figured that after a week, they could get more fuel to their generators if need be, but you also have to think that if things are so bad that critical infrastructure like the UPS operations cannot get power back after a week, then there is probably a disaster so big that the data might not mean much to anybody for much longer.

    In the same way, if things are so bad with data drives and computers being de

    • by jmorris42 (1458) *

      Yes but UPS must stay running because the only way to recover from such a disaster is for UPS, FedEx and such to stay running. Under the martial law that would follow such an event the military would be ensuring they get priority access to whatever fuel can be obtained. That is why they figure on a week. If they can't get more in that time it is truly game over anyway. And anyway, the datacenter without fuel for the trucks and planes wouldn't help a lot.

      • Yes but UPS must stay running because the only way to recover from such a disaster is for UPS, FedEx and such to stay running. Under the martial law that would follow such an event the military would be ensuring they get priority access to whatever fuel can be obtained. That is why they figure on a week. If they can't get more in that time it is truly game over anyway. And anyway, the datacenter without fuel for the trucks and planes wouldn't help a lot.

        Yes, because humanitarian aid, heavy repair machinery and qualified personnel will be delivered by UPS... go figure. Ah, and UPS workstations, communication networks (including wireless) and electricity and fuel will come from a diferent network that won't be affected by such an event.

        The seven day figure is good for a minor local catastrophe event (a tornado, floodings, earthquake) or even just unreliable power suppliers. But the real reason is that, in case the shit hits the fan, UPS CIO can go to the boa

    • In the same way, if things are so bad with data drives and computers being destroyed everywhere in the world, who do you think is going to give a crap about being able to play your game?

      And even if they care, they aren't going to be able to, even if you've preserved your source code.

  • by florescent_beige (608235) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:48PM (#41013687) Journal
    How would optical be wiped by e/m radiation? As for magnetic, as long as there is no physical damage taking place (I'm no Carrington event specialist, but it doesn't seem as if high energy particles do the damage, just warpage of Earth's magnetic field (someone can correct me if I'm wrong)) wouldn't any old Faraday cage do? I wouldn't be surprised if the metal drawers in safety deposit boxes would be sufficient.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by clintp (5169)

      How would optical be wiped by e/m radiation?

      1. Find a CD or a DVD with your valuable source code on it.
      2. Take the media to your kitchen. Insert media into microwave oven.
      3. Turn microwave on exposing media to EM radiation.

  • http://olydbg.de/Paperbak/ [olydbg.de]

    In theory, if civilization is destroyed by the Flame Deluge, the monks should be able to reconstruct your data on paper using nothing more than a magnifying glass.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:50PM (#41013721) Homepage

    A steel box is a perfectly good Faraday cage. Its a small antenna cross section, so you'll effectively get no effects inside the box.

    So if you are paranoid enough to care, just keep a backup of your data in your safe. Which you want to do anyway, since that helps mitigate many many many more risks to your data than a big solar storm.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby&comcast,net> on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:54PM (#41013771)

    I think people should really be designing for a more plausible and real world scenario that happens far more often. The man made scenario known as a court order. Companies like Ontrack do far more business recovering data for court order subpoenas than they do for floods or fires.

    Seriously, you can put your data on RAID 6 arrays to mitigate against disk failure. You can back up your data to mitigate against a disaster at a site. You can distribute your data to multiple sites to mitigate your risk from flood or hurricane or similar disaster.

    Can you comply with a court order seizure of your data, hand over everything that is required and still operate? If you can do this than you have a pretty good disaster recovery plan. If you can't do this than you don't have a good disaster recovery plan and it's the one disaster than in the real world strikes businesses more often than just about anything else.

    Yes, I have been involved with this kind of thing more than once, and you really don't want to mess about a court order.

    • How can you go about doing this? Wouldn't any backups you make by definition fall under the order? It seems like such a court order would completely shut your company down until all proceedings were over, which could be for years.

      • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby&comcast,net> on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:25PM (#41014247)

        I'll give a real world example of a time that a company I was doing work for got sued for about $8 million for license non-compliance. The company 15,000 seats and only had 5000 licenses of a product that they were using. The company demanded an audit and discovered that were 8000 installations of their software on site. Sound pretty open and shut, write a check, true up the licenses and somebody get's fired, right?

        The data had to preserved /exactly/ as it was for the date of the audit. I performed both a back up of the database as well as a physical copy of the database. This was performed for an agreed upon date for the audit. I then preserved it on a separate database instance on a distinct SQL server owned by the legal department. I made sure that I did not 'clean up' or otherwise make the data look nice or presentable.

        For those wanting to learn from this I was able to kill the lawsuit dead in it's tracks. When I talked with corporate legal counsel I asked them a simple question. Did the license say 'concurrent' or 'seat' in the fine print? Legal counsel came back to me an hour later to let me know that the license said "concurrent" and not seat. The fact that we had 8000 installations was meaningless /if/ I could prove that we never exceeded 5000 concurrent users.

        I was able to do this by going back to multiple back up copies of the SQL database. I made copies of those database backups and put those on the legal teams SQL server. I then looked at the application metering data for the previous two years and was able to prove that we never exceeded 4700 'concurrent' licenses at a given time. This data was provided to their legal counsel in raw form.

        To answer your question it boils down to this. You can keep your data as long as they can see your data (as necessarily redacted) in a /timely/ manner and without alteration. Speed is critical and you absolutely have to be able to show how you got your results and have to be able to replicate your work. In other words the other guys IT people have to take your raw data, write their own report and still get your results.

  • by maroberts (15852) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:55PM (#41013789) Homepage Journal

    how could you protect data to survive a modern day Carrington event?

    Ban reruns of Dynasty on TV?

  • by Anaerin (905998) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:55PM (#41013801)
    Unless your computer is in an all-acrylic case, the metal shell acts as rather a nice Faraday Cage. Given that the atmosphere protected most of the equipment on the ground during the last event (Bastille Day, 2000) you should be just fine. And finally, as the last one was in 2000, and they're due every 500 years, you'll be good for a while.
    • by maroberts (15852)

      And finally, as the last one was in 2000, and they're due every 500 years, you'll be good for a while.

      One presumes that these events are totally random processes and like dice, the fact you rolled two 6s last go has no effect on whether you'll roll two 6s this time.
      Assuming that to be true, you could just as easily get one next year as in 500 years.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The geomagnetic effects of a solar storm is very large, in terms of physical extent, but still relatively slow, small changes in terms of magnetic field amplitude. In a crude sense, you can think of the voltage induced in a loop of wire from a changing magnetic field. The voltage is proportional to the area, size of change in magnetic field, and how fast the field changes (inversely proportional to the time the change takes). The second and third factors are already quite small. The only reason it affec

  • OK, I'll Bite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by carpwall (595270) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:57PM (#41013839)
    Let's just get the promotion out of the way.. sigh.. what's the name of your game company and what game did you just release?
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:57PM (#41013857)

    So, the big event happens, many people are dead and all computer technology has been wiped out.

    How to properly prepare your backups? The trick is to really think about what is the core mission of your company... obviously, you build games now so the company will survive.

    So how to ensure the company will survive in the event most customers are dead and computers nearly non-exstant? Quite obviously, it is to be the leaders of the next rise in civilization.

    This means ensuring a good supply of arms, and training for each person in the company so that you can arise as the natural leaders from the ashes of civilization.

    You should probably also harden the building, and lay in a year of food so the company can sit safe while civilization steadies into a steady state outside. To ensure you can really hold out that long, make sure your company is housed in a large building with a flat roof, that no-one can see from the outside (a 10 foot extension to the walls on the roof may work). Then put enough dirt on the roof that you can grow crops and raise goats/chickens.

    As a game company you stand a better chance of ruling civilization than most. You'll have better reflexes, and of course who has thought more about post-apocolyic matters than a modern game developer?

    Good luck, and I look forward to living in servitude under your wise rule.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:58PM (#41013883)

    It would take some time to retype all the code but at least it would not be lost.

    As for audio and video recordings, they would be lost unless you can find some way to record them on a non-erasable format like a vinyl record. RCA developed a record that could store video but the quality was no better than VHS. With MPEG4 compression that could be upped to HD quality, but you would still lose a lot of high frequency movie content (1080i =/= 2000p of today's movies).
    .

  • What are the chances that you still care about data and aren't preoccupied scrapping the skin tumors off you third hand?

  • With all the talk about solar flares and other such near-extinction events lately...how could you protect data to survive a modern day Carrington event?

    Two things to consider. First if the Carrington event was a near-extinction event why did the world's population survive intact (with the exception of a few unfortunately telegraph operators)? Second if a vast majority of the earth's population did die (i.e. a real near-extinction event) why would the survivors be interested in your video game data? In addition if the EM disturbance is so great that it erases hard drives everyone's computers will also have fried so even if they were somehow interested in t

  • Punch cards. Fire proof and water resistant punch chars. Oh and bug proof.
    • by omnichad (1198475)

      And at 13 punch cards per kilobyte, how many trees would have to be cut down to save Rebecca Black's "Friday?"

  • CDs and DVDs are not magnetic.

    Any event energetic enough to erase them will also erase all life on the planet.

  • genetically (Score:3, Funny)

    by WillgasM (1646719) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:12PM (#41014073) Homepage
    Just create a new form of life and embed your source code in its DNA. Then build a rocket/ion drive/stasis chamber to deliver your new life form to a neighboring star where it can then land and seed life on another planet. The real bitch is starting all over every time you release a patch.
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:34PM (#41014369) Homepage

    Both optical media and magnetic media are essentially immune to solar flares. Hard drive electronics may be damaged, but the data will still be on the platters.

    Magnetic tape is hard to erase; it takes a big magnet within inches of the tape. Degaussing most modern tape cartridges takes a field strength above 1000 gauss. The earth's magnetic field is around 0.5 gauss. It varies during solar flares and other events, but the numbers are all below 1 gauss. MRI scanners are in the 500 gauss range, and at those field strengths, metal objects become projectiles.

    Magnetic tape is not affected by even intense gamma radiation. NIST totally settled that issue decades ago by lowering a recorded reel of 3/4" computer tape into the gamma ray pool of their nuclear reactor in Gaithersburg, MD, and leaving it there for 45 minutes. It then read back fine. Heat is a big threat to magnetic tape, though.

    • Magnetic tape is hard to erase; it takes a big magnet within inches of the tape. Degaussing most modern tape cartridges takes a field strength above 1000 gauss. The earth's magnetic field is around 0.5 gauss. It varies during solar flares and other events, but the numbers are all below 1 gauss. MRI scanners are in the 500 gauss range, and at those field strengths, metal objects become projectiles.

      MRI scanners are generally well above 10,000 gauss (one tesla). So are Buckyballs and speaker magnets.

      MRI magnets turn metal objects into projectiles because their magnets are large, and therefore their fields reach a long way. A magnet's "pull" falls off very sharply at distances much larger than the distance between the magnet's poles. That's why degaussers need to be physically close to the tape.

      Remember, most hard drives contain extremely powerful magnets within their housing to drive the head-positioni

  • Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by taustin (171655) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:35PM (#41016291) Homepage Journal

    In all seriousness, dude, if an event of that scale occurs, what are you going to recover it to? If the backups in other countries are dead, there's no computers left. At that point, the only useful backsup are printed on paper, and that only because you can use the paper to light a fire to cook dinner over, after you kill it with a sharp stick.

    Get over yourself.

The most delightful day after the one on which you buy a cottage in the country is the one on which you resell it. -- J. Brecheux

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