future proof file encryption

peter p at sabuleti.net
Sun Mar 1 22:30:31 CET 2009

I've been amazed by the variety of thoughtful comments since I posted.
I've read all those - and a bit more besides. I'm ashamed at my
ignorance when I contacted the list last Thursday. I comfort myself with
the thought that it's only from ignorance that you can ever feel
complete knowledge could be in your grasp. The more you learn, the more
it recedes.

I'm distrustful of the reliability of anything that has moving parts and
paranoid of the Internet (but I suspect some level of paranoia is a
prerequisite for hanging out here). Despite that I've become completely
reliant on computers. I've also got two children - three and five who
absorb my time like sponges. As their childhood slips by I try and
capture the odd moment as naturally as I can (I'm no fan of the cheesy
grin). The images are raw format from a Nikon. Much as my instincts are
for simple, low tech solutions, they're the digital equivalent of
negatives. Printing them out isn't really a solution.  For the moment, I
have no time to work on them. How they look when they come out of the
camera is what I use. One day I hope to revisit them - I'm sure I can
extract more value from this afternoon's dingy shot of B. peering out of
the porthole in the side of a flying boat. The long term safety of these
negatives is important to me.

My distrust of the reliability of things with moving parts means I run
two computers. I can work from either. They're almost mirrors (except
one is Suse the other Fedora, one KDE, the other Gnome - [you need a bit
of variety to spice things up]). I rsync from one to the other at the
end of the day.  If I make a mistake on one, then rysync will do its
duty and replicate the mistake. The copy on S3 protects me from my own
stupidity (and fire, theft...) My paranoia of the Internet makes me want
to encrypt these copies (once something's out there, you can never get
it back). For the moment I prefer the notion that I don't have to store
the key anywhere - just a passphrase in my head - hence the use of
symmetric keys. 

Anyway thanks for your patience and your ideas. When you hear from me
again, I hope to be better informed!

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