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June 8 2015: QGIS, snooping, SSD data retention and System rescue

Posted on June 10, 2015
( 3 minute read )

Paul outlined the proposed development of the Bradford CVS websites and Alice and John offered to look at ways of supporting these developments.

David described how he had dealt with the arrival of an Excel file containing images dotted about among the data about the proposed location for a dig. The first step had been to create a proper spreadsheet of the data and identify, using GPS, the latitude and longitude of two points which could then be used as reference points for the remaining data.

Using QGIS, he was able to insert the GPS data, add a Google satellite image and, using the Coordinate Capture Plugin, add the spreadsheet data and then display the resulting contours. The work is connected with identifying a ‘missing’ Roman fort.

In an update on the Edward Snowden revelations, he noted that NSA is using the ruse of intercepting stolen personal data as a way of acquiring personal data which it has no right to intercept. It has also been simultaneously using social media transmissions to identify ISIS drone targets while taking measures to disable social media transmissions(!).

In much the same way as the Metropolitan Police have surveillance aircraft, it turns out that the FBI operates such flights through shell companies to carry out surveillance over US cities.

In an update on his piece about disk drive failure, David pointed to the recent article by Kristian Vättö on ‘The truth about SSD data retention’ suggesting that SSDs perform best if written to when hot but stored cool and that read/write speeds decline if the SSD is not read/written to frequently.

Finally, he pointed out that Hermann Zapf, the calligrapher and designer of the Palatino and Zapf fonts, among many others, had died at the age of 96.

John gave a brief demonstration of System rescue, illustrating some of the aspects mentioned in the System rescue article.

The meeting ended with discussions about the maximum number of columns in Excel: 16,384, about MS finally permitting the inclusion of SSH in PowerShell, after the developers had asked on two previous occasions and been refused and about LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice being unlikely to merge because Oracle gave OpenOffice to Apache so that IBM could continue to use it within their portfolio of programs without the constraints of LGPL. That said, a minority of developers continue to contribute to both projects.