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Gibson Research


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Steve Gibson's GRC products have been around "forever" and continue to evolve and increase (SpinRite, ShieldsUp, Wizmo, etc.). The web-based grc newsgroups have been off-air for some time, but as noted in www.grc.com/newsdown.htm, there is now a voluntary hosted site for read-only web access to the many and energetic grc newsgroups - at 12078.net/grcnews/index.php. I think grc.spam, the several grc.security groups and grc.spyware will certainly be of interest to most coming "here". Then there's all the rest.

In terms of reference resources, I find mention straight off in the groups to grc member Kevin A.'s pages www.dontbouncespam.org/ and www.2kevin.net/munging.html, both of which are comprehensive treatments of their topics.

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I listen to some of his podcasts, "SecurityNow!". They are okay, but usually either geared towards very novice users, or sometimes extremely complex. Many of his recommendations are pretty good though, although there are some people who dislike him.

I was rather disappointed by his new tool "SecurAble" as it really didn't tell me much of anything, but hopefully the new software he is talking about writing will help remedy this.

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... Many of his recommendations are pretty good though, although there are some people who dislike him.
Well, I never knew that, always good to consider an alternative view. Anyway, I have found some interest in the NGs - though the SC forums and NGs are far better informed in the area of spam IMO. Even so, it is often useful to have something paraphrased, to see another group's "take" on events and topics.
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You can certainly count *me* among those who are NOT fans of Mr. Gibson. Many years ago, I bought his "SpinRite" software and used it on one of my early PCs. When a major upgrade was announced (to v. 3.1), I plunked down my money and waited, and waited....and waited.....and didn't receive my disks. This despite Mr. Gibson having already put my money in the bank months previously. It turns out that their announcement was premature, and that he had collected upgrade fees from thousands of people under false pretenses, because the software wasn't ready. See the "horribly delayed" admission on his own website, on the SpinRite history page:

http://www.grc.com/srhistory.htm

So, when the software wasn't forthcoming, I tried to get in touch with his company, but was always put into a "phone loop hell" on their 800 number, never reaching a real person, so I let my modem "accidentally" treat their 800 number as a BBS site, but for some reason or other, it never detected another modem at the other end. This stopped when the phone company abuse department called me, and I explained that my auto dialer had run amok. That's how angry I was at Mr. Gibson for not doing the right thing, which would have been to issue refunds to those of us whose money he had taken under false pretenses.

Fast forward to the early days of "ShieldsUP." I heard about the SU testing site soon after it went online, and so I visited it and got a fairly clean bill of health for my connection. Shortly after that, a very nasty "network worm" appeared on my computer and infected my system....the first and ONLY time I've ever had any sort of virus/worm/etc. on my PC. The logical explanation is that hackers had set up "sniffers" to watch the traffic in and out of the SU site and then used the information to attack vulnerable systems. I can't prove it, but the timing was just too coincidental. I've read some of what his critics say about the fallacies of the SU tests, and about vaporware, self-hype, etc., and tend to believe at least some of it. YMMV :-)

DT

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You can certainly count *me* among those who are NOT fans of Mr. Gibson. Many years ago, I bought his "SpinRite" software and used it on one of my early PCs. When a major upgrade was announced (to v. 3.1), I plunked down my money and waited, and waited....and waited.....and didn't receive my disks. This despite Mr. Gibson having already put my money in the bank months previously. It turns out that their announcement was premature, and that he had collected upgrade fees from thousands of people under false pretenses, because the software wasn't ready.

I've never heard that. Did you ever get your money back? You should have filed a report with the BBB. I noticed no one ever has.

He hypes SpinRite quite a bit, and I have a copy which I run every now and then, but I have never had it fix or solve any problems with any harddrives I've owned.

Edited by jongrose
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Did you ever get your money back? You should have filed a report with the BBB.

They eventually shipped the upgrade, before a class-action suit developed. It was a lot harder to find other disgruntled people back then, compared to the way groups form on the Web now.

DT

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It was a lot harder to find other disgruntled people back then, compared to the way groups form on the Web now.
Yeah, the web was smaller and slower but also worse things happened. Not being a Gibson apologist but for instance (IIRC) in the DOS days there was a brand new Norton disk utility thing which comprehensively and "irretrievably" (can't really believe the absolute) trashed brand new harddisk drives when it was run. I used to dote on SpinRite but haven't used it years, not since Win3.1. No need. As said, it is the GRC newgroups I recommended for the enquiring mind. New GRC products are promoted discussed there but mostly/overwhelmingly it is more general problems and observations within a group which is technically savvy and far more active than most.
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I used to dote on SpinRite but haven't used it years, not since Win3.1. No need.

The connection/timeline isn't/wasn't really based on Win3.x .... it was rather that MFM , RLL, ESDI, etc. hard drives went away. Recall that even moving the heads from the 'data' section of the drive when looking to power the computer down required some extra software. Good old HDPARK.EXE comes to mind <g>

And in the vein of 'the more things change, the more they stay the same' .... recall those old days running into issues of running SpinRite on a drive of a system that had been running for a couple of days .. working on it, burn in, whatever .... the issue being that with the temperature stablized at that "up and running for a long time" the head/track spacing/timing was 'just so' ... which didn't always benefit the user that only turned on the system when he/she got home from work, played some games for an hour or so, then turned it off for a few more days. Head/track alignment between the 'old/synchronized' data and the 'new' data written when the drive wasn't yet up to temperature.

Recent talk about questions/amswers on the current SpinRite when used on laptops with huge/superfast drives .. Steve had to throw in a 'warn srceen' on his tool based on the readings of the SMART data coming from the drives, which was passing on the data that they were getting too hot. Not a big issue, but had to identigy the situation that SpinRite was going to 'take a break' for a while so as to let the drive cool down a bit.

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...The connection/timeline isn't/wasn't really based on Win3.x .... it was rather that MFM , RLL, ESDI, etc. hard drives went away.
Sorry, loose/misleading reference on my part, thanks for the correction.
...And in the vein of 'the more things change, the more they stay the same' .... recall those old days running into issues of running SpinRite on a drive of a system that had been running for a couple of days ... Recent talk about questions/amswers on the current SpinRite when used on laptops with huge/superfast drives .. Steve had to throw in a 'warn srceen' on his tool based on the readings of the SMART data coming from the drives, which was passing on the data that they were getting too hot. ...
Love it - as they used to say, "History doesn't repeat itself ... but it rhymes."
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