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23 January 2006 12:30 UTC
The truth about Steve Gibson's only program ever.

From: John Navas <spamfil...@navasgrp.dublin.ca.us>
Subject: Re: NEW PPPOE protocol for WIN 2000, works great
Date: 2000/02/26
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[POSTED TO comp.dcom.xdsl]
ken <> [or was it Steve Gibson -- do I detect a troll here?] wrote:

>What you don't know is that John Navas used to work for a hard disk
>manufacturer twelve years ago ... and that he's had a serious personal
>hatred for me (due to my SpinRite product) ever since.  ...

Here are the facts:

As I recall my first encounter with Steve Gibson was when I was managing development for a principal disk technology manufacturer and he was promoting an earlier version of SpinRite. At that time I had about 15 years of experience in disk technology. My sincere efforts to help Steve correct some of the more serious errors in what he was saying proved to be a complete waste of time. His subsequent "hard disks die!" campaign only compounded the problem. He was spreading hysteria then (for his own apparent gain), and he is doing it again now with Shields UP!

The assertion that "hard disk die!" was based on a claim that magnetic patterns "weaken" over time, and that SpinRite could somehow "refresh" them. If this were true, then IDE drives, which cannot be "refreshed," would be dying all over the place, not to mention all the old mainframe drives that had already been running steadily for years. Furthermore, the embedded magnetic servo (used in virtually all reasonably current disk drives) can only be written at the factory. If it "weakened" then the drive would fail permanently -- SpinRite could not possibly help. The fact that IDE disks have not been failing all over the place due to "weakening" and lack of "refreshing" by SpinRite is clear evidence that the claims were false.

(Most problems with older MFM/RLL drives that SpinRite claimed to fix were the result of drives not being properly low-level formatted at working temperature on the actual controller in the end user's computer. This problem was easily solved by using the standard low-level format in the actual controller. That SpinRite could also correct the problem meant nothing, since all it was doing was using the same controller.)

Worse, Steve encouraged people to use SpinRite to "recover" areas that had been detected and marked as defective at the factory, a bad idea that leads to more failures in the long run, since end user controllers are not as sensitive as factory test equipment -- they are simply incapable of the kind of thorough testing done at the factory. Then of course SpinRite would be "needed" again to "fix" those failures, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As for the people that swear by SpinRite, there are lots of people that believe in astrology, but that doesn't make it any more valid.

I suggest that those with a technical bent visit the SpinRite website and see they can swallow such things as:

* "prevents mass storage systems from crashing" (nothing can do that)

* "sophisticated magnetodynamic physics models" (pseudo science)

* "weakest possible magnetic signals" (not real)

* "we doubt whether anyone but Steve and a handful of aliens would even know what all this is" (no argument there)

* "Weak Bits" (no such thing)

* "gradual evolution of the drive's storage surfaces through physical and magnetic stresses" (mumbo jumbo)

* "SpinRite is actually able to lower the amplification of the drive's internal read-amplifier" (impossible, and after all this time Steve apparently still does not know that data is recorded on magnetic disks with flux reversals, not "amplitude")

* "mass storage systems need periodic preventive maintenance" (nonsense)

* "yeah, we know, Steve's a magician with his code" (how modest)

As for all the "exclusive" SpinRite features, many if not all of them are anything but exclusive; for example, testing disk surfaces with worst-case data patterns goes back many years before Steve ever thought of SpinRite. SpinRite is 80% hype, 10% dangerous, and 10% real substance. Likewise Shields UP! (See my assessment of Shields UP! and judge for yourself at <http://navasgrp.home.att.net/tech/netbios.htm#ShieldsUp>.)

Best regards,
John Navas <http://navasgrp.home.att.net/>
CABLE/DSL TIPS: <http://navasgrp.home.att.net/tech/cable_dsl.htm>

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