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Journal mcgrew's Journal: Hard drive from hell died (2/23/2002) 3

I was home sick last Friday, and when my wife came home from school she had a new hard drive she picked up at Circuit City, a 40mb Maxtor.
        I couldn't get the damned thing to work!
        My old 400mz machine still plays all the new games, and with a little more memory would play them in XP (assuming I wanted to throw away another hundred dollars on a new OS I don't need). Plus, Becky's laptop is the first whole computer I've bought since I purchased a used IBM XT in 1987; I've built from spare parts since.
        I didn't know that older (in this case "older" means about three years) BIOSs couldn't handle drive sizes larger than 30gb. I had run across the same problem years ago while trying to install a huge (for the time) half gigabyte drive in a 386; then, the limit was 512mb. The Seagate I had bought then had come with software to overcome the limitation, and it had worked flawlessly.
        I can't say the same about the new Maxtor!
        I fought with that thing all weekend; its workarounds wouldn't work around. This on top of a defective installation floppy!
        It made Windows freeze at the desktop; then after a Windows reinstall, it was still hosed. Nowhere in the printed documentation was it mentioned, but I finally found a workaround deep inside one of the installation/test programs that involved lying to the BIOS.
        Bingo! It booted into Windows with no problem!
        But the drive wouldn't work. So I rebooted into DOS and did a high level format; the software was supposed to have done it but didn't.
        It booted into Windows and the drive worked!
        I rebooted; it still worked. I copied a half dozen gigabytes of data from the laptop to the new hard drive in the old PC, which it read with no problem. I rebooted again.
        All the data were garbage (and all your base are belong to us).
        I wrote over the garbaged-up data several times and low level formatted the drive one last time, then boxed it up for Becky to return. The new 30gb Western Digital is supposed to get here from JDR Monday afternoon.
        In other broken PC news, Rob Lemos (the Linux guy) writes in ZD News of the "Organization for Internet Safety." This new outfit is supposed to keep your PC secure.
        Microsoft is at the helm. This, of course, means that your data will not be secure. When Microsoft talks "security", they are talking about Microsoft's security, not yours. They don't give a rat's ass about your security, they care about the security forty billion dollars brings and they're not going to let security holes in their software screw that up for them.
        Lemos reports "The group springs from discussions between Microsoft and a handful of security companies on the responsible reporting of software bugs, known as vulnerabilities, that affect a business' security."
        To hell with business security; let Microsoft and Sun worry about their own bottom lines. I don't want to wait for a damned patch to some buggy program some incompetent "programmer" hacked out, I want to know about it now, so I can take the offending piece of crap offline until a patch or workaround has been sorted out. The way I look at it, there is a 50% chance a good guy will find a hole first (assuming there are as many good guys as bad guys, which is doubtful). That means half the time the bad guys have found the hole first.
        Meaning that the bad guys have a way into my machine while the good guys are working on a patch, and only I am kept in the dark.
        People, this is not the way it should be done. If you find a hole, tell the software house about it and then scream it from the rooftops. Very Loudly and with venom. Let the world know how absolutely shitty a company has to be to allow their customers to be compromised like that, and let ME know that there is a hole in (say) Opera, so I can switch to IE; or if there is a hole in IIS so I can switch to Apache (wait a minute, IIS IS a hole).
        If it turns out that I like the "alternate" piece of software or hardware better than the original vendor's, then, well, tough shit! Microsoft security is meaningless to me. I'm worried about MY security. And if I unplug the thing, the only way you can hack it is like the Feds do- with a battering ram.
        The guidelines this group is hacking out should spell out clearly that a vendor, when notified of a hole, should immediately tell all of its customers about that hole, and recommend that they shut off the offending service, software, or hardware.
        Don't hold your breath. 2/23/2002

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Hard drive from hell died (2/23/2002)

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Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming