Review: FWB Guide to Storage
Published by: FWB Software LLC
185 Constitution Drive, Suite A
Menlo Park, California 94025
Phone: (415) 463-3500
Fax: (415) 463-3558
List Price: $29.99
As a long-time user of FWB’s Hard Disk Toolkit, I eagerly awaited my chance to review FWB’s “Guide To Storage.” The press release claims the book is “...an essential companion for end-users, graphic designers, programmers, and IS professionals alike.” While I do give credit to Norman Fong, the author and president of FWB, for stating in his preface that the book is meant to serve as a bridge between non-technical documentation and the technical specifications that defines various storage standards and technologies, those of you looking for hard-core details will have to look elsewhere.
“Guide To Storage” starts off with a brief introduction to the mechanics of hard drives. In an effort to aim the book toward a general audience, a number of concepts were omitted. Some readers might wonder if they skipped a page. One example is that the term “Sector header CRC” is used with no prior reference or explanation. However, as introductions go, it’s passable.
FWB’s background in SCSI drives and Mac software development becomes apparent in Chapter 3, “All About SCSI” and Chapter 4, “All About Serial SCSI.” The amount and level of detail on the SCSI protocol should satisfy most any user. These two chapters, which amount to a third of the book, persuaded me to make the book a permanent part of my reference library.
The last third of the book briefly covers IDE drives, expansion buses, storage- related utility programs (actually a short chapter on FWB software - a little more publicity never hurts), and hard drive troubleshooting. For those of you who don’t support hard drives on a daily basis, the troubleshooting chapter provides a nice summary of common Mac and PC hard drive-related problems.
I suspect that the interested lay person will find this book an interesting overview of storage devices we use on a daily basis, but never consider in any great detail. However, even with the book’s heavy emphasis on the SCSI protocol, coverage of the topic is uneven and leaves the reader with many unanswered questions. For those of you who find the book a nice starting point for further research, the appendix has a list of publications dealing with storage standards and technologies, as well as a number of Internet sites and mailing lists related to storage technology.