GoGrid Hosting Review-Not Good

I have had web sites for 13 years.  I have to warn others that using GoGrid hosting has been my worst hosting experiences.    Deciding to accept there “free” $100 dollar credit offer to sign-up was a bad mistake.  One of my earliest budget providers based in India was a better experience.

I accepted their offer to evaluate their service for use as back up servers for some of the commercial websites for which I am the system administrator.

To start with their interface is clunky and far from ready for actual commercial use.  It is confusing, lacks useability, help, and documentation.

There customer service was slow and largely unhelpful when I had issues.  They left me feeling that they thought I was stupid because I didn’t know every aspect of their system.

Worst of all is their billing.  They tell you that you are being billed for RAM hours used.  Well their gottcha trick is how they define your RAM hours.  Their claim is that a server that is turned off is using RAM hours.

Well we all know that the whole idea of “cloud” computing is to lower costs because the provider can use the actual physical hardware for another client when you do not have your server on.  Well GoGrid claims that your server is still using RAM when it is off.  If there is still RAM actually alloted to your off server, then that is not cloud computing.  It is FAR cheaper to use a traditional hosting provider than to  pay GoGrid for RAM on your server that is not even running!

I had to request my account to be closed multiple times, before they finally complied.  Requests to refund my money were never fulfilled.

The traditional hosting providers, such as Liquid Web, also provide FAR better customer support at a much lower price.  Liquid Web, for example, provides a much more polished interface for the user.  After this very unfortunate, and personally costly, experience with GoGrid;  I love Liquid Web even more than I did previously.

I hope this review saves other business owners and Tech workers from a costly mistake like mine.

Computer Forensics Expert in Federal Court

I am very pleased to announce that I testified as an Expert in Computer Forensics and Cybercrime.  I was on the stand for about an one and one half hours.  The material of the case involved the receipt, possession, and distribution of child pornography.

I was happy to learn that the case agents, attorney, and jury were very happy with my testimony.  Everyone told me that I was very clear and did an excellent job of making highly technical material understandable.  Being technically accurate and at the same time understandable, I believe, is one of the greatest challenges to anyone testifying as a computer forensics expert.  Throughout my training I have always tried to ask myself, “How would I explain this to a jury?”

The entire case was a great experience from working with the U.S. Attorney, investigators, criminal defense attorney, and everyone else involved in this case.

I am proud and happy to have accomplished my goal of being recognized as an expert in state and federal court.  I look forward to continuing to learn in this field, and hope I have a long and successful career in it!

Amazon Deleted Content from the Kindle

Well, in a very ironically Orwellian move, Amazon reached into users Kindles and deleted content.  This was content that the users thought they had already purchased.  This move was hugely disturbing.

I had seriously considered buying a Kindle.  There is absolutely no way I will buy one now.  In my opinion, Amazon just killed their product.

Great move in bad economy Amazon!

Certified in Court as Expert in Computer Forensics and Cybercrime

I am not a big fan of “tooting” my own horn, but I have to publicize the accomplishment of a long time goal.

Yesterday, in the Rhoden v Rhoden in the 8th Judicial Circuit of Florida I testified as an expert witness in “Computer Forensics and Cybercrime!” 

Since there is not a universally accepted gold standard in computer forensics certifications, testifying as an expert in court is about the only standard that indicates you have entered the top tier of the field. 

I very pleased to have accomplished a goal I set for myself in 2006.  Hopefully this is just the mid-point of great career in computer forensics. 🙂

X-Ways Forensics Training Course Review

I just completed a week of training with X-Ways in Washington, DC.   The instructor was the CEO of the company and principal software designer Stefan Fleischmann.  This class is taught all over the world, generally only a couple times a year in the United States.

The class is broken up into two segments, which you can purchase seperately.  The first three days is disigned specifically to teach the student how to use X-Ways Forensics.  The last two days is a file systems course.  Since the segments are very different, I will cover them individually.

X-Ways Forensics Course:

If you have read my previous blogs you know I was already a fan of X-Ways Forensics prior to attending the course.  I knew though that there had to be functionality I was missing out on having not attended the training.  I was right!  lol   I of course had learned a lot of the features through use and reading the manual.  There were areas that I had not really explored that I will probably use in every investigation. 

All students are provided with printed training material, digital copy of training material, a computer, and a copy of X-Ways to use during the course.

The class starts out with an overall tour of the user interface and how to navigate in X-Ways Forensics.  Mr. Fleischmann regularly demonstrates that there is multiple ways to do almost everything in X-Ways.  I gained an appreciation for the phrase: How many ways are there to  _______? “X-Ways”  You have to use the “X” to denote the number of ways to do a task because you can’t easily count them all! That is a bit of joke, but whether you prefer context menus, main menus, or keyboard shortcuts there is probably the choice of doing it your preferred way in X-Ways Forensics.  Additionally, along with all those normal ways there are often sorta hidden short-cuts built in to make common tasks faster.  Once you see theses, there location makes great sense.   But they are one on the kinda of things that are hard to pick up on in a manual, but easy to learn when you see someone do it.

While teaching, Mr. Fleischmann shows students through the tasks that he is performing.  After learning a series of features, Mr. Fleischmann has very well planned out exercises that the students execute on their own.  These are very good at reinforcing what you just learned.  After giving you time to practice, Mr. Fleischmann then leads you through the ideal solution to the exercise.

Mr. Fleischmann starts off each day of class with a review of what was learned the day before.  This is another great adult learning teaching method that reinforces learning. 

There were a wide variety of computer examiners in the course.  Everything from private to the biggest name federal LE agencies.  I did not hear one examiner that was not impressed with the software, Mr. Fleischmann, or the training.

File Systems:

The last two days of the five day course, are a class on file systems.  These two days are very fast paced.  If you don’t come into the class with some knowledge of file systems it is probably to fast to comprehend a lot.  That said, if you come in with some knowledge;  you will leave with a lot more.  Mr. Fleischmann has an amazing knowledge of file systems.  He moves through the MFT in NTFS very fluidly.  He explains all the ends and out.  I don’t mean the usual, “this is a journaling file system that maintain individual entries of each file and their location..”  Mr. Fleishman dives into the actual binary code in example after example, breaking down file entries.   Mr. Fleishman also breaks down and explains other important system files like the $logfile.  I have already used information in this portion of the class to find evidence in a couple cases I would have otherwise missed.

Mr. Fleischmann is nothing short of amazing as an instructor.  He is extremely punctual and efficient throughout the class.  There is not a moment of the course that is not well organized.  He is able to intelligently answer almost any computer question that comes up, no matter how trivial it may be. The course is definitely fast paced, though.  Get your rest, because you will need all your focus. 

This was certainly one of the best computer courses I have had the opportunity to attend.  I would highly recommend it to any computer examiner or data recovery technician!

Phone: (615) 208-6565 1633 W. Main St, Suite 902, Lebanon, TN