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Storage news - 2002, September week 2b

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Squeak! - the Solid State Disks Buyers Guide
article:- a Short History of Disk to Disk Backup
Squeak! - the Fastest Growing Storage Companies
article:- the Future of High Speed Disk Drives for Servers
article:- 10 Ten Tips for a Successful RAID Implementation
today's storage news, earlier STORAGEsearch news,
SPARC - news, Press Release FAQ's, Articles, RAID systems

storage history:- Sep 2000, Sep 2001, Sep 2002, Sep 2003, Sep 2004, Sep 2005, Sep 2006
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Torrance, CA - September 13, 2002 - Fantom Drives today announced the addition of the new G-Force FireWire hardware RAID array to the G-Force product family. The new G-Force FireWire RAID continues to offer the same advanced reliability features found in all G-Force RAIDs, providing an integrated hardware RAID system ideal for any FireWire enabled computer. The high-performance RAID controller of the G-Force RAID excels at the traditionally difficult task of handling Level 0, 1, or 5 RAID configurations. When set up for Level 5, a host of features formerly found only in astronomically complex and expensive RAID systems (such as Powered Hot-Spare support, Automatic Data Regeneration, and Independent Fault Isolation) ensure that access to data is uninterrupted in the event of a drive failure.

"A FireWire hardware RAID array is the perfect addition to the robust and flexible G-Force product line," said Alex Koyshman, Fantom Drive's Director of research and development. "We strive to offer storage solutions to every one of our customer's needs, and the G-Force FireWire RAID is exactly what our customers demanded."

Availability The G-Force FireWire RAID array 480GB is available immediately, at an MSRP of $3295.00. ...Fantom Drives profile

AMSTERDAM - September 13, 2002 – Medéa Corporation will demonstrate the widest range of high-performance RAID disk arrays based on low-cost UltraDMA disk drive technology at this year's IBC show, September 13-16, stand 7.201. Medéa's fail-safe storage demonstrations will include the new VideoRaid RTS, VideoRaid RTR and VideoRaid RTRX disk arrays, as well as the mission critical, 24x7 StreamRaid. The following demos will be shown at the Medéa booth:
  • VideoRaid RTS supporting playback of 5 simultaneous DV streams with Canopus' DVStormSE
  • VideoRaid RTR supporting Digital Voodoo's D1 64RT, a multi-stream, 10-bit uncompressed NLE system
  • VideoRaid RTRX supporting 1080i high definition playback with Pinnacle System's CinéWave HD
"Medea Corporation offers the broadest line of high-performance, low-cost storage solutions designed for digital content creation and delivery applications. At IBC 2002, we will demonstrate the industry's lowest cost fail-safe storage solution called VideoRaid RTS, along side our top-of-the-line VideoRaid RTR and RTRX disk arrays," said Roger S. Mabon, vice president of channel marketing for Medéa. "We will also show StreamRaid, a fault tolerant system designed to support VOD, web and broadcast server systems". ...IBC 2002, ...Medea profile

Atlanta - September 13, 2002 - Since its release less than one year ago, eMag Solutions' MediaMerge/UNIX has quickly become the product of choice for Unix users looking to restore, convert and duplicate data via a SCSI attached device totally from within the Unix environment. Designed for seamless data interchange between legacy, incompatible and current SCSI storage technology, MM/UNIX is compatible with most leading SCSI tape drives. It can automatically detect, process and restore hundreds of different tape formats. Data can be Bit converted from ASCII to EBCDIC or visa-versa, and can optionally have Packed Decimal Fields decoded as well as other types of record based data manipulation. Other benefits include: Forensic Tape Logging, tape-to-tape duplication, tape initialization and media testing. Two recent installs have won eMag accolades from our customers.

CompuCredit Alan Borchers, the Data Operations Manager writes: "CompuCredit receives a variety of computer media tapes and uses both Microsoft NT and Unix operating systems for processing data received on these tapes. Recently our company purchased a new IBM 3590 tape reader, which was to be connected to a Sun server in the Unix operating system. While we could read fixed length files using Unix commands from the new tape drive, our largest and most important file, a multi-gigabytes file, was formatted with variable record lengths. As such, the file could not be read into our system! The solution to our problem came from eMag Solutions and one of their products called, MM/UNIX. eMag allowed CompuCredit to use a trial version of the product and MMUnix worked. eMag's technical team was able to answer all our questions on setting up and using the program. Once connections were established, an operator was able to use the product with very little help. Reading in our large, variable length file was very easy. Without this program, operations would have moved the tape drive to a NT server causing delays in our daily processing. MMUnix is easy to use and eMag provided timely and effective advice through their technical help personnel." ...eMag Solutions profile

BOCA RATON, FLORIDA, - September 12, 2002 - Storage Access Technologies, Inc. offered a new business development update detailing two new customers and increased penetration with existing storage utility subscribers. The company announced that Johnson Lane, Inc. has implemented their "ASAP Data Protection" service in a multi-server environment. Storage Access also conveys that Hutchinson/Ifrah Financial Services has chosen their DataSafe™ data protection service for the storage, protection, and management of corporate data.

Will Binns, Network Administrator for Hutchinson/Ifrah indicates, "Storage Access delivered on the service and reliability end. They got us up and running in one week, and we've been satisfied customers for several months now."

Storage Access insures the availability and security of corporate data to the small to medium sized business sector and above. Customers benefit from economies of scale that allow them to purchase data protection and primary disk capacity services on a scalable subscription basis, which often saves 30% or more on storage costs.

"Our solutions address the needs of a large cross-section of the marketplace and separates us from the niche players," says Matthew Haynes, VP Marketing and Sales. "SMB's look to Storage Access for their entry level storage needs, but as their data capacities increase, we cultivate and expand their services as their needs grow," continues Haynes. ...Storage Access profile

INTEL DEVELOPER FORUM, SAN JOSE, Calif. - September 11, 2002 - Intel Corporation today unveiled a number of new products and technologies aimed at the storage market. Four new RAID controllers cover a range of interfaces.
  • The Intel® RAID Controller SRCZCR is a high-performance modular RAID card featuring Ultra160 and Ultra320 SCSI, and Serial ATA.
  • The Intel® RAID Controller SRCS14L is the first four-port Serial ATA RAID controller that enables simultaneous access to every channel.
  • The Intel® RAID Controller SRCU42L is a two-channel Ultra320-SCSI RAID controller for high-density servers
  • The Intel® RAID Controller SRCFC22/M/C is a family of 2Gbps Fibre-Channel RAID controllers with the capability to support up to 252 devices in a dual-loop configuration at varying RAID levels.
The Intel RAID Controller SRCZCR and SRCZCU42L will be generally available later this month and cost $250 and $475 per unit, respectively. The Intel RAID Controller SRCS14L and SRCFC22/M/C family will be generally available in the fourth quarter and cost $299 and $1,550 to $2,050 per unit.

Intel also disclosed information about the new TCP/IP offload engine (TOE) technology that it plans to incorporate in future generations of iSCSI, TCP/IP offload, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet solutions, beginning in 2003. The TOE technology processes the many layers of network protocols required to transport data. Offloading these transport functions from the host processor enables wire-speed performance, reduces power requirements and frees the host processor to focus on other applications for platforms operating up to and beyond 10 Gbps. Intel's silicon-based TOE technology is expected to deliver superior performance and lower power than firmware-based solutions. ...Intel profile

MINNEAPOLIS and HOPKINTON, Mass. - September 11, 2002 - CNT today announced it has become a member of the EMC Authorized Services Network. As a member, CNT has been trained and qualified by EMC to deliver customers the highest levels of information storage networking professional services. Whether a customer needs a consultation, or requires an entire storage architecture implementation, CNT will provide the storage networking expertise and deep experience with EMC systems to support its business objectives.

"This enhanced partnership between CNT and EMC will extend CNT's leadership position in delivering end-to-end storage solutions which answer customers data availability, business continuity, and disaster recovery requirements," said Ernie Parsons, vice president and general manager of CNT's storage solutions group. "Now, more than ever before, we are able to satisfy our customers' requirements by reducing their operational costs and providing better access to their critical information assets. These factors become increasingly important as businesses continue to consolidate their data centers and work to reduce their total cost of ownership and management. With our consulting, design and implementation services, we can deliver the storage solutions customers need within the economic framework they require." ...CNT profile, ...EMC profile

Redmond, WA. - September 10, 2002 - ADIC today announced the general availability of the latest version of its AMASS for UNIX data management software, AMASS 5.3. The new AMASS version incorporates support for WORM tape technology and the latest revisions of UNIX operating systems to provide users with high security storage for large data sets at low cost. AMASS gives end users access to information stored on high capacity tape and optical storage systems using the same applications they use to access data on disk, greatly reducing storage costs. With the addition of support for Sony Corporation's AIT WORM tape drives, AMASS 5.3 allows IT departments to use high-capacity, low-cost tape libraries to store digital data as part of SEC-mandated policies for for long-term record keeping.

"Tape systems are much less expensive than the optical systems many SEC-regulated industries now use for long term record retention, they allow data to be replicated much faster, and, when combined with features like AMASS's Infinite File Life, they preserve data just as well," explained Paul Rutherford, ADIC Vice President of Technology. Infinite File Life (IFL), an AMASS-exclusive feature, proactively tests the status of files stored on removable media, automatically writing information to new media when read error rates hit pre-set thresholds.

AMASS 5.3 also includes upgraded support for the latest versions of Solaris, HPUX, Irix and Tru64 to deliver the highest possible performance and compatibility with the latest application software. ...ADIC profile

SAN JOSE, Calif. - September 10, 2002 - Peripheral Research Corporation announces the availability of the 2002 Data Storage Test/Process Equipment Market and Technology Report. The last couple of years have seen two significant trends in magnetic hard disk drives. First the pace of technology development has maintained the greater than 100% storage areal density growth that began a few years ago. Second, due to the cost of doing business in this industry and the slim profit margins of companies in this industry there has been significant consolidation of companies as well as closure and exits of several suppliers of components and equipment to the industry.

Disk drive head production is pushing the capabilities of state-of-the-art photolithographic equipment. As a consequence capital spending for new photolithographic equipment is increasing. By 2003 data storage photolithographic requirements will begin to exceed that available with existing semiconductor equipment. This will limit future growth of track densities to roughly 60% per year. The lack of available equipment is one of the factors limiting the growth of areal density for magnetic recording going forward. Already the greater than 100% areal density annual growth rate has decreased to the range of 70-80%.

There are signs that the difficulty in creating new test and process equipment for this industry will lead to new consortia between the remaining disk drive and component manufacturers. These consortia will pool their resources in developing next generation equipment. Where feasible, this could help the equipment suppliers and their customers reduce their risk and expense in making and purchasing new sophisticated equipment.

These trends and other developments in data storage test and process equipment are covered in the 2002 Data Storage Test/Process Equipment Report. The twelfth Data Storage Test/Process Equipment Market and Technology Report covers test, metrology and process equipment requirements and projections for the data storage industry. For the first time this report will include MRAM devices as well as disk drive and tape drive products. MRAM products will use some of the same process and test equipment that will be used on next generation disk drive heads and thus represent an additional market for disk drive test and process equipment manufacturers. Copies of this report are available for $995.00 for the first copy at a single company site, $150 per additional copy per site. ...Peripheral Research profile

SAN JOSE, Calif. - September 10, 2002 - The IDEMA announced today that Matt Massengill, chairman and CEO of Western Digital Corp. will make the keynote address during DISCON's Keynote Dinner at 7 p.m. Sept. 18, at the DISKCON USA 2002 Trade Show and Technical Conference in San Jose, Calif. DISKCON's Keynote Dinner, held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, will crown the two-day event, where the storage industry's newest technologies and evolving business environment will be discussed by executives, engineers and operations professionals. The remainder of the conference and trade show will be held Sept. 18 and 19 at the San Jose Convention Center.

"The hard drive industry has continued to innovate rapidly, providing customers major advancements in performance and capacity, and enabling new consumer electronics products; yet we still are overcoming certain business challenges," Mark Geenen, president of IDEMA, said. "Matt Massengill and his Western Digital team have performed admirably, demonstrating peak operational efficiency and flexibility in a tough PC market. We anticipate an intriguing perspective on the industry's progress, challenges and opportunities for the future." ...DISKCON USA, ...Western Digital profile

New York, NY - September 10, 2002 - IMN invites you to submit an abstract of a proposed end user or solution provider (drives, fibre channel, hardware, SCSI, services, software, and tape vendors) presentation to be considered for presentation at the Storage and Storage Networking in the Financial Services Sector Symposium to be held February 19 - 20, 2003, in New York, NY. Storage management. Topics include:
  • Intelligent storage management architectures: What's out there?
  • Where's the industry heading? Who's going to lead?
  • The pros and cons of migrating intelligence to the storage networks
  • Content or object-based storage networking: An overview
  • Case studies of effective storage management implementations
  • Storage networking protocols. Topics include:
  • IP storage (iSCSI, FCIP): Does it belong in the data center?
  • Multiprotocol SANs: The emergence of a new storage networking architecture
  • Comparing and contrasting 10 Gigabit SAN technologies (10 Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Giagabit Fibre Channel)
  • Case studies
IMN is seeking compelling and thought-provoking speakers with real-world experience.

IMN does make a number of keynotes, speaking slots and panel sessions available to solution providers in conjunction with event sponsorship packages. Solution providers interested in sponsorship opportunities should contact Ken Bauco at or 212-768-2800 ext. 241 For more information on speaking opportunities or proposal submission e-mail the following to Burt Kapoor at or call 212-768-2800 ext. 252 ...IMN, ...Storage and Storage Networking in the Financial Services Sector Symposium

CHARLOTTE, NC - September 10, 2002 - Inspired by the success of its colorful CD-Rs,Verbatim Corporation announced today 5-pack multi-colored DVD+R discs in color-matched DVD Super Jewel Box® cases. The 4.7GB DataLifePlus® DVD+R discs and DVD video-sized jewel boxes are produced in five vibrant colors--red, blue, yellow, green, and purple. Verbatim also announced 10-pack Super Jewel Box CD/DVD storage cases with two jewel boxes of each color. Like Verbatim's standard write-once DVD+R discs, the new multi-colored discs are certified for 2.4x recording speed and can be played back by the vast majority of DVD-ROM drives and DVD video players in use today. The new DVD+R discs also feature the same patented Super Azo dye recording layer and scratch-resistant protective coating plus support for lossless linking and the Mount Ranier specification.

Designed to fit easily in most DVD video racks, the color-matched Super Jewel Box measures 7.5" x 5.6" x 0.4"--the same height as a VHS cassette and the same thin profile as a standard jewel case. The Verbatim Super Jewel Box is manufactured with a crystal-clear polystyrene material that is much more durable than a standard jewel case. The hinges and clasp are also stronger. Although vibrantly colored, the transparent cases provide clear visibility of all four spines, allowing users to easily read the DVD label without opening the case.

"Our new multi-colored DVD+R discs will appeal to consumers who want their home videos to have a professional look when they share them and when they're displayed," said Tim Clatterbuck, Verbatim Director of Optical Storage Marketing. "The vibrant colors are also functional because they can be used to color-code home videos by subject."

Verbatim's new multi-colored DVD+R discs will also appeal to businesses that want to distribute promotional DVDs that are ultra-durable and stand out from other videos. Businesses and consumers who want to standardize the look of their video collection with the Super Jewel Box storage cases or organize them by color can purchase additional Super Jewel Box cases in 10-packs. The 5-pack DataLifePlus multi-colored DVD+R media have a street price of about $24.99. The 10-pack Super Jewel Box CD/DVD storage cases have a street price of $9.99. Verbatim offers insert card templates for the Super Jewel Box storage cases on its website. ...Verbatim profile

MELVILLE, N.Y. - September 10, 2002 - FalconStor Software, Inc. today announced it will expand its SCSI driver development effort with the support of LSI Logic Corporation, resulting in an enhanced SCSI target mode driver for IPStor. Already supporting all current and emerging storage networking protocols, IPStor now truly facilitates any-to-any connectivity.

LSI Logic is the industry's leading provider of Ultra320 SCSI product and technology solutions. Working in conjunction with LSI Logic's Ultra320 SCSI HBAs, IPStor can connect to any application server host via a standard SCSI interface, and provide high availability and storage services such as mirroring, replication, TimeMark, and snapshot copy. IPStor customers will be able to couple the SCSI protocol with the Service Enabler (patent pending) technology to perform real-time data migration from any 3rd party SCSI disk array to modern, Fibre Channel storage subsystems. Furthermore, the SCSI Target Mode protocol offers a cost-effective way to provision storage services to legacy hosts (e.g. HP3000) and audio/video equipment.

"Our further cooperation with FalconStor will enable existing server and workstation customers to confidently migrate to a robust, new performance standard with proven interoperability," said Robert Anderson, managing director for the LSI Logic HBA Group. "Combining our Ultra320 solution with the storage services provided by IPStor to any server equipped with a standard SCSI interface will provide customers with a significant performance gain."

"LSI Logic's state-of-the-art HBA solution and the Fusion-MPT™ (Message Passing Technology) intelligent interface are the main forces behind the success of our collaboration. This announcement substantiates FalconStor's commitment to delivering storage services to any host over industry interfaces such as Fibre Channel, IP, iSCSI and SCSI," said Wayne Lam, FalconStor vice president. "We expect to further our working relationship with LSI Logic to offer comprehensive support for LSI Logic HBAs."

The LSI Logic Ultra320 SCSI HBA product family includes two standard dual-channel boards, the LSI22320 and the LSI21320. The LSI22320 is available with LSI Logic's fault tolerant Integrated Mirroring™ option that provides system protection by mirroring the boot volume of the operating system. The LSI21320 features separate internal and external channels to isolate high performance Ultra320 SCSI devices from slower legacy devices to provide maximum flexibility and performance. The single-channel LSI20320 HBA is a cost-effective solution for entry-level and space-constrained servers, ideal for rack-mounted applications. The LSI22320C, a dual-channel CompactPCI board, extends Ultra320 SCSI performance to carrier-grade servers, and also features hot swap capability for high availability applications such as blade servers and telecom applications. ...FalconStor Software profile, ...LSI Logic profile

CHATSWORTH, Calif. - September 10, 2002 - JMR Electronics today introduced the FORTRA® Desktop 6-Bay, a powerful, compact Fibre Channel storage solution that brings departmental-level storage features to smaller, cost-conscious organizations. Measuring just 11 inches by 7 inches by 12 inches, the Desktop 6-Bay is the smallest form factor large capacity, high-performance 2GB Fibre Channel solution on the market.

This 6-drive, 2GB Fibre Channel device offers an easy, cost-effective way to increase storage capacity and deliver an enterprise-strength storage solution to the desktop, a workgroup or department. With its small footprint, the 6-bay tower can provide up to 876GB of Fibre Channel storage in environments where space is at a premium. By adding more FORTRA enclosures, the Desktop 6-Bay can be easily scaled as storage needs grow. The FORTRA Desktop 6-Bay is optimized for image-intensive, high-bandwidth digital media environments, including post-production, HDTV, visual simulation, animation, broadcast, image databases, medical imaging and Internet/Intranet applications. This affordable device is also an attractive solution for small or home offices with massive photo, music or video files.

"The Desktop 6-Bay is a significant addition to our FORTRA product line and solves one of the most pressing problems facing IT managers ­ how to pack more high-performance storage resources in little space," said Josef Rabinovitz, JMR President and CEO. "With its enterprise-level features and performance, at an affordable price, it can greatly enhance the storage capabilities of even the smallest organizations."

The FORTRA Desktop 6-Bay is available now through reseller channels, and has a MSRP of $1,998. ...JMR Electronics profile
Fantom Drives Announces G-Force FireWire RAID Array

Medéa Exhibits RAID Storage Solutions at IBC 2002

MediaMerge makes inroads into Unix

Storage Access Growth Update

Intel Unveils Serial ATA RAID and iSCSI

CNT Extends Service Relationship With EMC

ADIC Increases Security, Performance and Flexibility

12th Annual Data Storage Test Equipment Report

Western Digital CEO, to Keynote DISKCON USA

Storage in the Financial Services Sector Symposium

Verbatim Launches Multi-colored DVD+R Disc

FalconStor and LSI Enhance Ultra320 SCSI Driver Support

JMR Introduces High-Performance Fibre Channel Storage

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Thoughts about Public and Private Days of Remembrance

September 11, 2002 - I knew I would find it difficult to write about this anniversary. The horror of that day a year ago still seems too vivid and fresh.

President Bush yesterday made a good speech at the Afghanistan embassy. During questions afterwards in a light moment he brushed aside reporters' attempts to ask him about his policy on Iraq, saying they would have to wait until his speech to the UN on Thursday, And he reminded us then what it was all about.

Tomorrow (September 11) will be a terrible day for many Americans - he said. Well, "tomorrow" is now today, and I guess he's right.

For all of us, the memory of that day September 11, 2001 will remain with us till the end of our days. How we first learned what had happened. The disbelief and the horror. I was lucky. I did not lose loved ones or friends. I know that many of you did. There is nothing that anyone can say to ease that pain. That loss has been a living nightmare for 365 days. The pain will not go away tomorrow, or next week when the rest of the world goes back to thinking about something else.

How long will the world remember?

At first my mind goes back to another tragedy in the last century - the Titanic. That was a disaster partly caused by the elements and partly by folly. That was 1912, 90 years ago. But September 11 was much worse than that. Your grandchildren may remember you as being really old, because you can remember where you were on that day. But the memory will live on much longer than that.

Christians still commemorate Good Friday, nearly 2000 years later. To those handful of people there at the time when their spiritual leader and guide Jesus was being executed it must have seemed that the world was coming to an end. For the christian faith, as we now know, it was only just a beginning. Jews still commemorate Passover, which celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt during the reign of the Pharaoh Ramses II, over 3,000 years ago.

As America and her friends mourn today, this first anniversary makes us strong. It keeps alive the memory of the loved ones and friends who died. Those who have suffered loss may feel some comfort from knowing that they are not alone.

September 11, is an unusual anniversary in another way, because in our society we are better at remembering happy things like birthdays or holidays like Thanksgiving.. This day, 9/11, helps us remember that at the end of life there is death. Those private anniversaries are different for us all, and on those lonely days we see the rest of the world go by and they do not see our sorrow.

October 22, 1999 - I get a phone call about 1 a.m. to say my young brother Charles has died. I can't believe it. We were only talking on the phone a few hours ago it seems. He was packing his case for a weekend vacation in Boston. We spoke on the phone several times that day, as we did every day. he was looking forward to making a lot of changes in his life when he got back, including working with me. He had tried it for a short time and enjoyed it. We were both looking forward to it. But he didn't know he was ill. He died of a sudden massive heart attack.

For the next few months, like an idiot I comfort his friends and other members of our family and reassure them how happy he was in his last days. It's true. But while I try to cheer everyone else up with this thought I put off the process of my own grieving. It hits me very hard about 6 months later. There is something in my life which is gone forever, and nothing fills that gap. My wife and friends try to help, but I am in deep depression. I'm seeing my doctor for a health check up. My physical health is fine. But my emotional state is a mess. Prozac helps. It helps a lot. If I could worry now, I would worried that a little white pill can make so much difference. After a few months I can operate as a human being taking less pills and, then it seems safe to stop taking them.

August 4, 2002 - my young sister, Anna, has learned the results of her biopsy. Because she has had no symptoms apart from a few minutes loss of her speech, we were worrying more about the biopsy than what it might signify. An MRI scan a few weeks earlier had shown a small lump in her brain. The doctors said they didn't know what it was. Could be, she had had a small stroke without realising it at the time...

"You've got a glioblastoma multiforme type 4," the surgeon said. "It's bad, very bad. It's the most aggressive type of cancer, and because of where it is we can't operate. You'll see an oncologist in about 5 days and they will tell you more about it." Anna is stunned. Her husband Mark asks the question that you should ask when you have been told this kind of thing. "How long? Six months? A year?" The surgeon shakes his head. "I can't say, maybe three months." He goes away. A few minutes later a nurse comes along. My sister has made an excellent recovery from the operation, and they ask if she would mind going home that afternoon. They need the bed.

Our world has turned upside down. Anna says to me "You're the one who spends all his time on the web and is good at searching for things. Find out what a glioblastoma is. Find out if there any treatments. Find out if there are any survivors."

During the next few days and weeks I learn more than I ever wanted to know about this terrible thing. The web sites I visit now are not just computer sites, but a new world which I didn't know was out there:- to find out about research in this area, Quackwatch to get a counter view on so called "natural" remedies. But the best one is Young Adults Surviving Glioblastoma. When I read out some of the personal stories from that site we both cry, but she is pleased to learn that some people do survive this thing. The long term survival rate for a GBM type 4 , as we learn, is about 1%, and "long term" means anything over a year.

We're learning a lot from the web. As well as increasing our vocabulary which now includes new words like Temozolomide, Melatonin, Tamoxifen and PSK, we're also learning the difference between Phase I and Phase II FDA trials. Some researchers are keen to get my sister into a trial. The reason? It's a rare condition. Less than 15 people per million population will get a GBM type 4. Researchers find it difficult to russle up enough people to take part in a trial. We look at the data and decide against it. The problem with being in a trial is that the sponsoring doctor will not tell you about any better treatments which may be available. Mixing drug treatments invalidates their results.

Later we learn that some people with GBM type 4 have survived for years confounding the medical profession. One of them has written a book which is due to be published in the middle of August. I preorder it on Amazon and have it sent directly to Anna. She can still read, but her speech is slurring and she can't say some words. Also she can't write any more. That part of her brain is affected by pressure from the tumor.

August 31, 2002 - "You must read this book" Anna says excitedly on the phone . "It arrived in the post this morning at 7 o'clock and I've nearly finished it. The author had the same lump as me, and he survived. Buy your own copy though, I need to keep this for myself." The book, Surviving Terminal Cancer by Ben Williams, does indeed give hope.

He believes that oncologists are not sufficiently up to date with the data about treatments in this field, and will typically prescribe a limited range of treatments, even though they know that they will not work. His theory, which he practised on himself, is that patients can increase their chances of survival by finding out more and using supplementary treatments. He advocates using a cocktail approach for chemotherapy, to avoid the growback of resistant strains of tumor, and just as important says that some pills and potions and foods can help boost the imune system. The problem is that some vitamins which are good at preventing the onset of cancer actually interfere with the operation of the chemo, and diulte the effect. So you have to be sure not to take those vitamins on the days that you're taking the chemo. Also many health supplement and drugs companies make a living out of selling things which provide false hope. Trying to decide which may work and which don't needs careful evaluation of research data.

September 1, 2002 - Anna lost her speech today and had a series of fits. An ambulance takes her to hospital. Because they know she has a tumor they do a new MRI scan. It shows bleeding in the brain. She may die tonight. It's a long night.

September 2, 2002 - I still have a sister. She is alive but can't talk. This is what she feared most.

September 3, 2002 - The lady in the adjacent bed died today of MRSA, the hospital killer bug. This will be a day her family remembers.

September 5, 2002 - Great news. Anna can talk again, although it's very slurred. Her thinking is still sharp and focused. She is pleased to learn that some of my customers in the US are praying for her. She reminds me what she wants me to do with the children, if she and her husband Mark both die. Mark tells her not be so ghoulish. We should cheer up because tomorrow they may be letting her go back home. I return to my car. The drive to the hospital in Brighton was 110 miles, but they are rebuilding their car park. When I arrived the waiting time to get into the car park was estimated to be 90 minutes. I can't wait that long, because Anna is seeing the doctors in a few hours to be fitted up for a radiotherapy mask. So I drive around and discover that every street in the area is parked solid, and signs warn you that your car will be towed away if you park in an unapproved place. So I eventually park down by the beach half a mile or so away and walk. It's a beautiful summer day, and sailing yachts are skimming across the water. It's hard to believe that this is the same world as inside the hospital.

September 10, 2002 - My niece Laura (age 5) was playing this morning with a new friend. We discovered a few days ago that her father has a friend who was diagnosed with a GBM type 4 about a week ago. Anna thinks that's a spooky coincidence. Anna and the other little girl will both start their first day of school next Monday (Sept 16). The school thought it was a good idea that new children should know someone when they start their first day. I remember my own first day of school over 40 years ago, and I'm sure you do too. It's a lifechanging time. Laura will remember hers too, but for another reason. The oncologist has said that because Anna's imune system is weak from the chemo, she should avoid contact with groups of people who may be ill. She shouldn't go to the school gate on Laura's first day. My sister is a fighter and is determined to make sure that Laura is not remembered as that girl in the class whose mummy died.

September 11, 2002 - we remember today the thousands of people who were murdered in America a year ago. Our thoughts go out to their families and friends, and all the millions who have been touched by those events. That memory will not fade.

...Later:- this is a story I wrote for my niece Laura and read to Anna shortly before she died in October 2003.

In 2006 Laura's teacher kindly read it out to her whole class when she found that it was one of Laura's precious things. It might cheer you up too.
  • Princess Laura and the Unsuitable Dragon Suitors

    Unlike the traditional doormat formula in silly princess stories. This one doesn't include goblins - but does include a dragon.

    At the age of 18 Princess Laura is told she must choose a husband from one of the princes from the four neigbouring countries. Their manly deeds and interests all make an impression, but not what was intended. Length:- 12,200 words.
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the "SPARC Bible" since 1992
ACSL - the publisher