Saturday, July 16, 2011

Recovering Data from a Bad SD Card

Now that was cool. My wife went to transfer her pictures from her camera yesterday. She took the SD card out of the camera and plugged it into her netbook. Instead of displaying her folders, it displayed a message telling her the disk was not formatted and giving her an opportunity to do so.

What to do? I tried it on my computer and the same error message appeared. This was not good. Granted, I had already transferred a number of the images at various times. Some are on Facebook, some on Flickr, and some on my hard disk for potential future use. But not all of them, especially a few she had recently taken.

I have one machine running Ubuntu 10.1 so I booted it and tried again. No luck. Same error message.
Google search to the rescue! I located an open source multi-platform application distributed under GNU General Public License that claimed to be able to read an un-mountable disk and recover files. I wnet to and downloaded the zip and extracted the files.

After reviewing the documentation found in their Step-by-Step documentation at I found the command line I had to use to run it. The command had to be run from the root at a command prompt in Ubuntu. I am just starting to fiddle with Ubuntu and had no idea how to get to the command prompt. In Windows I just Win+R to open the Run dialog box, type cmd, and press Enter. No such thing in Ubuntu/Linux.

Another Google search revealed that the command mode is called terminal mode and Ctrl+Alt+t would open a window. Following the guidelines in the documentation I found in the extracted folder, I typed:

sudo Downloads/testdisk-6.12/photorec_static

Sudo enables a normal user to run a superuser command in linux. Downloads is the folder I saved the app into. Testdisk-6.12 is the folder the program was extracted into. Photorec_static is the name of the program.

A series of DOS like windows offered me various opportunities to look at all the disks on the system including the one I was unable to read, the SD card. After some poking around I was able to recover hundreds of pictures saving them to the hard drive. Interesting that each image had two sizes, the thumbnail size used when looking in a folder from explorer in Windows and the full sized image.

I was then able to reformat the SD card and copy the recovered images (large ones only) onto the disk. This same method could be used to find data on a badly behaving hard disk drive, a flash drive, or any other mountable disk. Real CSI stuff!

By the way, you do not have to use Ubuntu. The app works in a variety of operating systems including Windows.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Bounced Email

I have a  number of deletes of email I put through, several times. They keep coming back on my screen. How can I prevent this ?

I assume you are referring to bounced emails or delivery errors. Bad email addresses will bounce back to you so you know your mail was not deliverable just like the USPS returns undelivered mail. When someones address is good, but cannot receive mail for the time being for reasons such as their mail box is full, the email system keeps trying to deliver and lets you know the progress. Read the delivery error message to understand why it was bounced back to you.

I have my bounced messages go to a special folder so they are not in the middle of all my "normal" email.

Of course, if an email address is no longer valid, you should stop sending mail to it.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Creating a Book

I am putting a book together using Microsoft Word. I downloaded a template where I see the 2 small pages at once all the time as I am writing. I would like for the page numbering to begin after the title page, forward, and T. of C. pages but the template is locked. It starts numbering after the title page and I can't eliminate the "footer" option.  Is there an easy fix to this?

Downloaded the template from where? If you are going to publish on, you need the template from them and you will NOT see two pages at once. If you are printing on your own computer, you do not need a template. Just: Page Layout > Page Setup > Margins > Pages > Book Fold. Then when you print, print two sided. If your printer does not do it naturally, Word will have you do all of one side and then have you put the paper back in to print all the other sides.

Page numbers are easy: Insert > Page numbers. Getting them on just the body is another thing. You have to section the book so the portion to have page numbers stands by itself. To create a separate section: Page layout > Breaks > Section Break Next Page this is instead of Ctrl+Enter to start a new page. To stop the page numbers from flowing from section to section, you have to turn off Link to Previous in the header and/or footer area in the section you do not want to carry forward from the previous section.

TOC is easy also, you just use a heading font for the subtitles, have the insertion point at the page you want the TOC to be created at, and then: Reference > Table of Contents. It will create a TOC with those subtitles as the wording and the current page number as the number.