Category Archives: Technology

My comments and opinions about things of a technological nature (computers, electronics, etc.).

Recover Photos from Formatted Camera Cards

A friend of mine called me today because he accidentally formatted a camera card on which he had already stored about 300 pictures. He has since taken some new pictures and stored some them to it, so I think the chances of him recovering the other photos is significantly less now. However, I did find a program at http://www.pandorarecovery.com/ that looks like it will be able to recover a good number of his files.

To test it, I took a card that I had previously deleted the pictures from. I took a couple of new pictures, then reformatted the card. I then ran this software and was able to not only recover the pictures I had just taken, but I could recover some of the pictures I had previously deleted!

It looks like he’ll be able to get back a lot of his pictures. However the new pictures he took, are probably saved in the same space that some of his old pictures used to be in, so he probably won’t be able to get some of them back. It looks pretty good though!

I thought I’d share this because this has probably happened to you before or will happen at some time.

No excuses for not backing up!

I know that making a backup of your computer can be a pain, but it’s well worth it! Those of you (like me) have ever had a hard drive fail or have otherwise lost access to your files and didn’t have a recent backup, know this to be true. Backing up used to be extremely painful! Back in the old days, all we had were floppy disks and backup tapes! To backup a 40MB hard drive would take about 28 floppy disks (or more) and hours of sitting at the computer swapping disks.

Now, I’ve got a 300GB external hard drive that I use for backup purposes. I had been using Norton Ghost on my desktop computer and just copying files from my old notebook computer. Ghost is a great program, but there are some things I don’t like about it. #1 It’s expensive! I think it’s around $70 or $80 to buy it. #2 you can only use it on one computer. When I buy software, I normally buy one copy and install it on my desktop and notebook computers. I know that technically, I am supposed to buy 2 copies, but I really don’t see what the harm is. Most individual people do this as well. With Norton Ghost, you can do this because the program has to be activated on your computer. After you do this, if you install it on another computer, you have to activate it on that one too, but they won’t let you do it.

I came across another program recently and decided to give it a try. It’s called DriveImage XML. Like Ghost, it allows you to create an image of an entire hard drive on another hard drive. Also, it allows you to later explore that image so you can restore just certain files if you want. I tried it a couple of nights ago and it seemed to work great! Another really cool thing about it is that for individuals (not businesses), it’s FREE!

I started it up on my new Toshiba notebook and let it run. Less than 2 hours later, my computer was completely backed up. I didn’t try to restore anything yet, but I was able to explore the backup and see the individual files. I’ll try restoring some files this weekend.

The only thing that annoyed me was that because I was using Windows Vista, in order to do the backup, I had to temporarily turn off the User Access Control feature. DriveImage XML tells you that you need to do this. It was a pain in the *you know what*, but it’s just a minor thing. I won’t be using it to do scheduled backups, however, because running without the User Access Control can be dangerous. I like its protection.

At any rate, this looks like it might be a goodd solution.

Here I Am!

It’s 2008. I got started in the computer field basically 1984. At home, I had had a Sinclair ZX80, a Timex/Sinclair TS1000 and a Timex/Sinclair 2068. PCs were still fairly new. IBM had come out with the original PC and other companies were starting to come out with clones. At work, we were starting to get some on the clones. The ones we had were Sperrys. They came with 640K of RAM and two 5.25″ 360K floppy drives! The monitors were monochrome (either green or amber) and displayed only text. These desktop computers cost the company, for which I worked, about $3,000!

Just a couple of months ago, I bought a new Toshiba notebook computer with my stimulus check. It has 3GB of RAM, a 200GB hard drive. Of course, the screen is color and can beautifully display photos and other graphics. It cost me $650.

So, for about 78% less money than the PCs we used to buy, I got a computer that has 4915 times more RAM and 291,271 times more storage space (compared to two 360K floppy disks)! I still find that incredible!

New Direction

I’ve decided to go in a slightly new direction with this blog. For years now, I’ve done computer consulting work for individuals, organizations and businesses on the side. I’ve now decided to be more intentional about it.

During the weekdays, I’m going to try to post a new, small article every day about some sort of technology item or issue. Please feel free to respond and to suggest new topics.

You might also want to check out my consulting website at www.atomicdwarf.com and my technology forum at www.atomicdwarf.com/forum. Thanks for stopping by.

Leo Laporte back on TV in the USA.

Several weeks ago, G4 TV started airing episodes of the Canadian version of Leo Laporte’s old Tech TV show Call For Help. It’s quite good. It’s not exactly like the old show, but it has it’s own charms and it’s DEFINITELY good to see Leo back on TV. I love the tech talk, but I mostly miss Leo. He’s kind of like an old friend.

Leo can also be heard on his (and other former Screen Savers) weekly podcast This Week In Tech. You can find out all about it at www.twit.tv.

Revenge of the Screen Savers

A couple of weeks ago, I ran into something WONDERFUL on the web… www.thisweekintech.com. It’s the gang from the TV show “The Screen Savers” (from the former TechTV. They get together every Sunday via various audio means and just discuss tech stuff for around an hour. It’s wonderful.

I was devastated when TechTV ousted Leo Laporte from his shows, “The Screen Savers” and “Call for Help”. Well, the gang is back. While it’s not quite as good as the TV show in some regards, it’s better in others. At least here, they can do whatever the h**l they want and they don’t have any corporate nincompoops telling them what to do!

If you remember “The Screen Savers” or you’re just curious now, please check them out.