Huffman Coding

… with a bunch of Family Stuff too

Picture Panic

This is a geeky post, so those with a life can choose to skip it.

The SD card for one of our two cameras filled up and needed to be transferred to my netbook. Claire has been taking pictures of toilets, clouds, stray dogs and lots of pictures of herself from arms length. It also had pictures of Claire at her founding location.

I’ve brought along an Ubuntu netbook that has a little bit of flash storage and its own, much larger SD card. Unfortunately it only has one SD slot, so it is a two step process moving the images from the camera’s card to netbook’s limited flash storage then moving them onto the larger card after swapping it in.

I had no problem copying the pictures from the first card to the temporary directory on the netbook, but it wouldn’t let me safely remove (unmount) the camera’s card after deleting the pictures from it. It said the card was still in use by the user interface (nautilus).

A simple way to resolve this issue is to reboot the computer and safely swap the SD cards afterward. It would just take a few seconds.

Unfortunately after rebooting, the newly copied files had been deleted from the netbook as well. I had chosen the operating system’s temporary directory and, because I am used to much older flavors of UNIX and Linux which do not do so, I did not expect that Ubuntu would wipe that location (/tmp) upon reboot. Good to know. Both the original and backup copies of the irreplaceable photos were gone. Bad to know.

Ashen, I confessed to my wife the unfolding tragedy. She was stoic, but I could tell she wasn’t happy. I quickly googled for directions for recovering the files from the netbook directory. All of links said that files were unrecoverable from the netbook’s new-fangled, secure (EXT3) filesystem. No hope of recovery.

It was then that I put my head down into my hands and started quietly muttering words I hope daughters didn’t hear.

After several agonizing moments, it dawned on me that the SD card used the old, insecure Microsoft filesystem format (FAT16). A little more googling and I found a Linux utility that could recover those deleted images. After a fretful hour watching the utility analyze the SD card, all the files were recovered onto the netbook and could be moved onto the larger card for safe keeping.

Panic over. Marriage intact.

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