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Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that my article of "Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket" (click on "Back to Article") has once again proven to be valid. The bad news is that once again, I had to lose priceless photos to prove it.

I am currently staying at the Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel as we speak. My wife is attending a Rational Therapeutics conference this weekend in Disneyland, so I'm fortunate enough to tag along. Yesterday, we spent all day inside Disneyland and enjoyed its 50th Anniversary celebration. We also shot tons of pictures and videos with our new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T11 digital camera (see my DSC-T11 review article elsewhere on this web site). The Sony DSC-T11 is ultra thin, so it can only use the smaller Memory Stick Duo memory cards. I took the wisdom provided in "Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket" to heart and switched between a 256 MB Memory Stick Pro Duo and a 512 MB Memory Stick Pro Duo several times throughout the day.

I must praise Disney for providing free WiFi and wired broadband connection in its hotel rooms so that I can write and post this message while I'm at the hotel.

This morning, I tried to download the pictures to my HP Pavilion dv1227us Entertainment Notebook PC. This notebook has built-in Digital Media ports that support SD Card, Memory Stick Pro, MultiMediaCard, SmartMedia, and XD Card (I wish it also supports CompactFlash). I inserted the 256 MB Memory Stick Pro Duo into a Sony Memory Stick Duo Adapter, then inserted the combination into the Memory Stick slot on the computer. The computer recognized it and I was able to see all my pictures on the memory card. Only problem is that Windows Explorer hung. I rebooted the machine and inserted the card again, Windows XP reported "Delayed Write Failed". Again I cannot access the card, even from the Command Prompt my worst nightmare.

I don't know what corrupted the 256 MB Memory Stick Duo. Could have been the memory card reader running on battery power, the memory card itself, the camera, or Windows Explorer. I did a clean boot again. This time, I inserted the 512 MB Memory Stick Duo and copied the pictures onto the hard disk using the Command Prompt. The Command Prompt's system operation has always been far simpler and more reliable than the Windows Explorer.

On hindsight, I wished I had swapped cards more often than the few times I did. Although I interleaved throughout the day, each Disneyland attraction was stored either of the two cards, not interleaved on both. Also, I wish I had more memory cards. That would limit the amount of data loss further.

I'll try to recover the data on the card again later. For now, I'm off to explore the wonders of Disney once again. 8-)

Chieh Cheng
Sat, 11 Jun 2005 13:34:38 -0700

I put the corrupted memory card aside for a few days and just ignored it. Today, having some free time, I decided to try again . . . I turned on the notebook computer, inserted the card, and the content showed up in Windows Explorer. I carefully dragged the folder containing the pictures onto my hard disk. Amazingly, Windows started copying the files over! None of the images were lost and the Memory Stick Duo is no longer corrupt (I formatted it anyway copying off all the files, just in case).

Somehow, separating the computer and the Memory Stick Duo for a few days fixed the problem. Must have been something in the Windows XP memory that cause it fail when accessing the storage card.

I'm just glad I haven't lost anything.

Chieh Cheng
Fri, 17 Jun 2005 16:53:08 -0700

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