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When gadgets attack!

 
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120inna55
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Joined: 20 Jul 2005
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Location: Athens, TX

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:15 am    Post subject: When gadgets attack! Reply with quote

At least 6 years ago, my wife gave me a Sandisk Cruzer Mini 256 MB flash drive. For those of you who are unfamiliar with flash drives, they are 'keychain-sized' portable drives that can be used to carry large amounts of data and can quickly be plugged into most modern PC's for instant data retrieval. At the time, a 256 MB sized flash drive was state-of-the art. (Currently, a 16 GIGABYTE drive can be had for a fraction of the cost my wife paid 6 years ago---that's roughly 16, 000 MB). So, for the last 6 years, I've used this flash drive several times a day, accessing my forms and other data needed for work.

Over the years, I've subjected this little wonder to lots of abuse. At one point, I left it in my scrubs pocket, and it was subsequently washed in a washing machine and then dried in the clothes dryer. I thought surely that was the end of it. Surprisingly enough, it continued to perform flawlessly for years of use after that. Then there was one time I'd plugged it into a computer in the ER. I didn't know at the time that the USB port on that computer was structurally unsound due to shoddy manufacturing, so the flash drive got stuck in the PC. Despite my efforts, I couldn't get it out. So the hospital's IT guy came down to help. He disassembled the front of the PC, but still couldn't free the drive. Assuming this was the end of the drive's life, I gave the IT guy permission to use pliers to rip it out of the PC's port. The first yank just ripped-off the outer plastic shell of the drive exposing the circuit board. Then he gripped the circuit board with the pliers and finally freed it. With low expectations, I connected the maimed, then 3-piece, flash drive to another computer, and again, it performed flawlessly. I then super-glued the plastic shell back into place and have continued to have years of uninterrupted performance from this little marvel.

Last week, after at least 6 years of abuse, my trusty flash drive failed to work. Every computer I tried failed to even recognize the drive. It shouldn't have been a surprise since I'd clearly abused it beyond its intended design. Adding insult to injury, I had to come to terms with the fact that I'd committed the cardinal sin with regard to data storage---I'd failed to back-up my data on a routine basis. While much of my forms were stored on other computers, my daily reports hadn't been backed-up in over a year. Realizing I had nothing to lose, I cracked open the plastic shell that I'd super-glued together years ago. In so doing, I noticed there was a gap in the casing that allowed the internal circuit board to be exposed to the elements. Initially, I didn't notice anything overtly broken about the circuitry. I finally just gave up and resigned myself to the fact that my data was lost.

The next day, I was glaring at the pile of pieces when I noticed the flash memory chip didn't seem to sit flat on the circuit board. After further inspection, I realized the tiny metal pins connecting the chip to the board were sheared off as a result of corrosion. I quickly plugged it into my laptop while holding down the chip, ensuring it made contact with the board. This time, the laptop at least recognized that something had been connected, but it said the drive had not been formatted. Still, this glimmer of hope breathed new life into my quest to restore my lost data. I made several attempts, applying varying pressure to the chip, cleaning the corrosion off with alcohol swabs, etc. Still, the laptop couldn't read the data. It was tricky holding the chip with a constant pressure while trying to navigate the laptop with only one free hand, so I simply put a clothes pin on the flash drive. The clothes pin conveniently provided the right amount of pressure necessary to maintain contact without bending the pins.

I'd previously downloaded a program called BadCopy Pro by Jufsoft. Among other functions, the program is designed to repair software on removable drives allowing you to continue using them as usual. It also has the ability to sometimes retrieve files from the drive even if the drive can no longer be used. In other words, if it works, it gets your data back when it would otherwise have been lost forever. The beauty of this program is that you can download a free trial version of the program and use it to see if it can fix your particular problem. I ran the program twice. Due to the questionable nature of my rigged, limping flash drive being delicately held together with a clothes pin, the program couldn't find anything salvageable on the drive. One last time, I manipulated the clothes pin, and voila---BadCopy Pro was able to read data from the drive. It couldn't repair the drive, but it did see my files (a feat my computer couldn't accomplish alone). However, since I had the free trial version of BadCopy, I wasn't allowed to actually retrieve the files. I hesitated to even breath for fear the clothes pin might move, losing my once-in-a million satisfactory connection. Given my experience with previous "trial versions" of downloaded software, I figured I'd have to go back to BadCopy's site download the "paid" version of the software then try again. But the authors of Bad Copy Pro had already prepared for customers in such a predicament. Without closing the program, I was allowed to simply pay $39 to unlock the full retrieval capabilities of this amazing product. Within seconds, BadCopy safely returned to me 14,000 files that have previously been lost. I was literally given a second chance and ultimately lost no data! $39 bucks was a small price to pay. For those of you wondering, it's only a one-time $39 fee. The full capabilities of Bad Copy are now available to me forever---I hope I never have to use it again, but it's nice to know it's there.

I want to take this time to thank SanDisk for providing an amazingly durable, reliable product for many years of flawless performance despite my repeated abuse.

I also want to commend the authors of BadCopy Pro for providing an excellent, user-friendly product that literally restores sanity. Allowing users to try your product without even registering it is expected for such software, but adding the capability of purchasing a full version while leaving the product running without having to re-launch or re-scan shows that you know your customer base. Thank you very much!










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Joined: 03 Apr 2008
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Location: Texas

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL Only you would think of using a clothes pin to fix a "sensitive" technological device. *G*
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