Monday, December 22, 2008

Remembrance of things past

My grandfather and grandmother (second row, left of center)
and my great-aunt (second row, second from right)

I've done it. I've loaded 1,168 images onto a 2GB SD card that will go into the digital photo frame I got my mom for Christmas. Even so, the card is still only half full, so I have room for another thousand or so images.

My grandmother shakes her fist at the gathered family
at her surprise 80th birthday party, 1990.

A word of advice for anyone attempting to do this, something I once knew but have since forgotten: root directories have limits on how many files can be stuck in them. I learned this over ten years ago when I was developing an automated data collection system for our CD testing racks. Each test that would run on the rack would have its results saved to a 3.5" "floppy" disc as a flat file. Once a week I would go to all of the racks and swap out the discs with blank ones,* and then compile and analyze all of the data for one of the world's largest CD manufacturers using two computers with 500 MB hard drives. When we implemented this system, everything seemed to run fine for the first day or two. But then, almost but not quite simultaneously, systems began to crash across the plant, and I had to engage the built-in kill switch (set the rack number to "0" to prevent records from being written.) A brief consultation with the people who had done the programming revealed that we had butted up against the root directory limitation: as each test rack performed a number of tests that exceeded this limit, the program was no longer able to save to the floppy. We got around this by having the program save to a subdirectory on the disc, where the limitation did not apply.

Chico the Chihuahua (1975 -1991) and
Kitty the Black Dog (1983? - 1997)

So: if you try to do a file dump onto an SD card, you will be able to load so many files (my limit was 338) and then you will get the message "directory or file cannot be created." Thanks to the helpful information shown here, I learned how to get around this:

Thu, 06/11/08@21:28
Copying pictures from my PC onto a Sandisk 2Gb SD card with a Belkin reader/writer, I find I am unable to store any more than approx. 600MB of pictures before a dialogue box appears and says "The directory or file cannot be created. I have also tried with different SD cards with the same result.I would very much appreciate it if anyone help me with this problem.

Fri, 07/11/08@11:57
A quick Google shows that this is not an uncommon problem. The root directory has a size limit.Try this: delete one file from the existing directory on the card, then create a new folder. Try again copying to the new folder and see if that helps. You may even need additional folders to accommodate all your pics.

Kitty and Josie (adopted as an adult
in 1991; died 2001)

I followed anchor's advice and was able to load the rest of my photos onto my SD card, no problem! Wait, that's a lie. My Targus card read/write gizmo from Radio Shack sucks badly; I need to either apply constant pressure on the card with my thumb to ensure contact, or I need to use a rubber band to keep the card locked in. The slightest bump will either break contact or dislodge the USB/power cable. Also, I ran into several "cursed" images that would not copy over until I did all sorts of tricks. Pain in the butt, really. But I am not complaining.

So now I have it. 1,168 images, mostly from the last two or three years, but some older, a few much older. A broad sampling of the past and the future, the living and the dead, all cycling along at five second intervals. I hope my mom like it.

*OK, it was a semi-automated system.

1 comment:

Michelle D said...

What a big task! I'm sure your Mom will love it!!