Thoughts From My Life

Advice from someone who does not know everything.

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Recovering Pictures or Files on Flash Memory

I had a scary moment on my most recent trip. My card appeared to fail after I had taken a week’s worth of pictures in Nepal.

My Nikon D70s started flashing “For”, which indicates the compact flash card inside needs to be formatted. I was unable to view the pictures and if I put it into a card reader and tried to access it on Windows, it just wanted to format the card.

I waited a month, until I arrived home, to try and recover the pictures. I tried 8 different programs and I found two that were able to do it.

RescuePro was one of them. They let you download a trial of it and see if it will actually work before you have to buy. It will access the flash card and then scan it. After awhile, it shows you thumbnails and will let you recover a small number of the files for free. If you see your files and think it is worth it, then you can pay the US$40 for a license.

Active File Recovery is the other one that worked. This program is a little more full-featured. It can recover files on hard drives as well. RescuePro was strictly for flash cards.

Anyhow, if you have ever deleted, formatted, corrupted, or had some other failure with files or flash cards. Don’t just erase the card and start from scratch thinking you lost everything. Download a trial copy of RescuePro from the link above and see if you can spot your missing items. It will be well worth the $40 in a lot of cases.

Travel Accident Insurance and More – A Guide

Travel accident insurance is one of the most important things you should purchase before going on a trip and is part of my Ultimate Checklist for Traveling Guide. You need to make sure you have enough coverage while you are away to cover all the possible scenarios.

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Win32 Application and Logging To The Console

I have been writing demo applications using OpenGL recently in C++. I documented how to set up the environment and create a project in my article OpenGL and Visual Studio Express 2008. I started out by writing the application as a Win32 application. This was a problem though.When you are doing it in a Win32 project instead of a Win32 Console project it makes it very hard to do simple debugging using print statements. If you are like me, I like to scatter prinf or cout statements through different parts of my code so I can trace the progress and examine variables during development. It makes it very easy.If you use these statements in a Win32 project however, this output does not get printed out to the console or anywhere for that matter. It is just eaten and no errors are incurred.

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Air Miles Cash Program

Another piece of news is the Air Miles Cash program. It is inline with their recent announcement that air miles expire. From what I understand, you can use your airmiles like a pre-loaded gift card at some retailers. Currently it appears to be only Shell and Rona, but hopefully that changes. It might help a lot of air miles members to use their miles up at a quicker pace.You can watch a video and get more details on the Air Miles Cash Rewards page on their site.

Cash versus Dream

The odd thing is that they have divided your miles into two concepts. The Cash air miles and the Dream air miles. The Dream miles are what you use to get rewards like travel or vouchers. So what it has always been. The Cash represents miles you can use like money.When you log into your account, they will ask you to set a preference. You can collect them all for Cash or set a percentage of cash versus dream that you want to collect. By default, if you haven’t set a preference, they have you collect all miles in the Dream account.The cash value is 95 air miles for $10 worth of credit at a store. This amounts to a value of 10.5 cents/airmile. This is quite a bit on the low side of the value as I have written about in my Collecting Air Miles and their Value article. So I have chosen to continue collecting 100% towards my Dream account at this point in time. However, if you have a hard time using your miles up, it is a convenient method to purchase gas at Shell or items at Rona.

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Nikon Remote – ML-L3 – Review

I received this for Christmas this year. What a handy little gadget.

The ML-L3 (paid link) is the infared remote for Nikon cameras that support remote shutter release. It lets you snap the shutter from a distance.

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Kill A Watt – Measure Your Power

Have you ever wondered how much power you are using? I’m a bit of a geek and I always wanted to know how efficient the devices are in my home. A friend of mine recommended the “Kill-A-Watt” a couple years ago and I have ended up buying them for gifts now (for those fellow geeks who would appreciate it).

I ordered it online and I can’t even remember where, but the thing is called the “Kill-A-Watt”. It plugs into the wall and has a plugin receptacle on the front to plugin whatever device you want to test. There is also a digital display to show the results.

Anyhow, once you plug it in, you reset the values and just wait. Kill-a-Watt measures how many killowatt/hours the device has consumed. This directly translates into how you pay your energy bill.

Below is a paid link to purchase from Amazon.


I stole this picture from The Gadgeteer so I will give them a free linkback for stealing their bandwidth. I think you can order it from there. You can read more about it anyways.

I did my two slice toaster and I figured out that for every 40 pieces of toast (20 times I ran it) that it only consumed 1 cent worth of power.

Stay tuned, I will post other energy findings in later posts.

Switching to Koodo

I recently switched from my cell phone provider of 15 years (Bell) to Koodo. I will describe my experience a bit here.

Why The Change?

Two main reasons.

  1. I was looking to upgrade my phone hardware.
  2. I was looking for a cheaper phone plan.
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AC3 Encoded Sound Is Too Quiet

I have recently been watching hi definition video downloads on my laptop. Their sound was encoded using AC3 and I found that I was not able to get the sound loud enough on my laptop to watch the movie enjoyably.

The movies were mkv format (otherwise known as Matroska).

Fortunately, I found a very useful AC3 configuration too called the AC3 Filter that allows you to boost the sounds volume and push your speakers a little farther. You can download the program off their site and install it.

Just open it up, adjust the gain or any other settings, restart your media player, and enjoy. The only catch is that you will need to restart your media playing application anytime you change a setting to see its effect.

The Wealth Ratio

This was a very useful metric I found a couple years ago. It tells you how “wealthy” you are. This is a bit of a biased look. Wealth by the wealth ratio, means how easily you can provide for yourself using passive and portfolio income and not have to work. If you don’t know what passive income is, read my article Passive Income – What Is It. Portfolio income is money you make from your stocks and mutual fund investments.

In a nutshell, passive income is money you earn without having to actively work for it (like a job).

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Awk – Error – Unterminated String

I was frustrated using awk recently. I had created a awk file to do some batch processing of text file information. Anyhow, I had a large text section to create an SQL statement from. It spanned multiple lines and I had used a backslash “\” to indicate the string continued on the next line.

I had a syntax problem however. It was saying I had an unterminated string. I googled for the answer and checked to make sure every line of my text section had a backslash (which it did) and I couldn’t figure it out.

Below is the error I had.

awk: query.awk:2: print "SELECT \awk: query.awk:2:       ^ unterminated string

Anyhow, last straw was to go to everyline that had the backslash at the end and remove any spaces at that came after the backslash (so between the slash and the true end of the line). This fixed my problem.

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