Saturday, November 24, 2007

Naughty device

I haven't posted anything in awhile. You may be wondering why. No, I didn't get so busy looking for music that I couldn't do anything else with my computer. I finally got my phone, and now I've been spending most of my computer time dealing with a naughty device.

The plan was simple - transfer files between my computer and my phone with a SD card, a medium both are supposed to be able to read. I say 'supposed to', because my Linux box is having trouble with it. It reads it just fine - I can get stuff from the phone to the computer using my plan. The other way though ... I can't for the life of me get my computer to write on the memory card. Some might point to this sort of thing as a reason to abandon Linux and rejoin the Windows monoculture.

But the problem I am having is not Linux' fault. See, I have a naughty device.

The card reader I have - an essentially unbranded generic device - would be a tremendous value if I could get it to work. It cost me all of 6 bucks for the reader/writer itself.

But with cheap hardware you often get coner-cutting. And here the corner cut was testing the reader on a variety of devices.

My understanding (and it took an awful lot of investigation to even get this scant info) is that many cheaper card readers will broadcast that they support standards that they do not. Thus, when the operating system believes what it is being told by the card reader and tries to communicate in full compliance with the standards the device CLAIMS TO SUPPORT - well, confusion results. And, apparently, eternal write protection.

Here's the kicker: Windows machines do not even try to use these particular communication standards - standards fully specified for the device! If the item is only tested on Windows and is not entirely supporting the standards it claims - well, you would never know.

So, it is the device itself that is naughty. Not (for once) Windows. Not Linux.

My naughty device.

THE MORAL: you should spend more than 6 bucks on pieces of computer hardware.


Kenny Scott said...

No doubt a daft question, but you /are/ mounting the drive in read/write mode rather than read only mode, aren't you?

Dave said...


And the little write protect switch is in off. I've tried it in the other position just to make sure. And wrapped the SD card in tape to make it (in theory) write-enabled by default.


Of course, the fact that I haven't upgraded except bit-by-bit in several years probably isn't helping.