Disaster – Genius Needed 258

I am sorry for the blog hiatus, but I follow a method of historical research a bit akin to method acting! I am absolutely immersed in the world of Burnes. I am in Bhuj at tne moment, and yesterday was at Mandivi looking at the shipyards and harbours where Burnes procured his boats to sail up the Indus – they are still made today. Much larger than I had realised. In Mumbai I identified a “lost”, uncatalogued portrait of Alexander Burnes which I think is the finest of him anywhere. The owners did not know who it was. It is by Brockendon like the one in the royal geographical society but is quite different, with him in military uniform. It is by Brockendon, not a copy.

Today disaster. I have lost ten days worth of notes. I noticed this morning that I had two versions of the identical document of my notes open – an .ODT on open office. One was a much older version. Paradoxically they had the identical file name but both showed as saved – the save icon was blanked on each.

Having checked that the content was all there on the version on which I was working, and that it was saved, I decided the best thing was to close off the extraneous version. Disaster!! An error message came up saying open office would now close. On restart, document recovery brought up only the old version, minus ten days work. I had a moment of hope when I right clicked on the document icon and saw “restore earlier versions of the document” but clicking on that just brought up a ,essage that there are no earlier versions available.

I am heartbroken- these aren’t just notes that can be recovered from memory, but also painstaking transcripts of old manuscripts, some of which I probably can’t access again even if I had the time and money.

I can think of a dozen things I might have done to avoid this situation. Comments on how to avoid such happenings are not welcome in the current trying circumstance. The real question is, can anyone think of anything at all that might help? I am running Open Office on Windows 7.

I really cannot express how much in despair I feel. This trip has cost all my available cash and I have to come back soon as money is out.

[If any mods have hung around while the blog is quiet, I am getting an extremely small typeface, only on this site. Do we have a problem, or is it another computer glitch personal to me?]

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258 thoughts on “Disaster – Genius Needed

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  • glenn_uk

    Clark: You’re right, the only chance for this approach is if the datafiles were all on D: . It’s best to leave the thing entirely alone and not start ‘doze up again, as you say, and take it to a data recovery outfit. Most inconvenient for Craig though. Perhaps he should remove the disk, and get a new small one installed with an OS by some local IT shop – new notes can be made and the old disk kept intact. Better still, stick to old tech of the paper variety until returning.
    Accidentally erasing a piece of work has happened to the best of us. My approach is to start again without delay, it’s surprising what’s retained in our memory. The second draft often turns out to be better than one remembers the first as being, and done unexpectedly swiftly too.
    Not that Craig needs much of my advice, but I’d use the remaining time there to re-do the taking of transcripts – by photos if pressed for time, multiple shots of each page – and knocking up a outline to what was in the missing notes. Fill in the details as time allows. A severe PITA, but that’s the best that can be done with a bad situation. I’ve done it numerous times in the past, one can get mightily annoyed, or put it aside with a sigh and press on as part of the business of life right away. It’s surprising how quickly one moves into the “acceptance” phase of grief should one decide to get on with things as they are without delay.
    John Pilger had nearly all his pictures from an investigation of Burma, taken in stealth at great personal danger, ruined by some idiot at the film lab. I imagine he was a bit cross about that too.

  • boniface goncourt

    Can you clarify what exactly these comment threads are supposed to be? There are a few rather prim theosophists, but not much of anyone else. Is it, as they claim, a “blog that specialises in spiritual understanding”? In which case, uh….

  • Mary

    Fedup I posted about this very important matter earlier, see

    1 Apr, 2012 – 2:58 pm
    Meanwhile, back im the ‘ConDemocracy’… Planned for inclusion in the queen’s speech so it must be true.


    1 Apr, 2012 – 3:12 pm
    Also on the BBC website, so definitely a true story!!
    The prediction of the arrival of a fascist state gets ever nearer. Or is it here already?
    but nobody commented or responded. I think we should all be working out what action to take to resist this. A massive citizens’ protest and a rising up against this gross invasion of our privacy is needed.

  • Mary

    Giles Fraser the man of principle who resigned from St Paul’s is taking up a priesthood in one of London’s deprived boroughs, Newington in the Elephant and Castle. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/apr/01/canon-st-pauls-parish-priest
    He writes:”London is a tale of two cities: you’ve got the City of London, where people make extraordinary amounts of money, and you’ve got another London, represented by places like the Elephant & Castle, which is largely forgotten. It’s the church’s job to be an advocate and to shine a light on poverty.”

    I have just been reading about some of the inqualities.
    eg the average take of a CEO of a FTSE 100 company is now £4.2m (Guardian)
    69% of the acreage of Britain is owned by 0.6% of the population. More pertinently, 158,000 families own 41 million acres of land, while 24 million families live on the four million acres of the urban plot. (New Statesman)

  • ToivoS

    I tried using Openoffice on MS7 and eventually concluded that MS finds Openoffice the enemy and they will fight it. I use it with my Ubuntu system and have had few problems.

    But in any case the first dozen suggestions here for recovering your data make much sense.

  • Mary

    This from David Schermerhorn – Free Gaza. His accompanying message is below the dotted line.
    Extraordinary how almost all ‘western’ nations bow to the Zionist entity. Down to allegiances in the rotten ‘leaderships’ – UK and US par excellence. Eg our so-called Foreign Secretary, Hague, who only a few ‘American’ citizens would have heard of, stood up aged 16 at a Tory/GOP conference to proclaim he was a ‘Friend of Israel’. Yes, aged 16. He has not advanced beyong being the nasty little squirt he was then.

    More ‘mundus nostrum’ than ‘mare nostrum’. And the entity resents ‘delegitimation’.


    On 02/04/12 00:54, David Schermerhorn of Free Gaza wrote:

    To all, Why should we be surprised that the Audacity and others did not succeed? Why the AoH remains imprisoned? Not only are Flotillas blocked but the Israeli gas deposits are protected by the US 6th Fleet off Cyprus or Lebanon or Gaza. The Med has become Israel’s Mare Nostrum with our support.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Mary, rest assured you are not a voice crying in the wilderness – I read your reference yesterday to the new internet Stasi snooping bill and nodded in agreement. (Or maybe that should read the OLD internet Stasi snooping bill, because, of course, this is the second time round the block for it.) It’s rich, isn’t it? that a government currently beating up a newspaper for phone hacking wants to phone hack the entire nation.
    But not enough people seem to care in the same way they undoubtedly would if all the nation’s snailmail were re-routed via GCHQ.
    Mind you, did you see the recent article in Wired on the real time spying centre they are building in the US? The intent is to monitor ALL the world’s communications in real time with acres of super computers to crack the encryption.

    “Those who do not  move, do not notice their chains.” – Rosa Luxemburg

  • Mary

    Look at these photos. They shock.
    I found them following reading this piece in which the link to a Guardian photo does not work hence the Mail link.
    Duty Calls {http://warlordsandmerchants.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/duty-calls/}
    On Thursday March 29th 2012, The Guardian published a half-page photo entitled “Duty calls, No-frills flights for US troops”[1]. The picture, an interior shot of a US military transport plane showed row after row of grinning American troops and was captioned “US soldiers relax on a plane bound for Afghanistan from a transit base outside Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek”. No further reporting or analysis accompanied the image.
    The troops in the photo are laughing cheerfully. It is the sort of image you could imagine the US military might use in recruitment material to demonstrate the ‘camaraderie’ and ‘adventure’ of army life; it is not what you expect to see in a supposedly left-wing newspaper.
    The image, in combination with its heading, depicts the US troops as simply doing their ‘duty’ and even appears to sympathise with them for being forced to tolerate a ‘no-frills flight’. Its broader context – that the troops shown in the image are being flown from a US military air base in Kyrgyzstan (one of hundreds of US military bases around the world that enforce its global hegemony) to reinforce the US/NATO military occupation of Afghanistan – is not discussed.


  • Clark

    Update: I expect that Craig is already doing as Glenn_uk advised above; recovering his work from his memory. Craig e-mailed me yesterday. He had installed Recuva, as per Confused’s suggestion, recovered a file and sent it as an attachment. I tried various ways of opening it, none of which revealed the original document. I e-mailed my (lack of) progress reports to him with requests for further files to try out, but I got no reply to several e-mails, so I expect he is working feverishly to reconstruct his work.
    Recuva gave the file the .txt extension. It isn’t actually a text file. OpenOffice files are really .zip files, but if this is a .zip file, it may have been truncated. Upon renaming to “recovered.zip” and attempting to open it, Ubuntu’s Archiver gives me the following error message:
    End-of-central-directory signature not found. Either this file is not
    a zipfile, or it constitutes one disk of a multi-part archive. In the
    latter case the central directory and zipfile comment will be found on
    the last disk(s) of this archive.
    zipinfo: cannot find zipfile directory in one of /home/clark/Desktop/recovered.zip or
    /home/clark/Desktop/recovered.zip.zip, and cannot find /home/clark/Desktop/recovered.zip.ZIP, period.

  • Jon

    Hey Clark, how’s things?
    My suggestion is for Craig (or someone who can get to his house) to take a copy of his temp files, and to sift through them in case there’s something there. It would require a bit of patience, and of course may not pay off – depends as you say on whether Craig is intending to try writing it out from memory anyway.
    I much sympathise with this predicament anyway – it has happened to me also.

  • Clark

    Jon, good to hear from you. Craig is in India; I’d have offered to go to Kent immediately, and will do when he gets back if he so wishes.

  • MJ

    Craig: you’ve probably tried this but the first thing to do is check Open Office’s own backup folder. You can find it by opening OO and navigating to Tools/Options/Paths (in the left pane)/Backups.

    If you can’t find what you want make sure Windows Explorer is configured to show hidden files (this is quite easy to do but I don’t know my way round W7). Sometimes after a crash files get converted to hidden status and won’t show up unless you specifically tell Windows to do so.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    @Mary – ‘Look at these photos. They shock.’
    I’m not trying to be flippant, but those conditions don’t look any worse than a typical economy class on a 747. ( Although the soldiers probably get better food.)

  • Mary

    I was not referring to the comfort or the lack of it. I was referring to the vast numbers of them and the number of planes with the members of the military sitting laughing and joking as they go to a foreign country to perform yet more atrocities.

    Or perhaps you are being ironic.

  • confused

    I’m surprised that Recuva gave an Open Office .odt file a .txt extension.

    When I ran a test to give the proper procedure, Recuva showed up my .odt files as .odt, but only after a deep scan.

  • mark golding

    Mary – Fedup
    Dave Davis warned of this legislation on WebCameron years ago (2008) when he was shadow home secretary. I backed him with a public awareness campaign online. I suspect he fought a bitter battle over civil liberties with Hague and agent Cameron which he lost and then resigned.
    For my part I am on a mission to stop the methods of stealth and manipulation that I believe exists in the British establishment.
    A deeper ill is the increasingly tenuous hold upon the levers of our own democracy by an apathetic populace.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    No I wasn’t being ironic, apart from the gag about the food. The Guardian article you reference talked about comfort, and the Daily Mail article was all about how crammed in they are. I merely pointed out the obvious riposte that they are no more crammed in than economy class tourists. As for the numbers, sending troops by plane is small beer compared to the traditional method of sending them by ship – the Queen Mary in World War 2 carried more than 10,000 troops. The only shocking thing for me in this story is what they do when they arrive at their destination.

  • DonnyDarko

    Austria are introducing similar monitoring of all email / mobile and Internet communication under pressure from the EU, holding onto all data for 6 months. Germany refused in the end as it was deemed unconstitutional, for the moment.
    The US already has access to most money transactions and email. This is all for their benefit.
    Joe public does not have the money for laundering , nor is part of a terrorist organization and yet we’re being targeted just in case ?
    As we saw what they did by discrediting Assad and his wife through disclosure of email, they can turn that little stint of online shopping into a crime against humanity.
    We’ll all have to think twice before ordering that korma by telephone or internet just in case the delivery driver was on holiday in Pakistan or India. Mind you , water boarding after a hot curry is maybe okay ??
    Whilst the police and our security services manage 100% anonymity in court or after shooting unarmed civilians , our Govt is trying their damnest to bring back the Star Chamber for all the online criminals that they will be able to nail and prosecute behind closed doors with this new legislation.
    The noose is tightening and our creepy wee Liberals go along with it all. Craig what is wrong with your old party ?? Don’t they have anybody left with ideals ??

  • Mary

    Mark You are correct on all scores. The apathy of the sheeple is the most concerning of course. They carry on posting on Facebook and Twitter without a care in the world or thought.
    King of Welsh Noir Point taken. I did link to this too
    Duty Calls http://warlordsandmerchants.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/duty-calls/
    which is a fair piece by a good man but who is typical of the liberal critic. “To imagine The Guardian publishing such a sympathetic and humanising image of troops from other militaries that are guilty of similar human rights violations is entirely inconceivable.” Inconceivable. Is it with people like Rusbridger and Leigh there? They care little for the grunts in the plane and even less for the ‘sand niggers/towel heads’. These are all gentiles. The high command in the Guardian are interested in Zionist hegemony. They are a very lethal and tiny minority of humans. Finally, it is not Afghanistan that is the focus, but Iran.

    The author I believe is this person on Linked In. Interesting combination HSBC and the FCO!
    Business Intelligence – Middle East & North Africa HSBC
    Public Company; 10,001+ employees; HBC; Financial Services industry

    February 2010 – Present (2 years 3 months)

    Volunteer Teacher UNRWA, Damascus, Syria
    Nonprofit; 10,001+ employees; International Affairs industry

    September 2009 – December 2009 (4 months)

    Research Intern UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Damascus, Syria

    June 2009 – November 2009 (6 months)

    Advocacy Intern International Crisis Group
    Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; International Affairs industry

    August 2008 – February 2009 (7 months)

    Freelance Researcher Control Risks Group
    Privately Held; 1001-5000 employees; Security and Investigations industry

    2008 – 2009 (1 year)

    Research Assistant Menas Associates
    Privately Held; 11-50 employees; International Affairs industry

    2007 – 2007 (less than a year)

  • nicholas wood

    Dear Craig, Shut your lap top up and get it seen to by an expert.

    Quickly write out all your notes again with a fountain pen, you will be amazed how much you can remember.

    Photocopy as many of the original documents as you can before you come home.

    Best of luck , Nicholas

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Assad is of course a succinct example and probably one of the reasons Cameron has recently got his balls squeezed over Syria and the failed foreign intervention that now seems to have been aborted even though some mercenaries are being retained on foreign payrolls.
    Syria was saved from a ‘Libya NATO massacre’ by public insight, an awareness and communication this government wants to avoid in the future. In other words ‘keep the fucking masses’ chocked off by statute.
    The struggle is only just beginning!

  • Nextus

    Clark, I’ve run the recovered file through a Hex editor and file analyzer, to no avail: there are no identifier strings. It may just be a RAM dump. I’d be surprised if that was the only candidate that Recuva produced.
    I’ve recovered numerous lost essays and dissertations, working on a university helpdesk for many years. The success rate was very high, except if the files were encrypted or the data sectors had been reallocated.
    There are options to provide tech support via remote desktop connections. (I’ve used LogMeIn and SimpleHelp). Some are browser-based, and don’t require installation.

  • Clark

    Nextus, thanks for trying that. Yes, I wish Craig would send more files. I think the chances of recovering the lost work are quite good, but it’s frustrating having no more files to work on.

  • MJ

    I think there’s a good chance that some earlier autosaved versions of the missing file are sitting safe and sound in Craig’s OO backup folder but they’ve become hidden since the crash. Well worth activating the “show hidden files” option to see what crops up.

  • Mary

    The first ten minutes of the BBC 6 O’Clock News were devoted to the glories of our Victory Over The Argies. Dreadful stuff. John Simpson and Caroline Wyatt playing it for all it was worth.
    This is the website version http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17580449 which takes top billing. Thatcher’s children live.

  • Anon

    “The apathy of the sheeple is the most concerning of course.”

    Only outdone by the arrogance of those who know what is good for us imho.

  • Mary

    I seem to have got up your nose Anon.
    The apathy IS concerning. It will be too late one day soon as people will discover. Their liberties are under attack as are the services they have taken for granted like the NHS.

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