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Old May 23, 2003, 4:22 AM   #1
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Default Olympus 256Mb xD - Make my Day .....

and send me a WinHex image of the first 16 sectors of an Olympus 256Mb xD card.

I want to see if I can enable the panorama function on a 256Mb Fuji xD card. I don't have an xD reader, so will first try through a 5050 camera, using it as a removable drive.

If that doesn't work I will buy a MACF-10 xD to CF adapter and try with that through a CF reader.

But I will first back up the Fuji card with WinHex !!!!!

Any opinions about this venture?
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Old May 23, 2003, 6:48 AM   #2
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The more you can do, the more we can learn. Sorry, not using Xd so no images. Here are the tips:

If you can get a smaller cheaper xD card - practice with that first. You can't write full images from different size cards, but at least you can get the right bytes in the right place and don't risk much if it all goes wrong.

Remember, there is high level logical format - which you can do with DOS format (cluster sizes FAT tables etc) and editing you can do with WinHex. AND low level physical format, which is virtually impossible to check, read, recover unless you have a reader with physical format software written for it. Some of these issues are really bugging me at the mo. Why can't I read this CIS - first to see if it's got screwed or not, then rebuild it if it's corrupted (there are always 2 copies on the card).

I would guess you will only need to deal with logical format for this. But a really broken card needs the physical reformat as well. Find out if the Xd adaptor you're considering ships with a low level physical format utility (might be called Xdprep). This is your life saver as well as the backup image. There's plenty of stuff on the WinHex Forum and the web about which bytes need changing to enable pano. Alternatively, as you requested, if there is somebody out there with a working Oly 256 Xd card, get an image pronto, then just transfer the image. Good Luck VOX
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Old May 23, 2003, 8:35 AM   #3
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Thanks, and, of course, you are right, I should play with a smaller card to start off with. I do have the 32Mb Olympus card that came with the camera, but then need a 32Mb Fuji card. I would buy that if they were really cheap, but I don't think that they are even though that size is useless. Will see!

But on reading the WinHex forums it appears that WinHex can't read the CIS block, which would make me doubt whether one can make this work.

Because the CIS block is where Olympus hide their evil deeds. One may in fact need an xDprep to access the CIS block.

But my research is still active! And in case some of you think that I am wasting my time! Yes, indeed, but mountains are there to be climbed. What is life without a challenge?
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Old May 23, 2003, 9:16 AM   #4
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Your just getting to where I was a few weeks ago, Even been responsible for stirring up the WinHex Forum!

There must be a way of reading the CIS (private data). That would be a great leap for digicam man(woman)kind. At least you'd know if a high level re-format was a goer or not. I'm seriously thinking you have to hook up a PIC to pull the stuff out! I now know what should be there and where it is - just don't have the tool to see it.

From what I read, there is an area first in (DOS) sector zero that carries Oly bytes. But additionally, a small area of the CIS is reserved for manufacturer use. This wouldn't break the physical structure spec, so cards would still work in other devices. But it would make it damn difficult to replicate the CIS in a generic card and get the additional feature. Of course if you then took this Oly special card and did a low level re format with CF/SMprep, it then becomes a generic card and the feature is lost.

I don't think it's impossible. Just needs a bit of 'orchestration' between the right reader and software. Or if you're clever, study the spec and access the stuff yourself. For whizz kids that can hang stuff off TV access cards, this must be childs play.

I now remember the Oly solution from a site I visited. Somebody hacked CFprep.exe and worked out what to change to replicate the low level Oly bytes when executed. This then became renamed to OlYprep.exe. Problem is, the code is not the same for every reader. I don't have this cam, so it's not worth my time to play with disassembly even if I could do it - but then I don't like these secrets!. Look here to get the idea for SM, even Hex to find the changed bytes, might be able to find similar in Xdprep

http://home.attbi.com/~slobo66/Smprep.htm
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Old May 23, 2003, 9:38 AM   #5
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Easy peasey: Just compared the two smpreps from above link, the changed version has 22 bytes different and looks like mainly spaces (20h) are replaced with Oly data. Definitely don't try this on BIG cards specially an Oly one, however if you have a generic card, a reader with CF/SM/Xdprep, then you haven't lost much and can always recover it back to generic. You'd need to find and see if the code section matches for the Xdprep. exe version. VOX
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Old May 23, 2003, 9:50 AM   #6
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Yes, you are right. I think that if you have an xDPrep you could play trial and error games and you could always recover if you messed it up. But there are not many xD readers around, and I haven't heard of an xDPrep yet.

First prize would be if you could directly access the CIS block, I think that you could find it pretty quickly, unless Olympus have gotten smart and are trying to hide it since the SM thing was cracked.

I actually just wish that they would grow up and market the panorama function as a feature of the camera, and not as a feature of the card.
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Old May 23, 2003, 10:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
First prize would be if you could directly access the CIS block
Well that's the Holy Grail. 'cos I don't think you can do it from the normal DOS editors. If you can find anything that can even look at it - PM me! That's why the prep utils were modified, they write direct to that section of a card through the compatible reader. Normally editing over usb doesn't access physical blocks 0 and 1. Incidentally, this is also the area where the 'bad block' info is stored.

I know CFprep does a re-scan checks and updates this each time it's run. Would be nice to see how 'bad blocks' were doing over time - or when buying second hand on Ebay!
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Old May 23, 2003, 11:39 AM   #8
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Hmmm, need to do more research! Although it looks as if the only answer may be an xDPrep.

An editor to access blocks 0 and 1? It must be possible if SMPrep can do it! Does anything like this exist?
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Old May 23, 2003, 12:51 PM   #9
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Just about to email SCM with a plea. So far this kind of thing seems only to exist on the media development platforms. S, whereas we can spend 20.00 on a reader/writer with sm/cf/prep from Dazzle, the development people want you to spend mega bucks on a pod, and software tools.
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Old May 23, 2003, 3:42 PM   #10
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Keep us informed as to what SCM say.

I hope that one doesn't have to wait for them to produce an xD reader with xDPrep!
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