URGENT: Data recovery assistance needed in New Haven, CT

McFadden, Mike, A mamcfadden at cmh.edu
Fri Mar 3 16:11:09 CST 2006

I actually think I saw a system like this at the local computer surplus
place about a year ago.  It had a display like a Microfiche viewer with
a MO disk drive and a hard copy output connection to a laser printer.
Somewhere I have one of the disks.  

I'll bet the data is not in a standard format. The hospital where I work
has lots of MO disk using systems, CT scanners, data backups for patient
monitoring, Cardiology cath lab and they all use non standard data
formats.  The CT and cath lab are the worst they use a raw file
structure that is directly read and written by the system.  They also
encode the data in a compressed format to pack more data on the disk.
The MO disk media manufacturers are also not producing the media any

I have several of the drives but we have never been able to read one of
the disks without the drive it was originally created on.  The venders
consider the storage format proprietary and will not release it.

Back 10-12 years in the past we reverse engineered the data structure
that was on an LMSI 12" optical drive containing digital x-ray images.
There was a hierarchy on the disk and the data was stored in a run
length encoded format of the differences between different resolutions
of the images.  We made disks up with 1 image and then compared it to a
blank disk, then added an additional image and repeated the process.  We
were eventually able to read the disks offline and purchased LMSI drive
to connect to our VAX.  

We have this exact problem today, a SCSI MO disk from a GE CT scanner
and no system to read it.  We kept the drive but there is no software.
GE will sell you a system with software to read the disk for $20,000 or
transfer an individual disk for a fee.  


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