Using Digital Cameras MP3 Players and USB Memory Sticks

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Removable storage is the term applied to peripherals that you might attach to your computer that contain their own storage. Examples include USB memory sticks, external hard drives, MP3 players, digital cameras, and photographic memory card readers. You might also find some devices like mobile phones are treated as removable storage devices when you attach them directly to your computer.

When you attach any removable storage device, Ubuntu does the following:

• Displays an icon on the desktop, which you can double-click to view the removable storage device contents.

• Adds an icon to Nautilus's Computer view, which can be accessed by clicking Places > Computer (or Go > Computer in a currently open Nautilus window). As with the desktop icon, double-clicking this will display the contents of the removable storage device. The Computer view is a good way to see at a glance all removable storage devices attached to your computer.

• If the removable storage device contains digital images (if it's a digital camera, for example), and you view the contents using a Nautilus window, an orange bar will appear across the top of the window, alongside a button asking if you want to import the images to the F-spot photo library program. You'll learn more about this in Chapter 20, which provides a concise guide to cataloging and manipulating your digital images.

The contents of the removable storage device will be accessible in exactly the same way as any other files on your system. You should be able to copy, delete, and create files on the device, provided the device isn't read-only (if the read-only switch isn't set on a USB memory stick, for example). If the device contains MP3 tunes, you should be able to doubleclick them to play them, provided the playback codecs are installed (see Chapter 18).

However, a very important rule must be followed when you've finished with removable storage devices under Ubuntu: the device must be unmounted before you physically remove it. This applies also to memory cards that are inserted into a card reader—before removing any card from the card reader, it must be unmounted.

This is quite simple to do. Just right-click the icon on the desktop or within the Computer window and select Unmount Volume. Make sure that you save and close any files that you may have been working on before you do so, or you may see an error message. You'll need to close any Nautilus windows that might have been browsing the storage device too.

If you've used the command line to manipulate files on the removable storage device, remember to close any running programs in the terminal window. You'll also need to switch out of the removable storage device directory before you'll be allowed to unmount it (alternatively, you can simply close the terminal window).

Following this, you can safely physically remove the card or unattach the device. Reinserting it will make it available once again.

■Caution Be very careful not to remove a memory card from a card reader while you're writing or reading from it on your PC. This will most likely damage the card irreparably. At the very least, it will wipe the contents of the card, so you'll lose your photographs.

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