I despise digital cameras. My girlfriend constantly asks me to charge mine, although I have no intention of ever using it. It breaks down like this:
I pray daily for the convergence of all portable digital devices, so that I can lose the vines of charger cables for phones, cameras, MP3 players and so on that frond their way across my living room.
My parents called up with a minor emergency: when they plugged their new or old digital cameras in, "nothing happened". Closer investigation revealed that "nothing" was actually "something": the folder view appeared, but not the Scanner and Camera Wizard.
They had attempted all the usual remedies before calling: installing the Windows 98 software that came with the old camera (they're on XPSP2, natch); clicking things in various control panels; hanging out the washing; getting upset with each other; cursing the "bloody thing".
I assumed that they'd simply picked a default action in the Scanner and Camera Wizard, and that they weren't going to be prompted ever again, and set about looking for a way to undo this. All the search engines suggested that uninstalling Realplayer would resolve the problem, but I wasn't prepared to install RealPlayer, just to remove it, just to get the wizard back.
Their Remote Assistance invites (er, actually about 50% were RA Invites, 50% were "You have been added to this conversation") failed with a message that indicated Remote Assistance is not installed or available on my computer, or is disabled. Funny, I thought X64 did include RA. Quick web search didn't show any "of course, we had to cut that feature" announcements.
As a last ditch attempt, I killed MSN Messenger and started Windows Messenger. This time, the invitation actually worked, and I got as far as the Accept stage before Messenger went to 100% CPU. Closing everything that might have a vested interest in Messenger components (Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger, Outlook, Maxthon, everything right-click and Exit-ed), I fired up Windows Messenger again, and this time got the RA session working.
Now I could see their screen, so I got them to plug in their Sony camera. Up popped a folder view, with a couple of weirdly named folders. Browsing through them, I couldn't find any JPGs or RAWs or similar.
I asked if it would be a fair assessment that they had no photos actually taken on the device? No. Can you take one? OK.
One photo taken later, the camera is plugged back in, and whop - there's the Scanner and Camera Wizard, eager to dispose of the photo.
The other camera (an old Olympus D520 Zoom) turned out not to be able to take photos any more under pretty much any circumstances, so might be of limited use as a camera.
If you came here just looking for a quick fix of information, here are the key learnings in easy-to-consume form: