I posted this question the other day: Suggestions on how to repair corrupt files
The files I used in example were perhaps not the best. These are still ever so slightly NSFW, but I now have two files that I feel are better for figuring out how to solve this.
An archive of two files, one good and one bad can be downloaded from here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/340087/drops/05.20.11/testing-96acf4cc-033125.zip
Here is some basic data: (identical in size)
-rw-r--r--+ 1 me staff 1935797 May 26 2009 bad.JPG -rw-r--r--+ 1 me staff 1935797 May 26 2009 good.JPG
MD5 does in fact differ:
MD5 (bad.JPG) = 313356d98ced569d573b9ded1555cf2b MD5 (good.JPG) = e6178e88e92a79e97b6f9babe7dd8240
If I hexdump each file, the bad file has less data in it, but I am not sure if it is repairable or not. Perhaps just header data is missing and I can add it back in, perhaps there is real data completely unlike meta data that means these and similar files are completely busted.