I'm a pack rat; this comes as no surprise to anyone who's ever been in my house or garage or office. I tend to collect things that I want to use later. Often the net effect is that I end up having to throw stuff out later, frequently enough if I want something I can fine the one I used to have and put it to work.
I'm like that with physical things and with data. I have data disks that I was using regularly almost 25 years ago. So this blog post by data preservationist Jason Scott about the end of floppies came as a bit of a rude shock. I'd been carrying lots of old floppies with stuff that I used to use, and it never occured to me that I wouldn't be able to just throw the disk in a machine and read it.
I read that post last fall, when it was more than a year old. That really scared me, so I've been sort of vaguely tryin to get set up to pull data off of disks since then. I had the setup ready about a month ago but since then I've been rather busy. Today my wife is in Knoxville and my plane is in Lexington and broken, so I had time to start seriously feeding floppies into the machine.
The results were actually pretty good. The 5 1/4 floppies actually did better; there were only a few that I couldn't get a full image from. The 3.5 disks didn't do as well, but I was able to get full images off of about 2/3 of them, and partial images off of several more. I have 10 or so that just don't want to read in the drive, so I may work harder on those, or I may not.
Most of what I'd like to preserve are game files, and I got at least one clean copy of all of those. The other thing is images. A lot of the photos that I took in graduate school were on floppies, because the camera that I used was a Sony Mavica that recorded onto floppies. I'm pleased that I pulled images from several of those disks, so I have images of stuff that I haven't seen in 10 years.
Feeding disks into the machine
read read read...
Here's me, much younger and thinner with more hair. This is on the balcony of my last graduate school apartment. The laptop is the one my group bought me. It's an original iBook. I lived in this apartment August of 2000 to July of 2002.
I didn't realize I had any photos of this car. This is my 1986 Ford Escort EXP that I drove from the fall of 1996 to the spring of 2002. Fantastic road car. It died the day that I interviewed for my (current) job. It's parked in front of a storage unit. I'm about to leave for the big summer run of my graduate school experient in the spring of 2000.
Apparently, even then I was prone to taking photos of the highway. This is probably driving towards West Virginia.
These 11 cards (and the corresponding ones in the other crate) were what made my graduate school experiment possible. These cards implement a wire-OR of the results of 352 comparators and put the result out the orange cable on the right. My biggest worry between 1998 and 2000 was making sure that this piece of equipment did its job.
Here's me in the Hall B control room at Jefferson Lab sometime in the summer of 2000. I find this photo terribly amusing; I'm doin stuff on my laptop surrounded by larger and much more capable screens. So that hasn't changed at least. :-)