For me the interesting part of this article was the author discovering that he barely recognised his old self. I wonder how common this is? When I reflect on myself, I have a notion that there's a kind of continuity to my ego over the years that - despite the changes in the intervening years - I would recognise. But I'm not a diary writer nor do I have a stack of old disks from a distant part of my personal history, so I can't confirm either way.
Has anybody else experienced what this author describes?
Let me leave a plug here for the rare hacker news commentator that has Apple II nostalgia, C++ skills, and Linux or Windows GUI knowledge.
After having tons of fun getting my Go Apple II emulator basically working, I realized my efforts would be better spent improving an existing emulator than bringing mine up to parity, and switched my efforts over to working on OpenEmulator.
It has a portable emulation library at its core, and a relatively thin layer of Mac OS GUI to show the windows, etc.
If someone with the right skills helped to create GUI layers for Windows and/or Linux, I believe it would become much more popular, and start attracting more development to add functionality, peripherals, etc. It already has some of the best disk emulation, and almost certainly the most accurate CRT emulation of any Apple II emulator.
If you'd like to try it out, try 4am's build: https://archive.org/details/OpenEmulatorSnapshots
As a contrast in backwards-compatibility, PC floppies from 1988 (MS-DOS, FAT format) would be immediately usable in a newish PC, just connect a suitable floppy drive.
I recently did a deep dive into all the 5.25" disks I could find around. I do sort of remember some of the stuff I found, but some of it was rather foreign.
I now have a handful of "flippy" disks and have to set up an old 1541 drive to read these.
I was surprised how much of it was readable, the amount of dust and bad smell these things developed over the 25 years in a basement, but also that I only had about 200 megs of data at the end of the multi-day process.
I also spent some time digitizing Super 8 film too, so it has been a nostalgia trip.
About 5 years ago, I got a 1541 drive and an XA1541 plugged in the parallel port. The purpose was to 'rip' some disks (last used in 1997) I found in my mother's loft.
Most notably, I found an old story I thought was lost, and a trove of insane Boulderdash caves/levels I wrote with a friend - in the Boulderdash level editor - in about 1993.
I'm amazed that the disks survived. But finding the lost story - and some letters from high school - was great.
Find instructions here:
He would've been better off buying a Kryoflux board. https://kryoflux.com/
He used an emulator anyway, why not using a faster and easier method, that even has error correction?
I had a slightly easier task when I found some of my old 3.5" PC floppies, and I recovered some old ASM and Turbo Pascal work.
The best part was rediscovering the ASM code for a PC program that wrote out the current time in words - I was inspired by a similar program by the late Jim Button (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Knopf), and I remember that at the time I had some fun working how to shave the code down, saving a few bytes here and there by using different coding or optimising the storage of the text data.
There's also a map editor for the PC game 'Rockford', although, sadly, it doesn't work with the only version of the game I've found still available, which seems to be a 'gen 2' clone using a different PC game engine and a different map format.
Anyway, I put my nostalgia here:
I had a similar adventure about ten years ago. That story is here:
Also the USB FC5025 controller, which unlike kryoflux reads floppies* like floppies and does not create multi-hundred-megabyte flux-transition maps requiring post-translation but instead gives you a bit level disk image, for many common disk formats.
Also the Device-Side page is very HTML 1.0 and should appeal to HN peeps.
If you're interested in reading old Apple II disks, track down John Morris' recent AppleSauce work. It's fantastic. He's @DiskBlitz on twitter, and gave a talk at the last KansasFest about AppleSauce: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMrOiYCEuxc
What I want to know is how I can get all my old term papers off these floppies I used in the DEC Rainbow PCs in the computer center.
Acornsoft sold their games in 5.25" floppies inside some very nice black plastic covers. I found that floppies that had been stored inside these covers had survived, while those that were in the typical paper or cardboard sleeves had not. This was about 10 years ago, when they were about 25 years old.
Such articles show how useful cloud solutions for storage can be : the data is disconnected from the underlying hardware.
When hardware progress occurs, files are transferred to new hardware and you could expect that 30 years from now, your files will still be there.
Interestingly, I still have the monitor from my IIc. I no longer have the computer, but the monitor is sitting in my garage. Sadly though I think it has water damage.
Just yesterday I acquired 3 5440 ibm disk cartridges.. I have no clue how/if I'm ever going to be able to read them, but some day I will try:)
I have a pile of similar stuff, including Zip disks (I still have an IDE drive for that, but nowhere to plug it in). Need to clear those out some day...