Tag Archives: digital preservation

Appreciating the physicality of floppies

As I continue imaging and curating a collection of Apple II software I received last year, I have an increased appreciation for the importance of preserving physical floppy disks.

Multiple labels and overwriting are visible in this scan of an old 5.25″ floppy disk.

I have a floppy which contains a copy of a game called “Nosh Kosh.” To preserve the game digitally, Keith Hacke created a “disk image”, which in this case is a .DSK file that can be played in Apple II emulators.

Hopefully these digital disk images will endure online and in archives long after the last magnetic particles have flaked off the original physical floppy.

But the floppy still has important physical artifacts, particularly the labels.

Continue reading

Unearthed: My Atari 8-bit cassette tape

Side 1 of an old cassette tape I used to store programs for my Atari 8-bit computers.

Last weekend, I was rummaging through my old Atari ST disks when I came across something I hadn’t noticed in 30 years: A cassette tape for my Atari 8-bit.

As I have recounted before, I used hand-me-down Atari 800s, a 130XE, a 410 program recorder, and lots of other equipment and disks from family members when I was a kid before later graduating to the 16-bit ST series. Alas, I got rid of most of it when I was in college.

But here was this little tape … perhaps my only tangible link to my old Atari 8-bit equipment.

Each side of the tape was only 10 minutes long. What was on it?

Continue reading

Archiving 300,000 Fidonet messages

In 2015, I began looking for archives of networked BBS messageboards, hoping to find contemporary discussions of BBS door games from the 1990s. The best source I found was the fidonet.ozzmosis.com archive.

The Ozzmosis archive is awesome — and it’s still active, archiving any new messages posted to Fidonet. (yes, Fidonet still exists!) But I quickly realized the archive was heavily weighted to the new millenium. I put my data journalism skills to work, analyzing the dates of every message in the Ozzmosis archive. I found that only 7% of the archive was from years prior to 2000.

That realization set me on a search. I began visiting long-running BBSes, looking for caches of old Fidonet messages.

Continue reading