Friday, 8 January 2010

Flipping Floppies

Day Thirty Six.

Three and a half inch floppies...

What were they all about? And more to the point, why do I still have about twenty five of them in a messy, regularly collapsing pile which not only takes up valuable space, but which also offends the eye several times daily?!

Why, indeed. As I recall, by the time they were officially well and truly outdated (some years ago, ha ha!), I tried to get the files off them and onto a memory stick, but without much success. By this time the disks were claiming that they needed formatting, or that their files were corrupt, but I couldn't give them up for dead as they contained rather a lot of my own stories, poems and song lyrics - things I would hate to lose. So I kept them, hoping that one day I would find a machine futuristic enough to be capable of solving the technological blunders of the past.

And the pile kept being knocked over, but I got used to that - it became a familiar routine to reassemble those dusty squares without even registering what they were any more.

Today I gathered them up, along with my memory stick, and took myself over the road to the library, where the lovely ladies provided me with a floppy disk reader which could be attached to the computer via the USB port. Very modern! Getting the info off the disks wasn't easy, and I think I've lost some bits of writing, but the important thing is that I've gained most of it, and can now throw away (alright, put in the recycling bag) those horrible plastic squares which have been bothering me since I bought them sometime in the year 2000.


  1. Hallo, first time here, but I saw you/Ember at Litton (twice), Compton Martin (once) - all Cathy Judge dos - and Glastonbury Assembly rooms once. And I even just ordered your new album today.

    I still have some old non-standard 3-in Amstrad discs for the PCW 8256! It's a word-processor-and-printer-cum-"computer" from Mr Sugar in the mid-80s that was pretty basic (no onboard hard drive at all, you booted from a floppy) but cost more then than some 10,000x more powerful PCs do today (though not more than a Mac laptop, I'll grant you). Also, my PCW 8256 was stolen about 17 years ago... and I doubt the library can help (though my mother still has one).

    On the film image front, I have Super-8 and my father's 16mm films, plus video on VHS-C, Digital-8 and Mini-DV (and now SD cards)... so have to keep projectors/cameras for all these formats. Transferring them all into QuickTimes and storing them all on a hard drive is an option I' working on, but then a couple of crashes or burglaries and it is all gone! The old storage media are not worth anyone stealing. Likewise I have stories typed on paper with a typewriter in the mid-1970s - being 20yrs older than you - that have survived when any number of computer formats may have been superseded. Be careful of all-eggs-in-one-basketing!

    This last week I've been helping a friend clear his mother's accumulated and indeed hoarded stuff from the last 50-odd years - baby clothes, birthday cards from the 1950s, newspapers from the 1990s. It's good to do your own decluttering for various reasons, but one is to prevent other people trawling through all your stuff while, in her case, you haven't even died yet (she's had to go into a care home with early stages of dementia).

  2. Woah, your organisation and commitment to this decluttering lark is ultraimpressive. You're doing things that lurk in the back of my mind for years but that I never get round to. More power to you. And I recognise that brand name - Hema, the ultimate Dutch home store. Oh how I miss Holland. We must discuss your links with the lovely place and knowledge of the language post haste. xx

  3. And I have an old "Zip Disc"! Do you reckon the librarians could "unzip" it for me ?

  4. Oh my god, I still have some of these!!!! Eeek.