Saturday, January 15, 2005

Rooting through my computing history

So I've just started a project that is going to take a little time.

Shortly after I finished college and got a real job (around 1993 if you're curious), I bought a new computer. It was time to upgrade from my aging Macintosh SE. I bought a brand new Mac LC III. The "large" color screen seemed utterly amazing. Plus it had a hard drive with 160 MB! Amazing! Well, really, it was amazing considering that my old mac that had carried me through college didn't even have a hard drive - just two floppy drives. And ONE MB of RAM. In 1987, that was one technologically advanced machine!!

But anyway, back to the LC III. This is the computer in question:

My mac from 1993 or so

At the time, my job required the use of Windows machines, but I didn't entertain the idea of bringing work home, so the OS difference didn't really matter.

Several years later, different job, I wanted to be able to work from home occasionally so I bought a Compaq (not-so-fondly remembered as ComCrap). That computer was, in turn, replaced by a Dell laptop in 2002.

The Mac LC III has been sitting in the spare bedroom of my house ever since I moved here. Finally today I hauled it out, hooked it up and started the very slow job of transferring old files (mostly documents written in Microsoft Word 4.0) to the laptop. The only way I can think of to do this is very, very time-consuming:
  1. Use Apple File Exchange on the mac to copy files to a Windows-compatible floppy.
  2. Copy the files from the floppy to the laptop.
  3. Erase files from floppy and go back to step 1.
  4. Repeat until you go mad.
Like I said - this will take awhile. Fortunately, the files I've tried so far seem to work pretty well when opened in the current version of Word, although some of them have garbage characters at the top and no real formatting.

Eventually - once I get all the files moved over - I plan to archive them all to a CD-ROM.

At least it is somewhat amusing. Many of the files are old college papers. Many are also bits of fiction and journal entries I had forgotten all about. I freely admit that reading some of this stuff makes me cringe. Or sometimes laugh. It is probably silly to save it, but at the same time I hate the thought of it disappearing forever.

One last picture - my current laptop and the ancient mac side-by-side:

My ancient Mac and my current laptop

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