Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An Ambitious Project

I am just this day embarking on an ambitious project. Perhaps less ambitious, more time-consuming.

Let us travel back through the mists of time (we don't need a TARDIS for this). It is 1992, Perth, Western Australia, about lunchtime (sorry, pinched that from Monty Python). It is June and I have just finished my first semester at Curtin University. My first wife (let's for the sake of her privacy just call her A) and I both realise that I need something a bit fancier than an Olivetti typewriter to write my assignments on. She spies a good offer in a shop near to our home and I become the proud purchaser of a Canon Starwriter word processor (for the young readers, a sort of precursor to computers or perhaps a love child of a typewriter and a computer). It is cool! It is groovy! Suddenly I can delete text, move it around, copy and paste etc.

Fast forward to the present day, 2009. 17 years later and my Starwriter is still going strong!!! I keep thinking I must write to Mr Big Boss Canon in Japan and congratulate him. By now I have heaps of data from my Starwriter stored on floppy disks: poems, stories, plays, articles, personal correspondence. And I really do mean a lot.

But floppy disks have gone the way of the dodo and the dinosaur. It is all groovy little pen-drives or flash-drives depending on which school you went to.

So far, so good, but then a few months ago one of my floppy disks failed somehow and I couldn't retrieve the data. Fortunately, I was well -organised and kept hard copy lists of the files on each floppy disk. Also, I found that I had actual hard copies of all the data that was important on that failed disk. So remember to do what they tell you, folks, and BACK UP, BACK UP, BACK UP your data.

But I realise that my poor old Starwriter has been well overtaken on the information super-highway so before it finally gives up the ghost, I must embark on this archival project to ensure that I have a hard copy of every important file on those many floppy disks.

In case you are technically-minded and are curious, the Starwriter has no hard drive so all data created on it must be saved to floppy disk. Only its actual functions seem to be hard-wired into the machine.

So today it starts and fits around all the other pieces of my life. I must cross-reference the files on each floppy disk against the hard copies I already possess.

Wish me luck. It's not as exciting as The Matrix, but then I'm not as wooden as Keanu Reeves.

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