[vcf-midatlantic] How To Geek article on floppy data recovery

Dean Notarnicola dean.notarnicola at vcfed.org
Fri May 8 15:09:52 EDT 2020

Your comments were taken in the spirit in which you intended. And you
correctly surmised that my statement was merely my opinion. All aspects of
vintage computing are of interest to me, as they enlighten us about how
tech arrived to its current state, and so the instinct to support all
efforts to preserve what was is strong in me.

Gordon’s comment about the interface to older computers being invariable is
spot on. There will hopefully always be those who look for new abs better
ways to preserve the functionality of mechanical units that degrade with
time, transparent to the original computers. I don’t think that’s mutually
exclusive to the desire to preserve what was or that it will necessarily
cause a mad rush to abandon hardware for emulators.

- Dean

On Fri, May 8, 2020 at 2:00 PM Herb Johnson <hjohnson at retrotechnology.info>

> The subject of floppy drives and diskettes, is of great interest to me.
> One can Web search my domain and find many Web pages about them, and
> about vintage floppy controllers too. Some people find my site useful in
> that way. So I had something to say.
> I think I mis-interpreted Dean's comments, as some kind of established
> opinion, and not just his expression of his particular interests and
> preferences. Sorry if I over-responded as if to make a serious argument
> out of them. I'm sure many would agree with his considerations. But I'm
> not taking a vote, to establish my interests or to draw my conclusions.
> Thanks, Dean, for your responses and your opinions. You need not share
> my particular interests of course. If you find information that's
> contrary to facts and propositions I've made, I'd be interested in
> hearing about them. That applies to anyone else of course.
> And I welcome a strong counter argument, I'd be informed, maybe others
> would be. But I don't insist on consensus or agreement; or pretend my
> views are established in that way. I hope my facts are correct, the tech
> I mention is correctly stated. The rest are my considerations and others
> may have different ones.
> Regards, Herb Johnson
> On 5/8/2020 12:43 PM, Dean Notarnicola wrote:
> > I agree that these are two different things; preservation of data and
> > storage formats lives in a separate domain from preserving vintage
> > hardware, but you may argue that one helps the other and keeps these
> > systems usable after mechanical components have failed beyond reasonable
> > repair.
> >
> > On Fri, May 8, 2020 at 12:38 PM Herb Johnson
> > wrote:
> >
> >     On 5/8/2020 12:04 PM, Dean Notarnicola wrote:
> >      > However, consider that, over time, it may matter less and less as
> a
> >      > larger volume of old media gets archived. Maybe it’s ok that these
> >      > devices are somewhat ephemeral. Just food for thought.
> >
> >     If I accept that proposition, Dean: vintage computing may matter less
> >     and less, as a larger volume of information and actual computers get
> >     archived in collections and on Web pages. Maybe it's OK that
> everything
> >     is ephemeral - including you and me. That's called "carrying an
> >     argument
> >     to its logical conclusions". Or to extreme conclusions, you decide.
> >
> >     The weaker response, is that many people have decided that floppy
> >     diskettes are so obsolete, one should simply archive their contents
> and
> >     avoid their use. In that case, the fact that archival mechanisms come
> >     and go - these various microcontrollers -  doesn't matter either. One
> >     finds a means to archive or recover; one does the recovery; one
> >     moves on.
> >
> >     I have a few Web pages, about the efforts needed to "archive", and
> then
> >     recover and put to use, various inconvenient floppy disk formats;
> such
> >     as M2FM or MMFM and Intel Multibus system disks. Eventually, the
> >     recovery was performed by *actual period hardware and Intel systems*.
> >     Your mileage may vary, regarding your favorite vintage systems.
> >
> >     Again, I call out the difference between vintage computing as acts of
> >     preservation; and modern computing as an "ephemeral" activity where
> >     only
> >     the data persists (if that). So let's run emulators and go home, job
> >     done. (shrug) It's a matter of choices and consequences.
> >
> >     Regards, Herb Johnson
> >
> >      >
> >      > On Fri, May 8, 2020 at 11:45 AM Herb Johnson    wrote:
> >      >
> >      >     This reply is long, because I'm arguing in opposition, and
> >     that means I
> >      >     have to make a case about, and explain about. But I'll save
> some
> >      >     people,
> >      >     some time. I"m going to fuss about these microcontrollers
> >     becoming
> >      >     obsolete. If you don't care about that, save time and stop
> >     reading here.
> >
> --
> Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
> http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
> preserve, recover, restore 1970's computing
> email: hjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT com
> or try later herbjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT info

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