Thursday, August 20, 2009
The Silence of The Floppy Disks
Location: Rummaging Through Desk Drawer
The annual office-cleaning before the semester turns up some interesting artifacts. This year, it was a 3.5" floppy disk of an external reviewer's 1998 report on our writing program.
I mused on this homely item and the fate of our media-storage technologies.
The report is on one of four or five disks I have left, after a massive dumpster-dump of the rest (I broke cartridges, one by one, to make data-retreival harder). They now reside in a strata above the cassette tapes, and those lie above the Eight-Tracks in our landfill, one day to be an archeological dig when Richmond lies in quaint ruins.
The report in question had become important again. We are in the midst of curricular change again, so instead of slapping more prims (and removing some redundant ones) in our Second Life simulation of Poe's House of Usher, I decided to make sure I had a backup copy of the report.
I have it on paper, but puh-leeze.
For a technology only a few years out of date, the floppy sounded positively Victorian once I hooked up the small USB drive I keep around just for such antiquities (I've a USB Zip Drive here too--for 100MB or 250MB cartridges).
I soon found that I did not have an electronic copy of the report on my laptop or backup hard disk. The floppy, creaks, clunks, and groans, saved the day.
Now to make MORE backups. I wonder, as I go back to adding features to the House of Usher, how transferable the skills from SL will prove, when I move on to other virtual worlds. Let's hope those skills have more longevity than, say, an Eight Track of Barry Manilow.