For me the interesting part of this article was the author discovering that he barely recognised his old self. I wonder how common this is? When I reflect on myself, I have a notion that there's a kind of continuity to my ego over the years that - despite the changes in the intervening years - I would recognise. But I'm not a diary writer nor do I have a stack of old disks from a distant part of my personal history, so I can't confirm either way.
Has anybody else experienced what this author describes?
Your comment makes me smile :) I was 49 when it was released from Beta. Luckily i kept a journal for most of my twenties. I am making a concerted effort to get back in the habit now. It is great fun to see what my concerns and day to day events were 25 years ago.
Not really. I'm somewhat less of a twit (I think) than I was ten or twenty or thirty years ago, I've learned more, and a lot of my opinions have changed, but I can go back and reread old high school essays and not find them particularly embarrassing - not up to the standard I require of myself now, to be sure, but not so poor as to be unrecognizable, especially after 10th grade honors English under a teacher who regarded errors of grammar and usage the way a Puritan parson regards sin, and who used not wholly dissimilar methods in their extirpation.
I've had this experience a couple of times reading source code. Thinking to myself "this stuff is pretty crafty, I wonder who wrote it?". I check revision control metadata and discover who wrote it : me.
Let me leave a plug here for the rare hacker news commentator that has Apple II nostalgia, C++ skills, and Linux or Windows GUI knowledge.
After having tons of fun getting my Go Apple II emulator basically working, I realized my efforts would be better spent improving an existing emulator than bringing mine up to parity, and switched my efforts over to working on OpenEmulator.
It has a portable emulation library at its core, and a relatively thin layer of Mac OS GUI to show the windows, etc.
If someone with the right skills helped to create GUI layers for Windows and/or Linux, I believe it would become much more popular, and start attracting more development to add functionality, peripherals, etc. It already has some of the best disk emulation, and almost certainly the most accurate CRT emulation of any Apple II emulator.
Areas where OpenEmulator is better: GPU-shader CRT emulation that looks almost just like a real CRT (I have real monochrome and color CRTs for my Apple IIe, and did a lot of comparisons while implementing double hires support for OpenEmulator). Also, better disk emulation that (because of a quirk of how it works) can handle some copy-protect schemes better.
Areas where MAME is better: cross-platform, and you can set breakpoints and debug etc. More devices. Probably more positives, but I'm not super familiar with it. I mostly used it to compare bugs while working on https://github.com/zellyn/a2audit :-)
I recently did a deep dive into all the 5.25" disks I could find around. I do sort of remember some of the stuff I found, but some of it was rather foreign.
I now have a handful of "flippy" disks and have to set up an old 1541 drive to read these.
I was surprised how much of it was readable, the amount of dust and bad smell these things developed over the 25 years in a basement, but also that I only had about 200 megs of data at the end of the multi-day process.
I also spent some time digitizing Super 8 film too, so it has been a nostalgia trip.
I had a slightly easier task when I found some of my old 3.5" PC floppies, and I recovered some old ASM and Turbo Pascal work.
The best part was rediscovering the ASM code for a PC program that wrote out the current time in words - I was inspired by a similar program by the late Jim Button (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Knopf), and I remember that at the time I had some fun working how to shave the code down, saving a few bytes here and there by using different coding or optimising the storage of the text data.
There's also a map editor for the PC game 'Rockford', although, sadly, it doesn't work with the only version of the game I've found still available, which seems to be a 'gen 2' clone using a different PC game engine and a different map format.
Also the USB FC5025 controller, which unlike kryoflux reads floppies* like floppies and does not create multi-hundred-megabyte flux-transition maps requiring post-translation but instead gives you a bit level disk image, for many common disk formats.
Also the Device-Side page is very HTML 1.0 and should appeal to HN peeps.
If you're interested in reading old Apple II disks, track down John Morris' recent AppleSauce work. It's fantastic. He's @DiskBlitz on twitter, and gave a talk at the last KansasFest about AppleSauce: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMrOiYCEuxc
Acornsoft sold their games in 5.25" floppies inside some very nice black plastic covers. I found that floppies that had been stored inside these covers had survived, while those that were in the typical paper or cardboard sleeves had not. This was about 10 years ago, when they were about 25 years old.
True -- if the service stays up. In practice, I've lost more data from online services shutting down than I ever did from old disks in my possession. Gmail and Facebook are probably going to be around forever, but the rest, who knows. The web itself isn't even 30 years old yet, so I don't feel confident predicting my data is going to survive there another 30.
When a disk format is obsolete, I can throw the disk in a shoebox and come back a couple decades later. When a web service shuts down, I have months/weeks/days (or maybe no chance at all) to get my data out, and then it's destroyed.
Unless you left them near something magnetic at some point, allowed them to mildew, or left them in a very hot car, they're quite possibly still readable. They are remarkably stable over time. See all of 4am's work for examples :-)
That might be a herculean task - Iomega zip & jaz disks suffered from notoriously poor data integrity/longevity, and I'm pretty sure device drivers do not exist for any version of Windows newer than XP.