We are data whores…

I am not yet a data whore, but will I be soon? I just found this article from Fast Company that made my day. Since the article is about floppy disks and data storage, you might think: “Seriously, Tami?” but have patience with me. Chris and I found a few diskettes from college and a few zip drives from the first few years of our working careers. He would rather throw them away, but I have been looking for a while to find a way to retrieve the data on these disks.

(c) Tami ConklinWe have looked all over town to see if there is a place, like a Kinkos, where you can go in and use their disk and zip drives that will read both Mac and PC disks. Nil, Nothing, Zippo, Nada. We thought about buying a drive on eBay or Craigslist and then trying to resell after we got the data off the disks, but thought that most likely our Macs will not even connect to the drives themselves. What do folks do when they clean out a closet or garage and find disks they can no longer retrieve the data on? Do they just keep in a box for their children, like old relics? Is it like keeping your Barbies or GI Joes for your kids?

I am partly sentimental. A few years ago, our laptop died and we found out only Chris’ profile had been backed up. I lost quite a few emails from my business and all the emails from the days when Chris and I were dating. That is why there is a small (okay more than small) part of me that is curious if I saved any other writing or emails on those diskettes that would reveal a part of my past I had forgotten. It might be just boring papers about books I hated to read, or projects from my first job that I might cringe when I see my right out of college work. Yet, still I am curious.

I think I might be nostalgic enough to send my stack away to floppydisk.com (see above article) to see what they can do for me. They probably have a wall of laughs where they print out all the random lost files of dead diskettes and zip disks (or soon to be once the last breath is taken from them). They state that they charge you whether they are able to pull content off each disk. It is definitely worth it as I can only imagine how slow the computer is that they must use to open these disks.

I can still see that bar going back and forth across the screen as the computer read your disk, while making odd noises, that sometimes met the threat of doom. Yes, those of you that are old enough to remember, randomly and usually when you needed it most, the computer would decide whether it wanted to read your disk that day and open your files. Or, when you finally finished the file with seconds to go and hit save on your hundred page file, it would take the computer minutes to hours to save and close your file. You could not eject or remove that disk and run like hell because you were late. The threat: if you pulled the disk out too soon, you may never see that file again.

Do not even get me started about what data might need to be saved from a Facebook profile, Twitter feed, or a blog. I am sure downloading and accessing that information is a feat in and of itself. I have pretended that my content lives in its own cell in a data center with no visitation rights.

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