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Jason Scott of Textfiles.com Wants Your AOL & Shovelware CDs 123

eldavojohn writes: You've probably got a spindle in your closet, or a drawer layered with them: the CD-ROM discs that were mailed to you or delivered with some hardware that you put away "just in case." Now, of course, the case for actually using them is laughable. Well, a certain eccentric individual named Jason Scott has a fever — and the only cure is more AOL CDs. But his sickness doesn't stop there, "I also want all the CD-ROMs made by Walnut Creek CD-ROM. I want every shovelware disc that came out in the entire breadth of the CD-ROM era. I want every shareware floppy, while we're talking. I want it all. The CD-ROM era is basically finite at this point. It's over. The time when we're going to use physical media as the primary transport for most data is done done done. Sure, there's going to be distributions and use of CD-ROMs for some time to come, but the time when it all came that way and when it was in most cases the only method of distribution in the history books, now. And there were a specific amount of CD-ROMs made. There are directories and listings of many that were manufactured. I want to find those. I want to image them, and I want to put them up. I'm looking for stacks of CD-ROMs now. Stacks and stacks. AOL CDs and driver CDs and Shareware CDs and even hand-burned CDs of stuff you downloaded way back when. This is the time to strike." Who knows? His madness may end up being appreciated by younger generations!
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Jason Scott of Textfiles.com Wants Your AOL & Shovelware CDs

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  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @11:24PM (#49732957)

    and even hand-burned CDs of stuff you downloaded way back when

    Just casually tossed out at the end there... when in fact that was the primary goal.

    He wants to build the largest collection of 80's Mix CD's EVER ASSEMBLED, probably for some kind of evil sonic weapon.

    Well sir, you will have my CD's and my wishes for luck in whatever scheme you have hatched, I ask only that you spare me or at least email me beforehand when to put on earmuffs.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      and even hand-burned CDs of stuff you downloaded way back when

      Just casually tossed out at the end there... when in fact that was the primary goal.

      He wants to build the largest collection of 80's Mix CD's EVER ASSEMBLED, probably for some kind of evil sonic weapon.

      Well sir, you will have my CD's and my wishes for luck in whatever scheme you have hatched, I ask only that you spare me or at least email me beforehand when to put on earmuffs.

      Yeah with that and... There are directories and listings of many that were manufactured. I want to find those. I want to image them, and I want to put them up. I'm looking for stacks of CD-ROMs now. Stacks and stacks. AOL CDs and driver CDs and Shareware CDs and even hand-burned CDs of stuff you downloaded way back when. This is the time to strike." from the summary... I hope he's obtained high quality legal advice about the copyright implications of actually doing this. Copyright lasts so much longer th

      • Shareware can typically be redistributed, and in most cases the author specifically put language in saying that they even encourage you to do so. In fact if somebody ever took it to court, I think there's sufficient evidence that stamping the shareware label on anything means that anybody in the world is given a blanket license to distribute it as much as they want.

        I actually used to have one of those Walnut Creek CDs that I bought from a software store in a mall. It was called Doom Fever, and had a craploa

        • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday May 20, 2015 @03:42AM (#49733899) Journal

          Afraid not, a friend of my and myself actually tried contacting some of the old shareware companies to get permission to make the old shareware on a flash stick with a preconfigured DOSBox so kids could see what it was like in the early 90s.

          What we found was 1.- A third of them are now owned by vultures that think some DOS card game should command the same prices as Doom 3 did at release, 2.- The rights are in limbo, because the companies have been split up and nobody knows who owned what (but nobody will give permission for fear somebody else might make a penny) and 3.- Companies that say "Oh we are gonna do something with that someday somewhere" and never do.

          This is why I think copyrights should be a "use it or lose it" situation, where if a company does not sell their product in retail markets for x number of years they lose the rights which then go into public domain. This would also apply if they refuse to update the software so it can run on a modern system, otherwise they would just open a storefront on Amazon with a handful of discs for Windows 95 and try to argue "its for sale". Because as it is now more and more games are being lost, and with the "forever minus a single day" copyrights we have now programs written for first gen PCs and consoles won't be out of copyright until our fricking grandchildren are ready for retirement!

          • by Anonymous Coward

            There is no point in having multiple copies of the same CD.

            So something else is the master plan.

            Has Mr. Scott devised a way to cheaply extract silver from optical media?

            • by sh00z ( 206503 )

              There is no point in having multiple copies of the same CD.

              So something else is the master plan.[snip]

              I'm betting it's something similar to the Beer Can House [beercanhouse.org].

          • by nukenerd ( 172703 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2015 @07:25AM (#49734683)

            Afraid not, a friend of my and myself actually tried contacting some of the old shareware companies .... we found was 1.- etc etc

            You should have ignored them. Anyone has the right to distribute shareware. You do know how shareware works don't you? If so, I don't understand why you even contacted them and I expect they didn't either. Here is the first Google definition I've found :- "Shareware is software that is distributed free on a trial basis with the understanding that the user may need or want to pay for it later."

            Perhaps there was a misunderstanding here. Shareware can be upgraded to fully paid versions by, well, paying. I guess that these companies were assuming, by your contacting them at all, that you wanted to pay for the upgrade to the full version. So it is hardly suprising if they were taken aback by such a request, and that they no longer had the full version of this ancient DOS stuff by their right elbow.

            • Afaict what matters is the actual terms, not whether something is branded as "shareware".

              The terms for shareware encouraged sharing with your friends but often restricted other types of distribution. For example from Duke Nukem 3D shareware:

              [3] GRANT: 3D Realms grants a non-exclusive, non-transferable, royalty-free
              license to distribute the Game only as follows:

              [A] INDIVIDUALS are encouraged to share and give copies of the Game to
              friends, family, coworkers, and members of any not-for-profit
              organization, but only without charge.

              [B] ONLINE SERVICES (including BBSs, and WWW and FTP sites) that are free
              (except for any subscription fees or incidental Internet access charges),
              and BBSs with 250 or fewer nodes (regardless of any charges to users) may
              make the Game available for downloading.

              [C] These grants are subject to the conditions that no copyright information
              or trademark will be added or removed, and all of the Game's files as
              released by 3D Realms will be included without modification (except for
              "New Levels" as permitted below by this license). The files at a minimum
              include:

              commit exe 25,942 04-24-96 1:30p
              defs con 28,893 04-24-96 1:30p
              demo1 dmo 6,226 04-24-96 1:30p
              demo2 dmo 9,701 04-24-96 1:30p
              demo3 dmo 3,759 04-24-96 1:30p
              dn3dhelp exe 73,594 04-24-96 1:30p
              duke rts 188,954 04-24-96 1:30p
              duke3d exe 1,178,963 04-24-96 1:30p
              duke3d grp 11,035,779 04-24-96 1:30p
              game con 99,639 04-24-96 1:30p
              license txt 9,108 07-16-98 3:56p
              modem pck 4,125 04-24-96 1:30p
              readme doc 2,760 04-24-96 1:30p
              setmain exe 95,177 04-24-96 1:30p
              setup exe 27,153 04-24-96 1:30p
              ultramid ini 6,871 04-24-96 1:30p
              user con 36,960 04-24-96 1:30p

              [D] *ALL* other distribution, including by lease, rental, online service
              (other than a fewer than 250 node BBS) that charges for online access
              time, online service providing multiplayer use, CD-ROM, catalog, and
              retail rack REQUIRES WRITTEN PERMISSION (which 3D Realms may withhold in
              its discretion) AND PRE-PAYMENT OF A LICENSE FEE OR OTHER MUTUALLY AGREED
              BENEFIT. Interested persons are invited to contact 3D Realms (proposals
              welcome).

              It seems that in that particular case the GPss plan would be ok if he gave the stick away for free but not if he sold it.

          • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2015 @07:36AM (#49734755)

            Afraid not, a friend of my and myself actually tried contacting some of the old shareware companies to get permission to make the old shareware on a flash stick with a preconfigured DOSBox so kids could see what it was like in the early 90s.

            What we found was

            This is why you follow the license on the shareware, and what you did was essentially allow the copyright holders to restrict you retroactively. Most shareware, IIRC, had something along the lines of distribution was fine, you had essentially a "trial" free version, and payment to unlock the entire thing. Abide by those rules, and you should be fine. IANAL....

            This is why I think copyrights should be a "use it or lose it" situation, where if a company does not sell their product in retail markets for x number of years they lose the rights which then go into public domain.

            I'll agree with this. Personally, I feel the following should happen

            • 1) bring back the register the work with the Library of Congress portion within a year of publishing. This will ensure the work remains available even if the publisher goes away.
            • 2) make the copyright term truly limited. Since the average life expectancy for men in the US is 74 [usatoday.com] and you cannot realistically recall most things until you're at least 10, that means the max would have to be less than 64 years to effectively be limited. I would argue 32, rounded down to 30, which is darn close to the original copyright terms. I also am fine with the original clause that required re-registering the copyright halfway through.
            • 3) putting something in "the vault" (a la Disney) automatically puts it in the public domain. (the anti-Disney greedy money grubbing clause)
            • 4) copyrights are non-transferrable and distribution agreements cannot extend beyond half the copyright term. (guarantees that the copyright creators maintain ownership)
            • I take it you've never sat down and actually consulted an attorney about contract law, yes? The language used on your average shareware practically invites lawsuits because of the way they are worded.

              For example many say something along the lines of "personal and or non profit redistribution" ...would the fact we would have an LLC negate this? What about the fact we were gonna charge the price of the hardware (the actual flash stick) and the shipping to get it to you....would this be considered "profit" ev

              • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
                I'd have to look up some of that shareware I still have, as I haven't read one in a really long time. And yes, I've sat through more contracts with lawyers than I wanted to. it's brain deadening. I do recall the time limitation usually applied to the amount of time you could install and trial the software, not the distribution thereof. So if you distributed a wrapped, self-installing version of the shareware with the shareware in its original form, you'd still be adhering to the license, as it wouldn't be i
      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        mostly it's not a problem.
        but he's been sued before I think.

        also, this is not a new project.. I think I saw a speech from him about this like a year ago+ already.

        why it's mostly not a problem? the shareware stuff etc is licensed for shared like that. HOWEVER many of the shovelware cd collections sometimes has.. eh.. let's say, less than authorized stuff. I remember one shareware cd having a full version of exterminator(with warez group crack intro and all) for example. probably went in there by a mistake bu

    • Um... unless you were Richie Rich, you made mix TAPES in the 1980s.
  • It's Jason Scott (Score:5, Informative)

    by narcc ( 412956 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @11:25PM (#49732961) Journal

    He's the same guy who brought you the BBS and Text Adventure documentaries. Send him your things!

    If you can support floppydump, you can support this guy. He's about the most important computer archivist around.

    • He should have asked me a few years ago. I had a few CDs that are no doubt rare that I'm not sure if I have anymore. One of them was a beta copy of Microsoft's Allegiance (I was invited to the private beta) and the Shareware Quake CD that included ID's complete library of games, and all you had to do was download a keygen to play every single one of the full versions of those games for free.

      I also had a big stack of CDs that included full versions of programs that used to be bundled with PCs (back before th

      • Re:It's Jason Scott (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2015 @01:19AM (#49733377)

        A disc archive can serve practical purposes. A FreeBSD 1.1 CDROM from 1993, published by Walnut Creek CDROM, was used to defeat a patent troll, Acacia Research [wikipedia.org], by demonstrating prior art.

      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
        I'm in the process of cleaning out the old software box in the closet. I'll send what I haven't already thrown out (unfortunately there were a few things that were probably somewhat rare).
      • I bought the ID Anthology, which has fully registered 'legal' copies of every game published by ID. Up to Quake 1, which was the current game when the Anthology was published. There is more than the CDs in the box, there's also a Long Distance Dialing time card, some sort of pewter swag item, and there was a T-Shirt but I am certain I wore that out.

        I have a lot of Walnet Creek CDs, too,

        I also have a CD called the 'C CD' published by a company called Alde which was purportedly a C Source Code CD (it has a

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      I have any number of old disks but just sitting and ISO'ing them would take forever. Shipping costs would also be prohibitive.

      However, I would be interested in finding a few old DOS utils that I used to have, and several of those old "we send you a floppy catalogue, you create an order, send the floppy back and we send you the shareware you ordered" services that had the weirdest of things that you couldn't get hold of anywhere else.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        "Shipping costs would also be prohibitive."

        no it's not. jam them in as tight as possible into a $5.95 flat rate box.

        • My thoughts exactly, buy why even stop at the $5.95 box? I use to ship things to my cousin with the largest flat rate USPS box (~$14 or ~12 to APO/FPO address) all the time when he was serving in Iraq. The box was something like 3/4 of a cubic foot and what ever you managed to stuff in it would ship. Every box I sent was always packed full and most weighed 20lbs or more. I imagine a box full of CDs and floppy disks would weigh less than the ones I sent that were full of mostly books and magazines with the r
    • by King_TJ ( 85913 )

      Yeah.... it's Jason Scott, the guy I had the dubious privilege of having a fairly long, involved conversation/debate with on a Facebook forum a while back. (I belong to a private message group someone created on there where people discuss the "good old days" of the local BBS scene in the area code I lived in back then.)

      The BBS Documentary Project was brought up and somehow he was invited to the discussion. I thought that was pretty cool, initially, because I'm one of the people who did an advance purchase

  • Cannot Have Mine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DERoss ( 1919496 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @11:27PM (#49732967)

    I save old CDs and DVDs. About this time of year, I take several and drill a small hole near the edge of each disc. Using kite twine, I then hang them from my fruit trees and grape vines to scare birds away. I have to do that shortly before the fruit ripens so that I can harvest the ripe fruit before the birds get used to the flashing of the discs as they rotate in the sun. I need a supply of discs because the silvering eventually deteriorates hanging outdoors.

    • Re:Cannot Have Mine (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @11:50PM (#49733071)

      I used to make scale armor for live action role play games: it's light, very durable, easy to work with a Dremel tool, and provides a modest amount of very real protection against casual blade or blunt attacks.

    • by xeos ( 174989 )

      Nice idea. BUT: I wonder if there's any issue with toxic chemicals from the breaking down of the disks? Even if it's small, if you do it a lot of times it would accumulate.

    • by Ulric ( 531205 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2015 @01:33AM (#49733435) Homepage

      I save old CDs and DVDs. About this time of year, I take several and drill a small hole near the edge of each disc. Using kite twine, I then hang them from my fruit trees and grape vines to scare birds away.

      And the birds go "Aah! The AOL disks are coming! The AOL disks are coming!"

    • Nice, I will try that! How many do you have to hang up (per tree) for it to be effective?
      • by DERoss ( 1919496 )

        I hung six from my loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica). Later this year, I will leave those that are towards my peach tree, hang about five from the peach itself, and one or two from the Australian tea tree near the peach tree. The grape vines will get their own, two or three on each vine.

        Remember, timing is important. You do not want the birds to become accustomed to the flashing before the fruit is ripe.

    • Does it not leave your garden looking like an AOL xmas forest?
    • CDs and DVDs already have a big hole in the center. Why are you drilling a new one? You are wasting your time, and also freeing residues that will later go to your trees and vines. (I also use CDs and DVDs for the same purpose :-) )

      • by DERoss ( 1919496 )

        Using the large hole in the middle will not allow the disc to hang vertically and twirl in the breeze. I drill a small hole -- about the diameter of a pencil lead -- about 1/8 inch from the edge.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Cool idea, but it wouldn't work in hot dry areas that can start fires easily. :(

  • Walnut Creek CD-ROM (Score:5, Informative)

    by ls671 ( 1122017 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @11:28PM (#49732971) Homepage

    I remembered Walnut Creek CD-ROM was the official publisher of slackware back then.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • by motokochan ( 1118229 ) on Tuesday May 19, 2015 @11:58PM (#49733119) Homepage
      In a way, they still are. FreeBSD Mall, which was spun off from Walnut Creek, has been handling the Slackware Store for years. It may not say that right on the store page, but the physical mailing address is the same.
    • by xeos ( 174989 )

      Yeap. I wouldn't call Walnut Creek shovel-ware.

      • It kind of annoyed me to see Walnut Creek being called 'shovel-ware' in the summary. They published whole archives of MS-DOS as a unit and provided a service to those of us who weren't well-connected. The SIMTEL MS-DOS archive and the CICA archive.

        I would send images to this collector, but originals are going to one day be valuable collector's items.

        I have the first Linux-on-CD distribution, it was published by Yggdrasil and it's called 'LGX' which I think they were hoping to coin as their own proprietary

    • by CoderJoe ( 97563 ) *

      I actually have a number of them, though without the case inserts and booklets...

      Here, have some Linux CD labels [imgur.com] or some for online services [imgur.com].

    • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2015 @06:03AM (#49734305) Homepage

      The latest major release was in 2013 when previously they were every 6 months! Sure, there are still package updates being done but seems to me momentum has been lost. Anyone have any info on what the problem is?

      • by volkerdi ( 9854 )

        When's the last time it was every six months?

        Hint: It was probably sometime back when the release was two CDs, and not 6 CDs and 2 double-sided DVDs.

        • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

          Well if you still want slackware to be taken seriously you'll do a proper release more than once every 2 years and counting. You can't expect people to download a 2 year old release and spend the rest of the day doing update.

  • I remember when. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dohzer ( 867770 )

    I remember when we used to receive DVDs with new hardware. That was almost a week ago now, when I purchased a new modem.

    • Well, they sold you a MODEM.

      Of course it's going to come with a software CD. You bought a MODEM! (yes, I know, you could be talking about cable/DSL/FIOS)

    • I bought an external USB HD enclosure within the last 6 months, and *that* came with a cd-rom. I have no idea what is on it.

  • have been destroyed. A few tech friends and I had a HUGE pile, so we took them all and spent a few hours throwing them again a wall in an abandoned industrial area. Much fun!
  • by jtara ( 133429 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2015 @12:45AM (#49733279)
    Subject says it. I kept all those AOL CDs for just this purpose. For many years. It was quite a pile! Then decided that was silly when I moved. Gone, years, ago. If you find them in Asian landfills, it will answer a burning controversy. Is that where this stuff goes? Or not? But I do have some stuff. Just not as common as AOL CDs. Hmmm...

    - Wired Rip. Sample. Mash. Share. Some rights reserved.

    Ohh, ohh, ohh, HotMetal Pro 6.0

    Buncha CDs that came in the back of expensive paperback tech books from Bookstar. Microsoft developer-type stuff, ATL, COM, etc.

    The usual collection of drivers and install disks for long-dead hardware and long-obsolete software, that everybody else has too.

    AOLs and shareware CDs gone, baby, gone!

    Well, you're not getting this (in part because it's proprietary source code) but I just found a 1985 floppy with source code for what is now Siemens TeamCenter Lifecycle Visualization Variation Analysis. (OK, half the source code, cause it says disk 1 of 2, and I don't have 2. Or a 5" floppy drive.) 30 year old software that is still alive and kicking, and has been (and is) instrumental in the design of... well, probably everything that anybody here drives, flies in, blows somebody up with, or records data on (if it rotates...). I guess NDAs are still good 30 years later, huh? :( Wonder if Siemens might like it? This is version 1.0.3. It's in my old "code samples box".

    I guess if you were into how and why mass-produced mechanical thingies that fit together have been made to fit-together so much better and better over the past 30 years, that one might represent some significant bit of geeky history.

    • I once encountered a floppy diskette that was part of the Microsoft Word 6.0 installation set. This was apparently a special edition, because it was on a 360K floppy diskette. I believe it was disk x of 100 something.

      I still have Windows 98 on 5-1/4" floppies, because Microsoft offered to send it to you for free if you bought the edition distributed on 3-1/2" floppies. I have two sets because for some reason they shipped me two copies when I requested them.

      The 5-1/4" distribution of Windows 95 is unique

  • Only a couple of months ago I ditched around half a cubic metre of CD-ROMs and floppies: shareware, MSDN, TechNet, Novell SEL, hardware drivers, even shrink-wrapped MS-DOS, XTree Gold, ...
  • by PrimeWaveZ ( 513534 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2015 @01:28AM (#49733419)

    I have an addiction to information collection for my specific interests, which is why I'm going north of 12TB of historical crap. I understand his desire to archive all the things.

    At least my wife can't complain about the amount of physical space the data takes up since HDD densities have been getting better recently...

  • Software should be distributed as hex code in magazines, to be typed in by the users.
  • The conference rooms tables in AOL used to have busted up AOL CDs set into them. So a few of them found some lasting use.
  • I hope he runs a full sweep on every disc! Would be awsome to see the list now in retrospect.
    Let's see who shipped out viruses and trojans, and which ones.
    • The discs generally go up as pure rips via archive.org, you might be able to find something ya self? :)

  • CD-ROM era may be closing, but the era of physical distribution is not. The cloud is a myth. Sure it may be used by the hordes but people who want security, privacy, safety, convenience, etc, will continue use physical storage. Computers and device will continue to require physical storage for decades to come. Just because the teens don't use something doesn't make it dead.

    • If the teens DO use something, it's about to be dead. Or eventually will.

      Physical distribution won't ever go away. There are entities that wish it would. But a TRS-80 Model 100 still has everything you need to write a novel. An HP-95 pocket computer still has everything you need for most mobile calculations.

      Heck, an old Olivetti manual typewriter and a ream of paper is still a powerful set of tools for idea capture and creation.

  • by should_be_linear ( 779431 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2015 @03:08AM (#49733817)
    Now, this seems like huge pile of crap. Two hundred years from now? OK, still huge pile of crap.
  • I have always maintained that the missing mass of the Universe is AOL discs.

  • You've probably got a spindle in your closet...

    Nope, definitely no AOL coaster spindles in my closet. Hell, they didn't even work well as coasters! Judging by the amount of broken discs lying around on the street 15 years ago, nobody else kept them either. Nor have I kept driver discs since I got broadband. Getting them off the internet is easier, plus you get a newer version of the driver to boot.

    • The hardware producers deprecate drivers and eventually take them offline. So if you're working with an older version of hardware or need the drivers for an older version of the OS, you're out of luck.

      That doesn't matter in the least for the 'shiney-new' crowd. It's 'easier' to just download the official approved drivers, and when the drivers are no longer available flash some plastic for the new hardware.

      Why would anybody want 'old' stuff? Isn't it illegal to use 'old' stuff since it takes away from the

  • I had a box full of those - I was intending to put them in a picture frame - but I have no idea where it is.

    I remember I deduped it a few years back.

  • Sample text: "Jason Scott, 13, is a terminally ill patient of [one of several diseases], and his one passion in life is to [various hobbies, including collecting AOL disks, pop tabs, Montana Gold 55 grain Full Metal Jacket .223 ammo, etc.] and his [mother, sister, uncle] has announced that he would like to get into the Guinness Book of Records..."

    Status: TRUE until someone does some brief and simple research and discovers it is FALSE.

    But will they be able to stop it? FALSE.

  • CD-archive.org seems to be free, yet.

  • by TheRealHocusLocus ( 2319802 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2015 @06:39AM (#49734457)

    When my father died, it was as if a whole library had burned down.
    ~Laurie Anderson

    Until we learn to mourn for all the music that might soon be lost
    or the movies that never made it to DVD, or even VHS,
    because it was never transferred from vinyl, or film
    because people do not cherish vinyl when they see it at Goodwill
    or more tragically, someone dies --- and the collection of a lifetime goes into the landfill
    because the dozen people who stopped by at the garage sale had no interest
    when everything you 'own' is inside your phone,
    a single toilet can swallow Western Civilization
    remember that direct-to-digital CD? Now all you have is a badly encoded mp3
    all those books that were fascinating but went right over your head as a kid,
    wouldn't it be great to know which ones they were?
    every day there are fewer people out there who have read things that never made it to 'digital'
    another one died this morning.
    so-called 'magnetic master tapes' cannot master time, they fade into Gaussian noise
    a decently kept mass-produced vinyl phonograph record is the BEST way to recover the music
    how many of your family's most precious photographs are on paper, anywhere?
    have you spilled water on one lately?
    most families these days have NOT A SINGLE MEMBER who considers themself a LIBRARIAN
    a (tragically thankless) job of gathering, organizing, copying, re-distributing the copies
    and ensuring that at least some of them are stored safely. Writings, photos. Even who is related to whom!
    YOU may be the only likely candidate. Unless you begin tomorrowit will never be done by anyone.
    on the Internet it's even worse. How many entities can you think of that store Internet pages
    long term with a real commitment? The Wayback machine and who else?
    newer tech better? Not necessarily so, IF it breeds such a mass complacency about simple
    preservation of knowledge that the day arrives when EVERYONE thinks making backups and
    saving previous generations of knowledge and artistic works is SOMEONE ELSE'S JOB.
    In such a situation we could 'lose' more than half of everything that was worth saving
    in a single human lifetime. Are we living in that time span now?
    Think about it (please!).

    WE ARE LIVING IN A FUTURE DARK AGE [slashdot.org]
    A too-short history of data retention [slashdot.org]
    The only day we clearly recall some day may be the day we lost all our memories. [vimeo.com]

  • Cuz I have three cabinets full. Not sure I'll hand over Oregon Trail, tho.
    • Wouldn't Oregon Trail be on punched paper tape? Or maybe 1200 BPI 1/2" tape?

      I know there were later CD-ROM versions of Oregon Trail. For the newbs.

  • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2015 @07:32AM (#49734727) Journal

    I can understand the sense of nostalgia. I'd love to have all my Amiga floppies from when I was a kid. I'd also love to see all the dial-up local BBSs I frequented in the late 80s back up in glorious glaring ANSI (via a web interface, of course). But it's gone forever. Not a shred of it is left, which makes me a little sad. The BBS era is certainly one that was not captured for posterity. I'm sure there are a few here and there that might have been pulled off an old HDD and put online, but I'd say 99% of them (and there were a lot, and they had a lot of content) are gone forever. I don't hear people lamenting this much, but it was a segment of human society that first developed and introduced the concept of online digital connectivity to humanity, and it was not preserved.

    • To illustrate just how much content I'm talking about, here is a list of BBSs just in the Cleveland area code of Ohio where I grew up:
      http://bbslist.textfiles.com/2... [textfiles.com]

      There are 759 BBSs in that list, representing just one little slice of Ohio. Each one was a microcosm all unto itself. There are dozens of different types of BBS software represented there. Each BBS was hand-crafted and configured by the individual sysop with the style, color, behavior, etc, and hardly any two of them were even remotely sim

      • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

        I used to maintain a BBS list for my local SoCal calling area. That was about 55 BBSs, and as you say -- all different, all with their own unique flavor -- which depended on the mix of board software, file areas, message areas, and the users those attracted. A few survive as internet-accessable (including Techware, which was also the last of our local dialups) but for the most part... a lost era.

        http://www.techware2k.com/publ... [techware2k.com]

  • by tsqr ( 808554 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2015 @08:54AM (#49735195)

    Too bad the only floppies he wants are shareware. I still have the 5-1/4" media for Windows 1.0 that came with my first PC.

  • I downloaded much of the files at http://cd.textfiles.com/ [textfiles.com] and antivirus went berzerk.
  • I am the UPS delivery guy. I get paid by the package. This guy ROCKS!

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