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Oz KFest 2017 Retrocomputing Preservation Using Modern Tools


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My presentation at OzKFest 2017 was an overview of modern tools and methods for preserving retrocomputer-related materials. The OzKFest 2017 conference was held on Bribie Island, Queensland, Australia from 31 August to 3 September 2017.

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Oz KFest 2017 Retrocomputing Preservation Using Modern Tools

  2. 2. Who am I? Computer user since 1980 (TRS-80) Apple ][ user since 1982 Mac user since 1984 Mac/Apple consultant since 1997 Apple ][ hoarder collector since 1998 WOzFest host since 2015 Contacts: europlus on @apple2europlus on Twitter Fair use of copyrighted material for non-profit educational purposes is claimed for this presentation.
  3. 3. Preservation Through Hoarding – a History I accepted any retrocomputers offered, including material I wasn’t directly interested in collecting Disks, software packages Books, manuals, promotional material Now pass items on to those interested in them
  4. 4. How and What to Preserve? Accepted methods and tactics depend on preservationist, item type and item attributes (e.g. current rarity, original popularity) Hardware preservation Software preservation Software protection preservation Print material preservation There is no single “right way”
  5. 5. Preservation, Digitisation, Repair, Refurbishment and Retr0brighting Preservation vs digitisation Digitisation of physical objects may see them altered physically (e.g. sanding back ICs for MAME) Period-correct vs modern vs workalike When is an item no longer what it was? Retrocomputing collectors share such questions with classic car collectors To Retr0bright, or not to Retr0bright – that is the question
  6. 6. “Acceptable Preservation Methods” is Subjective and Personal Collectors and enthusiasts have the right to do with their items as they see fit What if the item is not rare, but digitisation is highly desirable? Preservation technology will only improve I personally err on the side of physically preserving when digitising Medical ethics offers me guidance: “First, do no harm” Earlier availability of material should be assessed against potential future non-destructive preservation methods What if the only way to preserve a software title is to remove disk from sleeve for cleaning? Should we do so?
  7. 7. Modern Tools Differ for Item Types Retrocomputing hardware (electronic and otherwise) Software and storage media Books, pamphlets, manuals, magazines Other
  8. 8. Hardware Preservation ESR for capacitors Modern components vs NOS vs parts salvage Modern logic probes and chip testers Solid state storage Retr0bright STORRENCE, VCFED FORUMS
  9. 9. Software and Storage Media ADTPro CFFA3000, Floppy Emu and other solid state storage solutions Ciderpress and other block-level capable file managers Passport – 58 protection schemes recognised imfEDDup (requires EDD card) Bitsy-Rip – creates EDD files on IIgs without EDD card Applesauce – connect 5¼” drive to modern computers via USB for imaging and analysis APPLESAUCE DISK IMAGING
  10. 10. Software Miscellany Cleaning disks by removing from sleeve Combining data from multiple corrupt disks Software protection scheme preservation and documentation is a thing ------------Blazing Paddles------------ A 4am crack 2014-06-10 --------------------------------------- "Blazing Paddles" is a 1984 paint program distributed by Baudville, Inc. COPYA gives no read errors, but the copy does not work. (EDD 4 bit copy fares no better.) It displays the two strings "BLAZING PADDLES" and "04431" (apparently a version number of sorts), then grinds the disk in a most unusual fashion (hopping back and forth between two tracks? trying to read a quarter track? I've never heard anything like it) until I frantically power off in an attempt to save my 30 year old floppy drive from twerking right off my desk. Time for boot tracing, I suppose. [S6,D1=original disk] [S5,D1=my work disk]
  11. 11. Books, Manuals and Other Print Media Destructive vs non-destructive digitisation Sheet feed scanners Flat bed scanners Book scanners
  12. 12. Retrocomputing-related Reproductions Preserve the experience of using retrocomputers Fonts, e.g. Silentype Font, PR Number 3,
 Print Char 21 FPGA reproductions, e.g. Carte Blanche II Workalikes, e.g. Replica 1 SBC-based emulators CIRCUITBEARD.CO.UK
  13. 13. Acknowledgements Andrew Roughan, Steve Kazoullis and the other organisers of Oz KFest 2017 The developers of modern tools for preserving retrocomputers and associated materials, allowing these materials to be appreciated for years to come