Old File Formats

Recently, I was looking through some cabinets and drawers which contained a lot of old computer equipment, and I found what is basically my entire 35 years of development work.  With the exception of one program I wrote back in 1981, I have source code of every program I have written.  Text dumps of mainframe code, 5.25 and 3.5 floppy disks for various computer systems popular at the time, CDs, DVDs… all there for me to look at, get nostalgic over, and realize I’ve been around the programming game for awhile.


Why would I keep all of these source files and print-outs?  I’m not really sure, other than I guess it is my body of work, and I need to save it.

So now I have the task of moving all of these files to a single, modern source, and that format is DVD.  Some are easier to move than others.

Anything current (of course) can easily be moved, since that was already on DVD or CD.  This includes my mobile app development, as well as anything in the past 10 or so years.

I was also lucky enough to copy a bunch of diskettes from my days as a “real job” programmer.  I had source files on 3.5 diskettes and moved them to CD years ago, and now I moved the CD files to DVD.

A few items remain, and I am trying to get these files to my PC so I can burn them on a CD or DVD. In my collection of code that I need to copy:

  • My 3.5 diskettes that I recently found.  My current computer no longer has a floppy drive, so I guess I can buy a USB 3.5 drive for about $20 and copy them over.
  • My 5.25 PC diskettes.  I cannot seem to find a USB 5.25 drive, so I am unsure how to copy these files over.  I guess I would need to find a PC that has a 5.25″ drive, as well as either a CD burner or USB port.  No easy task.
  • 5.25 Atari 8-bit diskettes. I do have an Atari 800 here, and I can read the files on the Atari, but I want them moved to my PC.  I’m not even sure if these things will be readable… they are close to 30 years old.  How do I move these source files?  Modem?  USB?  Print, then OCR?  Either way, I need some more hardware.
  • 3.5 Atari ST diskettes.  Same issue… I have an Atari ST, but need to get them over to my PC.

As I mentioned earlier, the only code I no longer have was an early attempt to write a game for the Atari Program Exchange (APX) back in the early 1980s.  That was stored on cassette tape and I am sure I no longer have it.  Looking back now, it was awful, so it is no surprise it was rejected, but I still wish I had the source, as well as the rejection letter.

I would be interested in any ideas to move the older diskettes to my PC… I would love to see some of the code I wrote way back when.

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