Saturday, January 21, 2017

Another Project Done

You may be old enough to remember when desktop publishing provided computer service to those who didn’t wear thick glasses and white lab coats with pocket protectors for all the pens. No longer did information have to be stored on tapes and run on massive machines kept in secure cold room.
Well these little boxes were delivered with lots of very thick books and a stack of floppy disk. These disc held all the information for installing software and even operating the computer. There wasn’t much memory on each disk so they had to be inserted and then ejected and the next one inserted until the entire thread could be finished. And anything that was ever needing backup had to be copied onto a floppy disk and stored which meant stacks of these unlabeled (no one was ever that conscious) so half the fun was to find the information again.
Of course technology was always improving and changing so the soft plastic disk got smaller and hard. So all the information had to copied over from one disc style to another.
Luckily the manufacturers decided to sell a different method of copying information and removed the floppy disk slot. Now external drives of every size were coming out with their own software and plugs that never fit.
So there was a 44mb disk, the size of a book that was the size of the disk on the computer without an operating system, and with the right connections and software the 88mb fileserver could be backed up. No one ever figured out why or how long this stuff should be kept so every week everything was copied to a disc and stored in an ever-taller stack.
History moves on and CDs were invented and then DVDs because they were bigger so the entire process was started all over again. Some librarians kept their job trying to keep track of all this stuff that no one ever asked for.
Now there are these little thumb drives that hold more information than all the previous versions put together. Most people just copy their stuff to the phone and backup to the cloud and have no reference to it other than their post on social media.
The point of this history lesson is I had a cabinet full of old storage computer disc. They were very neatly stored and had vague labels but were covered in dust from not being used.
So today’s project was to look at every disc and see if it was worth keeping. It is a good ‘no clutter’ project. I’d remembered looking at them some time ago to clear out work ‘stuff’.
I was a documenter. That is what you do when you are a ‘boss’. I would record raises or problems or even terminations and to my chagrin other managers were more frugal in their employment records. So I was meticulous keeping weekly reports and storing them on backup disc. I also kept an array of photos, letters, and even software as backup.
A year after leaving work I wondered why I was keeping all these human resources records. If they didn’t have them by now, why am I keeping them? Into the trash they went along with stacks of notebooks and instructional manuals. Still I kept the blank disc for future unknown storage.
So today’s chore was reviewing all these disc that hadn’t been used in years to determine a reason for saving them longer. Like the old stretched cassette tapes, they go into the trash.
How refreshing to purge stuff you don’t use on a rainy day. Tomorrow’s project is to purge the grim from the bathroom.

1 comment:

TripleG said...

Years ago, I came across a spool of wire on what turned out to be a reel-to-reel recorder from the era before tape! (It was of the 1948 Armstrong High School graduation.) And there's an audio microcassette and a 3/4" videocassette still floating around at home here, because it seems a shame to throw away any extinct species.