March 16, 2004

Ned Ludd Was Right

Before I left Salt Lake, I put the files I want to work on over break onto a floppy disk. Then I realized that my floppy disk is Mac-formatted and my parents' computers run Windows. For a few brief shining moments, Macs and PCs used to talk to each other, but not much lately. So I figured I'd go down to Pitt, find a Mac and e-mail the files to myself so I could download them in Windows.

I got to Pitt and the Macs in the Philosophy grad student office (they haven't changed the combination on me yet) have zip drives only, no floppy drives. Fortunately I had anticipated this and brought my own floppy drive from Salt Lake. (I had the same problem with my office computer at the beginning of the term--I had to carry my drive back and forth from home to the office until Steve Downes lent me a floppy drive for office use.) One of the Macs didn't recognize my drive when I plugged it in, but the other did.

I e-mailed the files to myself and my dad. Then I came home to work on them, downloaded them, and opened them up. Complete chaos. One file has a mess of formatting commands followed by the text, the rest are just nonsense.

So what we did was plug in one of the Macintosh LCs sitting in the attic--a 13-year-old computer. This LC is so underpowered it doesn't multitask. We didn't install System 7 because System 7 ate up all the available RAM. So we opened up AppleTalk--anyone remember that--stuck in a PC disk, and copied all my files, slooowly, onto the PC disk. The LC thinks that all dos filenames have a maximum length of eight characters plus the three-character extension.

Thought that that might learn you kiddies what the bad old days were like....

Posted by Matt Weiner at March 16, 2004 09:19 AM