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Friday, September 23, 2011

Whispers of the past on old floppy images

Ancient floppies are a funny thing. About eight years ago, I decided it was time to make images of all of my remaining C-64 disks. Quite a few weren't readable, but enough of them survived to where my new-to-me 1541 purchased at a geek store could make sense of them.

Most of my data which survived was a bunch of random BBS stuff. Looking at those images now, it seems there were a bunch of systems which have just disappeared into the abyss without any sort of documentation. Some of them made it onto big BBS lists and then onto bbslist.textfiles.com in recent times, but the others are seemingly gone forever.

As just one example, there was a BBS program called "Premier 128" which was a big thing back in Houston at the time. I didn't know anyone who could afford a C-128, so the few boards which ran it were pretty special. They'd usually also support 2400 bps to show off that wicked-quick 2 MHz mode. One of these boards (possibly the home of that software) was called Friendswood Exchange, but nothing written about it now mentions Premier.

I only remember it now because it shows up in an ancient BBS listing which was captured as a signoff screen on one of my disks. I always wanted to check out that software to see what kind of things it offered from "the other side of the screen" -- sysop mode, in other words. I never got a chance to do that, though.

Of course, now that emulators have granted the ability to experiment with these previously-inaccessible platforms, the software has vanished. This is only 20 years ago. Hopefully the next 20 years won't be nearly as bad in terms of rotting archives.