let's just talk vintage computing for a sec ...

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TOS
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let's say, hypothetically, you were to stumble across a stack of 5-1/4" floppy discs in your basement

they're still in good physical condition, despite dating from the 1980s

you have zero idea if they still retain data, but you'd like to check them out

they contain documents written using a word processor whose name you can't remember (it was not a microsoft product) ... on a commodore 64

you have fuzzy memories of the disc drives from those things being really weird (they were "smart" or something)

so ... long lost computer, using long lost weird interface, in long lost software

you have one chromebook, a couple of windows 10 laptops and an older pc used for classic gaming, oh and a raspberry pi

it should be possible to get an old external 5.25" drive from somewhere ... but is there any chance of accessing the data without massive amounts of hackery and/or coding?

i know it's like asking to use a carburetor from a '49 chevy in a brand new tesla x, but i'm just curious
dv
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Very difficult. (You'd have to do a sector by sector image of the disks, then somehow figure out how to interpret that data, presumably with some programming skillz.)

There is, however, likely a retro computer club near you that has meetups, and probably somebody there who can take a crack at reading the disks. C64s are pretty common.

Commodore 64's floppy drives were "smart" in the sense that they had their own controllers. The computer itself didn't have the circuitry or horsepower to run a disk drive, so instead the floppy drive had its own CPU built in. (Same chip as the C64, running at half the speed.)
Old Yoda agitator
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You do remember that commodore used PETSCII?
TOS
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dv posted:
Very difficult. (You'd have to do a sector by sector image of the disks, then somehow figure out how to interpret that data, presumably with some programming skillz.)

There is, however, likely a retro computer club near you that has meetups, and probably somebody there who can take a crack at reading the disks. C64s are pretty common.

Commodore 64's floppy drives were "smart" in the sense that they had their own controllers. The computer itself didn't have the circuitry or horsepower to run a disk drive, so instead the floppy drive had its own CPU built in. (Same chip as the C64, running at half the speed.)


i could probably get an old 64 cheap, but .... even assuming i could access the data (god knows what software created it), how would i get it from there to something more modern? telnet or something?
dv
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TOS posted:
dv posted:
Very difficult. (You'd have to do a sector by sector image of the disks, then somehow figure out how to interpret that data, presumably with some programming skillz.)

There is, however, likely a retro computer club near you that has meetups, and probably somebody there who can take a crack at reading the disks. C64s are pretty common.

Commodore 64's floppy drives were "smart" in the sense that they had their own controllers. The computer itself didn't have the circuitry or horsepower to run a disk drive, so instead the floppy drive had its own CPU built in. (Same chip as the C64, running at half the speed.)


i could probably get an old 64 cheap, but .... even assuming i could access the data (god knows what software created it), how would i get it from there to something more modern? telnet or something?


You could also probably use a terminal program on the C64 to transfer the data to a newer system, yes.

But honestly, that's where the vintage folks come in: very likely somebody will be able to loan you an SD of CF card adapter that works with the C64.

And, thanks to Google, I know that there is actually at least one person who will do this as a service. Which totally makes sense, I just never had thought to try and find out if it was a thing before.

http://www.dickestel.com/fileconvert.htm
Vulture 420
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Reach out to one of these YT nerds who love to do videos about these kinds of things, they can turn it into a 15 minute attention fest.
The 1541 disk drives with the IEEE-488 serial bus are not expensive and quite common and IEEE-488 to USB adapters do exist which enable file transfers between Commodore formatted floppies and a PC.
I bet the raw document could be well enough parsed to enable re-formatting it in a modern computer. Would not be an expensive experiment.
TOS
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Old Yoda agitator
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A very long time ago I transferred my commodore files to use on my mac (Performa 400.)
I do not remember how.
Here is one written with the "Write Stuff" word processor by "Busy Bee."
Code:
@i@0:-bumpers  .11115
 resetprinter
 interface transparent
 line space 0,1 or 2  offset -"oF" for odd only         
 66lines per page
 Pica=80*Elite=96*cP=137*cE=160*exP=40*exE=48*excP=68*excE=80
 start numbering and start printing                     
00100406 margins                           
 0Header.  Page                                               
 6Footer.  Page                                               
 54=4 l/in-36=6 l/in-27=8 l/in-24=9 l/in-18=12 l/in0   
3 0=courier  1=sanserif  2=orator/caps  3=orator/small   
 0=blk 1=red 2=blu 3=vio 4=y 5=or 6=gr                 
*******************************************************************

15 November 1991     


The Honorable
Senator Dale Bumpers
U.S. Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510-6025


Dear Senator Bumpers,

It is with great disbelief and alarm that I write to you in regard to your involvement in squashing public participation in


What has been more problematic is getting to read files with outdated programs.
Try reading an old Word Perfect file.
Code:
ˇWPC[   ,ssÿ{G|g}H~hHÄhÅIÇi
WP_TV75714569WPTVWPC2WPTVWPC2ÆB˜   KlôNönõNúnùNûnüN†n°O¢o£O§o•Œ¶œßR®r©R™r´R¨r≠SÆsØS∞s±S≤s≥S¥sµT∂t∑T∏tÕï√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√   √√
√√ √√ √√
√√√√√√√√√√√– ––HH––  ––2––ˇÅˇ∏Ê$ˇ––HH––––––––      ––

–– –———Geneva—— —— Ä ——<Pxñ»—“““443!#4““$†*$““$*$““
ˇKK
““  Geneva ““
 Geneva
“”.,””””6”” ”flflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflfl—Geneva—— —“  Geneva ““
 Geneva
“T{WP}01‹& &‹Ã
≠¸v›Ã WordPerfect4@3.1)3.1, © 1989, 1994 WordPerfect Corporation(@3.1Created with WordPerfect™ 3.1.\(#¨ñ¥âÖ¥ÖX$™£ZHxHH@ˇÏˇÙXe(¸˝HHX† ¸'ˇÏˇÙXssÿ
qî PSetBPJobNStylZTStlfversrSTR äWDatñPtPt¢ˇˇ
m`ˇˇ
mT (JX˘ˇˇ a
k8ˇˇ ô
iòøÙˇˇ Qˇˇ≈
mLˇˇ˜{WP}01{WP}10‹"H/Ö04z–&&"‹Œ   =hŒ€ÆBˆ{WP}10€“
ˇ<<ˇKK
“”.ˇ.,ˇ,..,,”€€™–HH/Ö0/Ö0–––ÕïÆBˆÕ–   
Ä   –ÕïÆBˆÕ–––HH6$––2–´ÃÆB˛Ã√√√√—ÆBˆNew York—— —øThe Chip Mills Are Coming!   The Chip Mills Are Coming!  ‹0
Ä&&0‹ŒçΩhŒÃÆB˛ÃThe Chip Mills Are HERE !‹04
ÄÄÄ&

&0‹Œ=hŒ™ÕïÆBˆÕ–   
Ä   –ÕïÆBˆÕ´—
——ÆBˆ   Helvetica—√Ä√√Ä√‹0?L??&

&0‹™––´‹$LY& &$‹ŒŒ™–      Ä   –´—
—If ever there were a time to act on behalf of the forests and streams of Ar‹YY& &‹ŒïUŒkansas and Oklahoma, this is it. The native hardwood forests of the south‹‹ŒŒare being clearcut, chipped, and shipped overseas for foreign manufactur‹‹ŒUUŒing of

if you don't need to preserve the formatting, looks like it can be cleaned up in Notepad++ with a little patience. That program has really good replacement functions
TOS
User avatar
Old Yoda posted:
A very long time ago I transferred my commodore files to use on my mac (Performa 400.)
I do not remember how.
Here is one written with the "Write Stuff" word processor by "Busy Bee."
Code:
@i@0:-bumpers  .11115
 resetprinter
 interface transparent
 line space 0,1 or 2  offset -"oF" for odd only         
 66lines per page
 Pica=80*Elite=96*cP=137*cE=160*exP=40*exE=48*excP=68*excE=80
 start numbering and start printing                     
00100406 margins                           
 0Header.  Page                                               
 6Footer.  Page                                               
 54=4 l/in-36=6 l/in-27=8 l/in-24=9 l/in-18=12 l/in0   
3 0=courier  1=sanserif  2=orator/caps  3=orator/small   
 0=blk 1=red 2=blu 3=vio 4=y 5=or 6=gr                 
*******************************************************************

15 November 1991     


The Honorable
Senator Dale Bumpers
U.S. Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510-6025


Dear Senator Bumpers,

It is with great disbelief and alarm that I write to you in regard to your involvement in squashing public participation in


What has been more problematic is getting to read files with outdated programs.
Try reading an old Word Perfect file.
Code:
ˇWPC[   ,ssÿ{G|g}H~hHÄhÅIÇi
WP_TV75714569WPTVWPC2WPTVWPC2ÆB˜   KlôNönõNúnùNûnüN†n°O¢o£O§o•Œ¶œßR®r©R™r´R¨r≠SÆsØS∞s±S≤s≥S¥sµT∂t∑T∏tÕï√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√   √√
√√ √√ √√
√√√√√√√√√√√– ––HH––  ––2––ˇÅˇ∏Ê$ˇ––HH––––––––      ––

–– –———Geneva—— —— Ä ——<Pxñ»—“““443!#4““$†*$““$*$““
ˇKK
““  Geneva ““
 Geneva
“”.,””””6”” ”flflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflflfl—Geneva—— —“  Geneva ““
 Geneva
“T{WP}01‹& &‹Ã
≠¸v›Ã WordPerfect4@3.1)3.1, © 1989, 1994 WordPerfect Corporation(@3.1Created with WordPerfect™ 3.1.\(#¨ñ¥âÖ¥ÖX$™£ZHxHH@ˇÏˇÙXe(¸˝HHX† ¸'ˇÏˇÙXssÿ
qî PSetBPJobNStylZTStlfversrSTR äWDatñPtPt¢ˇˇ
m`ˇˇ
mT (JX˘ˇˇ a
k8ˇˇ ô
iòøÙˇˇ Qˇˇ≈
mLˇˇ˜{WP}01{WP}10‹"H/Ö04z–&&"‹Œ   =hŒ€ÆBˆ{WP}10€“
ˇ<<ˇKK
“”.ˇ.,ˇ,..,,”€€™–HH/Ö0/Ö0–––ÕïÆBˆÕ–   
Ä   –ÕïÆBˆÕ–––HH6$––2–´ÃÆB˛Ã√√√√—ÆBˆNew York—— —øThe Chip Mills Are Coming!   The Chip Mills Are Coming!  ‹0
Ä&&0‹ŒçΩhŒÃÆB˛ÃThe Chip Mills Are HERE !‹04
ÄÄÄ&

&0‹Œ=hŒ™ÕïÆBˆÕ–   
Ä   –ÕïÆBˆÕ´—
——ÆBˆ   Helvetica—√Ä√√Ä√‹0?L??&

&0‹™––´‹$LY& &$‹ŒŒ™–      Ä   –´—
—If ever there were a time to act on behalf of the forests and streams of Ar‹YY& &‹ŒïUŒkansas and Oklahoma, this is it. The native hardwood forests of the south‹‹ŒŒare being clearcut, chipped, and shipped overseas for foreign manufactur‹‹ŒUUŒing of


wordperfect, human waste, i think that was the app i used

jesus, i'd forgotten all about those command-line word processors
Old Yoda agitator
User avatar
TOS posted:
wordperfect, human waste, i think that was the app i used

jesus, i'd forgotten all about those command-line word processors

WordPerfect was never ported to commodore. You could have a MSDOS, windows or Mac version.

There is a way to convert to .docx. Look here.
TOS
User avatar
okay, i now think it was paperclip
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let's just talk vintage computing for a sec ...