The upshot is that I still have all the files I created a quarter of a century ago.
Honestly, though, other than the music, I didn't find much worth keeping. Pirated games, 8-bit porn, etc. Though, it did remind me of the name of my favorite old synthesis tool (RGS), so I was able to look it up and do some research on modern alternatives...which it turns out there aren't really any, unfortunately. I'd carried on a conversation with the developer when he announced no further development, and wish I still had the notes, as he'd included quite a bit of technical details about the way it works (though it's mostly obvious now that I'm more knowledgeable; FFT over time for the generation of images, adding sine waves for the other direction). But, I've never gotten around to trying to reproduce it.
Interestingly, those ancient machines (a 2000 and 3000, both with hard disk controllers and hard disks; an AD516 sound card; and some other formerly very expensive hardware), and a pile of random Amiga junk and magazines, sold for $300. Given that PC stuff from that era would bring nothing, I'd say the resale value of Amigas has held up shockingly well. Collector value, I suppose. Even weirder, I guess, I bought a Commodore 64 after getting rid of the Amigas.
It wasn't as easy as I'd hoped it would be, and it wasn't as easy as it would have been had I done it when I first moved to PC. Since transfer utilities and hardware were commonplace back then.
Unfortunately a lot of the solutions for Amiga <-> PC conversion no longer work on modern PCs (i.e requiring old versions of windows, isa slots, etc).
The hard drive is easy, you can just plug it into your PC and mount it under linux (using the affs filesystem). If your a windows users I think WinUAE might be able to mount it but I don't know.
This was my problem with the "just plug it into your PC" process. So, I ended up needing to connect the machines via serial and transferring the the Amiga Forever tool.
But, I guess if you had IDE disks, that'd be easier...though the old IDE standard plugs are also dinosaurs at this point. Not as hard to find as old school SCSI, but still not certain to be available. I happened to have a vast hardware closet from running a hardware business for several years...but even that was insufficient.
A600, A1200 and A4000 all had internal IDE interfaces. The A3000 had a SCSI interface. All other Amiga models had to use add-on HDD interfaces, which started SCSI because that was the dominant platform and shifted more to IDE over time.
So, I'm not sure I'd agree that SCSI was more popular on Amigas over time.
But keep in mind that these companies are not in the archival business. Fresh data is a lot more valuable to them than old stuff. Yes, Google scans old books and whatnot but that's a tiny amount of data compared to everyone's digital junk heap that they accumulate over a lifetime.
If I consider everything I've ever written on the internet to be my "files" then I've already lost a great deal of it just because I can't keep track of where it all is, let alone whether it's still online at all.
I couldn't bear just to pitch them so feeling nostalgic I resurrected an old PC (also in the attic) with a 3.5" drive and I was able to read about 50% of them including one that had my Programming Languages class assignments from 1990 (a Lisp REPL with macros written in Pascal and a pretty printer for Modula-2 code). The other disks I cared about where unreadable even after using the freezer trick on them.
Where are they now? The working ones are in a shoebox in my attic in my new house. I'll probably check on them again in 10 years.
btw, if you need a copy of Turbo Pascal 3.0 just let me know...
Of course, Free Pascal is a better modern alternative.
We used to joke that you could send a uuencoded and encrypted RAR archive out to alt.binaries and then you would be able to recover your data forever. Weird how prophetic that seems to me now.
There are places like NASA who have called on the Computer History Museum for help in getting data off 7-bit magnetic tape.
And as others have pointed out if you save the data but can't read it because the application is toast (Deluxe Paint files anyone?) you have bigger issues. Then you find yourself with an emulator so that you can boot CP/M so you can run Peachtree Accounting so you can read the data from your first lemonade stand.
Its a very deep rabbit hole archiving all that stuff.
At first I almost just left. But the guys in the IS dept were actually really nice and let me use the spare parts they had just sitting around. I ended up making a setup with 3 screens, 3 towers and each tower with 4 floppy drives. Plus an extra tower & screen to browse the internet while I would swap disks in and out of the other three.
My hidden back corner behind all the ancient, noisy tape drive towers (it was a Hospital... need to be HIPPA compliant and anal about recouds) became the cool place to hang out and I ended up learning a mountain of information from those guys/gals.
I still have a box of these on my desk.
I could understand it if you had a digital archiving point to make, but memcached? I really don't see it.
Images from http://home.comcast.net/~kevin_d_clark/ems/
This is a good reminder that 'backups' doesn't mean 'put it on a disk and forget it'. You have to maintain them.
Yeah, but that's a pretty recent view. I mean, we're still digging up clay cuneiform tablets faster than we can translate them all...
Unbaked clay tablets tend to simply disintegrate. Those at Knossos and Ninevah were baked by fires that destroyed the buildings in which they were housed. Mycenean tablets appear to have been reused each year, so the 'expiration date' in that case was man-made rather than imposed by the material.
Papyri have also survived more by good fortune than by design, being preserved in tombs and rubbish heaps. They lay undisturbed in an environment where the temperature and moisture content of the air remained stable over time, in a range conducive to the survival of the material.
This reminds me, I need to ping the pbForth  author to see if he has an old version of his software. I would like to see the first code that I ever wrote - a line following Mindstorms robot programmed during a summer computer camp! That camp was a large part of why I'm getting my PhD in CompE today.
Data now just moves from HDD to HDD and is usually (or should at least be) on at least two HDDs (or one HDD and one SSD) at once, one of which is replaced as it breaks.
I’m not terribly worried about the expiration date of HDDs, it doesn’t really matter that they are only the temporary home of your data for a few years.
One interesting problem where the short lifetime of HDDs comes into play is how you should pass something on, for example to your kids or grandkids. It’s not their data, they probably don’t care enough (or don’t pay enough attention) to make sure to always migrate it to current storage media. Sure, they might enjoy looking at old photos and videos but how often will they do that? Every five years? Every decade?
Just stowing away a HDD in the attic is probably not a great idea. Using contemporary storage media that might survive longer is also questionable. Will it be easily possible to read CDs and DVDs in forty years?
I’m actually more worried about that than about file formats. I’m willing to bet that it will be possible to open up JPEGs with PCs (whatever they may be) in forty years. Even by default, even without getting any extra software. TIF is now 25 years old, it was never really widely used (at least compared to JPEG) but it’s still easy to open up TIF files. (Forget opening the raw files from your DSLR, though.)
1. Leave important data to children in your will.
3. For you, there is no step 3 :)
In the long run, if your data is valuable to your descendants, they will be sure to take good care of it.
On the other hand, if your data is valuable only to you, consider what just happened in step 2...
I'm keeping my copy of Zork for the C64 (not like he needs another copy of it to backup), but the rest I'll send to him.
Thank you so much!
In college a photography professor once mentioned that he used gold plated CD-Rs or something like that because they would last longer.
I designed it. Board and all software is open-source.
I see a http://cd.textfiles.com but no floppies.textfiles.com
Had to dig up an old Performa-era Mac that had the SCSI-1 (non-Centronics style) connector that the SyQuest drive had. The drive was borrowed in friend-of-a-friend style. And then... how to get the files off of that Mac!? Ethernet/AppleTalk issues on an 80's Mac in a 21st-century networking environment wasn't trivial.
I don't think I could remember how to do it again if I had to.
It's important to forget old stuff to free our attention for new things that are often more valuable.
Now get off my lawn.