Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Diskard

The Diskard was one facet of my overall Electronics Discard Project (EDP), which I alluded to in the Digital Spring Cleaning entry last week.


Somehow, I had managed to accumulate about 13 boxes of 5.25" diskettes. Each box held or was capable of holding about ten diskettes, twenty with a little shameless cramming. I also had a number of what I think were never used, blank diskettes that my father had given me at some point. For those of you who may not be getting the picture (or don't want to face it), let me spell it out:


And, as some of you may also be very well aware, 5.25" diskettes are definitely a storage media of the past. For the less technologically savvy among you, in computer years, think of them as dinosaurs! So you know they weren't really serving any useful purpose other than to collect dust and take up space on a shelf in my apartment!

Why didn't I just toss them and be done with it!? Even with the length of time those diskettes had to have been sitting there, I still thought there might be some useful data worth preserving (Well, you never know!). My plan was to take a quick look at them, copy any files I wanted to keep over to 3.5" diskettes so that I could access them on my current computer, and delete the rest. Easy enough, right?!

Well that part of my plan proved to be a huge stumbling block on my DeKluttering Path. One of the three computers I had been harboring in my small abode (another facet of the EDP to be discussed in a future post) had both a 5.25" and 3.5" disk drive. Ordinarily it would have been just the ticket, however, its 5.25" drive was not working properly, and I never dreamed how difficult it would be to find a comparable set-up. Actually, finding a 5.25" drive wasn't even the main problem. There are plenty to be found on eBay! I even went to the trouble of setting up an eBay account in the hopes of successfully bidding for one! The true predicament became figuring out which one of the hundreds of such drives available would be compatible with the other computer system I had, which could accommodate a 5.25" drive, and then to somehow figure out how to install it correctly.

The only other solution, with which I occasionally flirted, was to purchase yet another system with the requisite floppy drives (also available on eBay), but that just seemed like waaaay too much trouble. It also involved bringing another computer into a house which already had too many of them, rather than getting rid of one. Basically, to my mind, a big step backwards!


However, I am nothing if not persistent. I finally thought to contact a cousin who troubleshoots and repairs computers and posed my problem to him. He was able to scavenge up a system for me, but more importantly, one that I could use at his house, rather than mine! But, I wasn't quite out of the woods yet! Both of us have busy schedules so it took a while for us to hook up. In the meanwhile, I got everything organized into a shopping bag and set it aside until we were finally able to get together.


Many of the diskettes were unreadable. It is very likely that over time they had simply gone bad. Also, another techy friend of mine advised that 5.25" drives can be finicky and may fail to read perfectly good diskettes. Oh well! I did the best I could, under the circumstances, and more or less accomplished my goal of copying some stuff, deleting other stuff, and finally determining what could be trashed. It ended up taking eight or nine hours, but I was determined and my inner Packrat was appeased. Plus, my cousin and I also had a really great time, just shooting the breeze while I did it.

I could now proceed to the "Remove" step of the DeKlutter drill. Thanks Julio!!!

Next up! My floppy diskette exit strategy: Green Disk!

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