Outdated Technology

An editorial

by Chris Hibbard

floppy-disk-icon

Outdated Technology

I came across a  box of teenage stuff a while ago, while visiting my old room at my parent’s place in Calgary.

Among the items inside the box were: mix tapes (numbered and named for personality’s sake), old photos that never got put in an album, a whole bunch of great stickers by bands I rarely listen to anymore, and several 3.25″ ‘floppy’ disks, containing some classic short stories I wrote while in high school creative writing classes and moments of creative epiphany, much like tonight.

I have just a vague flicker of memory however, about these stories themselves. I think there was one about an invisible boy and another about somehow making a deal with the devil. I wrote them sometime between 1995 and 1998, when I had longer hair and less inhibitions when it comes to making dreams a reality. There might be some poems inspired by old girlfriends, sappy and loving or heart-wrenching teenage angst. I never wrote these stories down in pen on paper, and never saved them into an email dropbox or tweeted them to myself somehow.

These stories were typed on an old version of .Word and then saved on small squares of plastic with a little flippy silver bit that covered some actual film or magnetic tape inside the disc itself. This disk would fit into a small slot on the front of every single computer that was out there. I had no concern about backing up my stories, for I had safely secured them on this 3.5″ disk, that could easily hold up to 1.4 MB of information!! At the time, I had no need for any more than 1.4 MB, as music downloading was in its infancy and Youtube was still several years away. Now we speak of terrabytes and gigabytes… leaps and bounds ahead of where we were.

So, two decades later and I come across these potentially amazing gems from my younger days. Thanks to modern technology racing forward with increasing momentum, I have no way to read them, nor play them. I have a CD/DVD reader/rewriter, and many ports for USB sticks/flash drives,\ etc. I can do almost anything with my computer, but I can no longer read a little grey disk that may contain some golden bits of forgotten inspiration.

It makes me feel nostalgic and weary and annoyed all at the same time. It makes me wonder how many other stories and little bits of writing I’ve scribbled or saved over the years, and might never even remember writing, simply because they were written in the floppy disk years, for those years are long gone. Now, in our modern age of social networking and high-tech competition, by the time I even get used to the I-phone version 5 or whatever the heck my gadget is, it might already be considered outdated and antiquated, replaced by some newer, smaller, faster, fancier version.

So, if all goes according to plan, I’ll manage to get my old tales off the 3.5″ floppies, read ’em over and clean ’em off; and maybe even edit ’em a bit with author’s license. By the time you have read this, I will likely have already visited some kind of library or computer shop and proceeded to transfer said stories to a more convenient modern tool. If this is indeed the case, the stories will likely appear on this very site within the next several months. And then you’ll get a strange look inside my adolescent mind, for better or worse.

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~ by Chris Hibbard on March 7, 2013.

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