My Oldest Computer Files – Blaugust 11

880 wc

My dog likes to be involved with everything.

They say everything’s been written before and there’s nothing new to write on a gaming blog. Well, okay, I say that, because I’m lazy and not very motivated. I keep looking at all the mountains of writing prompts floating around Blaugust, including the ones I wrote, and thinking, “Meh, I’m just not interested in writing about that today.”

Then, suddenly, a revelation! Wilhelm’s post on installing ZMud contained this passage:

I have dragged a lot of stuff forward from computer to computer over the years. I’ve dug out stuff from the late 80s when sorting through archived directories.

I wondered what the oldest documents I still have available on my computer were?? Now that’s a fascinating topic to research and write about!

The earliest computer files I ever created in a permanent form would have been something like C or BASIC language programming files, or possibly word processing documents (stories or school files) created on a TRS-80 Color Computer as early as, let’s say, 1985, since I don’t know precisely. I can’t remember storing any files like that on cassette tapes, which was my first permanent storage device, but it’s possible I did. Ah, wait, I definitely remember creating save game files for Dungeons of Daggorath on cassette tapes. Those naturally would be long gone. I probably haven’t been able to actually plug in and operate a TRS-80 since the 80s. The last place I vaguely remember seeing that equipment was in an attic in the early 90s, and I have no memory of where it went from there.

At some point I got a 5 1/4″ floppy disc drive for the TRS-80, and that’s where the majority of my files would have been stored. Those are also long gone, lost in that same attic. I moved out of that house in 1995 and I’m very sure I didn’t bring any TRS-80 gear with me, and it was probably gone even before then.

I got my first Amiga somewhere in the vicinity of 1988. I don’t remember exactly but I think it was just after high school. The files from my first Amiga, before I even had a hard drive, were stored on 3 1/2″ floppy discs. Fortunately I did go through and transfer stacks of those discs to hard drives before I got rid of all of my Amigas in the 2000s, and I remain thankful that I did, even though none of it is the slightest bit useful to me anymore. Anyway those would probably be the oldest files that I’ve carried forward from the my youth.

Somewhere I believe I made copies of the contents of my later Amiga hard drives, too, but I’m not sure I can lay my hands on those. They are probably on CDROMs somewhere. Again, there’s probably not much of value there.

Incidentally, my first hard drive for my Amiga 1000 was built from a kit. I think it was 20MB*. I still have two Seagate 85MB* drives that I connected to that early Amiga 1000 (shown above, with 128GB SSD for comparison). I don’t know why. I keep some things but not others. I think I still have most of the hard drives I’ve ever owned, although I will say that I went looking for some recent hard drives and haven’t been able to find them since my last move a few years ago. Maybe I threw them away, but that doesn’t really sound like me.

Anyway most of my old files are now in a directory on my NAS called “Archives.” There is a folder inside called “Amiga Floppies,” which is where my oldest files undoubtedly will be.

Unfortunately I don't have any software on my PC that can read Amiga ILBM bitmap images or icons (the .info files), so I have no idea what these images actually are. Hey, maybe edit your posts before publishing them!

And there they are! Those are the oldest computer files in my possession, image files created most likely with Electronic Arts’ Deluxe Paint. Much to my surprise, they are from November 1985, which means all those dates I mentioned above are wrong, and I had my first Amiga well before I graduated from high school. That means the TRS-80 Color Computer I mentioned may have gone back as far as my middle school days, maybe 1983 or even earlier.

I found a plugin for Paint.NET that loads ILBM images. Here is what “Mereka.brush” actually looks like:

Undoubtedly a D&D map I started working on.

The oldest “finished” document I could find was a dumb short story I wrote in 1986. The oldest programming work I can find that I got paid for is some C and Assembly code I wrote in 1988. It was an Amiga utility that ran in the background to make keyboard “macro” shortcuts, somewhat similar to AutoHotKey. I made floppy disks and a little printed manual and sold them at a User Group meeting for like $10 each or something.

* In the first draft of this post I accidentally wrote 20GB and 85GB, which also sounded ridiculously small. But nope, it’s supposed to be _mega_bytes. The largest hard drives I ever owned for an Amiga was somewhere around 200-300 megabytes.

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