Retro Machines and Old Data

The New Scientist is running a rather interesting story, “Taking a trip down memory-chip lane,” which is linked through a Slashdot story that is full of great user commentary. The article looks at the recent surge in retro computing interest, both as a hobby and as a serious means to get at old data that lies fading away on floppy disks and data tapes. The article identifies retro computing buffs as the ones with the resources and know-how to get at this old data. “Computer archaeology” they’re calling it. A term that fits, really.

In a rather obscure tangent, I was introduced, in the /. comments thread, to the phenomenon of John Titor, an alleged time traveler who posted his story to various Internet bulletin boards during 2000/2001. He claims to have been sent back to 1975 to recover an IBM 5100, needed by the government to help get past the Unix timestamp bug that (as expected) surfaced in the year 2038. A crazy story, but with a nice vintage computing slant.

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