(A)bort, (R)etry, (F)ail?

Yesterday I hauled down two old PCs from the attic in another effort to retrieve the contents from at least one of the two previously-mentioned and now-cursed CD-Rs.

So far we’re up to ten drives across eight PCs unable to read the discs, and I’m getting a little peeved. Both look perfectly OK… no scratches, degradation, fading, rot or anything visible to the human eye — and these are two discs stored in two different rooms, far away from sunlight or other radiation.

Hmmphff! Feared lost is a time capsule.

Gone to the great bitbucket in the sky is a small insight into the mind of those geeks who crawled along the information pathways around the beginning of the 90’s — eons ago in computing time, and before the WWW as we know it today was drafted by a certain Mr. Berners-Lee.

What’s gone are screenshots of programs and utilities past, scans and grabs of anything that could be digitised, drawings and sketches of anything that could be drawn, sketched or rendered with a computer, shots of BBS/ANSI screens and their users and conventions, and, of course, the obligatory bit of porn and smut of the day.

Garfield, Calvin & Hobbes, Opus the Penguin + Bill the Cat, and Space Quest amused us nerds, and it was Star Trek, Star Wars, Douglas Adams, Boris Vallejo, and pre-Peter Jackson LOTR that entertained us. IBM vs. Amiga vs. Mac, UFO conspiracies, Mandelbrot fractals and all things Sword ‘n Sorcery / Fantasy / Sci-Fi and space got us into heated Usenet/Fidonet debates while pictures of Gillian Anderson, Cindy Crawford, Cathy Ireland, Sherilyn Fenn, and Zena Fulsom did the exact opposite by driving geeks gaga and phone bills through the roof.

Here’s a choice selection of images from those glorious days.

Classic BBS PicsClassic BBS PicsClassic BBS PicsClassic BBS Pics

Except for much higher screen resolutions, how far have we really come?

Image credits: The BBS archives

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