Saturday, October 17, 2015

Anyone Have a Sturdy Sabot I Can Smash This Thing With?

I have issues with computers.  I mean we all have the virus and trojan issues; we all have the pop-ups and unsolicited advertisements.  We all deal with them in one way or another.  But this is not what I mean.

We were sold into the computer age with the promise of a more efficient and easier life,  This turns out to be largely poppycock.  More information more readily available, yes.  Too much information too freely shared.  But again, this is not what I am on about.

I am mad at the people who make and sell the computers and the software.  I am mad because they misrepresent reality and sell our dreams down the river for their own perfidious ends.

Here is the crux of the matter.  For years I maintained a neatly organized four-drawer steel file cabinet.  Yours might have been oak or walnut, but the purpose was the same.  In it I filed papers that I wrote or collected and wished to keep.  Want a document?  Go to the cabinet, open the drawer, go to the file, and voila! there is the document just as we left it a week ago, a year ago, a decade ago, or even in some cases forty years ago.

So buying into the promise of convenience, upon acquisition of a computer I started writing and storing my documents on the hard drive and on ancillary hardware sold for the purpose.  You know: floppy disks, diskettes, thumb drives and so on.

As the industry grew and changes became head-spinningly rapid, we allowed ourselves to grow with it.  I mean, who wants to be a troglodyte in the information age?

Now as I moved from one device to another or one platform to another I judiciously transported stuff I wanted to keep from the old equipment to the new.  Makes sense, doesn't it?  No, it does not.

And here it is.  I have documents on my current device which I wrote originally in Microsoft Works.  I kept them because I wanted them.  And I still have them.  Ostensibly.  But I cannot open them.

And as for floppies and diskettes, no way to read them anymore.  Old hard drives?  Doorstops.

Cf the automotive world.  Autos have changed tremendously in the past seventy years.  But I can still drive a 1930s car.  I can drive a modern vehicle. Would that once learned one could always drive a computer.

9 comments:

Jim Grey said...

Nobody could have guessed how fast the PC would would evolve and change. So it is with any nascent technology. Try driving a Model T, for example. It has three pedals all right, but they don't do the things you expect.

Meanwhile, here are some instructions from Microsoft for converting Works files so they can be opened in Word. They involve downloading a converter tool.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/315757

vanilla said...

Jim, Model T? But I did say 30s cars. But I'm an old guy-- i am familiar with the T! I thank you, though, for the suggested link. We shall see.

Secondary Roads said...

I've been down that path too. I'll soon post about some of my [mis]adventures. Prepping here for the divorce from Microsoft. In the interim, just thinking happy thoughts.

vanilla said...

Chuck, leaving Microsoft? What? Your ship came in? ;-)

Grace said...

Info from diskettes can be retrieved - there's a device that does that. Unfortunately for me I threw out all my diskettes - documents I had printed out but mostly it was photos - the first digital cameras used diskettes to store the photos! Computers these days now come without a cd-rom drive - I have an external device for that now. It's all in the cloud! I do not trust the cloud!

I've been a non-microsoft user for many years now and finally converted my husband a few months ago - we're not lap top users so we love the big screen. But I have to say my 10 y/o Mac Book Pro still works perfectly. Hubby is still getting used to the Mac and yesterday I showed him how to do something and he was amazed "It's so easy!" Yup, it is.

Google "microsoft works file converter" and see if any of these programs will help you get your stuff back.

vanilla said...

Grace, yes, and there is another frustration. Finding and acquiring the device, learning to use same and executing the process. Makes me want to execute something. Just kidding. But it is another layer of aggravation. And profitable for someone, too.

Vee said...

Sorry about all of this frustration. Everything can be read if one has the right stuff to do it.

Hubby has been envious of my trouble-free Mac life and finally decided to change over. Despite continuous virus protection, his computer is hopelessly infected and needs to be cleaned and rebuilt. I think PC manufacturers and virus protection companies are in bed together. If Mac can have virus-free systems, PC should be able to do that also if they desire. Just my opinion.

vanilla said...

Vee, cynical much? Or are we just realists? When I can buy a new Mac for four hundred bucks, I'll join you.

Secondary Roads said...

No ship came in, but reason and logic did. Linux (Manjaro flavor) is what I'll be trying. Details to follow on my blog.