Preserving my digital history

I was a computer user from an early age. Our first machine was an Atari 800, complete with a tape drive. It was a sort of hand-me-down machine, so we were using it many years after its heyday.

I can remember my dad spending days typing in a long BASIC program that had been published in a computer magazine (ANTIC?). I think it was probably for a game. That sort of thing was common for computer hobbyists in the 70s and 80s.

Anyway, for all the advantages of digital communication, one thing is clear: digital files are more ephemeral than we realize.

Most of the emails, projects, and stuff from my early computing days are gone. Even modern stuff like webpages can disappear suddenly. For example, with very little warning last year, Yahoo killed the once-popular GeoCities. Millions of people had created homepages there over the years.

Among my own lost projects is a choose-your-own-adventure style game I wrote for the TI-8x series of calculators when I was in high school. It was called “Doom at West” and was related to my “S.S.S.” stories. I loaned my own calculator to my younger brother when I was in college. He lost it and by extension all the stuff on it.

Seeing the work of digital historians like Jason Scott has motivated me to preserve what I can of my own old digital stuff, and to share at least those bits that might be of some small interest to other people.

So here are a few little archives I’ve put together that you might want to check out:

BBS-related

  • ANSI art – A collection of ANSI advertisements I made during my years as a BBSer in the late 1990s.
  • SRE Text Series – A series of sci-fi stories I wrote based on the BBS door/game “Solar Realms Elite.”

High school

About Josh Renaud

I'm the Emperor of the Renaud Empire, which is to say that I'm the husband of a Boliviana and the father of three daughters and one son. When I'm not conquering lands and expanding borders, I'm a newspaper designer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Find me on Twitter (@Kirkman) or Google+.
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One Response to Preserving my digital history

  1. Grandma and Aunt Carol says:

    Amazing stuff here Josh. Funny, just going back and looking at the computer age you were in then and now. And to think of the things you did with/on the BBSes, ANSI art, POM and the Hazelwood Net Gazette from high school. You were very talented back then, and look at you now: full blown computer wizard!
    Enjoyed the articles, especially the short-lived POM, and the Hazelwood Net Gazette. Thanks for sharing with us!
    Carol

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