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. Later, I typed in programs from books and magazines myself. 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, Yahoo last year killed the once-popular website GeoCities. Millions of people had created homepages there since the 1990s. A few of the homepages were saved in various archives, but many are gone forever.
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:
ANSI art – A collection of ANSI advertisements I made during my years as a BBSer in the late 1990s.
Politics Online Magazine – A short-lived monthly political magazine distributed on St. Louis BBSes
SRE Text Series – A series of sci-fi stories I wrote based on the BBS door/game “Solar Realms Elite”.