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    If anyone’s got any spare 5 1⁄4-inch floppies, let me know, because now I’ve got two whole slots for them (this is actually a serious inquiry, please tweet at me!).

    I have some bad news for you: floppies degrade over time. When I was poking an Apple IIe about 15 years back, a bunch of my disks from the 80s and early 90s already had corruption.

    IIRC, there are ways to store them to minimize degradation, but the most comon ways of storing them were really bad.

    edited to add: There are plenty of Apple II disk images out there (the asimov.net apple section is pretty remarkable). It may well be more profitable to get a Raspberry Pi to interface with your Disk II controller, translating from images.

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      Most of my floppies from the 80s still work fine.

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        My Amiga DD floppies do.

        HD floppies on the other hand are mostly unreadable by PC FDCs. And not usable anymore. I needed to write a bunch recently from disk images, went through old ones, about one in 6 did format, write and verify. I have a large stack of bad floppies from attempts.

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        My C64 disks are in my parents’ (unconditioned) attic. Bet they’re in real pretty shape.

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          Hey, at least you still have them.

          One time several years ago, my parents were cleaning out their storage room. They came across a box full of old Commodore 64 and 128 software. Knowing my soft spot for retrocomputing, they asked me what to do with it. I was pretty sure our old Commodore 128D we’d had was somewhere nearby, so I told them to keep it unless they couldn’t find the 128. They never did find the 128, so they threw it out.

          I remained half-convinced that they still had it somewhere, though, and much more recently, I was visiting them and we found the 128 in a box in the shed in the back yard. I’m not sure I have ever felt such intense regret at being proven right.

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            About 27 years ago, when I was 12, I wrote an Apple II program in assembler that I was inordinately proud of. My mother and I planned to sell it, and she made sure I kept frequent backups. It never went anywhere; after all, that was the year that the Apple IIe was discontinued (though I didn’t know that until much later).

            Then a couple of years ago, feeling nostalgic, I wanted to look back at that project. I called my mother to ask if any of our old Apple II disks were still around. They had all been thrown out, on the assumption that we had moved on.

            To be fair to my parents, in several of the intervening years, I didn’t care about that old stuff any more than they did. I really had moved on. But now I wish I could look back at some of that old code I wrote.

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              Never, ever trust family with your old computers and media. You should have taken them with you.

              If any of you has a bunch of floppies or computers you care about at your family’s place, ensure you get them on your next visit. You’ll be lucky if they are stil there. Priorize the data, as computers are somewhat replaceable, but data is not.

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                Oof. That sucks. At least in my case the discarded disks didn’t represent the loss of anything I had created personally (I’m a bit younger than you, so my memories of the Commodore consist mainly of playing Space Taxi and Montezuma’s Revenge until we got a PC), but because the machines and all those disks were originally my dad’s, it would’ve been an interesting time capsule.

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              Just ensure you imaged the important ones.

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              Is it degradation of the data or of the medium? I mean, okay, over time the magnetic surface enters a high-entropy state, losing data in the process, but that’s nothing a good old reformat isn’t supposed to resolve on floppies, making them - in theory - reusable.

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                I’m not an electrical engineer, so take all this with a grain of salt, but: both.

                Apple II disks are actually more resilient against data-loss than, say, the high-density 3.5” floppies that came later, just because larger bits means more tolerant to small changes in magnetism. But after 30 years, there’s likely to still be a fair bit of data degredation – and if your goal is to (e.g.) play vintage games, a reformat isn’t what you want to do.

                But there is also medium degradation. Normal physical stuff (bending, dust, etc), environmental stuff (humidity, temperature fluctuations, etc), electronic stuff (magnetic fields including those from transformers and motors, static electricity, etc), and chemical stuff (oxide degradation, exacerbated by environmental factors) can all cause physical media degradation. Like any medium nowadays, there were also service lifespan issues: the more you use it, the closer to medium failure you get.

                Some of the old disk manufacturers would say “30 year lifespan” or something similar. I suspect that was an exaggeration, or maybe a best-case scenario, since not many people expected floppies to still be in use 30 years later.

                None of that is to say that an old disk is guaranteed to have failed. But the likelihood increases over time, same as everything else. And oxide-on-mylar is less durable than most of what we use today.

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              Good to see someone else futzing with one of these.

              I went down this rabbit hole too and documented cleaning and repairing it (it also had broken keys). Check ebay for replacements, you’ll need to note the key stem (there were, iirc, four variations). Get yourself a male 3.5mm plug and check out ASCII Express you can bootstrap yourself from the cassette port.

              You can get blank floppies from floppydisk.com or retrofloppy. I went and got both a Big Mess O’ Wires floppyemu and a BOOTI hard drive emulator. I’m not using actual disks much so I’ve got spare new old stock 5.25” floppies, it’s probably not worth the postage but pm me and I’ll send you two of them. Aside, I wish I had saved my floppy disks from high school with UCSD pascal, logo, forth, and 6502 projects on them just to see what I was doing then.

              I started writing up developing on the IIe before work, life, etc. got in the way (here, here, here, here and here). It might be useful.

              The most active community is on Facebook, the web forums have very little activity but do have a good amount of historical information.

              Have fun!

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                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_Life has two parts, the glossary and a coding tutorial and programs to type in for the Apple II. Not sure how well they translate to the IIe though.

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                  Any Applesoft BASIC that works on the II will work on the II+, IIe, and IIc.