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> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nomad of Norad -- David C Hall

> >> When you open the box, you find punch-cards and 8-inch floppies.
> > 
> > I find some guy that collects antique computers and get him 
> to read them. 
> > If they aren't readable, then no big deal.  Yes, it would 
> be interesting
> > to see the materials but I wouldn't cry over it.
> 
> I gather there is at least one organization out there that  specializes 
> in retrieving data from obsolete media from all sorts of different 
> vintage machines and platforms.  Might be worth looking one of those up.
> 
> There's also a company that makes punch-card reading and writing 
> machines for companies that still use such technology (!!!).  They've 
> got a whole factory for it, and also refurbish old punch-card  machines. 
> I think there was an article in WIRED a few years back...

Yes, there are data recovery services, and some even specialize in older media.

Just for fun I was googling around for information on some of the older computers.  I noticed there's a company now making a KIM-1 clone! (1975?)  I'm not sure how much of a market there is for something like that but it must have taken some time and effort to design and build the boards.  I used to have a KIM-1, and it really did't do much given the 1K RAM, hex pad, and 6 digit LED display.



> Even if the paper has been shredded, it might be possible to retrieve 
> the data off it.  There was another WIRED article awhile back about a 
> major project to do just that to the gadzillions of shredded  documents 
> that the serveilance society that existed in East Germany  prior to the 
> collapse of the Soviet Union made... where the government was  spying on 
> all of its own citizens and keeping reams and reams of notes on 
> individuals.  The agents in the particular agency that was doing this 
> frantically shredded gadzillions of the most damaging (to themselves) 
> documents they could get their hands on, working round the  clock, in the 
> closing ours of the Union.  But then the citizens, having found out 
> about this stuff, insisted that ALL of it be preserved, so that they 
> could find out what kinds of stuff their former government had been 
> recording about them.  At first, they were reassembling the shredded 
> documents by hand, but then some other group realized they 
> could create  an advanced computer scanning system to do it faster.

I've even seen some amazing ways they have now of figuring out what old faded documents have written on them and filling in missing pieces.  The thing is that these are still intensive processes that wouldn't be available to just anyone.