Software-based floppy disc data separator

Keith keithvz at
Sun Jun 20 21:36:21 CDT 2010

Kieron Wilkinson wrote:

> Hi Keith, I'm from SPS.

Hi Kieron,

Sorry for the delayed post.  I wanted to give it my full attention, and 
am just getting that type of time now.

First, let me say that I'm glad that SPS has a voice.

> Can you remember when it was you emailed us?

I'm really not sure.  I emailed a few times, basically explaining who I 
was, what I was doing, if I could help or get involved with SPS, etc.  I 
checked my sent mail going back and couldn't find it.  There were some 
early on messages circa 2005, and then some later ones in 2006.

I accept your apology.

> I think it is great all these floppy reading projects are sprouting up.

Well, I sort of sprouted up around 2005.  :)

Have you seen ?

I'm glad to see there are a bunch of projects too.  I've answered quite 
a few emails and comments from my blog.  Some as recent as two days ago.

> Hopefully we can all stay on good terms. :) 

I don't see why not. :)

> Unfortunately we just can't provide disk images. It's illegal

I don't want to digress here unnecessarily.  And my viewpoint might not 
be popular.  There's a large portion of the software that is 
abandonware, companies are defunct, IP isn't owned by anyone.  Where 
there is an IP owner, they are not likely to be aware of, care, or spend 
time/energy/money trying to enforce those rights.

Copyright laws in the US (and in many other countries) suck.

I'm glad to see that this stuff is being preserved, but I guess one has 
to ask to what end?  If it's not available for people to look, see, 
touch, use, then exactly who is benefiting from your work?  It's great 
that you have a huge catalog of preserved software, I'm just missing 
WHY.  Is this for future generations? When? When copyrights expire?

How do you think the mission statement of SPS(in terms of providing 
access to the preserved material) compares to a regular museum?

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, I'm trying to understand why 
what you are doing matters.  How does this benefit the community?

> What we can do, is provide the people that have sent images of their original games with a "verified" version

Can I be blunt? Big deal.  Here you sit on thousands of perfect copies 
of games, and the people who enable your collection to grow get their 
copy "verified."  Great. So you have a big fat catalog, and everyone 
else (contributor or not) gets what?  Access to the library? No.

> The images you see floating about are the ones that contributors have passed on. Fortunately, most images are available this way.

And I'm glad this is the case.  And if you have a "secret" distribution 
arm that you can't admit to in public, that's fine with me.  I'm glad 
that SOMEONE is making the effort to make this stuff available.

I will also say that I think it's a damn shame if there has been 
successful research done on recovery algorithms and the results haven't 
been made public.  While I acknowledge this is my choice, I've spent 
thousands and thousands of hours researching, documenting, and making 
available (immediately) different techniques for reading, analyzing, and 
  working with floppy disks.  I doubt any of my posts will win a Nobel 
peace prize, but my goal has been to share my efforts so that it can 
"fast track" the next guy trying to do something similar.

A lot of what we are talking about has a limited lifetime.  Once the 
media goes past its useful life, and drives start to be come rarer and 
rarer, and those who knew of the Amiga die off --- much of what we are 
talking about simply won't matter any more.  Or at least not even on a 
hobby scale.

We need access to this knowledge, now, while it's still important.


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