The occasionally-updated blog of M. Scott Smith

I am apparently a digital pack rat 🔗

Thanks to my recent salvage of old computer data, I have files dating back to the early 90's. Many of the files are in, shall we say, historical formats, such as MacWrite II or FrameMaker. Although I still have some of these applications around, they will no longer run on Intel-based Macs, which are unable to run Classic.

To solve that problem, I purchased MacLinkPlus Deluxe, which can deftly convert between a dizzying array of formats. It's not perfect; sometimes it messes up the formatting, but it is able to reach into really old formats and pull out useful data...

... assuming that the data is not compressed using a program that no longer exists. Back in the 90's, hard disk storage space was limited and expensive. Programs such as DiskDoubler hooked into the Mac's file system and compressed/decompressed files on the fly. There was a small performance hit, although in most cases it was unnoticeable to the end user. The files were compressed on disk, but appeared and behaved normally to the end user. Assuming DiskDoubler was running. DiskDoubler no longer runs; you won't find an OS X version. So if you pull files off an old hard disk that are compressed with a deprecated program, it could be a problem. (There are some work-arounds in the case of DiskDoubler, though.)

In browsing some of my older files, I came across a scanned receipt for my very first SLR camera, a Minolta Maxxum 5xi:

This was in 1992, before digital cameras existed. The first mainstream digital camera didn't arrive until 1994 (the Apple QuickTake 100, built by Kodak), and the first digital SLR didn't arrive until the mid-90's, costing tens of thousands of dollars.

The 5xi was plenty expensive for me, as a poor college student, but I put it to good use. I took a number of photography classes in college and the 5xi got me through all of them. The 5xi featured some fancy technology, such as fuzzy logic.

Minolta eventually merged with Konica, and in March of 2006, Konica Minolta exited the camera business altogether. Minolta was certainly a big player in the photography business at one time. I remember lusting after the Minolta Maxxum 9, a high-end professional camera that debuted in the late 90's. But my days of film photography were numbered; I switched over to digital point and shoots for awhile, and (happily) returned to the SLR fold in 2002, when Nikon introduced the digital D100 SLR. My current workhorse camera is the Nikon D200. But I still miss the satisfying film advance sound of the Minolta Maxxum 5xi.

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