In 1997, I bought a new PC, and specified that I wanted a SuperDisk drive on it. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The LS-120 drive was a reasonable alternative to the Zip drive, and it had the advantage of being able to read 3½″ floppy disks as well as the 120 MB SuperDisks, at nine times the speed of a normal floppy drive. I had one at home, my mate CMoS bought one too, and we bought a new web development PC for work with a third drive.
This all made sense until we discovered the shortcomings of the disks and drives. We’d buy disks, write them on the work PC, then take them home and find that we couldn’t read them. After a while, you could be unlucky enough to not even read disks on the machine you’d used to write them. We sighed heavily and moved onto writing CD-Rs instead.
Moving on a decade, I’ve recovered my old PC from under the bed in the guest bedroom and set about reading my old SuperDisks. Rather than fire up the old Windows 95 box, I moved the Matsushita LS-120 drive into my current desktop PC, running Fedora 9 Linux. I still have ten SuperDisks, and I know that one of them contains the contents of a bunch of old floppy disks that I thought, ten years ago, would be better off consigned to a single disk. Ho hum. Those floppy disks contained a load of Type 1 fonts that I made, the PostScript files that I used to design and test them and the programs, written in VAX Pascal, that I used to build them.
Of the ten SuperDisks, two turned out to be unreadable, but the remaining eight had a just a single read error, corrupting a zip file containing some programs from my day job, so no real loss. All in all, I’ve recovered 300 MiB of old work, fonts and photographs. I must confess, I’m shocked and impressed at the success rate.
The recovered work is being stored on the hard drive of my desktop PC, being burned to a CD and squirrelled away on my ReadyNAS. I’m not making that mistake again!