Breaking the Code – Part I

Bill Laux and the Mysterious Floppy Disks

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In spite of my wife’s courageous leap into the world of information technology, she has remained very critical of the many shortcomings of the new tools that our digital era has forced upon us. Would the archeologists a thousand years from now, so she often raises the question, ever be able to find out what lies hidden underneath the shiny layer of a CD or DVD disk. They might claim that the 21st century inhabitants had regressed to a form of sun worship, as it was practiced in ancient civilizations. Those glittering round objects could have been used to invoke the sun to provide more light for the planet darkened by pollution and nuclear fall-out. Having turned mellow after half a century of exposure to marital bliss, I found enough room in my heart to admit, although somewhat reluctantly, that my wife had raised a very important question whose relevance will become evident in the light of my own experiences with outdated technology.

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If you had read my previous posts on Bill Laux, the eccentric artist, who built his own castle at the shore of the Lower Arrow Lake, you would know that he was not only famous for his works in batik, but was also known as a writer and researcher of the early mining, logging, and transportation industries in the Pacific Northwest. When he passed away in December 2004, he bequeathed  his entire collection of pictures, books, manuscripts, journals and sundry documents to the Fauquier Communication Center. There his work has found a permanent home and is waiting to be explored, evaluated and hopefully published on the Internet.

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What really piqued my curiosity, were scores of floppy disks stashed away on the side shelves of the computer room of the Fauquier Communication Center. Their content had remained a deep mystery until very recently. On next week’s post I will share with you the immense difficulties I experienced in decoding the information from a storage device barely a quarter century old. What I found was a veritable treasure trove of Bill’s work, which would have been lost forever on the junk pile of modern civilization. Stay tuned.

9 comments

  1. transmutation.me · November 22, 2016

    And what will happen to all the books of today? They will not last forever or centuries like medieval books, while today’s paper contains too much of a specific acid i. e. after 100 years books therefore reach a critical stadium and restoring a book again is then becoming more and more difficult. So what will archeologists discover in 500 years about our actual civilization? Will only plastic survive the coming centuries?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · November 23, 2016

      These are very good questions. Alas, plastic will last the longest, especially when buried and shielded from the ultraviolet rays from the sun. Thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rashmi Gopal Rao · November 23, 2016

    Very interesting read Peter! Thanks for yet another lovely post:)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. taphian · November 23, 2016

    A very good story about an interesting and very talented man. I like the batik at the top a lot and the many books. Thanks a lot for sharing, dear Peter, have a nice day, regards from Hamburg, Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · November 23, 2016

      Thank you, Mitza, for your kind comment! I will put another Batik image into next week’s post on Bill Laux.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. jeannettepaterakis · November 23, 2016

    oh that’s sad .I hope his work will not get lost.I wish you and the community all the best.Many greetings

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · November 26, 2016

      I will do my best to help preserve the works of this great artist and writer. Thank you, Jeannette!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Breaking the Code – Part II | The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project
  6. Pingback: Breaking the Code – Part IV | The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

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