ASCII by Jason Scott

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Just Solve Dan Tobias’ Problem (and File Formats, too). —

As you might harken back, I announced two things last year: that November was “Just Solve the Problem Month”, and that the first “problem” to solve was “File Formats”.

I even had a logo!



Well, let’s quickly discuss what’s happened since the month came to a close.

Most notably, we got a bunch of data on the wiki set up for that month of problem-solving. The site was loaded with all sorts of beginnings, all sorts of well-tended entries, and only a small amount of infighting as to direction. And then we hit the end of the month.

Now, many projects of these sorts peter out and kind of, well, stop. But we’ve had quite the miracle.

Dan Tobias. He took the torch, dude. He (and also HalftheIsland, who has been in there as well) has been editing stuff by the hundreds. And the wiki has gotten better, and better and better.

So Dan has a problem. He’s lonely in there! He needs more help!

This is your time to shine. We have a working Wiki with a clear permanent url:

The File Formats Wiki continues to add material all the time, allows you to add all sorts of information, and brings into focus a whole range of file format enumeration and spotlights. It’s working. People are noticing.

I’ve made it so people can register new accounts instantly. I’ve also made it so that I’m not the only admin/moderator there. It’s time to bring this thing to version 2.0 and beyond.

And benefit from it! The thing is there as reference material. Let’s use it that way.

I look forward to it growing and contining its path. And I want Dan to have a lot more buddies on there doing the goal.

However this works out, my hat is off to you, Dan. You’ve been kicking ass.

Categorised as: Archive Team | computer history

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  1. Thanks for the shoutout! At the moment I’m working on the entry for the Opus-CBCS BBS software, and I just dragged my 1989 Northgate PC from my storage locker, the one I ran an Opus BBS on in the ’90s, to see if I can get it to boot so I can see what the actual files there looked like (I’ve got some scattered stuff from that era backed up to my current PC, but not a complete in-context setup). (So far it won’t boot because the BIOS battery died and it wants to know all sorts of stuff on bootup like which of 40+ hard disk types it is… more research is needed like opening the case to see if the drive is actually labeled with useful info.) Then there are a few other things I’ve got info on to write up… like, I managed to find a reference manual online with the BASIC tokens for the APF Imagination Machine, an obscure late-70s platform you just posted an ad for on the Internet Archive (I actually remember playing with one of those on display at a department store in New York City around 1979… maybe Macy’s.) So it can join all those other tokenized BASICs I’ve documented. Now, if I can find low-level details on its cassette format too… And then I’m also gathering info on Apple OS-X and iOS app development file formats, to add something more current to document.

  2. Damn it, I said I would edit and I barely edited. I’ll go create some more articles about markup languages.

  3. Thanks! Does this reply feature work? I posted something this morning and it didn’t seem to show up.