Seems that one of the things we wrestle with when preserving old stuff for use in the future is the question of what I guess is called “transforming content” – the process by which a thing made usable to a reader by (literally) transforming it into a different format (Word 5.5 for DOS (download direct from Microsoft) to Word 2007 for example) – and “preserving environments” – which is where you make DOS and Word 5.5 for DOS and the document available to the reader and let them go back in time.

There are pros and cons to both and the best thing will be to do both. Some readers will want, for example, to experience the pain of using Word for DOS, others will care only for the content of the document and want to read it with their new personal computer (we have to spell it out now since the great PC/Mac debate – folks, a Mac IS a PC!).

Why am I saying all this? Mostly because I sit opposite a wall of shelves that will one day form a museum of old kit and those old machines have kept the subject on my mind for a bit. I have also been experimenting with virtual machines (for reasons beyond emulation) and emulators. Finally, I’m saying all this because Susan tells me this blog is the place to keep and share things that might be useful and so I wanted to log that Apple make their old software available including the OSes and that MinivMac and this Mac-On-A-Stick project looks like they may one day be useful to us. (And if you’re a Mac user, check out System 7 via Mac-On-A-Stick – it really isn’t much different! :-))

-Peter Cliff

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