What are the oldest files in your home directory?

Posted by Martin Vilcans on 8 January 2009

James Bennett replies to Doug Hellman's follow up on Brandon Craig Rhodes' idea "What are the oldest files in your home directory?". Of course I couldn't resist doing the same. I won't repeat the procedure for how I found my oldest files, since the posts above tell you how if you want to repeat the experiment.

Before I go on listing my oldest files, I'll tell you what files you unfortunately won't find listed here. It must have been around 1998 when I received an old cardboard box with the old cassette tapes containing the old games me and my brother made for the ZX Spectrum 8-bit computer back in the mid 80's. The tapes were like ordinary audio cassettes, and I used some DOS software that could read the Spectrum's format through the PC's sound card. Unfortunately the tapes had deteriorated to the point where most of the files were unreadable. The games I got to run were quite embarassingly bad, so I thought they were better kept in fondness in my memory instead of in the light of a present-day emulator. I throw the box with the tapes away.

Anyway, I found some pretty old files whose timestamps have survived several computer generations. Here we go:

1995-08-07 ./gammalt/pre-2000/exjobb/INLEDNIN.DOC
1995-08-07 ./gammalt/pre-2000/exjobb/GENOM.DOC
1995-08-07 ./gammalt/pre-2000/exjobb/KUNSKAP.DOC
1995-08-07 ./gammalt/pre-2000/exjobb/REFERENS.DOC
1995-08-07 ./gammalt/pre-2000/exjobb/ANALYS.DOC
1995-08-07 ./gammalt/pre-2000/exjobb/BEGREPPS.DOC
1995-08-07 ./gammalt/pre-2000/exjobb/GENOMFÖR.DOC
1995-08-07 ./gammalt/pre-2000/exjobb/PLAN.DOC
1995-08-07 ./gammalt/pre-2000/exjobb/SAMMAN.DOC
1995-08-07 ./gammalt/pre-2000/exjobb/XJOBB2.DOC
1995-08-07 ./gammalt/pre-2000/exjobb/BILAGOR.DOC

These files are the documentation for the degree project I did with a friend back in university. We investigated the implications of moving from a classical two-tier client/server architecture to a three tier GUI/functionality/database model. Nobody builds two-tier systems any more, so I guess the three-tier model won. Reading a few pages, I notice how much else that hasn't changed. What we discuss in this document is what today goes under names such as SOA, RIA and Ajax, and the issues we bring up are still relevant. So much for the misconception that what you learn in university is out of date by the time you graduate.

Note that we split the document into several files to keep Word from choking on the size of it. I doubt you even can do that in the latest version of Word.

1995-12-13 ./gammalt/pre-2000/bildmanipulation/LASER4.JPG

This file must be even older than what the timestamp says. It is my first experiment with manipulating images with Photoshop. I took the original photo with my good old Minolta 9xi analog camera (or perhaps it was even the bad old 3xi) and scanned the print on the university's flatbed scanner. Not the best way to go for image quality I guess, but it was not like any normal person had a digital camera back in '95. The university had a small computer lab with a few Macs where i snuck in to learn Photoshop and this was the result.

1996-02-28 ./gammalt/pre-2000/august/annan diskett/BRUNNEN.WPS
1996-03-03 ./gammalt/pre-2000/august/annan diskett/BRUNNEN.GEN
1996-03-03 ./gammalt/pre-2000/august/annan diskett/BRUNNEN.TXT

Those are some of the files for a children's book I was writing with a friend. We even had meetings with publishers about it, but it never was published, in part because of the discrepancy between the childish story and characters and the more mature humour.

1997-06-25 ./Documents/povscn/balls/BBall.inc
1997-06-25 ./Documents/povscn/balls/Chalk.inc
1997-06-25 ./Documents/povscn/balls/Room.inc
1997-06-27 ./Documents/povscn/balls/BLamp.inc
1997-06-27 ./Documents/povscn/balls/ChalkBox.inc
1997-06-27 ./Documents/povscn/balls/ChalkLine.inc
1997-06-27 ./Documents/povscn/balls/Cue.inc
1997-06-27 ./Documents/povscn/balls/TableFrame.inc
1997-06-27 ./Documents/povscn/balls/Window.inc
1997-06-27 ./Documents/povscn/balls/BTable.inc
1997-06-27 ./Documents/povscn/balls/Ruler.inc
1997-06-29 ./Documents/povscn/balls/Protractor.inc
1997-06-30 ./Documents/povscn/balls/balls.txt

These are source files for the POV-Ray raytracer and consist my entry for the june 1997 issue of the Internet Raytracing Competition (on hiatus since 2006). See the viewing page for that month's competition. I have older POV-Ray source files hidden in a zip file somewhere, but the files above are unpacked because I used them for something back in 2005.

I found more interesting old files, some that I had forgotten about. There is enough stuff for another blog post strolling down memory lane, but this is enough for now.

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