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February 08, 2004

Floppy Disks

For some time we'd been eyeing the pile of floppy disks. Someone should go through them and extract anything useful, delete anything sensitive, and throw them all away. So now I have. This, for example, is something I wrote for rec.food.drink.beer, probably in 1994 or 1995, but, according to Google Groups, never posted.

The Return of the Prodigal Daughter...
or... Killing the Fatted Pig...
or...Alison at the Pigs Ear Beer Festival

The design on the Pigs Ear glasses was particularly fine this year; we took home our glasses from the Friday, and sold our glasses on the Saturday to Steve 'I could do with a few more pint glasses' Davies.

The festival had a theme of pigs, as always; which sounds like a good time to tell you about toes.

Apparently there are Latin names for the individual fingers, but not for the individual toes. However, suitable ones have been suggested:

Porcellus fori, porcellus domi, porcellus carnivori, porcellus non vorans, porcellus pleurans domum.

At any rate, we arrived at Stratford Town Hall at about 8:30 on Friday. (for the benefit of Americans and others, I feel I should point out that this is Stratford, East London, not Stratford-upon-Avon; no swans, bardic theme pubs or come-and-be-done-eries). There was a queue for the festival; it had hit its fire limit and they were counting people in and out. Oh, the perils of real ale suddenly becoming popular. Nevertheless, we made it inside eventually, and paid the CAMRA price of a pound. CAMRA membership is brilliant value for the hardened festival goer; the discounts on festival entry and the Good Beer Guide add up to far more than my membership over the year.

As usual, I headed straight for the tombola stall; the tombola prizes are not improving. I got a copy of some previous edition of the Real Ale Drinker's Almanac; a book that might be quite interesting if not for two things;

a) sorting the brewers region by region is quaint, and you can see why, but it's terribly hard to look anything up in the book; as it's basically a list of beers with tasting notes, I would expect most people to see an interesting beer and look it up to see what Roger Protz thinks of it. However, it's practically impossible to find anything in it.

b) the Guest Beer fetish has meant that beers are being reformulated or renamed or both at a rate of knots, and many beers you're likely to come across aren't in the Almanac, or at least aren't in the 1989 edition of the almanac.

Nevertheless, a useful book to pick up for only the price of an inordinate number of tombola tickets at 30p each, and a little discussion where I pointed out that I actually had won every other available book in some previous CAMRA tombola. (They do also have bar towels, glasses, beermats and, wonder of wonders, beer as prizes.)

We drank a good bit of beer. Unfortunately, after all this time the beers are dim in my memory, and all I have left is my tasting notes, which appear to be written in Swahili. I even threw out the programme while clearing up in a fit of zeal.

Later I found disks full of the .cam files that were produced by my first digital camera, the QV-10. I'd converted these to .jpg long since, but realised I had nothing on the PC to view the originals. The net failed me, at least in freeware (the .cam format went through several iterations, of which I need the earliest). Hours later, Steven asked, 'have you ever heard of a program called Graphic Converter?' Well, yes, of course; it was even bundled with my Powerbook (*sob*). And of course, it reads the files beautifully; better than when they were new.

Posted by Alison at February 8, 2004 10:26 AM


But did you find the original QV-10 picture of Patakali and the wallyphones from Plokta 1?

And if you need it, I still have a copy of the software that came with the QV-10, that I use for viewing .CAM pictures in the Plokta archives.

Posted by: Mike Scott at February 12, 2004 06:49 AM

I think this must have been 1994, because by December 1995 I had loads of pint glasses. Most of them with pictures of moose on them.

Posted by: Steve Davies at February 12, 2004 05:21 PM

Yes, Steve, you're right; 1994.

Graphic Converter is just fine as a .cam reader. Of course, the iMac doesn't read floppy disks. But there you go. I have not yet found the patakali picture (wasn't it Wrath of Ghu rather than Plokta?). But I have found various files marked Plokta 1, so I should have another look at those. There are still 30 or so disks left.

Posted by: Alison Scott at February 12, 2004 05:35 PM

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