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9 October 2004

Well, this is interesting. I think this is interesting. Iíve been distracted from the ghost story, for the weekend; Iím trying to recover a story that I wrote a few years back, but never did anything with. Thing is, I was using a different word processor then, in a different iteration of Linux; and one of the challenges with Linux is to make legacy software run under later upgrades of the system.

I had already migrated from that word processor through another and so to this (TextMaker, a small German program that I lurve, for all its faults - itís just so fast, astonishingly quick to boot up and then to load my massive text files). The sensible man, planning an upgrade, would have remembered that he still had to run WordPerfect to get at those stories he wrote back then; he would have paused to transfer all his legacy files into this new format, just in case. Sadly, this man did not do that. And behold, WordPerfect does not run under the new dispensation, though I did try to ensure that it would; and of course none of my current programs can read WordPerfect format except in the crudest possible sense, laden with codes and bewilderment.

So thatís what Iím working on, putting back paragraphs and quotation marks and so on, cleaning out weird characters and trying to recover text from gobbledegook.

But whatís interesting is that this WordPerfect file, when viewed in WordPerfect, was a straightforward final-draft text and nothing more. When viewed in TextMaker, a significant portion of that gobbledegook is caused by the reappearance of characters, words, whole sentences that Iíd edited out. If it werenít for the random weirdness in between, it could stand as a useful model, this is what Chaz does to his texts, between first and final drafts. So itís interesting that way - I think - but itís also interesting technically, because I didnít know computers did this. When you saved a new version, Iíd always assumed they just re-saved the whole damn thing, rather than simply marking in the changes and remembering what went before. Maybe itís just WordPerfect does it this way? Somebody must know...

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© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.