Had a dream that re-visited a real-life problem I’d been trying to crack for a couple decades: Converting my Apple2 software/disks to PC format.
This was always impossible in real-life because PC drives were not capable of reading Apple2-format disks. But around 2004 or so, someone finally figured it out: You need a DOS box with *two* 5.25″ floppy drives (and a harddrive). The software splits the various signals between the two floppy drives, tricking the PC drive into using [incomplete?] signals to actually be able to read an Apple2 disc.
Again, this is all a real-life issue. I’d been grabbing dead computers from parents’ and such, but none tended to have 5.25″ drives anymore–everyone switched to 3.5″ drives in the early 1990s, and it’s 20 frickin’ years later.
So anyway, in the dream, I was trying to crack this problem again. I was home at my parents’ house… It felt like a college summer-vacation or something, and perhaps it was. Perhaps the dream-within-the-dream was in the mid-1990s. I’m unsure of the barrier between the two, other than that I knew it was a dream within a dream. Our Apple2 had a modem, and I decided to call some BBSes like I used to on college summer breaks in real-life.
This is the point that I should have realized this was a dream: Had I had a modem on my Apple2, I would have been able to, in theory, use 2 disk drives, imaging the 1st disk onto the 2nd drive, then uploading the image to a PC of mine, using 2 phone lines (which we had). This is actually something I asked my dad for in real-life many many times, and he always refused, thus me still having dreams about the prospect 20 years later.
So anyway, in dreamland, I get on the Apple2 and call some BBSes and such. At some point, I wake up from the dream-within-a-dream, and am just in the dream, which is in the present (2012), and not in the mid-1990s. In the dream, I have woken up from the dream-within-the-dream, and realize I need to get cracking on making this conversion project finally happen.
So in this outer-layer dream, I realize that I need to research the software required to do that. On the software’s web-page, there are a few sample diskette images… Including one uploaded by my friend Angel, which had something to do with bypassing an interrupt on the Apple2. Despite the fact that I am using http:// to contact a webpage (still on an Apple, for some reason), a sysop breaks into sysop chat with me, just like in the BBS days. We talk about the problem, and I probably talk about the fact that I can only find one 5.25″ floppy drive, and haven’t been able to find another.
I wake up — this time, in real life. (The rest of this post is all in real life.)
I am quite agitated that this problem still has not been solved. I realize I can’t get back to sleep while thinking about this, and leave Carolyn in bed to go tinker with our old 486 DOS box that I have. It has a 5.25″ floppy drive and a 3.5″ floppy drive and a 1G harddrive. It has 8M (megs, not gigs) of RAM: 1/1000th of the ram of computers these days typically have. It has a turbo button. The harddrive has jumpers in THREE different places. I try to boot up, but it fails. We still have one “real” computer with a floppy drive: Carolyn’s 2004ish computer, which is still her primary computer. I download a bootable floppy image from http://bootdisk.com, and “burn” it to the disk. The 3.5″ drive still doesn’t boot. I go to our spare-hardware bookshelf, looking through my stack of 8 or so discarded 3.5″ floppy drives. Since computer fashion was white in the 1990s, and black in the late 2000s, I pick the only black drive, assuming that it’s newer. This one correctly boots up the floppy.
I still can’t access the harddrive. I take it out, and painstakingly write down the number of heads, cylinders, sector size, jumper configurations: Taking up a whole sheet of paper. I mess with a few configurations and can’t get the drive to be recognized. Finally, *while the computer is on*, I plug in the power to the harddrive, because I’ve passed the point of caring anymore. A big blue spark makes me jump, and shuts the power of the computer off: I overloaded the power supply, shutting everything down. This can be doom for a computer, but instead, I try booting up again, and for the first time, it works! IT’S ALIVE!
So now all I need is a 2nd 5.25″ floppy drive. So I was going to a party the day I woke up with this dream… And decided to write on the wall of the party event, “If anyone has a 5.25″ floppy drive that they could give me… It would really make my day.”
And then…. a cool dude named Tom actually brought a drive, and gave it to Paul, who gave it to me!
So I got to go home with the drive I needed THAT DAY… Because of a fucking dream!
This is like the most productive dream I’ve ever had in my life!