recently, i acquired an Apple II clone, called a Laser128. it was essentially a reverse-engineered copy of the Apple IIc (or //c) – i’ll leave the history lesson and semantics to wikipedia.
in the process of reacquainting myself with the old 8-bit machine, and reliving a bit of my youth – my first computer was an Apple ][e, later enhanced – the understandable flood of memories took me only slightly by surprise.
sure, there were long hours of playing Karateka in my pajamas, writing my first BASIC programs, and getting eaten by a succession of grues.
what i wasn’t expecting was the tactile muscle memory associated with notching floppies with an x-acto knife.
you see, to use the B side of a cheap floppy disk, one employed the technique of “notching” it, or removing a small piece of the edge of the disk associated with read/write access. one notch exists on the right side for side A, and by creating a corresponding notch on the left side, a normally single-sided disk could be written on both sides.
it was in perfecting my own notching techiniqe where i first mastered the use of an x-acto knife.
while my friends were using hole-punches or mangling their disks with scissors, i raided my brother’s room and purloined an x-acto handle and chisel blade whenever i needed more floppy capacity. it was then, and not in design school or my high school art classes, that i first shed blood and little black rectangles of plastic with an x-acto knife.