Monday, May 23, 2005

The Nerdiest Thing I've Ever Done

Was reading Slashdot (instead of studying Japanese, unfortunately), and ran across a comment that mentioned the C=64. It reminded me of possibly the nerdiest thing I've ever done.

When I was a kid, I had this C=64 game, and the floppy disk went bad in a sector. Because I had a cartridge that allowed me to view the raw data on the disk (as well as make changes), I managed to:
  1. Figure out the pattern of sectors (where the next block would be, usually six blocks away)
  2. Figure out which part of the block pointed to the next block (the first two bytes)
  3. Find the bad blocks (they were shifted one byte over, and the next-block information was missing)
  4. COPY (by hand, on paper) the correct data for the block
  5. TYPE (from paper, hoping I copied it down correctly) the data back in on a working block
  6. Find the next block and point to it
  7. Find the previous block and update it so that it pointed to the new working block.
Voila, the game worked again. It was literally a manual (as in by-hand) scandisk.

Upon further reflection, this may not have been the nerdiest thing I've ever done after all, but it might be the nerdiest thing I will admit to publicly.


  1. The really sad part is how many times I did it. I remember finding sheafs of paper with lines of hex when cleaning my room.

    I remember one game that used a proprietary system for storing data on the disk, so it couldn't be pirated. I couldn't fix that one.

    I remember another game that had a disk that went bad in several places at once. I accidentally saved the bad data to another bad sector, and it was ruined permanently. That was a sad, sad day, especially since I could still recover all but two bytes of that sector. To be so close to getting the game working again...alas.

    Still, good times. :-)

  2. I was recently talking about safer sex and, for some reason, put it in geek terms. So to explain using a condom to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, I said something like, "When your packet pings her port, you want the data to be blocked by a firewall."

  3. Ach, firewalls. I can't feel the data!