When you think tech magazines, you think Wired. Whenever I had spare money as a kid, I’d catch the train in to the city, pop in to McGills in Melbourne’s CBD and buy a copy of Wired direct from the USA that I’d pour over until the next month. When I was an adult with spare money, I subscribed to it between 2007 and 2011. The early issues were almost 400 pages each! I guess we had a lot of nerdy internet culture related stuff to talk about, but nowhere else to put it.
A few months ago, a subscriber to The Sizzle that runs a computer shop in Papua New Guinea selling refurbished laptops to local businesses, asked me for help sourcing laptops because their usual supply chain dried up due to COVID-19. I love bargain hunting so said I can grab some laptops locally off Gumtree and Facebook and send them to PNG. I’ll clean them up, install Windows 10 Pro and add a few bucks margin on each one. The first shipment sold quickly so my new PNG based friend asked for more.
When it came time to install Windows 10 on this latest batch, I thought it would be a good opportunity to move on from using USB flash drives containing Windows 10 made with the Media Creation Tool like a bloody caveman and get all fancy and shit with a PXE server that kicks off a complete unattended install. It’s what the cool kids do and I want to be cool. Here’s what I want to achieve:
- Install Windows 10 Professional
- UEFI & SecureBoot enabled
- Unattended install
- Keep the Out Of Box Experience
Facebook Marketplace is the biggest reason I stil persist with Mark Zuckerberg’s panopticon. There’s sometimes some great bargains to be found and being able to communicate with sellers in real time via Messenger is excellent compared to email. It’s how I found my beloved Canon DR-6050C!
Whilst browsing Marketplace over the weekend for cheap shit I don’t really need but gives me a dopamine hit, I saw two brand new, unopened Brother ADS-2200 document scanners for $500. They sell for $398 each at Officeworks and I haggled the seller down to $300 for both. An absolute stone cold bargain. Unfortunately, after a few hours using one of them, I understand why the seller was so keen to get rid of them – Brother’s drivers are fucking rotten.
I scan magazines because I’m a prole that reads pulpy trash instead of proper literature, but @voltagex wanted a digital copy of some old PC books, so bought used copies of them from the USA and had them shipped directly to me to scan.
What arrived in my mailbox a few weeks later were well used copies of:
After exploring the options available for an offsite backup of my growing collection of scans (I have some good shit lined up once this goddamn coronavirus fucks off), I indulged myself and got a tape drive and some tapes off eBay. This post will explain to you all the ways in which they suck and confirms why everyone I mentioned my tape drive to was correct in telling me I was wasting my time with it.
Scanning all these magazines means I also have to back them up. If the whole point is to preserve them, it’s kinda dumb just to palm the files off to the Internet Archive, delete my copies and hope for the best.
Whilst the Internet Archive is great and all, there’s a non-zero chance that one day they’ll have funding cut or donations dry up and they’ll need to rationalise their storage. That could mean nothing but PDFs stick around, certain types of content disappear or some other situation where the high quality, large file size originals are lost.
I thought I’d take a good look at my off-site backup options based around storing 5TB for 10 years. I don’t know exactly how much data I’ll be hoarding over that time-span, but 5TB for a decade feels like a good starting point for comparison purposes.
Everyone goes through stages in their life where they identify with a certain community or culture. For some people it’s a genre of music, cars, a sport or similar. For me it’s Apple between 2003 and 2013, which is why I’m grateful to @georgeharito for donating his personal collection of Australian Macworld magazines from 2004 to 2010 for me to scan.
The short version of this post is simply:
- Cut the spine off the magazine
- Scan it in at 600DPI as an uncompressed TIFF
- Convert those TIFFs into a bunch of JPGs inside a PDF
- Put all the TIFFs into a ZIP file
- Upload the PDF and ZIP file to the Internet Archive
- Backup the original scans
But that’s no use to you if you’ve never scanned in a magazine or book before and want to get started, is it? Let me break down each step and explain the methods that have worked for me.
The first batch of magazines I completed scanning is an almost complete set of Electronics Australia (also called Radio, Television and Hobbies prior to March 1965) spanning over a decade from 1962 to 1973.