Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Lost STAR TREK Data Recovered from Gene Roddenberry's Old Disks

And to think, all they needed to do was speak into the mouse...

TheWrap revealed yesterday that documents written by the late Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry were recovered from two hundred 5 1/4" floppy disks that belonged to him. DriveSavers and eDiscovery announced that after months of work, they were able to pull data from the disks that Roddenberry used to store information while working on Star Trek.

According to the article, Mike Cobb, DriveSavers' director of engineering, wouldn't reveal the contents of the disks, but said in a press release there were "Lots of documents" and "2016 just happens to be the 50th anniversary of the original ‘Star Trek,’ anything could happen, the world will have to wait and see."

During the original show's run from 1966 to 1969, Roddenberry created scripts for the science fiction series on a typewriter before using a pair of custom-built computers to record story ideas, scripts and notes.  Over time, the author moved on to work with more mainstream computers, but kept the custom-built pair in his possession.

Roddenberry passed in 1991, but it wasn’t until much later that his estate discovered nearly two hundred 5 1/4" floppy disks.  One of his custom-built computers had long since been auctioned and the remaining device was no longer functional.  The custom-built computers had also used custom-built operating systems and special word processing software that prevented any modern method of reading what was on the disks.

The article claims DriveSavers engineers were given the computer and the specially formatted floppy disks, then developed a method of extracting the data.  There was no user manual for the computer, nor was there any technical documentation to help guide them.  It apparently took over three months for the DriveSavers engineering team to develop software that could read the disks.  Even though the engineers were able to crack the unusual formatting, reading the nearly two hundred disks took the better part of a year to finish.

Paramount Pictures will release Star Trek Beyondthe latest entry in the rebooted Star Trek film franchise, on July 22, 2016.  Last November, CBS announced plans to launch a new Star Trek series on CBS All Access in 2017.

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