what you are about to read actually happened. only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. however, since there wasn't anyone who was innocent, no names have actually been changed.
i got a phone call from my friend stephen the other day. one of his roommates, a writer, had lost access to their manuscript. it had been saved on some floppy disks (yes, that's a silly thing to do, but she's a writer not a technician) in several files and now every time she tried to access it on her windows machine it just said that the floppy needed to be formatted. she had tried other computers and got the same message on all of them. apparently she was a little freaked out. steve asked if i might be able to help since "linux can do anything, right?" i said "no promises, but sure, send her over and we'll see what we can do."
she arrived at 09:30, flustered with floppies in hand. since my laptop doesn't have a floppy, i fired up the desktop machine that runs suse 10.1. she asked how long it would take and i told her i didn't know. best case scenario: the system would simply be able to access the floppy properly. less good scenario: we could do a direct disk copy via dd and do some manually poking about in the resulting blob of data to see if we could find her manuscript, or at least parts of it. she looked pensive.
i slotted the disk, opened up konqi and navigated to the floppy drive. there were all her files. i copied them to the hard disk and opened one of them up to see if they were intact. they were. she cheered and became chatty (apparently her happy state). she burbled about linux being cool and how her windows machines sucked and how cute my cats were and oh, was that a picture of my son?
the floppy disk did have actual problems: a few files wouldn't copy over. but they were just temporary files that word makes so no data was lost. apparently this corruption is what was keeping her microsoft windows machines from being able to read her microsoft word files. irony. thankfully we have linux. i don't think it was lost on her that if she'd had kde on linux, she'd have been able to do the same thing i did. point, click, voila.
our 5 minute recovery session complete, i zip'd them up via the right click menu, sent them to my laptop via fish:// (that impressed her =), and then emailed them to her gmail account. she left with a smile on her face (and an admonition not to use floppies for something so important) saying she was going to celebrate the afternoon with a little recreational drug use and some hard core manuscript editing. ah, those crazy writers.