Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Technology Trap

Having been forced to write using a variety of methods and implements from across a large span of technological history, thanks largely due to the prison service refusing to acknowledge the invention of the silicon chip, I find myself trapped in a techie nightmare.
My autobiography, which obviously details all the most interesting parts of my weird existence, has largely been written on my old wordprocessor - a Verboten item at Open prison. Obviously. The WP worked in its own format but could convert files to a Rich Text Format to be read by PC's and saved to a floppy disk.
Having tried, and failed, to grab some access to this machine in order to convert the files into RTF I found the best solution was to take the machine home and do the work there. So I travelled half the length of the country humping a large clear plastic bag helpfully emblazoned with the prison service logo - standard issue for those leaving prison. Luckily, as I passed through crowds of the public, my sheer lack of embarrassment came in useful for once.
At home I beavered away, converting my floppy disks into RTF, all ready to be inserted into the PC and emailed to the literary agent. And then technology stiffed me. The disk drive on the PC is inoperable.
I'd like to claim that a magnum opus is now in limbo, denied to the world and posterity.


  1. It's possible that the drive is working but the disks are in a format it can't read...

    What make/model is your word processor?

    If I know what format it is it might be possible to read the disks on the PC indirectly using Omniflop or similar.

    Also, if the drive on the PC is indeed faulty and it's got dirt on the heads that can sometimes be transferred from heads to disk and then to the next drive you put the disk in so you might want to watch for that too.

  2. note from the Editor:
    Since the above post was written, we have managed to get the disc drive working and I have converted the files into Word documents.

  3. wow Ben will you be hopefully getting your autobiography published? i hope so as I would definately be very interested in reading it x

  4. I do hope you don't mention Horfield Block of 1999!

  5. when might this eargerly awaited tome be published? has ben found a publisher? I for one would certainly buy a copy. Maybe if you have not found a print publisher you could approach Amazon kindle?

  6. The trouble is that even if Ben got it published (or published it himself) the authorities would probably go straight to the courts to seize his income from it on the grounds that he would be - in their view - "seeking to profit from his crime".

  7. It is a life story, not just about the crime. And Horfield Block? Everything will be in there, as far as I know, but names will be changed to protect people. Ed.