Well, I missed the moment.

11:11 on 1-11-11 passed about seven minutes ago.

Numeracy Moments

The time I missed

[Original clock by user fzap on openclipart.org]

It would have been a minor celebration moment for me, anyway. I’m not much hooked to numerology. I’m more satisfied with my basic numeracy skills.

I’ve missed several such moments over the years. I remember noticing my odometer when it read 66668. For what it is worth, I also missed 99999, too. The car did last me well into the 150,000 mile range and 14 good years before I drove it to the car dump. As a measure of its gratitude for finally being retired, the car waited till I got there. The moment I was done with it, though, I opened the driver’s door to get out of it for the last time, and as I stepped out, the hinge let go and I couldn’t close it. Fortunately the people at the dump didn’t mind. They still took it.

What does this foolishness have to do with open source? Maybe not much, but it does bring to mind the rise and fall of projects. Specifically, this month marks the end of life for a collaboration project called Dimdim which was purchased by a company called Salesforce.com and if you were a user, you are stuck now. Salesforce.com dropped the product and its developers hadn’t released updates to the open source version of Dimdim since 2008.

Projects come and go, of course, but what does a person do when trying to deal with archival files? I’m in the midst of a project to publish the MassCUE minutes from my days as the organization’s secretary. I’m going to be putting them into two formats. ODF and HTML. Some of the files are currently in Mac formats from the days of Clarisworks/Appleworks. Some are in ASCII text format, some are Microsoft doc files. I’m working on an Intel powered PC with Kubuntu GNU/Linux operating system. The Mac files open in OpenOffice, but they are full of stray characters which were important to the format used on the Mac. OpenOffice doesn’t have an import filter which can handle the automatic removal of those bothersome character groups like ##3BF; (no I don’t know what they represent). I am manually deleting and processing the files.

Anybody out there have a tool to recommend? It needs to run on GNU/Linux and be FOSS, of course.

What is your choice of format for the best way to store archives of files that are mainly text? Am I on the right track making HTML versions? Will that stand the test of time? How about ODF. Should I stick with ASCII?

Thanks to user fzap on openclipart.org for the original clock graphic in SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format. It was easy to take the original time and modify it using Inkscape so it illustrated this post. The graphic serves as a great example of the value of both open documents and the available open tools to modify the documents to our needs. Even more coincidental, the original use of the clock illustration was for a Mac!