[reading: Amit Singh, "Mac OS X Internals"]
So I finally gave in and scratched my itch about the 5¼" floppy, by sending it away to a data recovery place. It was a little bit expensive (although still considerably cheaper than calling out a plumber) and time-consuming (two weeks, five phone calls and an email later), but worth it just for the satisfaction of never having to think about it ever again.
Amazingly, my very first TeX files (from 1989) still produce exactly the same page layouts in the TeX system on my 2005 laptop.
Learning TeX was actually driven by embarrassment. When I originally wrote the essay, it was in WordStar. Dealing with accented characters was a bit annoying in WordStar, so I decided to deal with it in batch mode. While I was writing the essay, I used 'Godel' instead of 'Gödel' all the way through. Then, just before submitting it, I ran a search-and-replace to change all instances of 'Godel' to 'Godël'.
So when someone eventually pointed it out to me, I persuaded the college to let me have the submitted hardcopy of the essay back with the excuse that I was going to replace it with a better-typeset versionand hence my introduction to TeX.
[A:37385 B:3278 C:346 D:9187 E:13011 Total:63207]