In August 2012, I replaced my desktop PC's motherboard. For the first time, not only didn't I have a floppy drive, I didn't even have a floppy controller — or an ISA slot that I could plug one into.
As a result, over winter 2012, I decided that I really ought to get around to reading in all of the floppy disks and other magnetic media I had sitting around. Everything digital that I've done in the last fifteen years or so is easily available to me — and automatically backed up — on hard disk, but there were various things from the 80s and 90s that I knew I had on floppy — the first email I sent and received, some music I'd recorded, various bits of software I'd written. I wanted to rescue these while I still had the ability to read them.
In addition, I wanted to make sure I'd captured not just the data but also the systems software and configuration from my old machines. I can easily enough fire up an emulated Amiga or BBC Micro these days — but when I moved from my A1200 to a Linux PC, I didn't have enough hard disk space to copy everything over, so I only saved my data. Now I've got enough disk space to transfer everything.
But, anyway, I like playing with old computers, so it's not like I really needed much of an excuse.
Some of the kit I've got came from friends and colleagues who gave me their obsolete computers and software. I'll keep them anonymous here — but I'd like to express my thanks to them for their (unplanned) assistance with this project; as you'll see, there are some media that I wouldn't have been able to read if I'd not had the right hardware to hand...