I've just completed a project where I had to type 6200 random digits and numbers, then check them a further three times, manually, without the aid of OCR software. This is a part of my file retrieval project, where I'm going over all of my old stuff - mostly Commodore Amiga disks and projects - covering the period 1990 to 1996. Due to 'bit rot', most of my Amiga disks have errors and if I haven't transferred the contents to a hard drive or CDR, it's lost. When I found a printout from a file that I'd printed as uuencoded text, I figured it would be easy enough to scan it, put it through OCR software and decode it, to retrieve the original file. Unfortunately, no OCR software has yet been written - or if it was, I can't afford it - that can make sense of blurred and faded condensed dot matrix print; hence, I had no choice but to resort to typing it all in. This took me about a day-and-a-half to complete, and it involved lots of typing, dictation, cursing, checking, typing, and checking again. Naturally, the reconstructed text had errors - '0' where 'O' should be, mainly (I wish I'd used a font with a dot in the '0'!). I was encouraged when I was able to partially-decode the file, but it still had errors. Uuencoding does not have a checksum or CRC, so errors go undetected: unless the line length disagrees with the length character, there's no way to spot an error. After reading/checking a further 12000 characters/200 lines of text, I'd completed it. The result was this:
('Orbital' is coloured black - black on a black background..). This is not so impressive, is it? I feel more proud of it because I know that I typed it all in - and at one point, I also spoke every character, so I could check the typed text without having to refer to the printout (eyestrain = headache). Here's what a bit of the original printout looked like:
Here is an excerpt of me reading out some of the data. Warning: it is really, really boring - imagine listening to the whole thing, slowed-down (speed, but not pitch, thankfully!), and you have some idea how tedious this was to do! I recorded this with Audacity and I enabled the voice-activation feature, allowing me to wander off from the microphone occasionally, to have a mug of tea or some water. speech_clip_2.mp3
On the printout, I explained that one of the fish was called 'Orbital' because I was listening to music from this group when I was designing the aquarium. I did not explain why the other fish - also an angel fish - is called 'Susan'. [Later: the example fish have preset names, and 'Susan' is one of them.]
I am not sure of the name of the original application, but I think that it was '3D Aquarium Simulator', by Gieseppe Chiesa. You can find this on Aminet. You'll need MUI ('Magic User Interface'), which is available on Aminet (util/libs dir), and also from the sasg.com MUI page. Currently (05:02 on 10-Feb-11), I have not been able to run the program again - it crashes with a yellow 'Recoverable Alert' that repeats, over and over, until you reset the machine.
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