Q: I’m a doctor who was a medical missionary in Madagascar for 40 years, and the time has come for me to write my memoirs. But to do that I need access to my old e-mails and correspondence that were written on an early Apple IIc computer that used 7-inch floppy disks. I’ve been trying to find a company that can read these old 7-inch disks and convert their data into something a modern computer can read. What can I do?

Stanley Quanbeck, Lakeville, Minn.


A: Floppy disks are so old that we forget their quirks.

What you have isn’t a 7-inch floppy disk (there never was one that size), but a 5.25-inch disk inside a square protective holder that measures 7 inches diagonally. That’s how to measure and express the size of a TV screen. But with floppies you need to measure the diameter of the disk, which is done by measuring the square disk holder vertically or horizontally.

Because your 5.25-inch floppy disks were the standard size used by personal computers from the late 1970s until the late 1980s, there are still firms that will convert their contents into modern data files. I suggest you try RetroFloppy (tinyurl.com/jjnh733) or Denver Data Recovery (tinyurl.com/jzvnd9a) because they still work with the earliest types of Apple floppy disks. Be sure to specify that your floppies are formatted to be read by an Apple IIc. The firms will return the files to you on a flash drive or a CD or DVD disk, formatted for modern PCs or Macs.


Q: I e-mail a small newsletter to a group of 106 subscribers using the Outlook.com Web e-mail service. But suddenly I can’t send out the newsletter, and I’m wondering if it’s because Microsoft has changed Outlook.com’s functionality. I don’t believe the 2-megabyte size of the newsletter is an issue, because I can send it to individuals without any problem. What can I do?

Jim DeBenedet, Roseville


A: The problem isn’t the size of the e-mails but the quantity of them. You’re exceeding Outlook.com’s limit on the number of identical e-mails that can be sent at one time.

Why is there a limit? Outlook.com, like virtually all e-mail providers, wants to rid itself of users who send out huge quantities of spam, the junk e-mail that angers consumers and wastes the resources of e-mail providers.

As a result, Outlook.com restricts bulk e-mailing — sending the same message to many e-mail addresses simultaneously — to 100 recipients at a time, a limit you’ve just barely exceeded at 106.

While this limit has existed for years, you’re probably encountering it now because your newsletter subscriber list has grown large enough. Outlook.com also limits the total number of e-mails that can be sent in one day to 300, but you haven’t crossed that line yet.

The easy way to avoid the bulk e-mail limitation is to split your subscriber list in two and send the newsletter to each half of the list separately. Alternatively, if you give Outlook.com your cellphone number (sign in at tinyurl.com/hcwqb2n to do so) you’ll be sent a code each time you exceed the e-mail service’s limits. You enter the code on a special website to “prove” that you’re not a spammer. Each time you do this, you get an exemption from the e-mail limit.


E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Include name, city and telephone number.