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Rob Spiegel
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Re: We've come a long way.
Rob Spiegel   8/29/2012 10:38:30 AM
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Yes, back in those early PC days, even a casual user had to learn DOS codes. I remember what a shock it was the first time I saw a PC without a 5 1/4 inch port, then seeing the first PC without a 3 1/2 inch port. 

3drob
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Re: Data Transfer
3drob   8/29/2012 9:35:11 AM
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Ahhhhh, the good old days!  Wow does this bring back memories.

When I was in high school our PC's had 8" floppies!  I remember when they came out with the 1.2MB 5 1/4" disks (a big jump over the 360KB).  So much stuff you could fit onto them.  Then the 720K 3 1/2", then the 1.44MB 3 1/2"!

I remember working hard to get my entire OS on one disk (including the memory manager) so I could boot with only one disk (no swapping).  Then pull out that disk so you could put your program disk in to run something.  If you were lucky, you had two disk drives (or even better, you set up a RAM disk so your most used DOS utilities were available all the time, without hunting for a disk).  You really had to understand the machine to be able to do that.

Now, my digital camera takes still pictures that wont even fit on the largest floppies (>10MB).  Its memory card is 32GB (> 20,000 times larger) and almost indestructable.  Amazing when you look back on it.

BrainiacV
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Disks and magnets
BrainiacV   8/29/2012 9:21:33 AM
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A friend used to work in tech support at an insurance company.  They'd send out disks to various departments and one particular department always complained the disk they received would be unreadable.

After sending several replacement disks they decided to visit the manager and see what the problem was.  My friend went to the manager's cube and asked to see the disk before they tried to use it.

The manager spun around in his chair and (you guessed it) removed the magnet holding the disk to his file cabinet and handed my friend the disk.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Re: Data Transfer
Jack Rupert, PE   8/28/2012 8:39:45 PM
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@Tim, that reminds me of my first PC I got when I started college.  Two 5-1/4" drives with no hard drive.  That was enough to use WordPerfect in one drive (it came on a total of 2) and use the other dirve for data.  I upgraded to a 30MB drive a year or two later.  It also had a monochrome monitor, but a Hercules card to due graphics.

William K.
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The data corrupting pocket caper
William K.   8/28/2012 8:10:17 PM
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I have used the 3 1/2 inch floppy disk for many years and not had one fail, except for those that either got wet or had pop spilled on them. The cheaper drives were not so reliable, though.

But do you really want to give out multi-dollar memory sticks to pass out documents of only a few dozen K? when a floppy disk, not discounted, cost maybe 5 cents? And I do know several folks who have had memory sticks just die on them, and nothing was recoverable. At least from a disk it is often possible to recover most of a damaged document. IT might not be good for code, but recovering most of a document has a lot of value.

Also, we discovered that the 3 1/2 inch floppies were not so very easy to damage with a magnet, although it certainly was possible.

Tim
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Data Transfer
Tim   8/28/2012 7:18:53 PM
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At my first job out of college, I used a CAD station that had a 50 Mb hard drive and a 3 1/2" floppy.  As there was no e-mail or network, it was hard working on a project was we had to save to floppies to transfer between engineers.  We ended up installing compatible tape backups on the computers that would allow us to effectively transfer files between computers (as long as they were not above 50 Mb).

Nancy Golden
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Re: We've come a long way.
Nancy Golden   8/28/2012 5:28:31 PM
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Kids today have no idea how dedicated you had to be in order to be a techie back in the day! 3 1/2"s were a big improvement and CDs were phenomenal...WOW! We can really store some stuff, baby!

Seems USB drives are the storage of choice now...which I must admit are much hardier - they are almost teenager proof! A friend of mine told me you can no longer buy a new car that will take a multiple CD deck even after market - USB ports are the only game in town.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: We've come a long way.
Rob Spiegel   8/28/2012 5:00:45 PM
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I remember the colors when they came out, too, Nancy. It seemed so surprising. I was never a big fan of the disk. They failed so often. I remember sending articles to magazines on those disks. Every so often the disk would arrive at the editor's desk unreadable. Quite a pain.

Nancy Golden
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Platinum
Re: We've come a long way.
Nancy Golden   8/28/2012 4:51:41 PM
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I used to work on hall effects so naturally we had tons of magnets lying around - we had to be super careful keeping them away from any media. I remember when 5 1/4" floppies came out in different colors - we thought that was SO COOL!

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: We've come a long way.
Rob Spiegel   8/28/2012 2:37:49 PM
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Yes, I remember the 5 1/4. I also remember a 7-inch disk that was used in typesetting machines. Remember typesetting machines? They were huge.

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