One job in college was a production tech at a 5.25" floppy drive manufacturer. All sorts of pots to tweak and strange problems in the read channel. At a later job I recall the Digital Equipment RK-05 disk drives. 2.5MB fixed and 2.5MB removable pack in a 19" rack. The drive weighed about 150 pounds and the removable pack was a round plastic housing the size of a large pizza which protected the platter inside. (Kids, google "DEC RK05")
Bloating file sizes and media capacity seem chicken-and-egg...I wonder which drives which?
Well, since you mentioned it, I still have a large working library of VHS tapes and a fully operable VHS (Toshiba) deck, another one on standby. I have programs and movies which were never released on DVD and while there is some difference in picture quality, a high quality VHS tape still produces a very good picture on a big screen set.
Oh, I also have a large library of audio cassettes and reel to reel tapes with excellent tape decks, all working very nicely, I prefer the reels and I also have two turntables, one DUAL primarily for playing 78s but also covers 45s and 33 1/3 platters too, I have a large library of records, over 2,000 LPs and hundreds of 78s. As long as we're talking media, I also have a player piano and hundreds of rolls, some over 80 years old.
It still remains to be seen whether or not the latest media formats will have the lasting power of the old, supposedly obsolete, formats. New doesn't guarantee better.
What hands me a real laugh is that they touted the CD-ROM, and later, the DVD, as the perfect solutions for large data storage, most notably the collection of digital photographs that people amassed as a result of the mass exodus from film photography. Then, some few years later, it was also reported that the "life expectancy" for the integrity of the data contained on these media formats was very limited, in some published reports, as little as FIVE years!!! I have data on 360K diskettes that is approaching THIRTY years old, and is STILL VERY READABLE. The interesting thing is that these diskettes are not being stored in a climate-controlled container. They are in a typical diskette storage bin that was popular in that era.
Regarding WINDOWS opsys. I had an H-P laptop, bought it brand-spanking new from MICRO CENTER to use as a platform for storing & editing my extensice collection of photographs. It came w/ WINDOWS 7. After suffering through it's "weirdness" for over a year, I removed all my personal files and sold it. I then transferred all the programs (PHOTOSHOP, etal) to my ACER laptop w/ WINDOWS XP PRO, and am very pleased with the results. Finally, to avoid the life expectancy situation w/ the media, I use several external WESTERN DIGITAL hard disks (USB ported) to save the image files. I have two for the original image files, and two for the edited image files. These are all either 500Gbytes or larger, and since they're so inexpensive, it makes the most sense to me.
I'm with you OLD_CURMUDGEON, I still have a funcioning 5 1/2" and 3 1/2" dual and single drives, they work quite well and I've had very little trouble with them over the years. While I can see the logic of using a CD or DVD for large file storage and sometimes a flash drive, I still find it much more convenient to use floppies and I've made sure my kid's computers also have floppy drives. I also still prefer XP and see no valid reason to 'upgrade' to OS which have not proved to be stable, WIN 7 maybe, Vista was an unqualified failure!
I've been rather annoyed with our school district dropping floppy drives, the kids seem to lose or damage those little flash drives way too often to suit me.
I do use CD and DVD disks for very large data archive storage, which sometimes doesn't work all that well, they don't always want to read out or record right. I've had difficulty with DVD disks from other computers (not movies, data disks) not reading and it has often been a hassel getting the data on CDs.
Solid state drives are still way too expensive and so far, haven't proven their long term reliability as yet....I wouldn't send them on a NASA mission quite yet.
The latest, greatest isn't always the best thing to use, these days many of these hot new items really need to prove themselves and some of them aren't doing so good.
I also remember the 8" 'floppy' disks and the huge IBM mainframe disk drives (might as well mention those giant tape drives too). I think we are often too much in a hurry to discard old technology for new and that has caused many problems, NASA comes to mind for one example, they have a great many data tapes with valuable data on them and they don't have any way of reading them, they threw out all of the compatible drives years ago but didn't transfer the data to the new medium...oops!
When we moved several years ago, I found boxes of Hollerith cards w/ programs & data decks for two machines, one in AUTOCODER for a 1401 & the other in FORTRAN IV for an 1130! Didn't keep them! I'm sure those missile systems of the Age of Enlightenment aren't in operation anymore! Also had a large carton of I-B-M 8" 2S/2D (1.1 MB) diskettes in the blue boxes. Used on Sys 3X, etc., and some "H" format diskettes for the 5110, 5120, etc.
p.s. The DELL Tower w/ WINDOWS XP (PRO) that I mentioned previously has a 3 1/2" floppy besides the CD-ROM drive & the DVD Reader/Writer. Does anyone realize how GREAT it is to type a letter in WORD, AND save it to a floppy drive? Buttering bread is much more difficult!!! LONG LIVE floppy diskettes!!!
@3drob, I used to have a display of "old media" hanging on my cube wall at a previous employer. It started with the insides of a failed 5-1/4". Other made "donations" as they cleaned out their drawers to include a punch card. some punched tape, a magnetic cassette, and an EPROM (one with the window for erasing it with UV).
LAFF NOT, youngsters! I STILL have my original I-B-M PC that I bought brand-spanking new in October, 1981, AND it still works!!! I also have the original I-B-M green monitor & the keyboard. The keyboard must have been hewn from a solid block of aluminium since it weighs a ton! The PC (model 5150) has two 5 1/4" floppy drives, but it also has a 10 MEGAbyte PLUS Hardcard in one of the 5 available expansion slots. And, it's got a multifunction accessory board, which provided the 640K extra memory, Day & Date clock, and an extra set of RS-232 ports. I keep it now strictly for nostalgia, however in decades past it provided many hours of productive use, and served as the "front end" for small, table-top variant of the SYSTEM 36 mini-computer. What was really convenient was that with a hot-key sequence, one could instantaneously switch from PC-DOS based applications to the SYSTEM 36 mode, but one could not share data easily, since the SYS 36 applications were in EBCDIC, whereas the PC apps were coded in ASCII. The "baby-36", as it was called also had its own internal hard drive, which stored the operating system (SSP), and all the programs & data. One could write applications in ASSEMBLER, BASIC, COBOL & RPG II. The compilers were all available for this model. The case was about the same size as the I-B-M 286 PC, and included a 5 1/4" (1.2MB) Floppy drive, but it formatted differently than the native PC formatting.
Today, I still use a DELL 486/33 (desktop PC for one task, MANAGING YOUR MONEY by ANDREW TOBIAS. It has ALL the financial wizardry that most people could ever need. It runs on MS-DOS 5.0, and there is NO connection to the internet, so I do not have to concern myself with phishing, viruses, malware, etc. And, since I have a large store of 5 1/4" (360K & 1.2MB) diskettes, and an equal large store of 1.4 MB 3 1/2" diskettes, I'm pretty much set for life!
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, the SIMPLE LIFE!!!!!!!
p.s. Of course, I also have my current DELL Tower & my ACER laptop, but they're running WINDOWS XP, SP3, the LAST stable, convenient & intelligent opsys from MICROSOFT.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
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