Reading through all the things you had to do in that era brings back memories. The third party memory manager, the floppy disks to transfer data. The problem with the magnetized screwdriver... Much has changed, and improved, since those days. Fortunately, the storage devices we now have are much more resilient.
The other big change is that back then the Maintenance Station was considered a tool for the Maintenance Department, just like their meters and scopes. Same thing for the "lunchbox" computers (i.e., the precursor to the laptops and tablets) that were used for system support. Today's systems for those functions require multiple layers of signoff by IT.
Talking about the era of disks, I recently noticed that the icon for saving Word files (in the upper left-hand corner) is a floppy disk. Funny that's still the image that Word uses all these years after the disk era.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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