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- Finally, Death of the 3.5 inch floppy disk
Re: Finally, Death of the 3.5 inch floppy disk
Like this one:
I believe it is fairly young for a shop machine, mid 90's. There's stuff
out there that dates back to the days of 8" floppies.
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Finally, Death of the 3.5 inch floppy disk
The mystery of the mega-selling floppy disk
By Jason Palmer
Sony has said it will stop making floppy disks, after nearly three
decades of manufacture. Yet millions of them are still being bought
every year. But who is actually buying them?
Stack of floppy disks (Eyewire)
That's about one snap on a brand new digital camera
The floppy disk is the very symbol of storage; when you want to save a
file, you go looking for that little icon that looks like a floppy.
Every year another computer manufacturer stops putting floppy drives
in its machines, or a retailer stops selling the disks. Each time the
cry goes up that the death knell has been sounded for the floppy disk.
However, Verbatim, a UK manufacturer which makes more than a quarter
of the floppies sold in the UK, says it sells hundreds of thousands of
them a month. It sells millions more in Europe.
"We've been discussing the death of the floppy for 14 years, ever
since CD technology first started coming on strong," says Verbatim
spokesman Kevin Jefcoate.
Yet what was Sony's best-selling peripheral for its computers in
recent years? The 3.5-inch floppy disk drive that connects via a USB
Somewhere out there, the floppy disk is alive and well. But where?
The truth is the 3BD%-inch, 1.44 megabyte floppy - the disk that made it
big - has always defied logic. It's not floppy for a start. The term
was a hangover from its precursor, the 5BC%-inch floppy, which had a
definite lack of rigidness about it. However, its smaller successor
held 15 times as much data.
But then along came the CD-ROM, and then the USB flash drive shamed
them both; the most voluminous USB stick - which could pass for a
keyring - can now hold nearly 90,000 floppies' worth of data.
"Old habits die hard, I guess... If you you don't do much in the way
of photography or music, then why would you change?
John Delaney, research director for IT analysts IDC
Sony signals end for floppy disks
One might be tempted to think that, like the vinyl enthusiasts who
insist music sounds "warmer" on a record, the floppy has its own fan
club. But unlike the case of vinyl, a digital format of a floppy is no
different than that found on your hard drive or USB stick.
Given their limited size and speed of data transfer, along with their
increasing obsolescence, it's harder to find a floppy fan club than it
is to find a laptop with a floppy drive built in.
But what about all the second-hand computers that are donated to the
developing world? Could they be even partly responsible for the
thousands of disks still sold?
Anja Ffrench of Computer Aid International - the largest charity
working to distribute recycled IT to Africa and South America - says
that they only deal in computers from 2002 and later, meaning that
they'll have the USB connection that obviates the need for floppies.
There are a few instances for which floppies remain the norm, like the
specialist, high-value technology that may rely on floppy drives for
The vast desks that control the light shows and sounds settings in
theatres or music venues have until recently come with floppy drives
as standard; the English National Opera is just one example of an
organisation that uses them.
Mixing desk, Top of the Pops
One place you might find at least a few floppy disks
A volunteer at the National Museum of Computing says that many
scientific instruments - so-called dataloggers, oscilloscopes and the
like - record their data onto floppies.
This kind of expensive equipment is made to last, to be bought
infrequently - and these gadgets may call for at least a few floppies
in their lifetimes.
But these relatively niche uses couldn't possibly account for the
number of floppies - something like a million a month - that are being
consumed in the UK alone.
The answer may simply be that there are a great many old computers
that read only floppies, and a great many computer users that have no
need for the storage media that have supplanted them in other
Rather than there being one industry propped up on the values of a
floppy, or a horde of enthusiasts buying up the world's supply, they
may simply be as much as many computer users need.
"Old habits die hard, I guess," said John Delaney, research director
for IT analysts IDC.
"If you've been using PCs for a long time and you don't do much in the
way of photography or music with them, then why would you change?
"There are people who ride technology for as long as it can be ridden
without falling over."
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