PC World says farewell to floppy

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by syscom3, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    BBC NEWS | Technology | PC World says farewell to floppy

    The time has come to bid farewell to one of the PC's more stalwart friends - the floppy disk.

    Computing superstore PC World said it will no longer sell the storage devices, affectionately known as floppies, once existing stock runs out.

    New storage systems, coupled with a need to store more than the 1.44 megabytes of data held by a standard floppy, have led to its demise.

    Only a tiny percentage of PCs currently sold still have floppy disk drives.

    "The floppy disk looks increasingly quaint and simply isn't able to compete," said Bryan Magrath, commercial director of PC World.

    Iconic status

    It is not the first time the death-knell for the floppy has been sounded. The first nail in the coffin came in 1998, when the iMac was revealed without a floppy disk drive.

    Then in 2003, Dell banished disk drives from its higher spec machines.


    FLOPPY FACTS
    The original floppy disk held 100KB of data
    The standard disk held 1.44 megabytes of data - equivalent to a three-minute song
    In South Africa, floppy disks are commonly known as stiffies
    Best-selling 12 inch Blue Monday was sold in a sleeve designed to look like a floppy disk


    In 1998, an estimated 2 billion floppy disks were sold, according to the Recording Media Industries Association of Japan.

    Since then global demand has fallen by around two-thirds to an estimated 700 million by 2006.

    Only 2% of PCs and laptops currently sold by PC World still have built-in floppy disk drives and by the summer it will phase even these out.

    It is with mixed feelings that the computer store has decided call time on the floppy.

    "The sound of a computer's floppy disk drive will be as closely associated with 20th Century computing as the sound of a computer dialling into the internet," said Mr Magrath.

    But with computer users increasingly using the internet or USB memory sticks - some of which store 2,000 times the capacity of the floppy disk - to transfer data, it is becoming redundant.

    It is a far cry from its halcyon days in the 1980s and 1990s, when floppies provided essential back-up as well as playing a crucial role in transferring data and distributing software.

    Shrinking disk

    The first floppy disk was introduced in 1971 by IBM and heralded as a revolutionary device.


    There will be shops where they can get the data transferred but it they still have the original data they would be advised to invest in a portable hard drive or put it online
    Bryan Glick, editor of Computing.co.uk

    The brainchild of a group of Californian engineers led by Alan Shugart, it replaced old-fashioned punch-cards.

    An eight-inch plastic disk coated with magnetic iron oxide, the nickname "floppy" came from its flexibility.

    In 1976 the disk shrank to five-and-a-quarter inches - developed again by Alan Shugart, this time for Wang Laboratories.

    By 1981, Sony shrank it some more - this time to three-and-a-half inches - the standard used to this day.

    By the early 1990s, the growing complexity of software meant that many programs were distributed on sets of floppies. But the end of the decade saw software distribution swap to CD-ROM.

    Vista icon

    Alternative backup formats, new storage such as the CD-RW and the arrival of mass internet access, consigned the floppy disk to the dusty corner of peoples' desks and, eventually, the bin.

    For those in the industry, there is little to mourn in the loss of floppy disks.

    "You can get so much more information on other forms of storage. Technology moves on," said Bryan Glick, editor of Computing.co.uk.

    But, he said, its demise, could prove problematic for those who have stored precious data on disk.

    "There will be shops where they can get the data transferred but it they still have the original data they would be advised to invest in a portable hard drive or put it online," he said.

    Interestingly, software giant Microsoft seems to be keeping the flame alight for the floppy.

    Its newly-released operating system Vista still pays homage to it by continuing to use a floppy disk as the icon for saving a document in Microsoft Word 2007.
     
  2. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    And I own a computer that has two floppy drives. :lol:
     
  3. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Me too, Matt. I still have an old Zenith laptop with 2 720k floppy drives! I actually had to use a floppy disk the other day at work. In a world where everything has gotten leaps and bounds faster, that floppy was Jurassic slow!
     
  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Yeah they are slow. I still have a floppy drive in my computer and used it whilst installing XP, haven't used it since though, all DVD/R or CD/R now..
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    We still used them regularly in the Army. Just recently before I got out did they start switching to USB drives.
     
  6. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    My youngest son uses the dual floppy, CD-ROM, Win98 machine. My oldest uses CD-R/W, DVD WinXP.

    My wife and I were discussing the computer I had in college. I payed a HANDSOME price of more than $2800 for a 386 25MHz processor, 1MB RAM, 25MB HD and a single floppy. And that machine was a screamer. :lol:

    Used to use 8086 based RadioShack Trash 80s in the lab. I am dating myself.
     
  7. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    i still have a floppy... drive, but wont miss them other than from a nostalga point of view, i still remember them as being amazing when we first got a computer! USB drives are so much better though......
     
  8. k9kiwi

    k9kiwi Member

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    Best use for them and old CD's I ever found.

    When you lay new grass seed.

    use stakes at either end, break out the disk inside the floppy and mix one cd and floppy disk every 6 feet tied hanging off fishing line.

    Suspend that about 1 to 2 feet above the grass seed tied to the stakes.

    Never saw a bird even bother to land with all the movement in the wind and reflecting light from two different coloured surfaces in 4 weeks until the grass took hold.

    Best use I ever found for the bloody things. 8)
     
  9. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Ah the ol Trash 80's. I remember them well. I took a computer math class in 1982 and that's what we used for programming.
     
  10. Clave

    Clave Well-Known Member

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    I run a G5 with an external floppy drive, but it's rarely plugged in...
     
  11. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    What a great idea!!!!!!!!!

    :lol:
     
  12. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    For some reason, the birds don't eat the grass seed here in the northwest. Must be too much other food.
     
  13. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    we've been using the free internet trial CDs you find in shops to scare birds for a while and they're very effective..........
     
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