Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The End of the Floppies

No, to those with a mind that might need a good dose of carbolic, this has nothing to do with Viagra. Let’s get that out of the way.

It seems that a major chain store has announced they will no longer sell the 3.5 inch floppy. This odd name came about after the original was 8 inches, and then scaled down to 5.25 inches. And that was a floppy. It moved/flopped. The 3.5 never ‘flopped’. But it had the then ‘massive’ capacity of 1.44 MB of data. Wow! Today I can buy a 4 GB memory stick for about $120.

The death of the floppy has been foreseen for some time. I believe that Dell stopped installing them in 2003. I know my system doesn’t have one. And I have a 150 page document I want to get at, which I created in 1995 stored on one. I took it to my friend Bob, and his PC could not read it! I guess I can kiss good-bye to that. Mind you, my son might be able to retrieve the data when I’m next in The Old World. Hint, hint, Rik. It’s the start of a mystery novel I wrote years ago based in N Wales – the story, not me. The main mystery is I can’t remember what happened.

Why am I musing about the floppy then? Well, the so-called father of the disk drive, Alan Shugart passed away last month. He was a major force in IBM’s first disk drive offering back in 1956. He went on to be involved in successful companies, including Seagate which is a $10bn corporation with 60,000 employees. It was named Company of the Year in 2006 by Forbes magazine. He is credited in many circles with creating the 3.5 inch floppy. Or at least the environment for it.

R.I.P. Alan, and thank you for your contribution to the world.

Here endeth today's lesoon.