Fnar Fnar Fnar!!
Howls of protest sound across the globe as I write this. I’ve been hired to help with the managed migration of incomprehensible volumes of data from one multi-intercontinental, instant-access media library system to another. The protest isn’t a response to my hiring, understandable though that would be. No, my role is …
Fnar Fnar Fnar!!
My wife (who was bought up in Seth Efrica) once told me that over there such a device is known as a "Stiffy".
10 years later I still haven't stopped laughing.
I had one of those.
As an ex-Sarfefrican, let me explain the lingo to you...
8 or 5.25 inch "floppies", normally dark grey were called floppy because you could bend them.
The 3.5 inchers (1.44Mbytes) were called stiffies because you could not bend them (well, without breaking them).
Being able to draw on a multi-lingual society we had sufficient other terms for a hard-on to be able to waste a few on storage media.
A friend of mine still regales people with the story of how he brought a presentation to confused halt when the South African lady next to him, with whom he was only moderately acquainted, leaned over and asked if he had a spare stiffy she could borrow ...
16-page document I was working on last night won’t fit onto a floppy...
People still don't believe me when I tell them that my 200ish page PhD thesis (from just under 20 years ago) fitted on two floppy discs (one for the doc and the other for graphics files). Written in LaTeX, with PS graphics from Coreldraw, so the main body of the file was basically a glorified text file which zip'd down nicely.
It was always amusing when people who were using WordPerfect and the early MS efforts (the ones that would evolve into Word) used to praise them initially, before wondering both why they were running out of server/hard disc space (remembering that HD's back then were struggling to get above the single-digit Gigabyte level, at least at Uni) and how they could recover their work when the file got corrupted, of course just after they'd done a lot of work but just before they'd backed it up (some things never change).
Bah, I'm showing my age now I guess (having more storage space on my keyring today than the entire department would have had back then), but then I've also got the obligatory zip disc drive beside my desktop machine at home (not that it's been used in many a year and is quite a good dust magnet).
Somewhere I've got a 23 year old box of 10 floppy discs that contains everything I ever did over 4 years for my PhD - source code (possibly a backup of the compiler too), results, drawings and pictures (AutoSketch and ZSoft PC PaintBrush) and thesis (WordPerfect 5) - and never opened since I finished the PhD!
In 1/100th a second, my camera can fill the same amount of storage space with a single image!
Still got some 5.25" floppies around somewhere along with some PetSoft Commodore PET programs on CASSETTE - Lunar Lander, Star Trek 3D amongst others! Not got any punched cards, though...
Showing your age????
My first Hdd was 10 meg! (and made more noise than an industrial hoover)
And that would have been in my 4th or 5th computer - all floppies and cassette tapes before that
I recently came across a box of 10 floppies that contained:
- a TP install disk
- one with some TP libraries and tools
- 6 subsequent versions of a multiuser, networked CD library program I wrote, each version its own disk, full source code and all
- two disks with the entire library database, zipped. 40..50k records at that time.
Provided they're readable, I can get the lot running again, including writing and compiling new code.
Still got an 8" floppy lying around somewhere; one from Digital with CP/M 2.0 on it. 128kB capacity, WOW!
And yes, I still have an Iomega Zip drive somewhere.
Yes, my first couple of PCs at work were dual-floppy (5.25in) IBM clones, followed by a Qubie with an almighty 20MB hard drive... and 5.25in floppy drive. The hard disk kept squeaking.
I said I was showing my age, not that I was that old ;) Although to be fair, the PC the thesis was actually written on was a 386 with (I think) a 200MB or so HD. And when it was doing some of the Coreldraw stuff it had to be assisted by a little beaker of liquid Nitrogen stood beside the air intake or it had a tendency to overheating and going ga-ga (said PhD was of the Physics persuasion).
But I'm certainly of the generation when cassettes (and the ZX81, Spectrum or the C64, depending on your personal persuasion) ruled, at least at home.
So we have to ask, do I have to take the blame for stirring up all this nostalgia, or can I pass that up to Dabbsy? Always a fun way to spend your Friday afternoon until beer o'clock, certainly beats doing any work anyway...
Dear lord you are all old!
I still have some 256 byte magnetic cards here. (and we used to have get up in the morning, half an hour before we went to bed and had to lick 't road clean wi' tongue)
Mine's the one resting on the zimmer, ta.
LOL. I was waiting for that to come up. They don't know they're born.
I still have some 256 byte magnetic cards here
:). That certainly trumps my oldest storage medium I still have around: Psion Organiser II data packs. Yes, the EPROM variety (I may have seen a RAMpack in the depths of that particular heap as well, but unlike the EPROM, the RAMpack would surely be dead as its battery would have died by now.
Not that it's of any use, I only have one Organiser left and I have no idea where it is, the rest has gone to the one museum left unmentioned: the Museum of Computing in Swindon..
Bloody hell, my first HDD was 1MB, divided into an infinite number of 128k partitions. At least I can truthfully state that I never owned a zip disk - they went the way of the dodo, before I could get around to buying one...
>> the one museum left unmentioned: the Museum of Computing in Swindon.
Yes but London and Bradford are places that people go *to*.
TINY FLOPPY PREVENTS SELFIE?
4 MEG IN TOTAL!
Another user rings.
"I need more space" he says
"Well, why don't you move to Texas?" I ask
"No, on my account, stupid."
"I'm terribly sorry" I say, in a polite manner equal to that of Jimmy Stewart in a Family Matinee "I didn't quite catch that. What was it that you said"
I smell the fear coming down the line at me, but it's too late, he's a goner and he knows it.
"Um, I said what I wanted was more space on my account, *please*"
"Sure, hang on"
I hear him gasp his relief even though he covered the mouthpiece.
"There, you've got plenty of space now"
"How much have I got"
Now this REALLY *PISSES* *ME* *OFF*! Not only do they want me to give them extra space, they want to check it, to correct me if I don't give them enough. They should be happy with what I give them *and that's it*
Back into Jimmy Stewart mode.
"Well, let's see, you have 4 Meg available"
"Wow! Eight Meg in total, thanks!" he says pleased with his bargaining power
"No" I interrupt, savouring this like a fine red, room temperature "4 Meg in total"
"Huh? I'd used 4 Meg already, How could I have 4 Meg Available?"
I say nothing. It'll come to him.
I kill me; I really do
If you're going to quote from the BOFH, at least attribute it to Simon.
That one's from BOFH #1.
That one's from BOFH #1
Seriously? There are people who don't know? Next you want me add attributions when I quote from the Ancient Testament.
I have 3 Zip drives... 2 Parallel (with driver CD's) and one IDE (internal) and an LS120 "SuperDrive"
LS120 - Won't mount in Windows XP or beyond unless I use an External IDE - USB adapter.
Ah the good old days...
(Well really re-branded Lattice), with all tools (compiler, linker, libraries...) can on 4 single sided, single density 5.25 inch floppies.
Those of us with two FDDs would make make up two floppies, one with the editor and compiler and the other with a linker and libraries.
We'd put the actual code on the second disk.
Coompilation would be a two step process, pausing to pull out the compiler disk and insert the linker/library disk.
When Borland came out with Turbo C that fitted on a single disk and edited, compiled and linked from an IDE, just about everyone dumped the MS stuff overnight.
I have a hard-sectored 8" floppy for a Philips WP system, ca 1984. It has some useful stuff on it, and I dream of one day reading it. I'd be mildly surprised if there is a working system of that sort left, and astonished if it could transfer data to anything else.
Obscure note: the disk was used on Pip, Squeak and Wilfred.
I remember when my punch cards sorta seemed to turn into odd shaped index cards, you know, for hand written stuff. Anyone else do that?
I can beat that. I've still got a bunch of dirty pictures on Amiga 880k floppies - identical to IBM single density, but better encoded for the extra capacity.
Lunar Lander - Yes! But what about Rhinos ?
Still got an original PET - calculator keyboard and built in Tape deck. 8KByte static RAM with a 32KByte Dynamic RAM upgrade board that was as large as the main board. £375 in 1979 I think !!
Been sitting around, with a BBC B for decades.
"And when it was doing some of the Coreldraw stuff it had to be assisted by a little beaker of liquid Nitrogen stood beside the air intake or it had a tendency to overheating and going ga-ga"
My first PC CPU didn't even need a heatsink (a 386DX-25 IIRC?).
My second DEFINITELY did though: a Cyrix 6x86MX, overclocked to around 125MHz!
me too !
1992 Final Thesis. LaTeX, all done on my amiga 500 at home on an incredibly slow LaTeX implementation at 'hires' interlaced on my wee green screen monitor, then proofed on the HP workstations and printed on the the laser printers at uni.
Everyone else in the year was using the crappy dotmatrix printers and amstrad 1512s with GEM (no fonts, no nowt).
I had cunningly photocopied pictures I wanted into the columned layouts, so it looked really typeset and professional.
I remember my professor being a bit flabbergasted and asking how exactly I'd done it all.
6 months later, I was having to use 170 floppies to backup my amiga 1200 170MB HD, and the age of the floppy was over really... thought it didn't die for another 10 years or so (lets say 2003 or so for arguments sake).
People still don't believe me when I tell them that my 200ish page PhD thesis (from just under 20 years ago) fitted on two floppy discs (one for the doc and the other for graphics files).
My Master's thesis is only 50 pages, but zipped it's about 64KB. It's in LyX, so latex2e plus some additional LyX stuff (the majority of which, by size, is my comments).
My Bachelor's thesis was around 80 pages, and written in roff. Dunno how small it'd zip down to, but it'd be small.
remembering that HD's back then were struggling to get above the single-digit Gigabyte level
That Bachelor's thesis was written on an IBM RT PC with two 70MB drives, which was quite luxurious for the time. Earlier in my undergrad career I mostly used WordPerfect on an IBM PC (original 5150, second model with 64KB on the motherboard, with a home-upgraded BIOS and other hacks) with a 10MB drive. Documents were stored on 5 1/4" floppies - with at least two backups.
But no doubt there are plenty of folks here who wrote academic docs on older machines than those.
Still got an 8" floppy lying around somewhere
I've used 8" floppies (with the relatively obscure TRS-80 Model II, a machine completely unrelated to the Model I and Model III), but alas I don't have any to show the kids.
I do have an exciting assortment of tape cartridges - QIC, DAT, 8mm... Did a lot of backing up to QIC back in the day. Occasionally restored something, but mostly QIC seemed to be a write-only medium.
I might have some IBM 9-track tape reels around somewhere. Don't think I have any punchcards - another medium I worked with once or twice but not enough to have any of my own.
I type almost all text in restructured text or lout, all data in csv, and all graphs in python scripts (veusz or pylab, depending on my mood); it's still usefull as GBs seem go by as fast as KBs in the old days, and you can still fit 100 times the same amount of cruft in the same space if individual pieces are 100 times smaller...
Plus, that way I avoid the compatibility hell that all my coworkers seem to live as soon as they try to open their files on a different device. At the very worst I can get to the important bits with just a text editor...
Yes, the Microsoft BASIC compiler1 and FORTRAN compiler were the same way. Compiler floppy in A: and source/object floppy in B:. Compile to object. Swap compiler floppy for linker floppy. Link to executable.
If you were lucky, you could fit the editor2 on one of the floppies, to reduce swapping during the edit/compile cycle.
1Not the BASIC interpreter which came with MS-DOS, or IBM's BASICA - Microsoft also sold a (rather expensive) BASIC compiler for the PC.
2I used a variety of source-code editors under PC-DOS. First it was Volkswriter, which was technically a word processor but used a plain-text file format, so it made a serviceable source editor. Then my father, a mainframe guy, bought a copy of SPF/PC and we enjoyed ISPF for a while. A couple of years later I ... borrowed ... a copy of IBM's Internal Use Only E editor from work for my own use. (I hope the statute of limitations has expired by with IBM one never knows.) Later IBM included a version of E, without all the plug-in goodies, with PC-DOS, so I was just ahead of the curve. These days I use vim, of course.
In 1/100th a second, my camera can fill the same amount of storage space with a single image!
And like your PhD floppie box it will never be opened again.
LS120 flopticals are great though. They'll read an entire standard floppy in about 6 seconds. I don't think I ever put more than a couple of 120Mb disks in mine but the turbocharged 1.44 handling more than made up for it.
OTOH Zip drives are the work of Satan himself
"Ah yes, now I remember: I kept breaking them and had to buy replacements ... so maybe they weren’t so cool after all."
The standard failure mode was a zipdisk with a rough or damaged edge snapping the heads off the actuator arm as it slid from its park position onto the drive surface, resulting in the infamous "click of death" - and of course as soon as you placed the faulty disk in another drive it would kill it, ad infinititum.
Zip disks could be sufficently damaged by simply being dropped from about desk height and landing on the edge, as the disk substrate, whilst nominally a "floppy" (plastic) was actually quite stiff and brittle. This could happen as easily whilst in a jewlcase as not.
Flopticals were immune to this as the heads never got near the edge of the disk, being clamped ionto the surface (They're called flopticals as they use laser tracked optical tracks on the disk surface to guide the magnetic head, allowing for much tighter track spacing than ordinary floppies can allow)
I remember copying my friend's installation of Duke Nukem 3D onto ~55 floppies... I had a lot of patience as a kid, apparently.
Time well spent I say
"Time well spent I say"
and ultimately more fun than doing the system backup with FastBack and a similar sized stack of discs circa 1991!
Being a freetard got more expensive when the question changed from "how many games can you get on this disk?" to "how many disks does that game need?"
Especially when the second-to-last one always became corrupted and/or unreadable and you lost the last hour or so's work on disc-swapping...
Yes it was always the 23rd disk in a 25 disk set that had a bad sector. I think it was an industry standard or something.
I remember re-installing a very old piece of software on a PC 2 or 3 years ago. As I think was common when the software was written, it gave me the option of backing up the HDD to floppy before I continued with the installation. I had to throw caution to the wind when a quick look in my "old stuff" cupboard confirmed I didn't have the 250,000 disks this would have needed. Or a floppy drive, come to that.
Hasn't anyone ever come up with FLOPPY RAID where a bad sector on disk 23 could have been compensated with the checksums from disk 06 and 28?
It would probably have made it to a Chaos Manor entry in Byte Magazine.
or the Windows 95 floppy disk install.... 30 id I think ...
Novell had a similair system for their Netware installs, except they preffered the 48th out of 50
Install VMS - from 88 floppy disks. Yes, I did that for Acorn back in 1986
I think Office 97 came on about 40 floppies for those not blessed with a CDROM. Fun fun fun.
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