I was amused to learn of a California company that’s recycling and selling old-fashioned floppy disks by the hundreds every day.
Tom Persky runs floppydisk.com, a California-based online disk recycling service that takes in new and used disks before sending them onto a reliable customer base — he reckons he sells about 500 disks a day.
Who buys floppy disks in an age when more sophisticated storage devices like CD-ROMS, DVDs and USB flash drives have been made increasingly obsolete by internet and cloud storage? Those in the embroidery, tool and die, and airline industry, especially those involved in aircraft maintenance, says Persky.
“If you built a plane 20 or 30 or even 40 years ago, you would use a floppy disk to get information in and out of some of the avionics of that airplane,” said 73-year-old Persky.
There’s more at the link.
That brings back lots of memories. When I got started in computers in the 1970’s, the big 8″ floppy disks were widely used with the IBM Displaywriter System, and the IBM PC and clones soon popularized the smaller 5¼” diskettes. By the mid-1980’s the 3½” “stiffy” diskettes were taking over. I had rack after rack of them all at my workstation in the office, and more of them at home. However, by the early 1990’s almost all of them had gone the way of the dinosaur. Rewritable CD’s were the thing, to be followed in the 2000’s by the thumb drive and other technologies.
I’m surprised to learn that so many systems still use them. I was aware that the US strategic deterrent Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles still used floppies for their software until very recently, but then, they were designed in the 1970’s, so that’s logical. I wasn’t aware that many aircraft still used them – I thought they would have been updated to more modern media long ago.
How many of you, dear readers, can remember covering the read/write notch on the edge of a floppy disk with tape, to make it read-only and prevent some overenthusiastic moron in your department from overwriting your precious code or subroutines?