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The End of a Floppy Era

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the it-ain't-hard-to-make-jokes dept.

Data Storage 786

An anonymous reader writes This article is an editorial on the end of the floppy and the rise of more portable, more efficient data storage." Floppy nothing. In my day we etched our data into pottery. Talk about your long term enterprise data storage. Some of those buggers made it thousands of years!

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786 comments

Hmm (5, Funny)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052364)

Is the end of the floppy era related to all this viagra spam I keep getting?

Beaten to the punch - I was going to write: (1)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052410)

Yet another slashdot advertical, this time about cheap generic viagra, tsk!

Not gone... (4, Insightful)

ginotech (816751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052365)

I still outfit every computer i build with a floppy. Only 10 bucks, and you never know when it'll come in handy.

Re:Not gone... (3, Interesting)

DigitumDei (578031) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052402)

Back in the middle of 2003 I bought myself a new machine and decided to forget the floppy drive. I haven't regretted the decision once.

Re:Not gone... (1)

ginotech (816751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052447)

"bought"? what does this word mean? Maybe I just do a little more with my computer, but I find myself using floppies every once in a while.

I realise I couldn't remember if I had a drive (4, Interesting)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052523)

And then I realised I do not have one at work (dell) or at home (home made).

If I need to read off a floppy, I do have a laptop with a usb floppy (old). But who gives me disks? if someone tries to give me a disk, I say, just email me the bloody thing, 1.4 mb uncompressed files, or zip them up (or tar them ffs).

Network/Email killed the floppy more than usb drives. I use usb increasingly for files that won't fit on CD.

Re:Not gone... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052543)

Likewise, my new machine circa 2002 didn't get one. (Actually, it was more because I couldn't undo a couple of the small screws from my previous machine's drive, or it would have done as a "just in case" precaution. D'oh.)

I gather there are a few niches where floppies are still necessary; someone was telling me something about SATA drivers for some OSes in a previous Slashdot discussion, and I'm never quite sure about Windows recovery disks and such. However, it seems either a CD-based or USB-based alternative is available for things like emergency booting and back-ups these days, and the greater capacity and physical robustness makes them much more suitable. I can't say I've missed the floppy drive with my current PC.

Re:Not gone... (2, Funny)

I confirm I'm not a (720413) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052554)

...and decided to forget the floppy drive. I haven't regretted the decision once.

Dude, I hate to be the slashdot spelling nazi, but you mispelled the word "yet".

HTH!

Seriously, I built myself a new PC last year and although I put a floppy drive in, I've not ever needed it. But it's really nice to know that it's there for emergencies. Now the standard response at this point is: but there're perfectly good alternatives - USB drives, DVD-ROMs, etc. All true, but it's a lot quicker to make a bootable floppy in an emergency.

Re:Not gone... (1)

sykjoke (899173) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052516)

A floppy driver is only usefull if you have any media for it. I installed linux over slip because the target laptop doesn't have USB and I don't have a floppy disc in the house (I have plenty of floppy drives though)

Re:Not gone... (2, Insightful)

Nytewynd (829901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052524)

My mobo floppy interface died on me somehow. I wanted to Raid 0 two drives with Win XP on that machine, but couldn't load the drivers for the windows install without the floppy drive. I tried several floppy drives and cables before deciding that the mobo just wasn't working. The only option in the windows install is to put the disk in drive A:. You can't use a CD. My other option was to slipstream the install CD with the drivers. I am way to lazy for that, so I decided to just keep the 2 drives separate.

I hate floppy drives with a passion now. Whenever I have to make a driver floppy, I get a fiery rage in my midsection. What is wrong with companies? Haven't they heard of this new thing called a "compact disc"? You can put stuff on it, and then use it later.

The only floppy drive I have that really works now is the modular one for my laptop. My web server doesn't have one at all, and the one in my primary PC doesn't work. The only floppies I own are the ones from about 10 years ago that I have formatted and reused. I mostly use the old Office disks. The last install before CD was something like 15 floppy disks. Now they contain all kinds of random stuff from Scorched Earth to drivers for things that I don't even have anymore.

Re:Not gone... (1)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052545)

" I still outfit every computer i build with a floppy."

I never put floppies on computers anymore. I have a bootable CD I use for recovery and other emergency boot opertions. To me a floppy drive is just something else to break.

Re:Not gone... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13052552)

Please stop perpetuating this filth.

Re:Not gone... (4, Informative)

NetNifty (796376) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052564)

I've got a floppy drive on this machine, and the only reason for that is Windows requires SATA drivers to be given to it on a floppy disk during install. If MS let me use a CD or even a USB pen drive for that it wouldn't be necessary (it even asked for a floppy in the A: drive when no floppy drive was connected).

Curse you, Norton Ghost! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13052568)

I have a floppy drive on my 2 PCs at home. I have rarely used it, except to use Norton Ghost. Unfortunately, Norton Ghost will only run when booted from floppy. I looked into it a little and it appears to be because of some kind of weird CD-ROM detection issue with Windoze. If I am correct in my understanding, that raises the question as to why Norton doesn't use, say, Linux as part of a bootable CD to do ghosting/cloning of drives rather than relying on PC-DOS to do it.

There are web sites on how to make bootable CD-ROMS for Windoze, but I have never been able to make a bootable CD for Ghost. The only bootable CDs I have read about for Ghost were not able to clone disk drives, but were used to restore Ghost backups.

pshaw! (3, Funny)

nocomment (239368) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052370)

Your buried pottery broke into millions of peices at the slightest hint of a landslide, in my day we painted our data on the walls of ours caves.

Re:pshaw! (1)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052515)

Paint?!

Luxury.

In my way we had to etch data into the cave walls using our tongues, of course.. that's when we were even allowed to be in the cave at all.

Re:pshaw! (1)

Irashtar (836973) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052553)

Taking this running joke to its logical conclution: Your DNA changes at the slightest hint of radiation, in my eon we arranged the constelations to store the data.

RIP (2)

aicrules (819392) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052373)

Right next to VHS...oh wait...people still own and use VHS Players? AND Floppy drives? What's that you say? Even 5.25" Floppy Drives?! Well then the title for this article must have been "The Death of Floppy Drives In Newly Sold PCs" not yet another "XXX is Dead". And if XXX is dead, THAT would be a news story.

XXX is dead?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13052403)

My life is meaningless...
;_;

Re:RIP (1)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052449)

It talks about the end of an era, not that it is completely dead. It is replaced on all fronts, the era where it was used a lot is over, that doesn't mean it is completely dead.

How many VHS drives are sold? Probably a lot, but I'd still say the ERA of VHS is gone and replaced by DVD. Imo off course.

Pottery? LUXURY! (1, Funny)

kzinti (9651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052374)

At least you can take your pottery with you when an ice age comes! Now, in my day, we had it TOUGH. We had to scratch our data onto our cave walls with the points of our spears. Sunup to sundown, we'd be scratching data, with our pointy-haired bosses standing over us every minute, and anyone who didn't pass checksum got fed to the mastadons.

you think you had it bad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13052437)

that was my job until i got outsourced by a neanderthal

Re:Pottery? LUXURY! (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052534)

You had it lucky. In my day we didn't even have walls. We had to take the subatomic particles produced by the big bang and put them together, one by one I might add, to even get real matter. Only then could we actually start using our newly created pointy sticks to scratch our data into our newly created rocks. You young'uns don't know how easy you've got it.

Dead and Bloated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13052377)

When is the last time any /.er actually built a system with a floppy drive? Yeah Yeah somtimes WinXP needs a driver for your cool SATA drive but if you don't know slipstreaming then you shouldn't be messing with linux either. I boot all my linux installs from the CD instead of the slow unreliable floppy anyway.

Re:Dead and Bloated (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052542)

When is the last time any /.er actually built a system with a floppy drive?

I had to pull the floppy drive out of retirement and install it a couple of weeks ago to install a flash upgrade on the BIOS. Not sure if it supports reading the BIOS from CD.

New Format (5, Insightful)

Antimatter3009 (886953) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052381)

So what's the new format for booting into DOS to flash my video card BIOS?

Re:New Format (2, Informative)

toady (629465) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052455)

They call it CD-ROM [slashdot.org]

Re:New Format (2, Funny)

PaxTech (103481) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052509)

You can't double the storage capacity of a CD-ROM with a hole puncher though. ;)

Actually I'll be glad when floppies are completely gone, it drives me batshit when people refer to 3.5" floppies as "hard disks". Argh!

Re:New Format (2, Informative)

Gaima (174551) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052456)

CD
USB
Floppy for all those millions of machines still out there with floppy drives, and all the millions still to be made with floppies.

Re:New Format (2, Informative)

faloi (738831) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052457)

Easy, set up your USB key to be DOS bootable and do it that way. Next question?

Re:New Format (1)

Iriel (810009) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052465)

Not only that, but I'm still running Windows 2000 Pro. How do I install SATA drivers without a floppy?

I hate feeling like technology articles are trying to force me to get Windows XP.

Long live my floppy drive! It's been in 4 different cases for this very reason.

Re:New Format (1)

FrontalLobe (897758) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052535)

Actually, you can put the drivers on an image of windows, modify an ini file or two, and burn the image. Microsoft actually allows this legally. Download the drivers off the net, and no need for a floppy.

That being said, I always keep a floppy in my system cuz its a heck of a lot less hassle in my opinion...

Re:New Format (2, Insightful)

FullMetalAlchemist (811118) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052541)

Sorry if I come off as a complete ass wanker, but have you considered building your own OEM Installation CD with the console-drivers integrated?

Re:New Format (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052470)

So what's the new format for booting into DOS to flash my video card BIOS?

CD-R[W]. The bootable part of a bootable CD is actually a floppy disk image. If you get the BIOS update in an image form (instead of some program for writing the disk), you can burn it to a CD and use that. Works for me at least, YMMV.

Obligatory... (1, Funny)

jdreed1024 (443938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052385)

They may have been floppy, but they were 8 inches long! Not like these puny kids with their 3.5" ones...

long live my USB memory stick (4, Funny)

barnseyboy (842629) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052389)

and how i love fiddling round the back of my pc trying to slot it in.

Re:long live my USB memory stick (0)

orzetto (545509) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052508)

and how i love fiddling round the back of my pc trying to slot it in.

You know that you read Slashdot too often when a post like parent gets you sexually aroused.

FIY, more modern PC cases allow internal USB connection, so you can have "missionary position".

Re:long live my USB memory stick (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13052551)

Come on man, show some respect.

Re:long live my USB memory stick (1)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052557)

Spend the $10 and get a 4' USB extension cable. Leave it plugged into the difficult-to-access slot, thereby giving you an easy-to-access USB port next to your machine.

Re:long live my USB memory stick (2, Informative)

Skater (41976) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052560)

Believe it or not, the USB ports on the front of my work PC are even worse: Dell chose to angle them. They're beneath a plastic cover, but they aren't perpendicular to the front of the PC - the ports actually face down at an angle and are difficult to use unless I lay on the floor and look up. (Optiplex GX270.)

Back around 1981 (2, Interesting)

jmp_nyc (895404) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052392)

I remember when my father set up a new office in 1981...

He got a system sold by Datapoint. There was the computer itself, and terminals at various places around the office. They also had a printer room, which had a dot matrix printer for each of the news wire services.

The Datapoint computer had a 10" floppy drive, but the tour de force was the "Cynthia," a 10MB drive with a removable cartridge. At the time, my father couldn't imagine any way they would ever use so much space.

25 years later, he still uses descendants of the transaction tracking software he wrote for that Datapoint system. Of course, now it runs under Windows, on a system with far more than 10MB of storage...
-JMP

Taco... (2, Funny)

Dacmot (266348) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052398)

"Floppy nothing. In my day we etched our data into pottery."

Poor Taco. He must feel so overwhelmed by the technology of slash. Maybe that's why there are so many dups.

3 years (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052417)

I haven't used a floppy in three years... So this really isn't a surprise. And as my school gradually got rid of the decent computers and replaced them with 'thin clients' without drives, it quickly is apparent that the floppy age is gone.

Live Fast, Die Floppy (1, Funny)

minginqunt (225413) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052420)

I haven't actually owned a machine with a floppy drive in four years. It's been a similar length of time since I held a floppy disk.

Are PC manufacturers still selling machines with floppies?
That strikes me as a bit bonkers, if so.

I *heart* my SuperDrive.

Martin

Not so for sysadmins (2, Insightful)

eck06 (725760) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052422)

To me, there's still nothing quite like a cheap, simple, effective floppy to bootstrap with (e.g. etherboot) in a large computing environment.

Floppies Been Dead For a While (1)

DanielMarkham (765899) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052428)

What with booting from CDs and ubiquitous internet access, the old "sneakernet" has long gone the way of the dinosaur. I use computers all the time, and haven't touched a floppy in a couple years.
Heck, now that we've working on fingernail hard drives, [slashdot.org] maybe even those USB drives will be outdated.

Don't ride the bus? Get sued! [whattofix.com]

Good article (0, Flamebait)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052432)

The end of the floppy had nothing to do with Apple's mistake of not including a floppy disk drive in the first iMacs (something done too early, as shown by the sales of dongle-drive floppy units to iMac users), and everything to do with the rise of the cheap USB "thumb drive" a few years later.

Boot From Floppy (2, Insightful)

p0 (740290) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052435)

They are just handy to do booting related stuff. What if the CDROM is broken? Floppies just work! And USB boot? I havent tried that and I doubt their effectiveness over floppies

Re:Boot From Floppy (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052522)

Floppy drives go bad just like CD-ROM drives. And if you're replacing a bad drive, $15 for a new CD-ROM isn't much more than $10 for a new floppy (newegg prices).

Re:Boot From Floppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13052548)

Your floppy is far more likely to be broken than your CDROM, and if it is broken, you should use the $10 on replacing your CDROM instead of purchasing a floppy drive. The only machines that I don't use USB Boot on and use CDROM instead are old dinosaurs that aren't worth using as more than a toy anyway.

how about cd-r's? regular flashcards + reader? (1)

hilaryduff (894727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052440)

bearing in mind cd'rs are a hell of a lot cheaper than usb flash drives, and dont need a usb port. also if you use an internal/external card reader and flashcards of your choice, you can also use them in your camera/pda/whatever, depending.

Something smells fishy (4, Informative)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052446)

This article was entered as part of an article-writing contest [flexbeta.net] with real life rewards such as a video card or DVD writers. This article is just written by some guy trying to win a contest, not by anyone influential. What he says is true, but obvious.

I want my 5 minutes back (2, Insightful)

kevmo (243736) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052463)

This article was just another worthless piece of bad journalism in the genre of "The end of X". This guy is ranting like people need to stop using floppies, but thats pretty much already happened. A lot of people I know don't even have floppy drives. Cheap optical media and USB drives have all but replaced it.

Even at my mom's office, where they are very backwards about technology, they use zip drives over floppy drives.

I'm anxiously looking forward to reading the authors article on the "The End of the A-Track Era" /sarcasm

Keep the floppy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13052467)

Advantages of floppies over USB:
* They can be removed without an unmount procedure.
* They are essentially free, whereas I need to get my USB drives returned.
* They don't autorun stuff when inserted.
* Works with Windows 98 (25% of the desktop market)
* They are bootable (handy when debugging a computer)
* Works with DOS (handy when debugging a computer)

For $10, I'll keep my floppy drive, thank you.

Long Ago (1)

mfloy (899187) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052469)

I think floppy disks have been dead for some time now. I can't even remember the last time I used one, and I usually just throw out any floppies I find around the house.

No need for a floppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13052472)

None of my computers have had floppy drives for the past 4 years. If I need to update BIOS or anything of the sort, I just do it off of a CD-RW boot CD.

People still dont get it (3, Interesting)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052473)

I havent used a floppy since Apple stopped putting them on computers and you know what, I never once in all these years missed it. Not once.

There is nothing out there right now that SOMETHING cant fill the place that the floppy once had, yet I see posts even here talking about "never know when you will need it" Yet I dont need it, it really is wasted space and there are plenty of better things out there that can fill its place as a emergancy boot device, and a storage device.

Does a whole generation of nerd need to move on and retire before people get the hint to stop buying this peice of 70's technology for their 21 century computer???

Floppies will be around for a little longer. (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052474)

Don't be surprised to see floppies sticking around for a little more time. Think of all the countless small companies whose "computer guys" still run around with DOS boot floppies to kick off a Windows installation. Just because MS stopped supporting it doesn't mean it's not still around. I can't imagine why people would want to fuss with LAN Manager config files in 2005 and wait 2 minutes for a system to boot though.

What might happen is a huge jump in the price of media and drives. OKI is getting nearly $500 for a cheapo dot-matrix printer simply because they know people's business processes are tied to multi-part forms and/or parallel text-only printers.

Floppy dependencies still mainstream. (2, Interesting)

FartingTowels (553440) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052475)

Floppy dependencies are still there. E.g. Win XP requires floppy to install the RAID drivers during Windows setup. So, the flppy is not dead yet.

except for BIOS updates ... (1)

YuriGherkin (870386) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052480)

I bought my fantasic new Athlon 64 system recently and I didn't bother to install a floppy drive in my nice and quiet Antec case ... until I went to perform a motherboard BIOS update and discovered that I had to use a floppy boot disk for the DOS prompt to run the install program!

I've heard that some new motherboards now can update their BIOS while in an operating system, usually Windoze. I guess they don't need a floppy at all.

floppies ARE still useful (2, Informative)

robertlankford (857091) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052482)

I found this out recently when I had to scrounge through old computer junk for a floppy drive. Yep, even in 2005, you can't set up XP on my brand new computer (3 months ago now) equipped with only a SATA hard disk in it. Sheesh.

And CDROMs are following (1)

VanWEric (700062) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052489)

I have a Dell laptop with one expansion bay that can hold a floppy drive, a CDrom drive or an extra battery. I put the floppy drive in once for shits and giggles. I had the CDrom in until I got the extra battery, and since then have used the CDrom only to install a few games. For everything else, I use teh interwebs.

Now that I can download real games (HL2), I doubt I'll have a whole lot of need for my CDrom drive. And if I do, I can always hotswap borrow one from one of my class mates (we all have the same laptops).

Boo to physical storage, hooray for internets.

Eulogy (1)

lightyear4 (852813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052490)

End of an era? Perhaps. May we forever in fondness remember our Tandy 8 inch floppies, containing a MASSIVE 500 kilobytes (!!) .... for they freed us from bondage, relegating tape-based storage to the depths of time.


..Me-oh-my times have changed.

Obligatory (1)

Council (514577) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052493)

But has Netcraft confirmed oh god my life is an empty shell and I have no meaning or purpose.

But Does Netcraft Confirm it? (1)

mechsoph (716782) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052494)

The floppy's been dying for about 7 years now. It's death will continue to be slow and agonizing.

On a personal note, the next box I build will not have a floppy drive considering that the most use I've gotten out of my current one was a disastrous encounter with dd.

Re:But Does Netcraft Confirm it? (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052519)

"The floppy's been dying for about 7 years now. It's death will continue to be slow and agonizing"

It has only been dead for 2-3 or so years now (much less than 7) thanks to the rise of the thumb drive. Before that, there was no alternative for moving small files between a couple of non-networked machines. You'd likely have the file copied to disk from machine A, and then copied from disk onto machine B in the time it would take you just to format a CD on the first machine if you chose the CD option.

double what space? (2)

Tominva1045 (587712) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052496)

Great, just great. Now what am I going to do with this $42.95 uber-space-making disk notch-cutter I just bought on EBay?

640k (1)

orangeaaron (614222) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052499)

I suppose someone is next going to tell me that I need more than 640k of RAM... Shucks, I thought that was enough for anyone!

move along.... (4, Interesting)

Lxy (80823) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052500)

Another article declaring the death of the floppy. Haven't we seen these before? Isn't it OBVIOUS that there's better solutions? Duh. Unfortunately for most IT geeks, the floppy will be part of our job for the forseeable future.

In the ideal world, all your PCs that you administer will boot off that fancy USB keychain. Software that insists on doing a media check no longer exists, and the floppy disk is merely a wall decoration.

In a real IT environment, you're ineveitably stuck with machines that are accesible ONLY by floppy. Want to boot that PII machine? Better find a floppy. I set up several HPaq laptops about a year ago. You'd think by now they'd have USB booting working, right? NOPE. The BIOS was set to boot off USB, I popped in my bootable flash drive, and... nothing. I booted a desktop to be sure, yes, this flash drive is bootable. I never pursued it because I had several workarounds (one being the removable floppy drive) but it goes to show that this bane of technology known as the floppy disk will be around for quite some time.

Last month I received a software package distributed on DVD. A forward thinking company, right? Then what's this floppy disk for? That's right, they have a floppy that's needed to install the software. It uses strategically placed bad sectors to verify that the floppy disk is genuine and lets you install the software. Good thing this brand new Dell PC still has a floppy drive, or I couldn't install it.

Sorry folks, the floppy may have outlived its usefulness in the user realm but in the IT realm, we get to hang on to them for quite awhile.

Sometimes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13052504)

,,you still need a floppy drive to update a Bios.

No logical replacement, though (5, Insightful)

mrRay720 (874710) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052510)

What have we got in terms of removable media though?

CD? certainly cheap, and at a guess 50% of computers now have them, but they are BIGGER than what they're replacing. Probably not as durable for day-to-day usage, either. FAIL

DVD? Well a much better replacement option than CD, were it not for the fact that probably only 10% of comnputers have them. Less durable that CD, with compatability issues still lingering on older equipment. FAIL

ZIP? Dead. Dead

USB memory sticks? Probably usable by 95%+ at least. Most are compatible alternative (well the ones using standard mass storage drivers anyway), but there are price issues. The cheapest ones are an order of magnitude or two more expensive than floppys/CDs/DVDs. Higher capacity ones (650MB-4.7GB) are A LOT more expensive than the alternative replacements, CDs and DVDs.

Portable HD? Great capacity, compatability, capacity/price ratio, but an even higher minimum price than the thumbdrives.

All other options just have no real benefits over the alternatives listed above and/or have a pathetic tiny market share.

Why did the industry fail so horribly in coming up with a cheap and easy floppy replacement? Perhaps there's just far less need for it now that so many PCs are connected via the internet or local LAN.

Is it "Floppy is dead" or "removable mass media is dead"?

did a 12-year old write that article for school? (1, Insightful)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052511)

All comments about floppy disks aside, that has to be the worst-written article I have ever read ever. Did no one else notice the appalling style?

Long term data archival - Cave wall.. (1)

jamesjw (213986) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052512)


There can be no argument, cave wall wins - bah people talk about DLT and Harddisks and floppies.. all amature stuff!!

Think about it.. cave wall paintings have survived thousands of years, and in alot of cases, survived with only minor data loss (bat shit, wind, rain etc)

And I now your thinking, what about offsite storage/backup (Incase something happens to my cave) No problem, just find another cave and paint away!

Now, to write an export script to convert my Word and Open Office documents into cave wall format!!

Sure you laugh, LAUGH ALL YOU WANT, I'll have my cave when the magnetic and optical world falls! :)

-- Jim.

Animated ads (1)

Council (514577) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052513)

I honestly couldn't finish the article because of those unnerving spider ads on the side.

Freak me out, man.

(Firefox at work doesn't come with ad blocker by default.)

I am not alone when i say this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13052518)

The floppy is indespensible. Current "supposed" solutions are to use a bootable CD because not every computer supports booting off a USB device. Actually, to be honest some laptops I manage here that are a little older than 2 years don't support USB booting. This can be complicated by old CD/DVD drives that sometimes have trouble reading burned CDs. Then there are network boots which are far more trouble than they are worth--talk about using a sledgehammer to kill a fly. There just isn't a universal solution that works for all of my needs. For example, the other day a Intel 875-chipset based Pentium 4 went bonkers. The user somehow managed to destroy the XP installation. When I went to go restore off our ghost image, the system would not boot off a CD/DVD, nor would it boot off the USB thumb drive. Furthermore the USB keyboard/mouse wouldn't work to allow me to edit the BIOS settings. So what did I do? Got my trusty PS/2 keyboard/mouse out and old floppy and restore the machine. My point is that there are reasons for keeping this stuff around. Sure the majority of the users out there may not need it but if you support computers then having an old floppy, ps/2 keyboard/mouse, and a key other items is necessary.

BIOS updates? (1)

Durzel (137902) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052525)

If you discount the Windows-based BIOS updaters (which I don't fully trust anyway, I don't like the idea of some other extraneous process being able to pre-empt the BIOS flash) then aren't floppy disks the only viable solution to flash motherboard BIOS?

There's also plenty of other things that still require floppy drives/disks - e.g. Memtest, various hard drive low-level diagnostic tools, etc

hardly surprising, but... (4, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052526)

In a world where a single Word document can take up 700Kb (ie, half a floppy disk) without being more than a couple pages or having graphics, probably close to 1/2 of all floppy disks are bad out of the box and even more die after only a couple uses, and there's almost ubiquitous networks and Internet access, why is this surprising?

The fact that other media is finding a niche is, I think, only correlary. A box of 10 floppies costs, what, $10 still at Best Buy? Do they even sell floppies at Best Buy anymore? This transition would've occurred much sooner if companies would've stopped selling flawed and essentially lemon disks years ago, when the technology allowed from the transition away from such things.

Sometime around the year 1999 would've been a good time to simply stop providing them in a PC (and including a 16Mb USB CF card in its stead, with easy-access USB ports on the front). The cost to the manufaturer would've been defrayed in both increased sales ("Ohh, free technology!") and having to not spend $10 or so per machine for the next 4 (5? are they still installing floppy drives in new PCs?) years.

Aside from a couple disks I've got floating around which I use as bookmarks for magazines and books I'm reading, I've not seen a floppy actually being used as such in years.

Yep, it's dead! (1)

LordSkippy (140884) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052528)

Why? Because my dad stop using them six months ago, and switched to USB drives. This, from a guy that wanted a 5 1/4" drive on his Pentium II last year! So, if not even my dad uses them anymore, they have to be dead.

Somebody Tell Tektronix (3, Interesting)

cnaumann (466328) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052529)

Most of their new Oscilliscopes still use floppies to store screen shots. Most of their Oscilliscopes do not support USB drives. Unlike a new computer, the useful lifetime of a lab instrument is measured in decades. Floppies will be around for a while.

Speaking of lab instruments, my new Stanford Research SR620 Time Interval Counter requires either an Epson MX80 printer or an HPGL plotter (either RS232 or IEE488) for simple hardcopy output, and requires and analog oscilliscope for a real time video display.

Memories... (2, Interesting)

vchoy (134429) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052539)

Here are just some things I can think of:

* Getting those special hole punchers and converting those 5 1/4" 360KB floppys to instant 720KB- Instant double density!

* Buying a special pack of 10 x 3 1/2 1.44 SONY (We're talking branded!!) for $15. - bargain!

* Those cool programs that you could execute and make your floppy [drive] play a tune by it issuing commands to the seek mechanism of the drive. (eg. Happy Birthday, Silent Night, etc etc)

* ..."Insert disk 2 of disk 30, press any key to continue"

* OPERATING SYSTEM NOT FOUND...Insert Disk to Continue ...Ahhh the memories.

Not Quite (1)

Chaotic Spyder (896445) | more than 8 years ago | (#13052550)

YAY.. Lets Jump on the bandwagon and Only Use "NEW Tech" and get rid of all our floppys.. My Brand New SATA hard drive.. and Win XP.. oh wait.. you mean winxp does not have sata drivers?? Looks like i should have held on to that floppy drive just a bit longer...

Boot disks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13052558)

From TFA:

Do yourself a favor: Dump your floppies, go to Wal-Mart or any computer store, and buy a USB drive. There's no reason not to.

Show me an USB drive that every computer can boot from, including the ones that wasn't made in the last couple of years...

For rescue disks, nothing beats floppies. CD-ROM drives are in just about every computer now, but the lack of a CD-RW burner (or a CD-R and an infinite supply of discs) in most computers still makes it fail when compared to floppies.

USB drives may be nice if every computer you come across has an USB controller and recent drivers, but I'm not sure fitting memtest86, tomsrtbt and a DOS boot disk on the same USB drive is easy, and if I need to have one with each, they quickly become way too expensive comparet to floppies.

I last used a floppy about a month ago. A dodgy RAM module kept crashing the machine, so I downloaded memtest86. And rather than go look for someone with a burner and paying for a bland CDR, I just overwrote one of the old driver disks I already had in the drawer.

And when someone comes over and goes "oh, I just gotta have that file", I'll happily give him a floppy with the file on. No way I'm going to give him an USB drive. Here a CDR would be an option, except again the need to find someone with a burner.

omfg (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13052561)

im gonna chop my dick off if i have to read another cmdrfago joke again.
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