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AlexJ
31st January 2007, 13:49
PC World today announced it would no longer be selling 3 1/2 inch floppy disks due to a lack of demand. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6314251.stm)

Does this mark the end of quite possibly the longest running removable storage device in the history of computers (26 years). Will it really be RIP 1981-2007? Do you even care?

Personally, I haven't used a floppy disk for several years now, with flash drives being as easy to use and CD-R's being cheaper and both having much more space. Still remembering back to the Amiga days how much fun I'd have from playing games on the format would make me a little sad to see it finally come to an end.

Harrison
31st January 2007, 13:56
I was just trying to remember when I last used a floppy disk on a PC and cannot remember. Now that blank CD and DVD are so cheap there isn't really any place for floppy disks. Except for retro system enthusiasts. I can see them struggling to find blank disks.

I have a feeling Steve might be quite upset and morn the passing of his beloved media of choice! :lol:

Puni/Void
31st January 2007, 14:02
Hehe.. that's true. I won't miss floppies a lot though. They were famous for read/write errors and the likes. As well as being incredibly slow, it's not a big loss. Time moves on, and so shall we.

LowercaseE
31st January 2007, 15:08
I haven't used floppy disks at home for quite a while, I don't even have a drive in my main PC there. At work, I do still have to use them, though not on any sort of regular basis. I have to download patches and what not for AIX and using a floppy is a lot quicker than CDROM for what I need to do.

Harrison
31st January 2007, 15:18
I'm still trying to remember when I last used a floppy disk on a PC. I must have been last year when I rebuilt a PC that has an SATA controller on the moterboard that needed its drivers loaded from floppy disk during the Windows XP setup and installation. Other than that I can't think when else I used one.

I'm so glad more recent motherboards have scrapped the need to load SATA controller drivers from floppy during setup. The more recent ones don't even need drivers at all and the SATA drives just appear in the BIOS like every other ATA HD and just work. Much better. I love ASUS!

Stephen Coates
31st January 2007, 15:33
I really couldn't care less whether PC World sell them or not as I don't buy them from there. I think I have only ever bought one item from PC World in my whole life.

Demon Cleaner
31st January 2007, 16:56
I only use a floppy drive plugged to my Catweasel, but nothing else. USB sticks are the best alternative to FD imo. You can also store 5kB files without wasting a CD. And it's so fast and errorfree.

Harrison
31st January 2007, 17:05
Very true. For small files you cannot beat a USB memory stick these days. And they are so cheap now. You can pick a 2GB one up for under 10.

And don't forget Steve that PC World is the largest high street store in the UK still selling floppy disks until now. They are part of Curries so when PC World stop selling them so does Curries and Argos. This will mean the bulk of high street retailers will have stopped selling them.

This in my view is a good thing as we need to leave behind the old technologies and move forward, instead of holding on to old technologies which just slow down the development of hardware. Look at how long PCI held back graphics card development before AGP and now PCI-E was developed.

Submeg
31st January 2007, 19:57
Hmm, its going to piss off my lecturers, they are quite bizzare, they like things only to be on floppy if you have to hand in an assignment. Will have to see if I can stockpile a few.

Harrison
31st January 2007, 20:47
Well lecturers are a strange breed unto themselves. Most probably haven't seen the light of day for many years and probably still view the floppy disk as modern and quite revolutionary compared to the tapes they used in their youth.

J T
31st January 2007, 21:30
I might urinate on a floppy disk tonight if I can find one.

I haven't used one for ages. For certain things I can see the appeal but they are a bit pony nowadays

Submeg
31st January 2007, 21:32
So true Harrison. Maybe I should take one in and burn it in front of them...:evil:

TiredOfLife
1st February 2007, 00:03
Hmm, can't remember the last time I copied anything onto a floppy.
Very rarely, I might load the odd thing from floppy.

Stephen Coates
1st February 2007, 17:35
Flash drives are certainly taking over as they do (as has been mentioned here before) have many advantages.

For alot of my needs though they arn't much good. For example, I can keep a disk which is relvent to a piece of work inside a plastic wallet so it is seperate from and won;t get lost amongst everything else.

They also fit nicely into the folder I take to school everyday, whereas a flash drive wouldn't. (The PCB might do, and the flash chip certainly would, but they tend to have a lot of packaging).

And for some tasks it really doesn;t make any difference which you use. Earlier I had to get a PCB layout from the fileserver in school so stuck a disk in, copied the file to it, gave it to the electronics technician (I think he likes RiscOS), he stuck it in his laptop and made the PCB for me. The file is only about 10k so for tasks like that, who cares whether it is a flash drive or a floppy? (As long as the floppy and drive work of course).

When it comes to portable storage, I much prefer to have a drive int he computer which I can stil a disk into, which is why I like Zip and Jaz as well, but unfortunately not many computers have those drives anymore.

AlexJ
1st February 2007, 19:12
And for some tasks it really doesn;t make any difference which you use. Earlier I had to get a PCB layout from the fileserver in school so stuck a disk in, copied the file to it, gave it to the electronics technician (I think he likes RiscOS), he stuck it in his laptop and made the PCB for me. The file is only about 10k so for tasks like that, who cares whether it is a flash drive or a floppy? (As long as the floppy and drive work of course).

Well I'd care as my laptop doesn't have a floppy disk. Nor does my desktop but I could add one to it if I desperately needed to read a floppy disk. Practically every PC manufactured in the last 9 years has a USB port, and Windows has had built in flash drive support for 7 years, so this is the most convenient way to transfer files without having to worry 'will the PC have a disk drive?'.

Submeg
1st February 2007, 20:35
I just bought a USB compatiable floppy drive. Just to keep those lecturers at bay :guns2:

J T
1st February 2007, 20:49
My floppy drive /card reader combo has had maybe one floppy in it (ooh er missus).

The card reader ports in it get used a hell of a lot more, though.

I've nothing against disks, in fact in someways I like the tactile feel and the actual action of slotting it in to a tight fittting....... sorry, where was I?

Ah yes, floppies. Couldn't really give a monkey's either way.

AlexJ
1st February 2007, 21:10
Hmm, its going to piss off my lecturers, they are quite bizzare, they like things only to be on floppy if you have to hand in an assignment. Will have to see if I can stockpile a few.

Tell them to get with the times! - all my assignments are submitted via. either email or using this CMS system called Blackboard. It's a pretty good system because all course handouts and ppt slides are on there to download and I can submit assignments without actually going into Uni.

TiredOfLife
1st February 2007, 21:11
@ Ste

Even 10k would be noticibly faster on a flash pen than a floppy.
Also a lot less likely to corrupt.
Wouldn't be without my flashpen.
Have a 2gig one which I always keep in my pocket.
Often comes in handy.

Stephen Coates
1st February 2007, 22:25
At my school, all the computers except for the new laptops have floppy drives.

When I was on about the 10k file, the computer I used had a floppy drive, as did the technicians laptop, so what difference does it make? None. Even speed isn;t a problem. Yes, it would be quicker on a flash drive, but who cares if you have to wait 0.9 seconds longer to load it off a floppy.

I think they don;t have much choice at school but to have floppy drives. When you have 2000 people at a school with 300 people leaving and 300 new people coming each year, there are bound to be some people that for whatever reason need to use floppy disks with the computers. Maybe some of them only have an old computer which doesn;t have USB. Or maybe some people can't afford a flash drive so have to use the disks that they already have. (Don;t say that flash drives are cheap. There are people out there in the world that don;t have much money and would be much better off spending 10 on some pens and paper or school dinners).

Oh, and flash drives can go wrong. I have an 8mb compact flash card that seems to be going bad. It is true however that flash memory is much more reliable than magnetic storage. Magnetic disks arn;t always that bad though. I have many amiga disks that still work perfectly. I have had problems with some amiga disks recently but that is not surprising as the drives I was using were getting a bit past it and the disks that i was using were HD that were formatted as DD.

A big advantage of floppies is that you will actually know if the file is loading up or not. They make cool sounds and have a flashing light.

I also noticed how no one commented on me saying about how disks enable me to keep electronic copies of work along with paper copies because of their very thin size.

If you find a flash drive more appropriate than a floppy, then go ahead and use one. For most of my needs though, floppies are good enough, and therefore a flash drive is not needed. I am thinking about getting a flash drive as I'm sure I could find a use for one but still, all my <1mb files will still fit perfectly on floppies.

Harrison
2nd February 2007, 00:15
I also noticed how no one commented on me saying about how disks enable me to keep electronic copies of work along with paper copies because of their very thin size.

CD steve? They are even thinner than a floppy disk and have no moving parts! Also extremely cheap, and you can guarantee more computers these days will have a drive able to read a CD than a floppy disk.

How many years ago did Apple discard floppy drives from their systems? Thought when Apple did that you would have been convinced the floppy disk was dead. ;)

AlexJ
2nd February 2007, 09:32
I think they don;t have much choice at school but to have floppy drives.

In my last year of school they replaced most of the PC's, and this time opted for no floppy disk drives on them. Speaking to the technician, he said that too many people's work had been lost on floppy disks going corrupt and that flash drives were cheap enough now for anyone to afford. Also he said their home computer didn't have USB then it would likely be old enough for it's software to not be fully compatible with Office 2003 etc. causing problems.

Submeg
2nd February 2007, 09:35
My lecturers would then argue with me, I would hit them over the head with the 100 floppies sitting on their desk and then I would go to jail....a lose lose situation if you ask me :p

Harrison
2nd February 2007, 10:12
The argument over the cost of flash drives is now not possible as you can buy a 1GB USB pen drive for under 5. A pack of floppy disks would probably cost nearly as much.

Submeg
2nd February 2007, 11:28
Is that directed at me? My argument with them would be the fact that they are using out of date technology

Harrison
2nd February 2007, 12:44
It was actually directed at Steve as he was arguing that many students couldn't afford a pen flash drive compared to a pack of floppy disks. And at 4.99 for a 1GB USB unit, and even less for smaller ones (1.99 for a 256MB unit) it's not really that much of an argument.

Maybe the schools should be giving each student a pen drive when they start, instead of wasting money on free iPods to stay in school for an extra year!

Stephen Coates
2nd February 2007, 21:03
If you go to my school, you will see that all out new computers lack CDROM drives but still have floppies! (I was actually surprised about this - I thought it would have been the other way round).

And when I was on about cost, I was refering to people using the disks that they already had - not buying new ones.

As for Apple, well, when they made the iMac I was still using my Amiga 500+.

CDs are not conveniant for tempory storage, like taking a small piece of work to school. Because you have to put the file into CD recording software and then record it to CD (which usually takes longer than copying to 10k file to a disk in Windows Explorer.

A CD is only slightly thinner than a disk, and spins round at very high speeds, so you can;t say that they don;t have moving parts and are smaller. Nothing actually moves within the disc, but there are plenty of moving parts in the drive, however there are absolutely no moving parts at all in a flash drive.

Submeg
3rd February 2007, 06:14
Damn straight!

Stephen Coates
3rd February 2007, 07:46
It was actually directed at Steve as he was arguing that many students couldn't afford a pen flash drive compared to a pack of floppy disks. And at 4.99 for a 1GB USB unit, and even less for smaller ones (1.99 for a 256MB unit) it's not really that much of an argument.

Maybe the schools should be giving each student a pen drive when they start, instead of wasting money on free iPods to stay in school for an extra year!

Thats actually a good idea.

I'm sure I would have more use for a flash drive than an iPod.

Although I have aplied to go to college anyway at the end of year 11 so don't need any incentives.

J T
3rd February 2007, 11:58
At my work people were ordering iPods trough the central system but classifying them as removable hard drive/IT supplies.

Cheerky gits, but worth a try. Needless to say this was stamped out pretty quickly.

TiredOfLife
3rd February 2007, 17:36
All our latest computers in work came without a floppy drive.

As for old computers, how old are we talking?
The A1200 was launched in 1992, and I use a flashpen with mine.

Stephen Coates
3rd February 2007, 17:39
It is certainly possible to use flash drives on Amiga, but they don;t come with USB as standard, and last time I checked, clockport USB controllers cost about 50.