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The Mystery of the Mega-Selling Floppy Disk

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the i-keep-mine-in-a-metal-toolbox dept.

Media 558
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I know (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014134)

Cowboy Neil buys them all and archives inane Slashdot comments, like this one.

Re:I know (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014392)

Or this one.

Re:I know (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014542)

Cowboy Neil buys them all and archives inane Slashdot comments, like this one.

20 stories a day.
400 posts per story.
99% are inane.
Average post size? 850 characters (thanks to gnaa c&p trolls)
---
6.4 megabytes per day
1.4 megabytes per disk
---
4.5 disks per day
365 days in a year
---
1642 disks per year
100 disks for $25 = .25 per disk
---
~$411 per year on backups

Max write speed: 1000 kilobits / second (7.7 megabytes per minute)
Time to fill storage:
314 minutes + 1 minute to toss each disk in an unsorted box (hey, they're using low paid interns of course) ~ 2000 minutes
---
33 hours
$8.00 an hour
---
$264 per year
Grand Total: $675.00, or about 3.375 hours with a decent, geeky prostitute

Seems economical.

Some hardware needs them (5, Informative)

piraat (1772234) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014138)

I guess people who use them for their synths? It's why friends of mine still have 'em

Re:Some hardware needs them (5, Informative)

drolli (522659) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014226)

in the lab:

oscilloscopes, network analysers, pulse generators etc.

Re:Some hardware needs them (5, Informative)

Shadow_139 (707786) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014376)

We have >500,000$ CNC equipment your need to load your design via Floppy into a Client system that is then connected via an fecking ISA Card!!!!!
These systems are less then 5 years old as well !!!!

Re:Some hardware needs them (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014666)

The lab's not wired for the network. Perhaps it should be, but these things tend to fall by the wayside. Plus we use old equipment. The Techtronix Logic Analyzer I sometimes use is still running Windows XP with a built-in floppy.

I also use floppies to hand-out resumes, transfer files from desktop to laptop (the USB is broke), and for my older Atari/Commodore machines to back-up the ancient games.

Re:Some hardware needs them (2)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014722)

Ha! Exactly! I have a nearly-new top-of-the-line Agilent PSA and every time I need to print a screen shot I have to find a floppy disk, which sometimes takes hours. Fortunately USB-based floppy drives are cheap and I keep one in my laptop bag. (For some reason the floppy disks I keep in my laptop bag disappear, probably through the same wormhole that pens and single socks use to escape)

Re:Some hardware needs them (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014258)

Gods, remember the damn digicams that had full floppy disk drives on them? I used to work with someone that swore up and down that was the "easiest" way to get pictures off a camera and onto a computer. Apparently she had never heard of media readers....

Re:Some hardware needs them (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014362)

Still have one of those. Sony with good macro lens. Takes excellent 640x480 images, which are perfect for embedding in documentation. No reason not to use it.

Re:Some hardware needs them (2, Informative)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014614)

No reason not to use it.

Except that your cell phone probably takes better pictures.

Re:Some hardware needs them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014748)

Please point me to a cell phone camera with a good macro lens (as the GP mentioned in his post). Or are you one of those people who judges the quality of a camera purely based on MP?

Re:Some hardware needs them (2, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014776)

Except that your cell phone probably takes better pictures.

Bigger != Better

Re:Some hardware needs them (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014394)

Sony Mavica.
640x400 pixel resolution. No EXIF data. And we liked it.

Re:Some hardware needs them (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014574)

Nice back in the day, but grainy as hell now.

(Yeah, we have one too.)

Re:Some hardware needs them (1)

CmdrPorno (115048) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014442)

The Sony Mavica used to be the bee's knees for this reason. This was before most computers had USB or media readers, so a standard digital camera would plug into your serial port and you'd run through a set of batteries trying to download the pictures to your hard drive. So, for a while, the floppy was the "easiest" way to get pictures off a camera.

Re:Some hardware needs them (1)

slaad (589282) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014766)

Gods, remember the damn digicams that had full floppy disk drives on them? I used to work with someone that swore up and down that was the "easiest" way to get pictures off a camera and onto a computer. Apparently she had never heard of media readers....

They were useful in their day.

We used to have those cameras where I work. The floppies were definitely the easiest way to go. As I would find in the following years after they upgraded to newer cameras, media readers and USB cables were rare and easily came up missing in a shared workspace where many departments use the same camera from time to time, yet every computer had a floppy drive. It's really frustrating to take pictures and then have no way to get them off of the camera.

I wish they would have made a 5 1/4" version though. ;)

Re:Some hardware needs them (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014272)

I modified all my synths. I found that most have a IDE header inside and you can slap a hard drive on it (was made for a ZIP drive) so instead of having 80,000 floppies that fail the 3rd time you use them all my maps and samples are on the hard drive..

I love older E-mu gear, at least they were smart and made them hackable.

Re:Some hardware needs them (1)

yakatz (1176317) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014278)

I use them for my music keyboard and some firmware updates (mostly from Dell) which still require them.

Re:Some hardware needs them (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014280)

That's exactly why I have 3.5" double-sided double-density floppies - an Ensoniq Mirage, and Ensoniq EPS and a Cheetah SX16. Of that three only the EPS has SCSI - and still needs to boot from floppy to format a new SCSI disk.

caca prout (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014142)

caca boudin

3rd world countries (0)

stjobe (78285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014146)

People in 3rd world countries, I'd imagine.

Not According to the Article (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014268)

People in 3rd world countries, I'd imagine.

If you read the article:

But what about all the second-hand computers that are donated to the developing world? Could they be even partly responsible for the thousands of disks still sold? Anja Ffrench of Computer Aid International - the largest charity working to distribute recycled IT to Africa and South America - says that they only deal in computers from 2002 and later, meaning that they'll have the USB connection that obviates the need for floppies.

Instead the article argues that some people are satisfied with using 1.44 MB of storage since they don't do music and photography. They also point out the long life high quality machines like oscilloscopes and data-loggers that use these diskettes. As well as the theater industry and musicians that use them for synths and timing MIDI events. That's their explanation but I doubt that people accepting second hand computers are going to be paying money for obsolete diskettes in third world countries. More likely they're looking for someone giving away old stores of the diskettes with drivers on them and reformatting those.

Personally, half a year ago I wanted to add my own hard drive to my XBox 360 Arcade and discovered that no matter how I tried to make a DOS boot compact disc it would not work exactly like a 3.5" floppy DOS boot diskette. I luckily had an old keyboard driver on a floppy that I was able to format and use although I may have had to purchase one if I didn't. Although with the increasing ability of flashing my system's BIOS from the OS, my needs for 3.5" floppies are dwindling.

Re:3rd world countries (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014322)

If only you'd read the article before posting that....

Re:3rd world countries (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014330)

People in 3rd world countries, I'd imagine.

From the article:

But what about all the second-hand computers that are donated to the developing world? Could they be even partly responsible for the thousands of disks still sold?

Anja Ffrench of Computer Aid International - the largest charity working to distribute recycled IT to Africa and South America - says that they only deal in computers from 2002 and later, meaning that they'll have the USB connection that obviates the need for floppies.

Re:3rd world countries (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014334)

VHS tapes are still used en masse in security systems. But I really am struggling to think of any reason to buy floppies en masse. Even poor countries would be better off buying flash storage because of how expensive floppies are for what you get.

Re:3rd world countries (4, Informative)

srlapo (1210476) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014366)

Yes, I have to use them actually. It is the only way to pay multilateral income taxes in Argentina. You have to stand in line at an actual bank for an hour and present the teller with some printed forms and a diskette with the form file (and the money of course). And no, you can't use a flashdrive, electronic transfer or anything else. You have to use a freaking 3.5 inch dikette. It's like going back to the last century. Of course the damned things keep failing every other month so I have to buy more and more.
It doesn't help that the software to make those forms is the old DOS version with some library changes to make it work on windows. UAC sure loves it... (not)

Re:3rd world countries (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014630)

Considering how fantastically reliable 3.5" floppies are, do you believe anyone ever makes any effort to read those disks you submit?

Sony (-1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014156)

Sony announced this week they are stopping floppy production soon. Never made /. *sigh*

Re:Sony (4, Informative)

Kr3m3Puff (413047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014198)

Sony announced this week they are stopping floppy production soon. Never made /. *sigh*

You mean this article that never made /.? http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/10/04/25/0635218/The-End-of-the-35-inch-Floppy-Continues [slashdot.org]

You almost read /. less then the moderators.

Re:Sony (2)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014276)

You almost read /. less than the editors

Fixed that for you ;)

Re:Sony (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014288)

Less than the mods, even

Re:Sony (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014296)

People are supposed to read stuff on /.? I thought this was just a running contest to accrue first posts and make jokes about bad car analogies, Soviet Russia, new overlords, Natalie Portman, ??? and PROFIT!

Re:Sony (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014536)

Been a while since we heard anything about Natalie Portman, thanks.

Re:Sony (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014740)

You forgot the beowulf clusters of Cowboy Neil, you insensitive clod! Of course, I have to ask myself, "Does it run Linux?" And is it powerful enough to play Crysis?

Re:Sony (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014312)

You mean the article that was supplied as a link to this article. D'oh.

I guess I have settled in to /. too well.

Rule 1 of Slashdot: Never RTFA
Rule 2 of Slashdot: Never RTFA

Re:Sony (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014556)

If you read through the comments the article will be pasted all through it because of all the questions from people who did not RTFA. So as long as you are not first, it is cool :)

Re:Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014314)

we can't all read every story, and it's not like that particular story was linked in TFS... oh, wait...

Re:Sony (1)

Jer (18391) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014248)

Sony announced this week they are stopping floppy production soon. Never made /. *sigh*

Except for the one story [slashdot.org] posted about Sony announcing the end of floppy drive production.

Not so legacy hardware... (1)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014164)

In my department, we have no fewer than 72 machines that are about five years old and are in perfect working order for what we need. They are not quite legacy, but at the same time, you can't boot off USB. Optiplex 2xx series, go figure. The best way for us to get a new image on these machines is frequently to use a floppy or a USB floppy on some machines, again, go figure. There are a lot of oddball cases out there, but we probably still go through fifty floppies a year through all the departments.

Re:Not so legacy hardware... (5, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014350)

Oddly, many machines that _should_ boot off CD when selected in BIOS don't want to cooperate with (properly burned at slowest speed/good media, yadda yadda) CD/DVD booting.

I keep a Smart Boot Manager

http://btmgr.sourceforge.net/about.html [sourceforge.net]

floppy for those, and they'll often boot from CD/DVD when selected in the Smart Boot Manager (which can also be loaded to hard disk) menu.

Why? Beats the shit out of me, but it has worked on many machines over the years.

oldies (1)

theblackarrow0 (1695326) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014172)

Who is buying them?? My Grandpa!!

There is a gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014178)

I heard that scientists were trying to invent a gas, maybe they are using flopppy disks to save the results of their research? Linux would make it easy to create a floppy RAID array cheaply to store gas-related data on?

Floppies (5, Insightful)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014190)

I know we buy them at my lab-they are necessary for controlling the software of our scintillation counter. That thing (no joke) is running DOS 2.0 under the hood! I'm sure there's lots of industrial equipment in small/noncompetitive markets that has never felt pressured to update. It's the same reason why we have so much $500,000 equipment running unbelievably crappy software.

Re:Floppies (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014438)

True. I've used medical lab equipment (hematology and chemistry analyzers) which ran its software directly from a 3.5" floppy. I was bored one day and pulled the disk out and dumped an image of it. Turns out it was running 'EDOS' (embedded DOS?) with Intel binaries. Never did much with it, breaking a $15,000 machine and getting fired didn't seem worth it.

Old proceedures (1)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014204)

There are probably old procedures at companies that still are written to call for using them as backups or storage of application software and the politics at such companies are that they don't easily allow those procedures to be updated.

Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014210)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.

You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER

Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.

Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.

Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.

Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.

Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.

Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE

Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN

They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?

Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER BITCHES ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".

Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?

A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.

What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?

They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD

And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?

When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

One possible explanation... (4, Informative)

gklinger (571901) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014238)

I'm a classic computer enthusiast and I purchase 3.5" disks for use with my various Amiga computers. I know many others who do the same although it seems unlikely that our purchases add up to millions. Honestly, I wasn't sure what all the fuss regarding Sony's discontinuation of the 3.5" floppy was about because there are other manufacturers. One of the larger ones is ATHANA International, Inc. [athana.com] who still make and sell 3.5", 5.25" and even 8" floppy disks.

Re:One possible explanation... (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014610)

Out of interest, what exactly do you need the floppies for on the Amigas? Any reasonable sized HDD or CDs + WHDLoad, and you're done in my experience... That said though, despite being an Amiga enthusiast I'm not a gamer at all so this really is a genuine question. I assumed WHDLoad could handle pretty much anything, but I may be wrong.

You got me. (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014254)

It's me. I don't have a DVD or CD burner, so I've been trying to get my pirated material onto other medias.

I just can't figure out why people don't want the latest Star Trek movie on a simple, small, and affordable 720 three and a half inch floppies collectors set!

Old controllers on test machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014260)

A lot of old controllers for things like climate chambers and vibration tables still use floppy disks to save their data, and as long as they're not broken, they aren't going to be replaced in a lot of companies. So, we're stuck with them for at least another 10-15 years.

XP Users (4, Interesting)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014266)

There are about a million XP SP2 users who have SATA disks and keep finding their driver floppy doesn't work when they try their yearly reinstall.

Re:XP Users (2, Informative)

nlinecomputers (602059) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014504)

Mod this guy up. There are lots of issues like this that keep me using a usb floppy drive. Some software still use floppies for license disks.

Re:XP Users (1)

Big Boss (7354) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014510)

Google Keyword: "slipstream"

I would think that anyone smart enough to know about reinstalling XP constantly for performance would know about this. I make unattended install disks for my parents so I don't have to mess with it. Just pop the CD in, boot, format the drive and tell XP to start installing. Then walk away. Almost as nice as installing Linux. :)

Re:XP Users (1)

GhigoRenzulli (1687590) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014662)

Slipstreaming doesn't work very well with OEM versions. 1s44c is right, we're stuck with floppies.

Re:XP Users (1)

n1ckml007 (683046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014732)

So XP SP3 includes more drivers for SATA / RAID controllers ? Currently using a customer slipstreamed XP SP2 disc with the RAID driver.

Windows Server Still Asks for drivers from "A" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014282)

It's Microsoft's fault, If you have ever installed a Microsoft server product and needed to add drivers you know what I'm talking about.

Re:Windows Server Still Asks for drivers from "A" (1)

yakatz (1176317) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014356)

In Server 2008 (maybe only R2), you can now use a flash drive, so that use is gone.

Servers.... (1)

Shadow_139 (707786) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014284)


In the last year or so you have been able to do the following on a Server with out a Floppy drive:

Flash/Upgrade BIOS.
Upgrade RAID Controller Firmware.
Load RAID / SCSI Controller Drivers into Windows Server OS.


And this has been replaced with doing to an isolated memory located either on-board or connected internally via SD or USB, but 80% of these are emulating Floppy to boot though.

sneakernet (1)

Bambi Dee (611786) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014298)

I know of a place that uses floppy disks to move files between the machines on their LAN. And a desktop calculator to fill in Excel spreadsheets.

some countries are still in the stone age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014308)

here in romania, we still have to send our tax delcaration(and some other documents like that) via mail and on floppy disk...theoretically it is possible to send it also via email BUT, i didn't really listen further, my accountant tends to be boring sometimes

Lighting Consoles (4, Informative)

fimion (890504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014316)

Numerous Lighting consoles used by theatres and theatrical productions still use floppies. the one specific example is the ETC Express series of boards which while discontinued is still very popular in many theatres around the world.

Security through obscurity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014318)

I store all of my really sensitive data on floppy. Who would ever think to look there?

Puppy Linux from a non-bootable USB BIOS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014320)

My wife's POS laptop requires a floppy so it can boot Puppy Linux from a USB stick, you insensitive clod!

Hard drive controller is dead, BIOS doesn't support bootable USB, so it's the only way.

She just wants to surf the net, and it does that fine!

Oscilloscope (4, Interesting)

necro81 (917438) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014324)

I've got a semi-old (ca 2001) digital oscilloscope. There are only two ways to pull data off it: export a screen shot to a printer via a parallel port, or export to 3.5" floppy (screenshot or raw data). So, I've got a couple of floppies lying around. Can't say I've actually bought any in many years - I just always seem to have a couple lying around. Maybe I ought to just to make sure I've got a supply for the future.

I suppose I could also replace the scope. Newer ones can connect to a host PC via USB, or offload to a thumb drive, or be network-attached. The specs on newer ones are, obviously, a lot better, too. But, really, why spend many thousands of dollars on new equipment just to get around using a floppy drive?

Re:Oscilloscope (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014706)

I've got a semi-old (ca 2001) digital oscilloscope. There are only two ways to pull data off it: export a screen shot to a printer via a parallel port, or export to 3.5" floppy (screenshot or raw data).

Couldn't you write a real quick program to "pretend" to be a parallel printer, hook a PC up via parallel to it, and then when you "export to printer" from the scope, the PC saves the file directly? It'd be faster than the floppy, and I expect if you've got a PC with a floppy drive lying around, it's also got a parallel port!

But, really, why spend many thousands of dollars on new equipment just to get around using a floppy drive?

Definitely true... but if you can spend nothing other than a little time writing a program (which would be a fun little project anyway), it'd definitely be faster.

Backups (1)

cyp43r (945301) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014326)

How would YOU make secure backups? TAPES? We aren't made of money here!

Re:Backups (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014558)

So, 1 40gb tape, or 28,444 3.5" disks... I guess it all depends on how much you back up, but comparing a single tape to a milk crate full of disks...

Who'd be wasting money on outdated technologies? (0)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014340)

The answer is simple: the government :-D

I have a lot on 3.5" (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014344)

I have a lot of information on 3.5" disks. Tax returns dating back to the 80's. Archives of papers that I wrote in school. Old programs that I wrote since I was like 7 years old. Sure, I could convert them all to a few CDs, but do I really want to spend all that time? I also have quite a few 5.25" disks (and one computer with a working drive). I've got Windows 2 on low density 5.25" (like 5 or 6 of them). I'm too lazy to convert them to CD/DVD, yet consider them too important to just "throw away". Sure, I'm not buying new drives, but I still do use them occasionally...

Re:I have a lot on 3.5" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014622)

Sure, I could convert them all to a few CDs, but do I really want to spend all that time?

Do you prefer losing them?

Re:I have a lot on 3.5" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014698)

Toss the lot. Really.

You don't need your tax returns from thirty years ago. Your school papers aren't all that clever. It is cruft that you amass in years and it drags you down.

Get some fress air in, get a few bin bags and throw it all out. You'll never miss it, and you know you could use the space it takes up.

I use them every day! (5, Funny)

karcirate (1685354) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014364)

I have AOL and Windows 3.1 disks all over my desk, always ready for use as a coaster under my coffee.

Can't remember the last time I bought one, though. But if anyone needs a coaster, I am happy to sell you some.

Re:I use them every day! (1)

mim (535591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014694)

They're a useful retro art-deco thing for upscale Scanda coffee tables. Pretty soon they'll be in high demand and pricey.

I still have to use them on rare occasion... (3, Interesting)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014374)

The most recent example was for trying to install SCSI/RAID controller drivers on my Win XP machine. The *only* ways to install them, that I've been able to find, are by floppy disk (also required me to buy an external floppy drive) or by making a re-configured Windows install disk and re-installing my OS.

Since the former was easier, that's what I did.

Re:I still have to use them on rare occasion... (4, Informative)

domatic (1128127) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014704)

DriverPacks are your friend: http://driverpacks.net/ [driverpacks.net]

They have a very nice tool that slipstreams (among others) mass storage and network drivers into Windows installation media. I've used it for XP and 2003 and have found that DriverPacked install media will pretty much find your storage controller even on recent machines.

XP install needs then (2, Informative)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014388)

Windows XP still needs a floppy if you need to install specific drivers on install process, like SATA drivers.

Hah (1)

Derosian (943622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014396)

Just yesterday I had to explain to a female co-worker of mine about flash drives and how they were better than floppies... She was amazed, also at how cheap they were.

Ugh.. (2, Funny)

krnpimpsta (906084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014410)

stopped reading after (emphasis mine):

The truth is the 3½-inch, 1.44 megabyte floppy - the disk that made it big - has always defied logic. It's not floppy for a start. The term was a hangover from its precursor, the 5¼-inch floppy, which had a definite lack of rigidness about it. However, its smaller successor held 15 times as much data.

1) so, what is the proper term for this then? "hard disk"? ARGHHH
2) 15 times as much data in a 3.5"? ARGHHHHH
ok, fine, i didn't stop reading. i only continued reading, but irritatedly.

Re:Ugh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014572)

1) "crispy"

Re:Ugh.. (1)

uncledrax (112438) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014600)

Ya obviously TFA-author has never taken apart a 3.5".. they are still floppies to me because of the internal media isn't rigid, at least last I checked.

As for use, I've used them in the last couple years to:
- Install drivers on a Win box during install.. (WHY does VMware need a WINDOWS vCenter box?! Why can't it just be a thin-OS like ESX is?! it makes no sense!)
- Update BIOS firmware drivers on some older servers (at the time it was easier then doing it via CD, although it did take me a short wihle to find a 3.5" disk that wasn't corrupt!)

Re:Ugh.. (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014752)

1) I heard "stiffy disk" used. But never with a straight face. "Floppy" was, indeed, the non-literal most commonly used name.
2) I dunno where they got that "15" from. What does that make the putative 5.25" diskette's capacity, about 96kB? Only some really pre-historic 8-bit machines (Atari comes to mind) in a single-sided single-density mode got so little storage on a diskette.

older hardware / software (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014414)

Lots of older motherboards can only boot of floppies, not of USB sticks. They need floppies with FreeDOS to boot for the occasional BIOS update, firmware flash and other similar maintenance. Memtest86+ is another popular stuff to boot on a floppy. And some antique mother boards can't even reliabily boot CD-ROMs requiring a floppy boot-loader.

Installer of older versions of Windows XP can't use drivers on anything but floppies. Vista's installer is the first able to use other media.

As long as such older machines are around (and they will be even longer around in 3rd world) there will be a small discrete demand for floppies

Disk-based Tape Delay (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014462)

Maybe we should talk to this guy [engadget.com] .

Machine tools? (4, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014480)

Brand new computer controlled machine tools being sold today, using floppy drives:

http://www.americanmachinetools.com/cnc_milling.htm [americanmachinetools.com]

Just ask google... "Results 1 - 10 of about 13,200 for Floppy CNC mill. (0.29 seconds)"

G-Code is kind of a CLI for machine tools. Remember Logo in the 80s? Well, theres only so many ways to design a language to do Cartesian stuff. Being vaguely text like, you can figure ten bytes per line. Figure maybe twice as many non-cutting operations as cutting operations. Gaze upon a machined part, perhaps a hard drive case, whatever, and contemplate most jobs will have a couple hundred cutting operations. So, you're going to need hundreds of cuts times about 3 to account for non-cutting lines (config, comments, etc), times about ten bytes per line of G-code, figure 15K file per part. An easy fit on a floppy drive.

Now something really complicated, like a turbine or fancy rims for a ghetto car, that might fill a floppy disk.

It is a floppy (2, Insightful)

nuggz (69912) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014512)

Right from the article.

The truth is the 3½-inch, 1.44 megabyte floppy - the disk that made it big - has always defied logic. It's not floppy for a start.

Really come, it's been around long enough everyone should have peeked behind that little window and seen the disk actually is a floppy little piece of plastic.

Stitch files (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014548)

Multi-head embroidery machines use them. The last shop I worked for had around 20,000 containing design files for clients, saved over the years.

Disklavier pianos and light boards (1)

mkenig (1799742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014566)

Most Yamaha Disklavier pianos and theater light boards use floppy. I've used usb-to-midi on my electronic piano for a long time, but many owners still use floppy to record and playback. Lots of traffic about floppies on Disklavier boards recently. Also computerized light boards record cues to floppy. Theaters can't afford to replace them so often.

Entertainment industry (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014594)

Sadly there are still many lighting companies (including mine) that use lighting consoles that still rely on floppies for saving shows and fixture information. Why would they want to buy a new 15,000 dollar console when we can just go to the flea market and get a crate of un-reliable old floppies for 5 bucks!

Re:Entertainment industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014736)

Ya, I'm sure Barco is wondering the same thing after buying out HighEnd.

Posting AC for obvious reasons.

3.5" Floppy (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014624)

I've not had to use one nor needed one since 1998.

Boot disks (1)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014644)

Sometimes you need a good boot disk that will load DOS, and run Ghost on it. In my experience, making bootdisks on floppies is a lot easier than trying to use CDs or USB flash sticks. Every boot disk image I find is made for floppies, and while I can modify the image and burn it to a CD, every boot disk utility I've seen still requires me to write the image to an actual floppy disk, then burn the CD off that. www.bootdisk.com [bootdisk.com] has some great utilities, but this is the exact process that all of the images from that site require. Believe me, if I could skip the whole floppy disk step, I would. If there is another way to do it, it probably requires some expensive software to write the floppy image directly to the CD. The other option, creating a boot disk from absolute scratch, is not within my skill set. My kung-fu isn't THAT good. This means that for the forseeable future, I'm going to need floppy disks.

Another reason (1)

Rakeris (1114111) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014702)

I didn't read all the comments to see if someone mentioned it...

But in a the metal manufacturing shop that my father runs all of there presses, breaks and other equipment with some computer controls, like for pre-sets and settings use floppy drives. Equipment that costs several hundreds of thousands of dollars per piece. It's not like they have a lot of pressure to upgrade. =\

OK, I admit it. (5, Funny)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014718)

It's me. I've been buying those millions of floppy disks. No. I don't know why. I just like them. You got a problem with that?

Who is buying them? (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014738)

Who is buying them?

Skeet-shooting geeks.

GMDSS terminals on ships still use them (1)

ornel (810244) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014744)

Big vessels have to carry GMDSS [imo.org] , which are multi-channel safety and distress systems to be used in case of fire, man overboard or piracy. They have to be able to run for hours on battery power in case of power failure and to be super reliable. An important part of the system is the Sat C terminal, such as the Sailor DT4646E, which are pretty nicely built and sturdy flat screen PCs with 640k RAM, running DOS and a terminal program for Sat C communications from flash memory. They use 3.5" disk drives -- with a proprietary connector and selling for $150. And this is precisely the less reliable part of the terminal, since the floppy is always inside the drive (for saving messages) and the heads are exposed to the salty air and have to be cleaned (and replaced) often. But the things are still running (always on) after may many years.

Clearly... (1)

MoeDrippins (769977) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014768)

Bob.

Legacy products (1)

swaq (989895) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014772)

My company still buys loads of 3.5" floppies to send monthly data updates to our legacy customers. Since we charge them $X,XXX per year for the subscription we don't want to drop support. It would cost most our customers $XXX,XXX to upgrade to our newer product which supports USB drives and SD cards, so it will be a while before we stop buying 3.5" floppy disks. Our bigger problem is our slightly newer legacy products which use ZIP disks, since the drives and disks for those are getting harder to find in bulk.
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