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When was the last time you used a floppy disk?

Response Percent Votes
At least 5-10 years ago
 
79% 614
Recently — they still have some uses
 
15% 121
Never
 
5% 42
Total 777

Comments

jhawkinsf 4 years, 3 months ago

I've spent the last couple of decades hoping that computers were a passing fad, like my old 8 track tape player. I guess not. So I'm now learning how to use computers and have not yet found a use for a floppy disk.

Bobo Fleming 4 years, 3 months ago

I had an Apple II with a casset recorder in place of any disk. When the floppy came along I thought wow this is great. Then they discovered this thing called a "hard disk." Wow better. Before long there was a modem with 300 baud. It would put docs on my black and white monitor at one line at a time. Wow. Then I got a modem with 56000K- wow a whole paragraph at a time. About that time things went all to heck. I stopped using Basic and went to Windows 94,98,forgot the next, and Vista. In answer to the question about when I stopped using my floppy disk, I dont know. just one day I didnt have one. Didnt notice for a long time.

thomgreen 4 years, 3 months ago

I had one that I used the other day to level out a leg on my desk.

slowplay 4 years, 3 months ago

Floppy disks? When did these come out? I'm still using punch cards on my UNIVAC in the basement. I guess I should get out more.

bad_dog 4 years, 3 months ago

Don't they have prescription medications to treat that?

Oh, misread. Never mind. My bad...

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

Years ago I bought a card reader that was also a floppy drive. I figured you never know, I might need one some day.

I think I used it two or three times, but can't remember when.

Remember when 360K 5-1/4" floppies were what not only your data was stored on, but your operating system (like CPM) and program files, too? Remember when 3-1/2" floppies came out (the 720K's, not the more modern DD 1.4M ones), and you wondered what you would possibly need to carry around that took up that much space?

Just a little over 10 years ago I bought what was the biggest hard drive I could get at the time, a huge 1.5 GB. It cost over $150. The next year I bought the biggest one on the general consumer market at that time, a 2.5 GB, also running me about a buck and a half. I just added a fifth internal drive to my media center, a one terabyte, that cost me less than $60. But I needed it, the 2-1/2 terabytes already installed were about full.

I also just picked up an 8 GB micro-SD for my phone. Smaller than a fingernail, I have over 700 songs stored on it, about a thousand pictures, and several hours of video. With a couple of gigs still free. That cost me $12, including shipping.

I am also old enough to remember when the 'terminal' you worked at was a teletype that interfaced with the mainframe in the next room, and your 'data' was stored on piles of accordion-folded 14(?)-inch-wide green-and-white striped paper!

average 4 years, 3 months ago

360k was if you were high-end. That was the DSDD (dual-side double-density) standard. The IBM PC almost always came with DSDD. Lots of Apple's and Commodore's only had single-sided drive readers, but you could store data on both sides if you flipped it by hand.

My teeth-cutting computer was the venerable (and just plain weird architecturally) TI-99/4A. After starting with just the cassette option, we got an expansion box with the SSSD (90kB!) floppy on the closeout rack after TI abandoned the market (1984). Then continued to use the darned thing until 1993 or so (we were poor).

Last use? I did BIOS upgrades on some older Dell servers last year, and those needed floppies. Took three or four old ones before I found one that formatted okay.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

I remember that the 360's were DS/DD. I never had a SS/SD 90K, but did use some 180's. I think I may have used some of those for data, but the operating system/program files I used at the time were too big for less than a 360.

I hear ya' on that last part. I don't remember when I last had to use a floppy, I think it was the last time I had to install the netsetup file on all the home network computers and one or two didn't have usb ports (it's been a while). I probably went through dozens of old disks before I could get one to format and hold the file long enough to put it on four computers.

Kris_H 4 years, 3 months ago

You are old. I remember taking tubs of punch cards from the Personnel Office at KU to the computer room. I'm probably older, then. :D

Mike Hatch 4 years, 3 months ago

When I was a kid in the mid to late 70s, my dad would have to go into work on weekends and sometimes I'd go in with him. I remember that paper, always had used/leftover paper at home to draw on. I remember how big, loud and cold those rooms were, with the reel tapes turning and lights flashing. It was pretty impressive to a kid. But more impressive is when he'd take me to a printer, press a button and a picture of Mickey Mouse or Popeye would appear by making a patterns of X's and O's. I'd sometimes get to "work" at the keypunch machine, that was pretty fun.

I remember looking in a closet once and saw a similar picture made from lines of X's and O's on that green and white striped paper pinned up, but it was of a naked woman.

kinder_world 4 years, 3 months ago

I had to find some information stored on a floppy disk just this past Sunday. I have one computer that handles both floppy disk and DVD's. I have many pictures on floppy disks and CD's (remember when that was an option when you had film developed) that need to be transfer to computer and put on flash drive or will be lost.

slowplay 4 years, 3 months ago

"I am also old enough to remember when the 'terminal' you worked at was a teletype that interfaced with the mainframe in the next room,".... An IBM 3270. I must have written a miilion lines of Pascal on one of those.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

When I was still in high school, I flew out to Michigan State to take a scholarship test. They roomed me with some computer science students, since that was my proposed major. The guys took me over to the computer center to play a game - it was Star Trek, a battle between the Enterprise and a Klingon battle cruiser. The way the game was played was you entered a set of coordinates on the teletype to 'fire', then waited for the computer to type back to you whether or not it was a hit, and how much damage, etc.

Computer games have advanced just a tad since then.

My first major, fresh out of high school, was indeed computer science (although not at MSU). Because I made my choice of schools and enrolled fairly late, I couldn't get into any computer courses the first semester. But I saw a lot of people in my dorm sitting up at 3:00 am carrying binders full of that green-and-white paper, waiting until their turn to go over to the computer center to type in their homework and see if it worked.

My second semester I had a new major.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 3 months ago

"My second semester I had a new major." ROFL!!

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

Hey, I lived in "The Jungle' at UConn - those kind of hours would have put a serious dent in the higher priority activities available.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

Still, some must have been impressed, as 5-1/2" floppies are also 5-1/2" WIDE!

equalaccessprivacy 4 years, 3 months ago

Recently had to reload my operating system via a disk from the computer manufacturer. The internal partition wouldn't work due to a previous hard drive replacement. I guess I need to figure out how to use flash drives.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 3 months ago

I grew up with computers (and I'm nearly 60). My mother went to school when I was little to become a keypunch operator. Her first job was with the IRS when they maintained a huge complex out on Bannister Road and 95th in KCMO. (It was actually the same complex where they developed the Titan II nuclear missile.) By the time I was a teenager she had moved on and was doing keytape. At that time, though, a lot of businesses were still using keypunch cards. When i was 18 my boyfriend was a DJ for the old KBEY radio station, the first "album rock" radio station in KC. The studios were literally right down the street from my parent's house and I would go hang out with him. About that time the station computerized KBEA, their AM radio station side, and there was a computer that took up the entire room next to the BF's broadcast studio. At night, it was the responsibility of the DJs to keep an eye on it and there were windows from the studio into the computer room. One night BF was doing his show and I was hanging out with him when we both looked up and realized there was literally a blizzard of keypunch cards being spewed out of the computer. Fun times. By 1977 I was living in Portland OR and married. My husband, a biologist, did part time work with OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. One night we went to a party at an OMSI collegue's house and he showed us his pride and joy; a dumb terminal that connected over dedicated phone lines to the main frame at OMSI. We all ooo'ed and ahhed as he showed us how it would play Craps in ASCII with the mainframe. In 1979 I acquired my first PC, a TRS 80 LvLII with a whole whopping 16K of RAM. The keyboard connected to the monitor and was all one unit. Everything was in ASCII and program files loaded in via a cassette deck. Two years later I got an Atari 800XL that used 5 1/4 floppies (and actually had real graphics, OMG!) and about three years later a Commodore 64. My husband died in '85 and due to financial reverses from that I didn't get a new computer again until '91 when I got a one Meg Amiga, my first experience with a hard disk computer. The OS (called Workbench) was itself on a hard disk. I had that for 5 years (money was tight and I was busy having more babies) and in '96 I finally got my first comp with a hard drive. My sister built it for me. She kept up with stuff better than I did and was running her own BBS. That was also when I got my first e-mail address and got into the heyday of Usenet, the first real social networking system. I had some familiarity with BASIC all of these years but that was when I got into MUDs and started playing with C+. (I actually still have a book called "Secrets of a MUD Wizard".) I'm not going into how many comps I've had since then. Parts got exchanged and the one I have now is just a metamorphosis. Suffice it to say that the last case I had before this one still actually had a slot for hard disks. This one doesn't.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 3 months ago

Wow! Sorry for writing a book but it was fun going through all of those memories.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 3 months ago

Holy cow! Somebody that actually knows what "telnet" is!

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

When I was getting my masters, the school gave out software for a telnet client, because that's how we registered for classes, got our grades, etc. Just stop talking about [whisper] usenet [end whisper], which is still around and one of the best kept secrets on the internet. Forget about Napster and Kazaa - how do you think I filled up 3-1/2 terabytes with movies, music, software, etc.?

average 4 years, 3 months ago

Anyone at KU from 1993 or so (when e-mailing got ubiquitous, even among lib-arts majors) to 1998ish knew how to telnet to eagle, falcon, or kuhub. Many of those people didn't know any UNIX command other than 'pine', but they telnet'd in.

Jason Bennett 4 years, 3 months ago

I got into playing a MUD more than 15 years ago... I still log in and play sometimes, and there are usually still at least 50 people playing, 24 hours a day. t2tmud.org port 9999. - Called The Two Towers LP MUD. Some of the most amazing coding ever and continually expanded since its creation. I shudder to think of how many hours of my life I wasted away on there.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 3 months ago

I got into playing on MOOs (MUD Object Oriented) and still have a player on the original Lambda MOO that was started at Xerox, although it's been more than a year since I last logged in. I have a MOO core backed up on CDR to this day but it's buried in my storage locker.

Paul Decelles 4 years, 3 months ago

Cait,

I miss the intimacy of the old bbs systems. We had a number of good bbs in Lawrence. I never got much into MUD's though.

blindrabbit 4 years, 3 months ago

I tried one many years ago but the more rigid original Frisbies fly much better!

George_Braziller 4 years, 3 months ago

First "portable" computer I used was a Columbia in 1986 and it had two drives for floppy disks. One for the program and one for storing your work. Even being portable it still was larger and weighed more than a sewing machine. The tiny amber screen was only slightly larger than the floppy disk.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

You had one of the high-end machines. I was in school at the time, and I remember we all rushed into the computer center when class started to make sure we got one of the machines with two floppy drives, so we didn't have to put in the first disk with the operating system, take it out and put in the program file, take it out to put in the data disk to store our work ...

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

Thank heavens you weren't approaching the 640K memory barrier! Remember around the PS-2 era, when you could buy SIMM's that went over 640K, but you generally had to install an extended memory manager card to put them on?

You know, it's funny all of us remember the green-and-white paper so well, but I don't remember when it went away. I remember a lot of the quantum shifts, like from floppies to hard drives, monochrome to color monitors, etc., but I can't remember when I switched from accordion-fold paper with holes on the sides to a sheet-fed plain paper printer. I know I went through my second go-round at college with a dot-matrix printer and micro-perf. I also remember having to re-print some rather lengthy papers because the sheets tore when I was trying to remove the edges.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

Keypunches were fun. You'd wrap them around a drum and feed in other cards, typing away....what were those boards called that you'd pull out to plug in the cables in various cofigurations, depending on what you were trying to do? Ah, the days of fortran.... (go to top)

gphawk89 4 years, 3 months ago

Last month. Lots of motherboards still require a floppy drive to do BIOS updates. You'd think the board manufacturers could have come up with something better by now.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

The motherboard in this computer does 'live' updates, you install them with the operating system up and running and it flashes the BIOS on reboot. The computer this one replaced did that, too, but I had to build it with a floppy drive (since removed) since the SATA/RAID drivers came on floppy. There are still twouters in this house that eed floppies flash the BIOS, though. I know there are still a lot of computers out there that have to have a floppy for BIOS updates, but I think those will fade away fairly quickly. But of course, all that means is they'll come up with something NEW to make all our systems obsolete!

You know the Hubble telescope is controlled by an x386? I wonder how they update the firmware on that!

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