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What's your favorite old-school storage device?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / April 26, 2005 3:44 AM PDT

What's your favorite old-school storage device?

Iomega Zip/Jaz
Iomega Bernoulli
Syquest or anything optical
LS-120 SuperDisk
A good old floppy
Cassette tape
Tape drive
What are you talking about? CD-Rs are old-school to me
Other (tell us)

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"old" storage media
by speedo / April 26, 2005 6:18 AM PDT

Punch cards, of course, with those sorters and collators. Keypunch operators made those cards.
I even remember when you had to shove a sort of needle through a trough of cards, then lift to get the ones you wanted......

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CDs never worked for me
by lewis2 / April 26, 2005 6:37 AM PDT
In reply to: "old" storage media

Zip is as new as I want! I have 5-1/4s and 3-1/2s with years of storage. I'm happy and they're happy.

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It's a floppy, It's mass storage, It's SUPERDISK
by The Iron Chef / April 26, 2005 9:30 AM PDT
In reply to: "old" storage media

I was, and still am, a huge fan of Superdisk. It would hold endless documents, a ton of images, and a fair amount of video, plus it was so convienent to be able to use both regular 1.44Mb Floppies and 120Mb Superdisks all in one drive. Granted it did take up one of your IDE slots, but what the heck, it was well worth it. But, like other forms of mass media storage, it gave way to the "way to easy to use" CD-RW (not to mention, much more cost effective). But, it's still my favorite.

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120 superdisk
by sammiamm58 / June 1, 2005 9:05 AM PDT

i would like to use the120 that came with my panasonic toughbook,running xp pro,do i need a special driver?

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I still use 8-inch disks
by Watzman / April 26, 2005 6:25 AM PDT

One of my hobbies is restoring old computers, and I still actually use 8-inch floppy disks (and CP/M)

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Using 8 in disks
by Mayor / May 6, 2005 2:47 AM PDT

Do you really use the 8 in. floppies? Or are they a collectors item? I inchers, but not a bit of data on them .... ohhhhh well. Curious, what is the storage capacity of the giants?

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IBM Keypunch Cards - Fond Memories
by dcr-mo / April 26, 2005 6:31 AM PDT

Helping a co-ed pick up her dropped box of un-indexed punch cards was always a great ice-breaker in the keypunch room.

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Dropping Uninterpreted Cards
by steve7r / April 26, 2005 7:38 AM PDT

I remember not long after I started in IT, I drppoed a full box (5000) uniterpreted assembler source cards - that cost me a few beers before I got the programmer off my back! We also had a paper tape punch and reader back then - though not often used. We also used 8" floppies for OS upgrades, our main storage was 2400ft open reels of 1/2" tape and our disks ranged from EDS8 to EDS60 (8 Mbyte to 60 Mbytes) removable hard disks. We had 34 tape decks and 12 disk drives, plus two card readers & 6 160 column line printers. The mainframe has about 350k or Core Store. I even remember one of our prgammers have some ferrite core from a LEO II in his desk.

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Punch card memories
by Rahn_B / April 26, 2005 6:34 AM PDT

I keep an old punch card hanging on my wall next to my desk to remind me of my first college computer class and how miserable it was writing programs for that Prime computer. Makes me want to go give my usb drive a kiss.

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Punch card memories
by jcrobso / April 26, 2005 7:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Punch card memories

Well, maybe nightmares since I'm the one who had to fix the card readers and puches after some one jamed them up with warped cards. And then explain to them that there is no way to use a card once it has jamed. You can get the same reaction today when you tell some one that they just wiped out thier HD. John

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The best storage device invented
by gtn / April 26, 2005 6:37 AM PDT

What happen to pencil and paper.

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Re: Pencil and Paper
by Peter0423 / April 27, 2005 1:33 AM PDT

Without question, the best data storage device of all time is pencil and paper. Why? Because physically it lasts for millenia; it's not device-dependent; the information is written in languages that are stable over periods of centuries -- and there are zero supply constraints on the media! Happy

Really, this is no joke. How many worthwhile things were recorded ONLY on old floppies that can no longer be read? (Even if there were a drive to read them on, those things were notorious for losing their physical integrity and formatting over a span of only a few years; by now their contents are hash.) Optical media are an improvement, but their archival performance is an open question -- especially for rewritable media, which are after all designed NOT to be archival.

Some of the oldest documents known are on paper. It deteriorates physically unless it's well made and stored under good conditions, but we're still talking centuries here. Even a garden-variety xerox copy will be around for a very, very long time, unless it's destroyed by carelessness or intention...which is true for any data storage medium. Have you ever seen an antique book, one that was printed before this country was born? Have you ever held one in your hands, and read it? I have. Not only is the "data" still as readable as the day it was printed, there is an emotional connection to its originator, and everyone else who's opened it since...but that's off the topic.

And the humble pencil -- graphite is a mineral pigment, and those have a "shelf life" measured in geological time. Same with archival inks.

It's not just text, but images. Ordinary snapshots, decently stored, last for generations; we still have the earliest photographs, made over a century and a half ago. But if Matthew Brady had had a modern digital camera, his visual record of the Civil War would be long since lost.

Bottom line: we're putting our "eggs" -- the shared memories of our civilization -- into a brand-new, oh-wow-cool high-tech basket that has about as much longevity as a TV dinner. I only hope that somebody, somewhere, is making hard copyies and tucking them away.

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Remember the Pertech and Percom 3.5 drives
by Lynn3665 / April 26, 2005 6:39 AM PDT

had to stand in line at Radio Shack for the next boat to come in with them. But then again 1.2 kb floppies were $ 10.00 for a box of 10. God!!! am I glad the "Good Old Days" are history

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Cassette Tape
by Bequita / April 26, 2005 6:43 AM PDT

Cassettes are my favorite, because my dad used to read books out loud to my siblings and I, and he taped many of them. Most of these books have now been converted to mp3s, but only after the tapes were threatening to wear out from constant use.

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Avatar Shark!
by bookgirl / April 26, 2005 6:44 AM PDT

I still have my Avatar Shark and its disks. By the time I bought it the company was already bankrupt and I got it on Ebay. Over time I managed to buy its company logo carrying case (2, one for the drive, one for disks) and more disks. I still have my Windows 95 laptop but know I need to transfer that data to my newer laptop with Windows XP. It was such a sweet little tool. I loved the way it clicked and hummed as it stored files! Gayle

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Sadly extinct ...
by MWB / April 26, 2005 9:14 AM PDT
In reply to: Avatar Shark!

At one time I had 4 of these - average cost about $35 on ebay - and eight or ten 250MB disks. I'd leave a Shark permanently connected to each of my PCs and use a disk transfer data among them.

I never got it to work with XP, and the USB flash devices have consigned all my Sharks to parts bin, but in its day, it put Iomega to shame.

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Favorite old-school storage device - other (tell us)
by Bill Fox / April 26, 2005 6:50 AM PDT

My favorite storage device through all of school was the wire wound wide ruled notebook. It could handle input from pencils, ball point pens, and fountain pens.

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Old school storage
by pkieffe / April 26, 2005 6:54 AM PDT

and don't forget the ever important Big Chief Tablet with a No. 2 pencil...

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I remember Punch Tape
by PCurry / April 26, 2005 6:59 AM PDT

Seeming like miles of punch tape and TTY 33's.
Think I still have a roll of punch tape somewhere.

Fortuantely terminal speed are faster now.
Friendlier to the environment, well at least less lethal to the trees

Hate te thought of reverting to 56K dialup should my DSL ever fail. Imagine a download today at TTY speeds, I'll come back next MONTH, lol.


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I remember Punch Tape
by jcrobso / April 26, 2005 7:46 AM PDT
In reply to: I remember Punch Tape

Punced tape what fun, well NOT. The telephone company used to record long distance phone calls on 3" wide paper tape. Then take rolls of punched tape about 3' in daimater and put in a tape readed to read in to a computer. If somthing happned to the roll of tape the charges for the calls would be lost. Some where in the mid 1970s the switched to mag tape. John

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Short memories!
by trulyfayre / April 26, 2005 7:05 AM PDT

Do none of you guys recall 5.25" floppy disks when they were really floppy!

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fun old media
by *hal9000* / April 26, 2005 7:13 AM PDT

I have run across an enormous amount of obscure data storage devices.. some of my favotites:

a card that you could put into your computer that would read and write to a VCR using a VHS tape as the media. it was so "popular" that some tv programs would broadcast the media imbedded in a program and all you had to do to use it was record the program and play it back through the PC and you got all kinds of nifty little basic programs.

2:The Causin Strip
I love the Causin Strip reader.. it is a device that would feed little strips of paper with strange looking barcodes on them through itself and would read the data into the serial port of the PC.. it was usually 10 to 20 strips for a several hundred line basic program.. The way cool part was when you bought this thing you would get a subscription to a magazine called "The Causin Effect" and you got allot of little strips to read through the reader every month.. and if you wanted to back up data this thing was just so easy! all you did was run whatever program you wanted to back up through the encoder program and the program would print it out on your (Epson compatible) dot matrix printer.. the whole time I had this thing I tried backing up 2 programs to it probably around 50K each... 1/2 box of tractor paper and 2 printer ribbons later I decided that I wasn't going to do that again.

3: the Saba Hand Scanner (or any hand scanner for that matter)

The Saba hand scanner was an OCR device for basic programmers so you didn't have to type in all those nifty games that you found in those 100 great games in BASIC books or whatever.. all you did was run the software and start sliding this thing over anything printed in a clear system font and 123 it would display into any chosen program... it was only about 70% accurate if you were lucky... it went over like a lead balloon

ok now for an ecologic ranting

WHY???!?!? in this day and age do we use this stuff???
it needs to go away.. I know that it isn't feesable to remove it completely but at least cut WAY down on it... people just print to much.. and it is so inefficent..


this one goes hand in hand with Paper.... but it deserves an honorable mention.. Fax machines combine all the joys of a sheetfed scanner, a bad photocopier and a modem rolled into one horrible package(end of rant)

I am sure I will think of others later but this is all I have time for now


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Fun old media
by jcrobso / April 26, 2005 7:50 AM PDT
In reply to: fun old media

They were also cassett backup devices. John

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fun old media
by *hal9000* / April 26, 2005 9:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Fun old media

the stuff I was talking about were my favorites.. the Cassette was used on enumerable Commodore 64s and TRS80s from the late 70s and early 80s these things were pretty much the only game in town back then... and as soon as affordable floppy drives came out these were replaced...

on another note I remember my first hard drive

it was a 14" 8 platter external hard drive from corvus link

this thing sounded like a jet engine when it was turned on it held a Whopping (at the time) 10 megabytes!

I remember those days fondly


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DEC 20 MB RL02 Removable Disk
by Muad Dib / April 26, 2005 7:13 AM PDT

The first system I worked on had 4 of these, slightly larger in diameter than an LP, drives. One for the OS, one for the applications, one for emergency archival data storage and one for source/development. Ahhhhh, the glory days.

Let us not forget the the venerable TS-11 tape drive (AKA: Tape Stretcher 11). Quite possible the fastest way to stretch 9 track tapes ever created.

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Hammer and screwdriver time
by Willy / April 26, 2005 3:01 PM PDT

My first computer job was working at Burroughs refurb center. Rebuilds of various items and they were a different world to me at the time. It was all there, modules(real discrete componets), cards(wire wrap), hard drives(big as a refrigator), printers(those wavy. output gvt. check types) and of course my favorite, bank machines. You know the ones that took a old bankbook and typed on it. My big job was rebuilds of "crashed" HD drives, the same drives that maybe found on those bankbook terminals or as a small server to data control.

When, I say crash, I do mean crash. Since these HDs were "cermanic" and coated on one side. I took the either severly scracthed surface media disk or broken(smashed) and replaced it. Using a .001 feeler guage to gap the heads from touching the surface as the heads never moved, they were placed apart for the tracks to record. Hey, this is hi-tech stuff. Then run a test of hex output, etc. to get an exact match since
go or no go was the rule. You try to read 250 lines and see what's different. Dang!!! And of course I "boot strap" loaded it with paper tape data, finally got mylar tape. Ohhh!!!, stuff cuts your hand when new. That's it for now, I'm showing my age, where's my Rebel. -----Willy

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Where can I find LS-120 SUPERDISK
by buddy60e / April 26, 2005 7:17 AM PDT


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Where can I find LS-120 SUPERDISK
by corfguy / April 26, 2005 12:19 PM PDT

I have the drive and a half dozen unused disks...interested? Let me know
E-mail me

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You gusy must have been born yesterday!
by W3ZJ / April 26, 2005 7:21 AM PDT

How about oiled purched paper tape. I can still smell the oil on my fingers. My first hard drive was bigger than an LP record and held an amazing 32Kb of data. No that wasn't a typo, not Mb, not Gb but Kb. So how much memory did the computer have? Why a whoppig 4Kb of honest to goodness magnetic core memory. We've come a long way baby Happy

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I'll second that
by Davidjp / April 26, 2005 8:02 AM PDT

You and I must have been produced in the same era. Ours had 8Kb of memory and took two engineers two days to upgrade it to 16kb which, incidentally, cost around UK

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