My first computer was an NEC APCIII, the APC standing for Advanced Personal Computer.
And for its time, which was 1983, it was advanced.
It ran on floppy disks.Â I had trays of them, each carefully marked.Â Word Processing, for example, took about 9 disks to run. Each function of the software required a separate disk to be installed.
But in 1983, the APC was state of the art and so were floppy disks
So it was with a bit of nostalgia that I read that the Sony Corporation is going to discontinue the manufacturing of the floppy disk.
Not that I have had much use for the floppy â and neither has anyone else.
The floppy disk held 1.4mb of data.Â The postage stamp sized card in my digital Leica holds 16GB of data.Â I donât think that the floppy would hold even one RAW photo.Â Look at your iPod and then realize that the floppy does not have enough capacity to hold even one song per disk.
How far we have come, and how fast.
But we have left in our wake an endless stream of discarded technologies that were once cutting edge and are now utterly worthless.
And, in keeping with Mooreâs Law, we can only expect this rate of change to continue to accelerate.Â LPs were good for some 75 years, the iPad, probably for 75 months, maybe less, before we look at it the way we look at floppys.Â âiPad? Jeez, look at the SIZE of that thing! I canât believe we dragged those things around with usâ, like the Compaq computer my friend Jack Hitt used to cary with him. It was the size of a sewing machine and weighed about 50 pounds with a green screen the size of, well, an iPhone.Â And THAT was state-of-the-art when I had my APC, which took three massive shipping cartons to move around. (And I know, because I took it with me to France.. .twice!) Not to mention the iron block of a step-down transformer that was required to change 220v to 110v.
Ah, those were the days.
So goodbye floppy!
But what about all the material that was recorded, and still remains, somewhere on the floppy and other now obsolete media? Gone forever, no doubt.Â The videos of my ex-wedding,Â recorded on Hi8 are now, thank God,Â almost unreadable as that platform vanishes.
But over at The BBC, (where we are headed next week), they recorded the entire Domesday Book on an Acorn Computer and Video Disc Drive in 1986, thinking they were planning for the future!
Today itâs unreadable.
Fortunately, the original Domesday Book, written by hand in 1086 is still accessible.