Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 29th Aug 2012 12:07 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
Hardware, Embedded Systems "n the fall of 1977, I experimented with a newfangled PC, a Radio Shack TRS-80. For data storage it used - I kid you not - a cassette tape player. Tape had a long history with computing; I had used the IBM 2420 9-track tape system on IBM 360/370 mainframes to load software and to back-up data. Magnetic tape was common for storage in pre-personal computing days, but it had two main annoyances: it held tiny amounts of data, and it was slower than a slug on a cold spring morning. There had to be something better, for those of us excited about technology. And there was: the floppy disk."
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Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Wed 29th Aug 2012 12:34 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

I also started with cassettes and we just to smile upon earlier generations and their slow machines and storage methods. Then the floppy came and we were living the future.

Now kids don't even know what a floppy is and am I part of the generation people wonder about how we ever managed with cassettes and floppies.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by zima on Thu 30th Aug 2012 08:26 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Now kids don't even know what a floppy is and am I part of the generation people wonder about how we ever managed with cassettes and floppies.

They might not know what a floppy is - but, curiously, the kids probably use it relatively often, in a way: after all, a stylised floppy is still quite frequently used as a "save" icon in application toolbars.

Overall, "In the fall of 1977, I experimented with [...] a Radio Shack TRS-80. For data storage it used—I kid you not—a cassette tape player" came out a bit... strange. After all, many home computers that launched even half+ decade later still had cassettes as a sort of default format; in some even built-in (Amstrad CPC); remaining in frequent use well over a decade later (but we discussed this recently, starting from http://www.osnews.com/thread?523020 I believe :p ).

What would really be quaint AND AWESOME, in 1977 - datavinyl! ;) (which in fact does exist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy_ROM )

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by Doc Pain on Fri 31st Aug 2012 03:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"Now kids don't even know what a floppy is and am I part of the generation people wonder about how we ever managed with cassettes and floppies.

They might not know what a floppy is - but, curiously, the kids probably use it relatively often, in a way: after all, a stylised floppy is still quite frequently used as a "save" icon in application toolbars.
"

See ny comment regarding "old people icons" (floppy, radio buttons, bookmark, folder, envelope and so on) that are still in use today, with their origin mostly unknown by its young users:

http://www.osnews.com/thread?522235

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by zima on Fri 31st Aug 2012 05:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

tape reels: and an animated cassette tape, displayed on the screen of a DAP, feels incredibly satisfying ;)
(hm, I must dig up my walkman ...I'm still missing how one battery lasts at least 80h of playback)

Though I can't really agree that many of the listed items "don't make sense anymore" or that the "context of those icons is mostly of historic nature". Bookmarks, notes, calendars, ~folders, tools are still very popular, even if some of them improvised or if they don't really have a standard form; and digicams don't look that different from old photo cameras - all still very much "living" objects around us, and they should remain so for foreseeable future (classic telephones maybe not, but there's also still plenty of them around).
And radio buttons were always just about the name, I think... which is probably hardly even known to the general populace?

But mail in envelopes might be even more fitting nowadays - after all, usually some info that we'd prefer to avoid arrives in it ...which also properly describes email (spam) ;)

Your mention of hieroglyphs there reminded me about one revelation I stumbled on - look at some of the images in:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oracle_bone_script
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_bronze_inscriptions
...so, the Chinese alphabet was quite pictorial in nature, and evolved from that (perhaps eased by the fortunate coincidence of seemingly very "line art" style, compared to some other systems, since its beginnings). Makes one wonder what the evolution of our icons might be ;p


BTW, I actually thought a bit recently about what could replace the "save floppy" icon - and I came up with "rotating" green USB pendrive (smth similar to http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2008Computex_DnI_Award_SIG_S... but with standard USB plug, so it would be less ambiguous), only partially opened to form a "V" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tick_(check_mark) - though apparently it might have issues in Nordic countries ;) ). What do you think? ;>
(yeah, would probably clash with plenty of existing icon usage, NVM Nordic)

Edited 2012-08-31 06:01 UTC

Reply Score: 2

The first computer...
by thavith_osn on Wed 29th Aug 2012 12:54 UTC
thavith_osn
Member since:
2005-07-11

...I used was an Apple ][ with 48k in her...

It came with a Floppy Disc drive however.

Our local primary school got a VIC-20 in 1982, so I wrote code that was saved and loaded from Cassette tapes. We got disc drives later, maybe a year or so later.

I remember I wrote a program that allowed me to customise all the characters (user defined characters I think they were called), so you could draw any image you liked, as long as it was in black and white and only used 176 x 184 pixels. I remember saving this image to tape, then reloading it. It took quite a few minutes to read the image from the tape (it drew the image as it loaded).

I don't think I used a very efficient way to save the data ;-)

Reply Score: 2

3.5" floppy capacities
by mrAmiga500 on Wed 29th Aug 2012 22:25 UTC
mrAmiga500
Member since:
2009-03-20

The article says "The first 3.5” disks could only hold 720K". Actually, the first 3.5" disks were 400K (Mac formatted). They then quickly went DD (double density) - 720K on PC, 800K on Mac, 880K on Amiga - same disk, but different capacity depending on filesystem. It doubled again with HD - 1.44Mb on PC, 1.6Mb on Mac, 1.76Mb on Amiga.

Reply Score: 2

RE: 3.5" floppy capacities
by MOS6510 on Thu 30th Aug 2012 09:56 UTC in reply to "3.5" floppy capacities"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

IIRC there was a tool (on the Amiga) to use some extra unused tracks on the disk to increase the capacity.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: 3.5" floppy capacities
by zima on Fri 31st Aug 2012 06:05 UTC in reply to "RE: 3.5" floppy capacities"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2M_(DOS) & its See also

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: 3.5" floppy capacities
by MOS6510 on Fri 31st Aug 2012 06:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: 3.5" floppy capacities"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

This doesn't ring a bell and seems for PCs, but it's the same idea.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: 3.5" floppy capacities
by zima on Fri 31st Aug 2012 07:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: 3.5" floppy capacities"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

That also reminds me: LS-240 can apparently ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LS-120 ) write 32 MiB onto a standard floppy - only in write-all-at-once "burn" mode of sorts, but still... whoa.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: 3.5" floppy capacities
by MOS6510 on Fri 31st Aug 2012 07:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: 3.5" floppy capacities"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I think I have one of those!

Reply Score: 2