Obsolete, but not gone: the people who won’t give up floppy disks

If you remember a time when using floppy disks didn’t seem weird, you’re probably at least 30 years old. Floppy disks or diskettes emerged around 1970 and, for a good three decades or so, they were the main way many people stored and backed up their computer data. All the software and programmes they bought came loaded onto clusters of these disks. They are a technology from a different era of computing, but for various reasons floppy disks have an enduring appeal for some which mean they are from dead.

↫ Chris Baraniuk at the BBC

Articles such as these in more mainstream media are always incredibly odd to me. Nobody bats an eye at someone lovingly maintaining a classic car, or restoring an old house, or a group of people petitioning a local government to not demolish a beloved old building or whatever, but as soon as computer technology is involved, so many people find it incredibly weird that classic computer technology, too, can be worth saving.

It highlights how society views technology – disposable, replaceable, worthless, to be dumped and forgotten about as soon as something newer comes along. Even after at least two decades of articles like this, they keep being essentially republished with the same words, the same storylines about these weird people who keep using – get this! Look at these idiots! – older technology when faster, newer, shinier stuff is readily available.

I’m glad the retrocomputing community seems to be growing by the day, and there’s now definitely a large enough internationally connected group of people and organisations to maintain our old computers and related hardware and software.


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