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floppies and cds and what else?

 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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I'm giving a speech next month for Toastmasters (a group where you practice speaking) about how computer portable storage devices have changed over time.

I can think of these:
  • punchcard - hey it was portable and held data
  • 8" floppy
  • 5.25" floppy
  • 3.5" floppy
  • CD/DVD
  • flash drive


  • What am I missing?
     
    Christophe Verré
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    Tapes (like audio tapes, used on the Amstrad CPC464 for example), MO disc, USB Memory
     
    Christophe Verré
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    It reminds me that the Amstrad CPC6128 was using 3" floppy disks. Sweet memories.
     
    Mike Simmons
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    If you're including punched cards, might as well go with punched tape as well. You could even tie it in to the infinite marked tape from the definition of a Turing machine. Though I'm not sure where you want to draw borders on portability, or distinguishing between primary and secondary (or tertiary) storage. Wikipedia's Computer data storage may give other ideas.
     
    Ernest Friedman-Hill
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    WORM/Magneto-optical drives. Zip drives (floppy on steroids), Jaz drives (removeable hard disk on Quaaludes). DAT (digital audio tape.) Analog audio tape, as Christophe says, but as used on the TRS-80, TI/99-4A, etc. Come poke around my basement, you'll probably find something I forgot
     
    Bear Bibeault
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    These were state of the art at my first job.
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    These are great comments. Thanks guys.

    Mike: Thanks for the link. I actually did look on wikipedia, which is how I found out about one of the floppy sizes. But not for the best page name.

    Ernest: I'm actually asking my friend's dad if I can borrow "an example" from his basement. He likes to keep stuff so I bet he has some things. I think a couple real examples (and not just pictures) will make it more fun to listen to. Of course, my friend lives in NYC. If you lived here, I'd be asking you for an example too .
     
    Darryl Burke
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    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:I'm giving a speech next month for Toastmasters (a group where you practice speaking) about how computer portable storage devices have changed over time.

    I can think of these:
  • punchcard - hey it was portable and held data
  • 8" floppy
  • 5.25" floppy
  • 3.5" floppy
  • CD/DVD
  • flash drive


  • What am I missing?

    Blu-Ray ;-)
     
    David O'Meara
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    DAT tapes, zip drives, external harddrives (both 3.5 and 2.5")

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zip_drive
    tapes exist in a number of formats, you could use regular ones (comodore 64) and even video tapes
    SSD external drives (actually an extension to flash drives)
     
    fred rosenberger
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    The first page of this pdf has a woman inserting a disk into a PDP-11 machine. It's a platter about 15" across and 1" thick, with a disk inside that case that's about 1/8" thick.

    It held 1 megabyte.

    I have one sitting on my desk about 2 feet from me right now.
     
    Jesper de Jong
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    I started with a Commodore 64 with 1541 disk drive, with 5.25" floppies that could hold 160 KB each.

    I also had an iomega ZIP drive, with disks that could hold 100 MB. Later there was a newer version with disks that could hold 250 MB.

    There are many different kinds of CDs and DVDs: CD-R, CD+R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD+RW, dual layer DVD, etc.
     
    Bear Bibeault
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    fred rosenberger wrote:The first page of this pdf has a woman inserting a disk into a PDP-11 machine.

    An RK-05! I remember them well.
     
    marc weber
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    David O'Meara wrote:...zip drives...

    Oh, yeah. How soon we forget.
     
    fred rosenberger
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    Bear Bibeault wrote:An RK-05! I remember them well.

    do you think the data is still good on this disk? (probably not since i've touched the Oxide...)
     
    Bear Bibeault
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    Hard to tell, but finger oils are very toxic to magnetic media in general. If you see visible corrosion, then definitely not.
     
    Henry Wong
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    Let's not forget the DASD, which is basically, a very big (in physical size, not in storage) hard drive.

    Henry
     
    Pat Farrell
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    Any movie from the 50s through 80s had big 7 and 9 track tape drives. they were about 11 inches in diameter. They were bigger than the DECtapes that Bear showed. Bigger, slower, and not really random access. You could store about 200MB on a 6250 version. See
    Tape drives

    IBM had a storage cell that looked more like a beehive's honeycomb, all robotic. Probably used in the early to late 80s.

    In the late 80s, there were 12" optical disks that held about a gigabyte. Useful for image storage systems. And there were jukeboxes of them holding 64 or more.

     
    Bear Bibeault
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    Ah yes, good old magtape!


    How I used to swear at it!
     
    Pat Farrell
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    Bear Bibeault wrote:Ah yes, good old magtape! How I used to swear at it!

    Tape is a four letter word.

    BTW, the top photo is of an audio tape, not computer data tape. Looks like 7 inch, 1/4 inch. Probably stereo, which has four tracks, two in each direction.

    Also, in the 70s, a disk pack was technically portable. They went by various names, "winchester" etc, from various OEM manufacturers. I nearly got fired for picking one up, and taking it up on the elevator to put it on the desk of one of the data center VPs. I did it to prove how crappy his security was, since I just walked into the building lobby, into the computer room through doors that were propped open, and picked it up off a shelf. Anyone could have done it, or simply walked them out of the building. The Vice President was very unhappy with me.
     
    Bear Bibeault
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    Pat Farrell wrote:BTW, the top photo is of an audio tape, not computer data tape. Looks like 7 inch, 1/4 inch. Probably stereo, which has four tracks, two in each direction.

    Dang, you're right. But if you squint your eyes it looks pretty close.

    I"m having a heck of a time finding a photo of real magtape, so here are some puppies:



     
    David O'Meara
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    Bear Bibeault wrote:
    I"m having a heck of a time finding a photo of real magtape, so here are some puppies:

    Thanks, highlight of my day so far
     
    Jesper de Jong
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    The first harddrive:



    IBM's RAMAC 305 from 1956, with 5 MB storage capacity.

    RAMAC = Random Access Method of Accounting and Control

    From: Timeline: 50 Years of Hard Drives
     
    Tim Holloway
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    Mag tape?

    This, BTW is the media that launched my career as a vendor of C++ back around 1987.

    Dang. "Pants-down" on the upload. Retrying. Drat. Try again.
    IMAG0062.jpg
    [Thumbnail for IMAG0062.jpg]
    1600 BPI 9-track tape
     
    Tim Holloway
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    And another.
    IMAG0063.jpg
    [Thumbnail for IMAG0063.jpg]
    9-track Tape with strap removed
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Bear Bibeault wrote:I"m having a heck of a time finding a photo of real magtape, so here are some puppies:

    Aww. Doesn't help my speech at all, but they are so cute!
     
    John Bengler
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    How about drum memory?

    Wikipedia - Drum Memory

    If you need more pics of this visit the german wikipedia page (strange, the first time that I found more infos on the german wikipedia than on the english one):

    Wikipedia - Trommelspeicher (german for drum memory)


    John

    p.s. sorry, I didn't see the "portable" part of your question.. I think drum memory won't be counted as portable for the most of us...
     
    John Bengler
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    I've got one more - even if it doesn't hold a lot of data, but at least it is still in use.. ;-)

    Wikipedia - Magnetic stripe card
     
    Tim Holloway
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    One of the odder removable media was that of the IBM Data Cell storage device. http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/datacell.html

    This was before my time, but a shop I worked in long ago supposedly had one that they called the "washing machine". Basically, the cells all spun around a central axis, a selector mechanism would pull magnetic strips out, wrap them around a mechanism and read them. Then, when it was done, it would return them to the bin. The nickname came from the way it would spin back and forth as different cells were selected.

    I believe that at least some models had multiple read mechanisms, so there'd be at least 2 strips out of their bins at once. However, this led to problems when it came time to return the strips to the bin, since it evidently didn't register precisely, and when the bin and selector mechanism didn't line up perfectly, the mechanism ended up jamming (crumpling) the strip back into the bin.

    I'm familiar with at least 3 different types of IBM mainframe removable disk packs - a single-platter unit in a hard shell which was also the removable disk in the fixed/removable drive in the old Prime 300 minicomputer I shepherded back in school, the IBM 3330, which consisted of a stack of 10 platters which could be picked up and removed using a transparent "cake dome" case whose handle (in the top) also served as the unlatching mechanism, and the IBM 3350(?) removable unit which was rather streamlined and futuristic-looking. All used 14-inch platters. I can't seem to find any pictures online excepting a "naked" 3330 pack, although I have some old books, I think.
     
    Jesper de Jong
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    I remember my dad sometimes taking punched cards home in the seventies, and my brother and I playing with them. The idea of punched cards is much older than you might think, it's from the 18th century.

    I also remember punched tape from my dad.
     
    Tim Holloway
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    Jesper Young wrote:I remember my dad sometimes taking punched cards home in the seventies, and my brother and I playing with them. The idea of punched cards is much older than you might think, it's from the 18th century.

    I also remember punched tape from my dad.


    Thank you very much. Youngster. I have several boxes of punched cards lying around the house, I've toyed with the idea of building a Lego card reader just to read them, in fact. Ii even have a roll of paper tape or 2, since the console on the Prime computer was an ASR-33 teletype unit (which included a paper tape reader/punch). I think the tape may be source code (in BASIC) for the Star Trek game.
     
    fred rosenberger
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    Pat Farrell wrote:Probably stereo, which has four tracks, two in each direction.

    umm....I'll grant you probably four tracks, but 'direction' is meaningless to the tape. I used tape like this when I was doing live theatre, and could read or record to any of the four tracks going 'forward'. You could also play any/all four tracks 'backwards', but it didn't sound very good...usually.
     
    Pat Farrell
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    fred rosenberger wrote:I'll grant you probably four tracks, but 'direction' is meaningless to the tape. .

    It depends. in the 60s and early 70s, reel-to-reel was fairly popular for higher end music, primarily because you could have longer uninterrupted sessions. A lot of consumer tape machines were 1/4" with four tracks. (1/16" each). If you label them A, B, C, and D, typically they would lay down the right channel on A and the left on B, then reverse the tape
    and record right on D and left on C. (note that the head location stays fixed, but you flip the physical tape, so you use the other side.

    There were many other layouts, four tracks going the same way was common in studios, theater, etc. There were also half-track machines, with wider tracks and fewer of them.

    Back OT, in the 80s, Honeywell and others stored data on VHS tapes. The tapes were exactly the consumer tapes, which were very high quality and dirt cheap.

    Someone up thread mentioned "drum" storage. They were used, probably from late 50s into early 70s. I never saw one that was in any way portable. The media was not removable.
     
    fred rosenberger
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    Pat Farrell wrote:
    fred rosenberger wrote:I'll grant you probably four tracks, but 'direction' is meaningless to the tape. .

    It depends. in the 60s and early 70s, reel-to-reel was fairly popular for higher end music, primarily because you could have longer uninterrupted sessions. A lot of consumer tape machines were 1/4" with four tracks. (1/16" each). If you label them A, B, C, and D, typically they would lay down the right channel on A and the left on B, then reverse the tape
    and record right on D and left on C. (note that the head location stays fixed, but you flip the physical tape, so you use the other side.

    I think you're proving my point. It's the player/recorder that determines 'forward/backwards', not the tape. The same tape could be put on a 2-track or a 4-track machine, and it would work fine. and a high-end machine could play the tape in either direction - although if the track was recorded 'forwards', it sound weird when played 'backwards'.
     
    Tim Holloway
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    Actually, the reason for reel-to-reel's enduring popularity for professional recording was that cassette tape ran something line 1-1/2 inched per second, whereas reel-reel commonly ran over 7ips. The flux density of the media being what it was at the time, you could get more flux changes if you used more tape, so to capture the higher frequencies better, you wanted faster-moving tape.
     
    Pat Farrell
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    Tim Holloway wrote:Actually, the reason for reel-to-reel's enduring popularity for professional recording was that cassette tape ran something line 1-1/2 inched per second, whereas reel-reel commonly ran over 7ips.

    Not really, you've got some mixed timeframes here. The pros use 15 and sometimes 30 IPS. The cassette tape was invented after the 8=track, And a cassette tape was a lot better than an 8-track. Reel-to-reel was availalbe long before either 8-track or cassette tape. How "popular" it was is a separate topic. I had a reel-to-reel in 1968, but I was, and am, a geek
     
    Tim Holloway
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    It was a long time ago. I've got a 3-inch reel of tape from a portable recorder I had before cassettes came out. I'm sure it was a lot slower than 15ips!

    But when I said "popular", I didn't mean mass-market popular. Once cassettes came out, they pretty well supplanted reel-reel units for most people. The exceptions being audiophiles and professionals who couldn't endure the high-frequency limitations. AFAIK, reel-to-reel is still used for professional recording, although some may be using digital these days. OTOH, digital doesn't sit well with everyone, hence the recent resurgence in vinyl recordings.

    8-track was an early attempt at "DRM", as it was originally intended as a play-only medium. Then again, RCA thought they'd done something clever by inventing a 45-rpm record with an abnormally large hole in the middle that required an RCA-brand phonograph to play. Until someone noticed that it was easy to make a spindle adapter.
     
    Bear Bibeault
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    Ah, I remember FORTRAN Lab, my sophomore year. There is no cry of anguish quite as mournful as someone who has dropped their box of punch cards.
     
    Tim Holloway
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    Bear Bibeault wrote:Ah, I remember FORTRAN Lab, my sophomore year. There is no cry of anguish quite as mournful as someone who has dropped their box of punch cards.


    5 points of each assignment for my FORTRAN class was having sequence numbers.

    I wrote an app (in Assembly Language) that read the FORTRAN code into tape and stamped in sequence numbers, then ran the compile from tape. Automatic 5 points.
     
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