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View Poll Results: Which floppy drive have you used?
3.5" 69 88.46%
5.25" 54 69.23%
8" 9 11.54%
Punch Card 7 8.97%
Cassette 18 23.08%
None 10 12.82%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 78. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 30th November 2007, 00:53   #16
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i have used the 3.5 and 5.25 ones. Infact my pc was a 386 without a hard disk (Cutting costs) and to boot it one had to put in a 5.25" floppy with the OS and after having booted up i used to put in another floppy with the required program/game
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Old 30th November 2007, 06:42   #17
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floppy!! Hmm. Has any one here have the same opinion - the 5.25 inch ones are more reliable than the 3.5 inch ones...

Anyway, my association with floppy began in school where there were 2 PC XTs, both 80286, 360kb floppy drives and 20m harddrives.
Turbo pascal was about 400kb, so it needed to be 'pkzip'ed and then copied. Alas - all these utilities like pkzip etc were to be guarded well so they are available when required. There was no such thing such as internet. So even these utilities went into floppies.

Then came the 386 in my school - wow, amazing speed and the 3.5 inch floppy drive was so small and nice, a far better package than the cardboard-type 5.25 ones.

When i bought my first PC, a 486 AMD one with 3.25 inch drive of course, i actually installed windows 95 from floppies!! There were about 20 or so floppies if i remember it right .
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Old 30th November 2007, 08:08   #18
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Floppy? Does anyone still use them. I remember getting floppies for games 10 -15 yrs ago but not now. Never used them myself otherwise. By the time i came of age the cd was in vogue. Got a computer two years ago and no floppy drive(was over budget by 10000 so saving every penny counted). No regrets though.
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Old 30th November 2007, 09:07   #19
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Default A 50-year old engineer's journey through nostalgic times

My first experience with floppies and floppy diskettes was 8-inch BSMDs (Burroughs Standard Mini Diskettes) and ISMDs (Industry Standard Mini Diskettes) on the Burroughs CP-9500 super mini at TCS Maker Towers, Cuffe Parade in Oct. 1982. BSMDs were heavily engineered. They had a hard sleeve and the drive in which they were used was complex. The drive would slide open a window in the hard sleeve, spin the diskette and engage the heads. Needless to say, reliability problems, were the order of the day.

But lets back track another 8 years to when I was 16, an Inter Sc. Student at SIES, Sion. The Intel 8080, the first real microprocessor that ushered in the microcomputer revolution was announced in April 1974. The following summer in 1975, I joined engineering college.

In Diwali 1975, my father gifted me a hand-held 4-function calculator-- a Casio Pocket-Mini. Its CPU and display driver were integrated in one chip(μPD974C). It had an eight-digit vaccuum fluorescent display. I had been trying to fathom programming, reading a Fortran-IV programming textbook.

The Casio calculator and Fortran stimulated interesting conversation with a senior colleague of my dad's. Got the coveted opportunity as a first-year engineering student, to go to Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) during the summer vacations to get hands-on training in computer programming. That year, Paul Allen and Bill Gates wrote their BASIC interpreter for the MITS Altair, the first hobby microcomputer and founded what would become Microsoft. They worked out of a mall in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Back then, BARC had a Soviet BESM-6 (БЭСМ-6) mainframe. БЭСМ stands for “Быстродействующая Электронно-Счетная Машина” “Bystrodeystvuyushchaya Yelektronno-Schetnaya Mashina”, meaning, “High-speed Electronic Calculating Machine”. The BESM-6 was a 9-MHz, 1 MIPS, 48-bit machine with 60,000 transistors and 1,70,000 diodes.

At college, we were studying numerical methods. My first computer program was to implement the Newton-Raphson root-finding algorithm to find the roots of a polynomial.

So at BARC, in the summer of 1976, I used the powder-blue IBM Type 029 and Type 129 key punches to produce decks of Hollerith cards with Fortran-IV source code. A deck was submitted for batch-processing and in the morning a 132-column drum-printed output would be waiting for me in my pigeon-hole in the varnished plywood rack at BARC North site.

Back in the late seventies, computer architecture was implemented with TTL chips and MSI logic. As an engineering student at BARC during the Diwali-1976 holidays, I learned to program in assembly language on an ECIL 16-bit TDC-316 mini.

The TDC-316 was developed in India, contemporary to the PDP-11 at Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC),Maynard, Massachusetts.

In 1976 DEC announced their first 32-bit supermini: the VAX series. Suddenly the current 16-bit machines were outdated. Data-General immediately launched their own 32-bit effort to beat DEC to market. They called it the “Fountainhead Project”.

However, two years later in 1978, the VAX 11/780 was released. Fountainhead proj. mgmt. had failed to beat DEC to market. DG then killed Fountainhead and launched their “Eagle Project” a crash 32-bit effort based on the Eclipse.

Tracy Kidder's 1981 book, “The Soul Of A New Machine” described these travails. The book won the Pulitzer. The DG Eclipse MV/8000 was finally delivered in 1980, the year I graduated.

Going back, the September 1977 issue of the Scientific American, was an eye-opener. I convinced my college librarian to let me borrow the library reference copy long enough to photocopy it.

In 1977, photocopying was a laborious expensive process. The plain-paper xerographic electrophotocopier was the size of an autorickshaw.
You mounted the page to be photocopied on an easel. Then the photographer would charge a selenium-coated photo-receptor plate with static electricity. He would then place the plate into his bellows-type view camera and photograph (shoot) the page. The plate with an electrostatic image would then be placed in an aluminum box and dusted with fine black toner powder. The toner would stick forming an image on the plate, which would then be placed in a “fixer” along with the paper. A heat-fixing process would cause the toner to adhere to the paper.

Using this wonderful machine, I copied the whole Sept.’77 issue of the Scientific American. That photocopy marked a watershed in my engineering ambitions. It inspired me to build a career on the microcomputer frontier.

Computer design has made great strides since the Intel 8080. An ever-increasing amount of functionality is integrated in-silicon. CPU-design battles are now fought with large gate count, IP-based, bus-intensive system-on-chips (SoC), designed using SystemVerilog.

The essential spirit of the high-tech industry, the feverish pace, the mystique, the go-for-broke approach to business continues, as the industry pursues mind-bending technological innovations with new blood pouring out of the engineering colleges.

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Old 30th November 2007, 09:45   #20
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i too am one of those who grew up as the storage devices grew

have used all that mentioned on this poll.

was then happy storing a whole operating system on a 8" floppy. now not content even with a 100 Gb of space on my home PC.

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Old 30th November 2007, 09:48   #21
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What was the capacity of 8" and cassete formats?
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Old 30th November 2007, 10:22   #22
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Yes, I have used the 5.25 ones - there used to be this nice DOS game called car and one would punch in car.exe to get it started.

And of course the 3.5" ones to this date when I am installing a SATA drive on XP Pro or reflashing the BIOS of some really old (but good) Dell Optiplex machines. I am glad Vista natively supports SATA HDDs.
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Old 30th November 2007, 10:28   #23
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My first brush with computers was in 1983, I guess it was some BBC computer and I assume it had 8.0 floppy disks, I cant remember exactly as its too vague now as that was in my secondary school.

Have been regular PC user since 1989 and have started with 5.25" 360 KB floppy disks, used to have a bunch of them to carry around for having my own copy of Turbo C compilers and lot of video games.

Later sometime the 5.25" 1.2MB ones started coming and switched over to them as one was equivalent of 3 older ones. Still have them around in my house somewhere.

After 3.5" floppies came, used them for a while but their significance was lost with advent of Windows 3.1 and internet, also the data size and harddisk capacities started going higher and higher make them not so useful.
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Old 30th November 2007, 10:32   #24
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Originally Posted by ankura12 View Post
How many of you have used PCs which had 3.5" floppy drives?
Going one step back, have any of you used 5.25" floppy drives?
Going one more step back, are you aware of 8" floppy drives?
Yes to all 3. My first "own" computer was something marketed in India under the name of "Dolphin". The type that you connected to your TV and came with an external floppy drive.

8088 - 8086 - 286 - You know how the story goes
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Old 30th November 2007, 11:31   #25
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I am glad to know there are so many people who do know 8" floppy disks.

I still remember the days when we used to go to IISc. with a deck of cards to give to the computer centre that was running the 'fastest computer in India' a DEC -10. Then came the 8085 Kit with a Cassette player attached to it. Further when I was developing driver software for 8 inch floppy drives on a TMS9900 microprocessor, the technical challenge would make one feel like 'surfing in heaven'.

Then when it came to developing software using microsoft 'C' on a SIVA computer that had 640K RAM and 2 nos. of 360KB floppy disks, no harddisk, it was real fun. It was also very hard toil.

Of course now with all the high speed processors around, GBs and GBs of harddisk and MBs and MBs of RAM, fun is of a different type.

The clip at which technology is progressing is really amazing.
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Old 30th November 2007, 12:55   #26
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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
What was the capacity of 8" and cassete formats?

the lowest capacity of 8" floppies i have seen is somewhere like a 80KB the maximum i have heard of is a whopping 1,200 odd kilobytes. the popular brands then were BASF and Verbatim.

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Old 30th November 2007, 14:21   #27
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I'm taken aback to realise there are people who haven't ever used floppies... clearly I'm older than I imagined! I've never seen or used 8" floppies (though I've heard of them) but the five-and-quarter ones were omnipresent in the mid-to-late 80s when I first started working on a PC. The 1.4 MB 3.5" diskettes that became popular in the early 90s were convenient to carry around, and I've used them till 2-3 years ago.
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Old 30th November 2007, 15:09   #28
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Originally Posted by gbpscars View Post
the lowest capacity of 8" floppies i have seen is somewhere like a 80KB
Lol. Just imagine all the geeks around that time going... "Dude, I fit like all the letters of the alphabet in this frisbee thing dude, can you imagine that? We rule dude. This is technology. Hey, you got some grease on your bell bottoms, careful cranking the car man! "
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Old 30th November 2007, 15:13   #29
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Before the 486 era we used to have a PC which used to boot into DOS through a 5.25" floppy and yes as many have stated before primary goal was to play games which were on many other 5.25" floppies. Wordstar was also one another purpose this PC had to be used for. Then came the era of 486 and the 3.5" for storage and transfer of files.
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Old 30th November 2007, 15:45   #30
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I remember playing my first computer game called 'Digger', which was loaded from a 5.25" floppy. Ofcourse, how can i forget 'PcMan' as well?

The first time i saw a PC with a mouse, i was amazed.
Now, i am amazed at almost everything else.
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