Are you still using floppy disks?

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Definitely had a Star Trek moment when the 3.5" form factor became popular.


Keep in mind that missile silos were using 8" floppies in 2019.


I still have some floppies that might have stuff I want to get off of them, and I have a couple floppy drives, but I don’t have a computer with an interface. So, either I build one, or buy one of those USB floppy drives.

Probably buy. I’d definitely do an IDE hard drive interface if I do a NEC V20 board, but that’s parallel ports off an 8255, and I’d get to use the V20’s block I/O instructions. As I recall, floppies are messier to deal with.


I’m not even using CDs anymore.


I’ve used all generations of them. Going back to when I had a CP/M system with dual 8" floppy drives. But no more. I have some old ones around the house, but they have content I no longer need. Good thing, because they were not very reliable storage devices.


I finally migrated all my old floppies from the 90’s to my hard drive archive a few years ago, and then tossed the floppies. I kind of regret that now. Wish I had kept some around for nostalgia’s sake.


It was 2015. I was updating my computer room and preparing to toss my dad’s old Windows tower. Knowing it was the last chance to read them I got my collection of floppy disks and set the PC to share its drives. I mounted the shares from my Mac. Every time I used a trackpad gesture to read a disk I heard the sound of the floppy drive start spinning, and I shuddered at the cognitive dissonance.


Notably slow transition period, i’d say. Most PC floppy use was gone by the early 1990s but there was a lot of persistent use for lab devices (e.g. HPLC) and even one old server which had firmware updates on floppies which made it into the later 1990s. Anyway, still miss the area on which to scribble (like with a pen) what’s on storage these days. (“Something is written here on this micro-SD but we’ll be needing a microscope to read it”)


In 2001, we were still using punched paper tape.


The more I think about it the more I want 12" floppies. The only question is whether they should be in the old flexible Boomer casing or the rigid plastic Gen X casing.


It was 2011 when I last used an HP logic analyzer with floppy disk storage. The newer instruments have USB slots.


What I find amazing is how svelte code was back in the day to do a lot with a handful of floppies!

Today you get the most basic of apps of programs, it wants HUNDREDS of megabytes! My dude, what are you doing?


I’ve not used an authentic touch-it-with-your-meat-fingers floppy in ages; but I’ve actually used one of their historical legacies pretty recently:

I was setting up a tiered CA, with the root kept offline because of its sensitivity; and (since just transferring it over the network wasn’t an option; and VMware is only really interested in readable CD/DVD images, not simulating CD writers); using a virtual floppy disk was surprisingly high up the list(incrementally faster than using a hard drive disk image; since the system supports simulated eject/insert operations for virtual floppy and CD media; while mounting and unmounting virtual drives means changing VM configurations) of practical options for transferring certificate signing requests from the subordinate CA to the root; and the results of the signing request back down to the subordinate.

Still kind of a faff, so now we have an HSM in the picture; but that little file was doing its best to pretend to be a real 1.44mb, FAT12, relic…


I still have a portable O-scope (TDS 3054?) that only has a floppy drive. I have to save the scope captures as a .csv. I use it because it is flight-certified hardware so it can ride along on a flight for debugging.

One computer at work is used for programming an avionics box that hasnt been made since the '80s but is still in use in the world. It uses the large floppy format. The computer can’t support an upgrade and there are no funds to update to a newer technology. We have to get repair parts off ebay whenever it breaks.

Oh we also have a device that has the validated EEPROM code in a .hex file that lives on a single floppy disc. There’s no way to copy the image to our current software repository system because QA procedures don’t account for floppys and they won’t update their procedures to do so!

ETA: oops not meant as a reply


Dependency dependency is only a psychological addition; but it appears to be an exceptionally stubborn one.

(there are some things where the change in size is more legitimate, though it’s not where most of the size comes from, outside of specific things like games: icons and art assets are a lot weightier when they need to look good on various very high resolution displays; and things like nice civilized localization abstractions with all the unicode support; rather than all strings hardcoded ASCII as God and the X3 Committee intended, are larger.)


I still use them to view all of the Sony Mavica photos I took in the late 90s. I need to convert them over but I am lazy.
Also I have over 100 of them.
Sony Mavica Pic


I’ve found myself screaming inwardly before during QA spats of the “It’s validated system; can’t touch anything”/“Me not touching anything isn’t going to ensure it remains in a consistent state when it’s got 53 knows remote code executions, some a decade old!” flavor; but that has to be the worst disconnect between QA-stability and IT-stability that I’ve yet heard of.

Any time something is stored on a single medium, much less a floppy, you can practically smell the autumnal aroma of bits teetering between ‘overripe’ and ‘rotting’; so that provides a baseline level of fear; and then you confront the lunacy of a QA procedure that is trying to maintain the integrity of a file through inaction rather than through crazy sci-fi stuff like hashes, error correction, and redundancy.

I have the greatest respect for some of the people in QA, especially as I have no reason to expect that I’ll ever win my personal struggle with being chronically disorganized and unsystematic; but it’s always a bad day when one of them decides to wander into the weeds and start ossifying things they don’t understand; rather than focusing on the goals of exactly what must be assured and working with us to identify logical points and mechanisms for assurance and specifically avoid overdetermining parts of the project that are expected to be done in a variety of ways and whose output can be verified at one of those logical checkpoints.


One of the subjects I teach is Photoshop. I usually spend some time trying to explain how the icons in the toolbar relate to physical processes we once did in the darkroom.

Then I sometimes have to take a step back to explain the concept of a “darkroom.”


Thus book talks to a number of people who are using floppies in interesting ways.