Pentagon's nuclear missile system is run on floppy disks


#1

[Read the post]


#2

I used eight-inch floppies in computer science courses in the 80s. They were hilariously big and hilariously small (on the order of 100KB, if memory serves). I’m glad I had a chance to use them before they disappeared; it gives me the perspective to understand why the slightly-less-antique 5 1/4" discs are called “minifloppies”, and the hard-shelled 3 1/2" ones are “microfloppies”.

Edit: Thanks for the helpful WIkipedia link, jerwin! I was using DEC PDP-11s, so the capacity must have been 250K or 500K, depending on density. I don’t recall the exact number (obviously), but I remember it was easy to fill those suckers up.


#3

Why upgrade when all you’re playing is tic-tac-toe?


#4

In case anyone missed it, that’s not the 5-1/4" floppy disk from the IBM PC / Apple II / Commodore days. That’s a 7" floppy, the standard that came before.

I still have a copy of Crosstalk on 7" around here somewhere…


#5

I thought they were 8".


#6

Right!


#7

Pentagon’s run by Commander Adama…


#8

1970s thinking::1970s technology


#9

When you have unique legacy software, that has to be extremely reliable, and doesn’t have to connect to the internet, updating it is a justifiably low priority. The difficulty of maintaining the old hardware to run it is the only good reason to do so.


#10

Pbbt! I’ve seen floppier!


#11

Yes, by all means, let’s update our nuke launchers to a 2010’s, cloud based system. I’d feel so much safer, wouldn’t you??


#12

And remember, especially where nuclear weapons are involved…

Don’t Copy That Floppy

(YouTube)


#13

And to be clear, in this case he’s played by Lorne Greene, not Edward James Olmos.


#14

Early 2018: America’s nuclear arsenal held for ransom because Gus’s “awesome mix” memory stick was infected…


#15

Yeah, I’m kinda OK with this…

My friends insteon based smarthome has been hacked twice.
My steampowered X10 based one, never.


#16

The DoD gets mad twitchy over USB sticks.


#17


#18

Gives a whole new meaning to the dreaded click of death old floppy drives can develop.


#19

Normally i’d agree with you on this. but “extremely reliable” is never something i’d associate with floppy disks of any type :wink:


#20

And a staple can ruin them. Some kid did that to another kids floppy in BASIC class on their Apple IIe disk.