Now that's one big floppy disc

Anything not specifically related to NBTV, but at least of some technical nature that might be of interest to NBTV members. Items for sale and links to retailers do not belong here.

Moderators: Steve Anderson, Dave Moll

Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Harry Dalek » Thu Dec 12, 2019 10:22 pm

The electromagnetic spectrum has no theoretical limit at either end. If all the mass/energy in the Universe is considered a 'limit', then that would be the only real theoretical limit to the maximum frequency attainable.
User avatar
Harry Dalek
"Fester! Don't do that to 'Thing'"
 
Posts: 4212
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:58 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Steve Anderson » Fri Dec 13, 2019 1:48 pm

Many years ago my father worked for a company called Calius Memories in Melbourne. (not sure about the spelling). They sold 'disk packs' for mainframe computers of the late 60s/early 70s. Each platter was about 14" (35cm) in diameter and there was about nine disks per pack. I can't remember the storage capacity but it was minuscule compared to today, maybe just a megabyte or two.

They were removable, much like a floppy, but heavy and big! Storage must have been a problem for large organisations like banks etc..

The 'sales pack' for these stated, "The head to disc spacing is like flying a 747 a quarter of an Inch above the ground." ...but that's sales blurb...

The arrangement was much like today's hard drives, but without the spindle motor, just scaled up significantly...

The 'drives' contained the spindle motor and the electronics to read/write to the platters. The 'drives' were about the size of a domestic washing machine...compare that to an IBM microdrive, one Gigabyte in the dimensions of a CF card. (34 x 43mm).

Steve A.
Attachments
IBM disc pack 1.jpg
IBM disc pack 1.jpg (7.1 KiB) Viewed 1405 times
User avatar
Steve Anderson
"Fester! Don't do that to 'Thing'"
 
Posts: 3998
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:54 pm
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Re: Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Harry Dalek » Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:20 pm

OH that's Monster of a storage device indeed Steve ,and to think all that work is more than likely scrapped long gone by now ...
The electromagnetic spectrum has no theoretical limit at either end. If all the mass/energy in the Universe is considered a 'limit', then that would be the only real theoretical limit to the maximum frequency attainable.
User avatar
Harry Dalek
"Fester! Don't do that to 'Thing'"
 
Posts: 4212
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:58 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Steve Anderson » Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:05 pm

I would think that a large corporation like IBM would have a museum somewhere in the US. One would hope that things like this might be on display, though probably not operational...

Other large organisations do have museums, e.g. Kodak.

The Science Museum in London has a decent sized section devoted to computers...though I haven't been there in maybe 15 years...things change...

Steve A.
User avatar
Steve Anderson
"Fester! Don't do that to 'Thing'"
 
Posts: 3998
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:54 pm
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Re: Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Klaas Robers » Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:06 pm

I know these discs and the washing machine. The pack could store some 540 MB!! I used this when we made the first CD-ROM disc in 1984. The problem was to get a considerable amount of data, to demonstrate the storage capacity of 600 MB of the CD-ROM. Nobody had so many data that it would fill the CD-ROM. We collected then about 150 MB and that was collected on one of these discs. It should be one "very large" file, which was called our "Jumbo file". A problem then was that when you wanted to add something, you needed twice that space on the disc, because computers work in a way that you copy the existing file, and then add what you want to add, and when this went Ok, the computer erases the old file. So just before that moment all information is twice on the disc.

And of course there was some more information on the large magnetic disc-pack, e.g. all the editing software. This was a "tour de force" for our IT-men. But it worked, and end August 1984 we demonstrated CD-ROM for the first time, then still called "CD-data".

Then in the end the Jumbo file was recorded on U-matic tape and sent to our CD-manufactoring and pressed as if it was sound. A CD-ROM is just a CD and can be played in a CD-player.
User avatar
Klaas Robers
"Gomez!", "Oh Morticia."
 
Posts: 1513
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:42 pm
Location: Valkenswaard, the Netherlands

Re: Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Steve Anderson » Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:34 pm

Klaas Robers wrote:I know these discs and the washing machine. The pack could store some 540 MB!!

I thought it was a lot less than that, I stand corrected!

Steve A.
User avatar
Steve Anderson
"Fester! Don't do that to 'Thing'"
 
Posts: 3998
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:54 pm
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Re: Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Dave Moll » Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:40 pm

When I worked for the computer department of British Leyland (motor company now defunct) we had rows and rows of these 3330 EDS (exchangable disk storage) units - each, as has been said, like a large washing machine. Files would be spread over several units to give an overall file size that would fit onto a DVD with room to spare. I believe Britain's National Museum of Computing has a number of units similar to these, albeit the likes of ICL rather than IBM

For physical size, however, these were nothing compared to the disc units of an ICL 1500 computer that was being decomissioned when I was at BL. These were in the region of three feet across and there was a fashion for attaching legs to them after decommissioning to use as coffee tables - a bowl or ashtray being found to fit into the spindle hole in the middle.

These discs couldn't really be considered as "floppy". They were rigid platters, usually made from alloys of aluminium. The largest true floppy discs that I have come across were the 8 inch ones (larger cousins of the more familiar 5¼ inch ones) - see image below.
Attachments
8 inch floppy disc.jpg
Last edited by Dave Moll on Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: added link to IBM archive
User avatar
Dave Moll
Just nod and pretend you understand me
 
Posts: 396
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:11 am

Re: Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Steve Anderson » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:58 pm

Yes, I remember those 8" discs. I worked for a company whose Managing Director wouldn't give up his IBM Daisy-Writer. Although desk-top it needed to be a big and strong desk.

It used two 8" floppies, one for the OS, the other held your data. It really wasn't a computer, not even a word processor, more an electronic typewriter with storage. Noisy as hell (daisy-wheel remember) and guzzled power - kept the room warn through those UK winters.

I think the discs stored a whopping 100kB! Though I think over time they went up to 1.2MB.

Steve A.
User avatar
Steve Anderson
"Fester! Don't do that to 'Thing'"
 
Posts: 3998
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:54 pm
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Re: Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Harry Dalek » Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:59 pm

I remember those first floppies as well my first 286 pc used it ......But the drives had great stepper motors for my tv projects ! but now they are now more . :oops:
27708.jpg
27708.jpg (18.45 KiB) Viewed 1325 times


I recall the zip drives they went up to a crazy 100 Mb still have one hoarder i am !
Attachments
download.jpg
download.jpg (4.99 KiB) Viewed 1332 times
Last edited by Harry Dalek on Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The electromagnetic spectrum has no theoretical limit at either end. If all the mass/energy in the Universe is considered a 'limit', then that would be the only real theoretical limit to the maximum frequency attainable.
User avatar
Harry Dalek
"Fester! Don't do that to 'Thing'"
 
Posts: 4212
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:58 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Dave Moll » Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:08 pm

I'll see your 100MB and raise you 250MB! :D

I also have have a USB Zip drive to read them.
Attachments
250MB Zip disc.jpg
250MB Zip disc.jpg (48.28 KiB) Viewed 1328 times
250MB Zip disc properties.jpg
250MB Zip disc properties.jpg (28.99 KiB) Viewed 1328 times
User avatar
Dave Moll
Just nod and pretend you understand me
 
Posts: 396
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:11 am

Re: Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Steve Anderson » Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:31 pm

Yep, I had one of those Zip-disc drives, either 100 or 250MB of storage as I recall. But it suffered the "Click of Death". It was at the time my primary backup device...not any more! It was flung out of my sixth-floor apartment window and landed in the canal below...so much for their saying, "Your data is safe here.!" Quite the opposite..."Lose your data here..."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click_of_death

Still made? If so they'd have to have made the transition to USB as the one I had plugged into a parallel port...what PCs have a parallel ports these days? Though you can still get PCI parallel cards for desktops.

Steve A.
User avatar
Steve Anderson
"Fester! Don't do that to 'Thing'"
 
Posts: 3998
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:54 pm
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Re: Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Dave Moll » Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:58 pm

Steve Anderson wrote:Zip-disc drives, either 100 or 250MB of storage as I recall.


You recall correctly. My Zip250 drive accepts either and I have discs of both sizes, as I started with a 100MB drive before upgrading to 250MB.

Unless anyone knows better, the champion for floppy disc capacity was the Jaz drive, from the same Iomega as the Zip, with a capacity of up to 2GB. I have one somewhere, but mine was horrendously slow as it used a parallel printer port for communication rather than SCSI, and I recall it was of the earlier 1GB type.
User avatar
Dave Moll
Just nod and pretend you understand me
 
Posts: 396
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:11 am

Re: Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Steve Anderson » Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:29 pm

I did think of getting a Jaz Drive but with the Zip-disk failing I lost faith in Iomega's products. And reading the Wiki you linked to I'm kinda glad I didn't buy one. As mentioned CD-R/W's offered 700MB of storage even though the ones you burn yourself can 'fade' over time leading to them simply being useless.

These days I have a gang of external hard drives hanging off the laptop via a USB hub. They're mirrors of each other so if one goes south I still have another copy of the data.

Steve A.
User avatar
Steve Anderson
"Fester! Don't do that to 'Thing'"
 
Posts: 3998
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:54 pm
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Re: Now that's one big floppy disc

Postby Harry Dalek » Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:40 pm

Steve Anderson wrote:I did think of getting a Jaz Drive but with the Zip-disk failing I lost faith in Iomega's products. And reading the Wiki you linked to I'm kinda glad I didn't buy one. As mentioned CD-R/W's offered 700MB of storage even though the ones you burn yourself can 'fade' over time leading to them simply being useless.

These days I have a gang of external hard drives hanging off the laptop via a USB hub. They're mirrors of each other so if one goes south I still have another copy of the data.

Steve A.


I have never really liked the optical disc CD or DVD i didn't know about the fading but one scratch makes them useless ..many a time found any data kept on them is pot luck if the disc still works after a few years ..reason i am turning that rubbish into records least the plastic is useful ~! ...
Yes the external HD is my hope for keeping data also , but old analog ....it seems the way to go so far for keeping information over time is magnetic tape or mechanical recordings .
The electromagnetic spectrum has no theoretical limit at either end. If all the mass/energy in the Universe is considered a 'limit', then that would be the only real theoretical limit to the maximum frequency attainable.
User avatar
Harry Dalek
"Fester! Don't do that to 'Thing'"
 
Posts: 4212
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:58 pm
Location: Australia

who needs cassettes

Postby Harry Dalek » Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:59 pm

Attachments
med_phono_tape.jpg
med_phono_tape.jpg (44.88 KiB) Viewed 1276 times
The electromagnetic spectrum has no theoretical limit at either end. If all the mass/energy in the Universe is considered a 'limit', then that would be the only real theoretical limit to the maximum frequency attainable.
User avatar
Harry Dalek
"Fester! Don't do that to 'Thing'"
 
Posts: 4212
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:58 pm
Location: Australia


Return to Off Topic

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron