Floppy Disks? In 2009???

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Ok, so why can’t manufacturers get their act together? What is it that make them believe that Floppy Drives are still a viable tool in the midst of USB ubiquity. USB became popular starting around Windows 98 (it was available for Win95 even!) so the demise of the floppy drive was inevitable. For all intents and purposes 9with the exception of installing Windows XP in a RAID format) floppies are dead to the average consumer.

Why is it that you still cannot install a pair of HDs in a RAID format without a Floppy drive today? I got this system here that I had to replace the motherboard with native RAID support build in. There is still a floppy controller built on to it. I mean seriously, what is with ASUS (or any other mobo manufactuer)? There is zero need for them in the mass-consumer market and even worse that you are forced to make a ‘RAID boot disk’ in order to install an OS!

And a shot across the Microsoft bow….why did you build your install with only Floppy drive for ‘RAID/SCSI driver’ install option??? What is wrong with CD-ROM’s and an option? Hell, Compact Disk Read Only Memory drives have been around since the early 90s (I recall the first commercially available one priced at $1000!).

Well, since I have pretty much concluded that my tech support days will end with XP being the highlight of it and trying to touch Vista (let alone Windows 7 , why are the guys in this video such idiots? Does watching those script-reading-morons really make you want to love Windows 7? It’s no wonder MAC ads are better! ) as little as possible, I hope that future installs go a lot easier for future techs. As a side note, Vista got such a bad rap that M$ has gone away from using names to numbers. Maybe it’ll fool people into thinking that windows 8 will obviously be a better version if Windows
7 crashes in the marketplace.

For me, I’ve pretty much jumped the fence and hit the *nix(Linux, Unix…) group of Operating systems. While I still have one working PC left (A dell 1100 system, my wife’s Compaq Laptop just died 2 weeks ago), I’m looking and possibly install Unbuntu  and saying ‘good riddance’ to Windows all together. With my move to Google  I’m freed from the needless Windows eventual slowing down to run bloated office programs taking up precious CPU time.

In case most of you aren’t paying attention, this is the way things are going. The circle is closing. The Client/Server model will prevail and your ‘computer’ will look amazingly like a Terminal once again. Oddly enough, I wrote a sci-fi story some years ago showing this exact thing. How prescient of me.

Let me explain in simple terms. Wayyyyy back when computers took up rooms the size of small bungalows, the only way to access them was through a screen/keyboard ‘terminal’ was was essentially just a screen and keyboard with a loooooong cord running back to the big ‘computer’.  You were directly plugged into the ‘mainframe’ and did your requests for programs to be run though just a keyboard and a screen. That which you typed on did zero computing. It simply was in input/output device for you to tell the mainframe what to do and it would tell you want the results were.

Fastfoward to Aug 2005 and Google Docs appears. Here you simply go to a website, log in with an account, and click on an option to create a document. Other than your screen, absolutely nothing is done on your computer. Gee, mainframe/terminal -> client/server anyone?

Google is THE company to watch for. They have been sooo smart in their product releases and marketing that noone will expect the surprises that are in store. See, everyone is concentrating on the Microsoft/Apple conflict that’s going around and with fairly good reason. Apple is the only commercial company that challenges Microsoft on a daily basis. This is why I currently own 4 MACs and 2 PCs(one working). Now, if you have been paying attention, Google has
created an operating system for a cell phone called Android. With the popularity of cell phones/smartphones, this is a natural place for a company to be in order to grown and keep being profitable. Now, in case you missed reading between the lines….allow me to emphasize with a quote from Android’s description “Android is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications…”. Did you catch that? Operating System and ‘key applications’. I give it no more than 3 years before you see a “Google Computer” that is nothing more than a ‘netbook’ with a network plug and zero storage on it. See, Google is poised to be the 3rd major competitor in this game of ‘who so controls the Internet will control the world’. Keep an eye on Google Labs for future developments.

In the mean time…..anyone got a spare Floppy drive that I can borrow? Ugh.

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8 Responses to “Floppy Disks? In 2009???”

  1. Sclavinian Says:

    Just because something is newer doesn’t mean it is better. What’s next? RFID embedded chips in our hand with our credit info? The client/server model is being driven by exorbitant per/cpu license fees. That’s ok, but when the server is offsite (as would be the case for private individuals as opposed to companies) and belongs to someone like Google, freedom dies a little more for what Google giveth, so too they can taketh away, aside from the periodic leaking out of private data that they shouldn’t have been capturing in the first place.
    My prediction is the next gen of USB keys that are also RFID equipped (secretly) so that the data can be read when you walk past a scanner. How’s that for security of the data on your USB key? It would have been tough to do on a magnetic media 3.5″ floppy, though.

  2. coffee Says:

    Ummmm, I’ve installed many linux distros in raid1 or raid5 setups without ever needing a floppy. Time to ditch Windows?

  3. The Jaded Tech Says:

    Agreed! And I am working on that that very premise. Problem is that it wasn’t my system but a Client’s computer for his business. For me, I am looking into Unbuntu for a regular OS on my old Dell machine.

  4. Greenjah Says:

    Hey what’s up man! Very interesting article. Same staff about Google Chrome you can say too. Btw I got a floppy drive somewhere at home. I can lend it to you if you need it, but you’ll have to come and pick it up, cause I don’t have a car…World is slowly but surely turns in to matrix… It’s one of our ways of development. And looks like it’ll exist eventually. Sad and scary at the same time.

    • The Jaded Tech Says:

      I found a floppy drive at a local store, $15. Charged the client $20 😉 On top of that, even for a USB external floppy drive if I never need access to any old disks I have lying around.

  5. Frode A. Says:

    I’m a little late with the comments here, but I read this just now.

    XP is an aging technology, just as floppy disks are. The reason XP install requires floppy disks to be used, is because when XP initially came out floppy disks were still the prevalent technology for portable storage. Remember that back then USB drives were still a fairly new technology, and prices were outrages for very small drives. Think $50 US for ~16MB. Floppy disks made sense in that market.

    I believe that starting with Vista you can configure and install SATA and RAIDs without the use of floppy drives.

    A small comment to your side notes about Vista, the only reason Vista has a bad rep is because of Apple’s clever marketing department. Yeah, I laugh at their ads too, but that doesn’t make them any more true. Vista at launch was a more secure, more user friendly, more stable, and more hardware/software compatible then Windows XP was at it’s launch time. It seems unbelivable, doesn’t it, but few people seem to remember that the “solid rock” that they are so hesitant to leave was in fact a complete “disaster” when it first came out. There were all sorts of hardware and software compatability problems, it needed much more horsepower then it’s predessesors to run, and it looked vastly different to the point where people complained they fixed none of the problems but just added lipstick.

    Sound familiar?

    I’m all for competition in the OS marketplace, and I believe that the push of OS X and Linux is benefiting the end users and giving us vastly better OS’ then we have ever had. I’ve used Slackware and Ubuntu extensively, and I’ve also tried my hands at FreeBSD and Back Track.

    That said, I’ve been running Windows 7 beta since it came out, and then the Release Candidate since it’s release, and you’d be hard pressed to get me to switch back to an open source alternative, let alone to a Mac.

    Windows 7 is not perfect, but it’s pretty darned close. That said, it’s not for everyone, and it sure can’t compete with the Linux initial price tag of $0.

    On another note, I find it kind of funny how everyone “hates” Microsoft because they are the big bad wolf of monopolism, but everyone seems to love Google.

    • The Jaded Tech Says:

      Oh I know why, and even understand, Floppy disks were used. I just don’t see why reason why that hasn’t been overcome in the bios because that’s where the setup begins. The BIOS simply doesn’t allow you to point to a: or b:. Just kinda stupid.

      Windows has always been a ‘wanna be’ real operating system. The MAC ads are quite admittedly funny but they always contains a strong seed of truth.

      From a support stand point, Microsoft cause a lot of problems to the small business owner. I’ve seen many times where someone was running their software on an older machine, it breaks. So can’t get Windows 98 or XP any more (yes I know, there are exceptions but the cost of those exceptions make things worse), so they were forced to upgrade. But wait…..now their printer doesn’t work…..so they upgrade…..oh wait….now their monitor doesn’t work because the new on-board video doesn’t support that refresh rate…..so many small businesses were suddenly force to spend $1000+. Not exactly small change, especially today. That would be my biggest concern.

      Now, this isn’t necessarily always an MS issue (society needs to keep in mind the dot-com crash and why it happened….greed) but they certainly aren’t helping things.

  6. Google OS | The Jaded Tech Says:

    […] like I said back in my May 16th post “Floppy Disks? In 2009???”, Google has ‘preannounced’ their Chrome Operating System. I also said that “a […]

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