The diskette, more than the save icon – Juventud Rebelde

The magnetic disk was one of the inventions that made possible the popularization of computing. Still today a company sells them and is used in industrial processes

Floppy

LMetadata in a Microsoft Word document allowed the Kansas police to find a serial killer and close a case that everyone considered lost in 2005, more than 30 years after the events began.

A few months earlier, in 2004, and in a last attempt, agents took DNA samples from thousands of men who felt stigmatized by being singled out as the BTK Killer. bind, torture, kill), and wanted to show that they were not.

The psychopath who had committed the murders since 1974, in an act of arrogance, said he would send a floppy disk to see if the police could find his identity. The body of the order responded in a local newspaper that he sent the diskette if he wanted, and so he did. With the help of technology, they linked a man named Dennis Rader to the events.

On August 18, 2005, Rader, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to ten life sentences, one for each person he killed. The curious thing about the case is that in his arrogance he used a technology that he believed was obsolete, which ended up allowing the police to do justice.

And although today the diskette, for most young people, is nothing more than the icon for saving documents, there is still a man who sells them and, in some cases, these devices are used for complex operations.

ORn radiant business

Tom Persky is the owner of floppydisks.com, an Internet domain based in the United States that allows anyone who wants to buy floppy disks. The company handles the sale and recycling of floppy disksname in English of these disks.

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Two decades ago, Persky said in an interview with the Eye on Design website, he was in the business of duplicating information on floppy disks. With time and the appearance of new storage technologies, the business expanded to duplication of CDs, DVDs and even USB sticks.

However, Persky never got rid of floppy disks, and today has an inventory of at least half a million units in sizes 8; 5.5 and 3.5 inches, formats in which floppy disks were manufactured.

As the business is also dedicated to recycling, he says that he receives floppy disks from various parts of the world, mainly from the United States, and this allows him to maintain a relatively stable inventory.

About his clients, he explains that today he sells a lot of disks to floppy disk enthusiasts, people who want to buy ten, 20 or maybe 50 units. However, the biggest customers of it are industrial users.

Persky explains it this way: “These are people who use floppy disks as a means of getting information into and out of a machine. Imagine it’s 1990 and you’re building a large industrial machine of one sort or another. You design it to last 50 years and you want to use the best technology available. At the time, this was a 3.5-inch floppy disk. Take the example of the airline industry. Probably half of the world’s airline fleet today is over 20 years old and still uses floppy disks in some of the aviation systems. He is a huge consumer.

“There are also medical teams, which need floppy disks to get information in and out of devices. But the biggest customer of all is probably the embroidery business. Thousands and thousands of machines using floppy disks were built for this, and still use them. There are even some industrial companies that still use Sony Mavica cameras to take pictures. The vast majority of what I sell is for these industrial uses, but there is also a significant hobbyist element.”

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Persky’s business is finite. When his inventory runs out, the floppies will be history, though he hopes they’ll last a few more years.

Ttechnology that marked time

Although its production ended 11 years ago – Sony was the last company to produce it – the magnetic disk was one of the devices that made possible the popularization of computing. When hard drives were still too big and expensive, the use ofe floppy disks allowed the booting and operation of personal computers. They became a simple, popular and affordable storage medium.

In addition to being used in computers, 3.5-inch floppy disks with 1.44 MB of storage – the most popular format – were also used as storage media in devices such as electronic keyboards and synthesizers, medical equipment or digital cameras, such as models Sony mavica.

The floppy disk has also been associated with the storage of data beyond the material, and it is common to find them still in the form of an icon in numerous applications as a metaphor for the function of saving or saving data. Today it is even used in cases where the data is not even recorded on a single, specific physical medium, but rather in the cloud.

3.5-inch floppy disks saw their storage capacity increase over the years. Without changing their format or their external appearance, they went from storing 280 KB (the first models) and up to 1.44 MB (high-density or HD disk) and 2.88 MB (ED disk).

The 3M SuperDisk, which used conventional 3.5-inch floppy disks, had a storage capacity of up to 240 MB. However, its late development — it hit the market in the late 1990s — made it unsuccessful, as CrunchGear recalls.

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Already then, as now, floppy disks had been superseded by other means of storing and exchanging information. Hard or fixed drives were much more affordable and capable. In addition to optical discs, such as CDs and DVDs, other much more capable magnetic formats arrived, such as the 100 MB Iomega Zip.

Finally, with the arrival of the USB port and even the Internet, portable hard drives, USB sticks or email began to be used more commonly for the exchange of information between computers.

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