Dosman's Rant On Floppy Drives

    I am sick and tired of hearing people say that the 3.5" floppy drive should go away! I see all these folks on slashdot saying "I haven't built a floppy drive into my system for 4 years now, no one else should need one either". Guess what? Some of us work on systems that still use a floppy drive!!! I can't imagine not having one in my main workstation simply because I need to be able to build diskettes for other systems with it! Ok, ok. So you are an uber-geek and don't have any computers near you that have floppy drives. Guess what? IBM shipped the pSeries 690 (Regatta) with a floppy drive! (RISC/POWER4 based with 32 CPU's, 256GB of Memory (Yes RAM), 1TB of internal disk space, over 1 million dollars fully configured.) You can't buy one without it! Why??? Because there are times you just plain need a 3.5" floppy drive!!!

    Now. I will agree there could be improvement to the original design. Iomega, SyQuest, and all the others where not powerful enough to drive the floppy into extinction. However, Imation had the right idea with LS120 - make it backwards compatible, and while we're at it, improve the design some. While their drives take 120MB disks, they also take 3.5" diskettes. And, they read and write at twice the speed of a normal floppy drive when using a plain old 3.5" diskette! What a concept! Hey, IBM is shipping LS120's with their new Itanium systems. Gee, whodathunkit?

    My prediction. We will still have a 3.5"/1.44MB floppy drive in 2010. I don't see anything down the pipes that will kill the floppy any more than what has already been released. Avatar, Iomega, SyQuest, and Sony's diskette drive are all but dead. Yes, I have a Zip drive. Iomega is out of their mind to want $20 for two 100MB cartridges! A 700MB CD costs 40 cents or less, and I don't think Iomega can discount their hardware anymore without going out of business all together. Which leaves the LS120... At first I thought they should just go and die. But then, it started to grow on me. I see the benefit of having double access speeds for the floppy. If nothing else, it's the only improvement made since the 2.88MB disk - which no one adopted anyway.

    And while I am at it, I want to gripe about 3.5" diskette media. Can manufactures make any improvement here?? I can NOT buy a new box of disks without having at least 3-5 go bad, straight out of the box. I now do a full format on brand new diskettes, even if they are already formatted, before I use them. You can't be too safe, it's a real problem. WTF is up with this? I would like to slap someone over this issue. A long time ago in another life I worked at Radio Schlock. I got a $15 mail-in rebate on a box of 25 Sony branded diskettes that cost $15, plus my employee discount - I made 4 dollars on the deal. Well, at least 15-20 of the diskettes where bad straight out of the box! Maby the 1 for 1 rebate should have been a clue, but they where brand new in the box, come on! After that incident I seemed to have very poor luck with diskettes. Maby that box was cursed...

    That's all I have to say about this.