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70 votes

Dealing with oversized files decades ago? Data transfer in the age of floppy disks

Forty years ago, a 7MB file would be unheard of, at least in contexts where floppies would be the only available means of transferring it. (Tapes were commonly used for large transfers on minis and ...
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49 votes
Accepted

Why were optical drives not used as secondary storage instead of magnetic drives?

For the simple reason that until relatively recently, it was very difficult to make a rewritable optical medium, but it was easy to make a rewritable magnetic medium. Magnetic tape as a recording ...
  • 16.1k
41 votes
Accepted

What is the massive CD drive used in the movie "Licence to Kill"?

As far as I remember, this wasn't a CD, but (supposed to be) a Laserdisc, and he was using a Philips player (the movie contained several Philips machines). Laserdiscs were available in different sizes ...
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41 votes
Accepted

How can I store a machine language program to disk on a C64?

I have looked all around online, but I cannot find on how to do this. Well, you won't, as the C64's BASIC2 does not provide such function or a monitor. The old PETs had TIM in ROM, while BASIC 3.5 ...
  • 178k
40 votes
Accepted

What is the (standardized) weight of a 3.5 inch floppy disk?

The short answer / TLDR: One 3.5-inch floppy disk weighs between 15 - 25 grams. The average (mean) weight of one 3.5-inch floppy disk is 18 grams, the median is 17 gram. Of that weight 75% is ...
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39 votes
Accepted

When did 5.25″ floppies exceed the capacity of 8″?

In practice, 5.25" drives equalled or exceeded the capacity of 8" drives when 5.25" floppy drives started using HD media. The Evolution of 5.25" Drive Systems There are only two ...
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36 votes
Accepted

GameBoy Color games do not save any more

Gameboy games use a CR2025 battery which over the years eventually dies stopping games from saving and causing previously saved games to disappear. Note however while the game is powered you can still ...
  • 476
31 votes

Dealing with oversized files decades ago? Data transfer in the age of floppy disks

40 years ago - 1978 - there was no home/hobbyist/small office computing to speak of. Maybe a few hundred people altogether. So you must be talking about commercial/industrial computing. For large ...
  • 4,508
30 votes

Dealing with oversized files decades ago? Data transfer in the age of floppy disks

As well as splitting across multiple floppy disks, there were several cabled communication options available ranging from your basic serial cables and sending data over via X/Y/ZMODEM or Kermit, but ...
  • 11.1k
27 votes

Did something like floppy disk jukeboxes for home computers exist in the 70s or 80s? Would that have been a feasible concept?

There was a product, called I think "Juke Box 5" designed for the Macintosh, which had a hopper on the top that could hold a IIRC about 20 floppies, and was designed to be placed in front of ...
  • 29.5k
26 votes

Why were optical drives not used as secondary storage instead of magnetic drives?

Write speed and endurance. Optical drive technology has been much slower to write to than magnetic Hard Disk Drives (HDDs). The erasable optical technologies that made it to mass market were much ...
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24 votes
Accepted

How does a floppy drive identify the first and last sectors and tracks?

The track identification part is quite simple. Floppy formats are standardized so that there are specifications what is the distance between tracks (e.g. 96 tracks per inch) and what is the position ...
  • 19.7k
22 votes
Accepted

Was photographic film ever used for digital data storage?

Yes, the IBM 1360 used it. The wikipedia page suggests that it could store 0.5 terabits (64 GiB) of information. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_1360 Fascinating design.
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21 votes
Accepted

Did something like floppy disk jukeboxes for home computers exist in the 70s or 80s? Would that have been a feasible concept?

Many home computers in the 1970s and 1980s had two floppy disk drives Home computers had any number of drives from zero to 6 or 8, all depending on budget. Even rather restricted systems like a C64 ...
  • 178k
19 votes

Was photographic film ever used for digital data storage?

It IS used in at least two places even today: QR codes. There is the possibility of the print media carrying it having been prepared involving photographic methods. Digital sound in movie theaters, ...
19 votes

Why Kansas City Standard (KCS/CUTS) differs from Bell 103/202/212 modem protocol?

They are different because they are meant for different use cases so they both work well for what they are meant for. One is suitable for real time data transmission between two distant equipment over ...
  • 19.7k
18 votes

Did the Commodore datasette interface provide greater reliability?

The Datassette has a digital interface, and since it is not meant to process audio signals at all, it allows directly writing sharp digital magnetic transitions to the tape, using a single monophonic ...
  • 19.7k
17 votes

GameBoy Color games do not save any more

Gameboy games use CR2025 battery, which will die and take all the data with it: It's lost for good. Saved games back in those days were preserved through the use of a battery right in the game pack,...
  • 2,434
17 votes

What is the massive CD drive used in the movie "Licence to Kill"?

That is a Philips VP415 LV-ROM player.
  • 19.7k
16 votes

Dealing with oversized files decades ago? Data transfer in the age of floppy disks

Your timescales are out. Floppies might have just existed 40 years ago, but your average office worker never saw one. More to the point, office workers didn't pass machine-readable data around the ...
16 votes

Dealing with oversized files decades ago? Data transfer in the age of floppy disks

Do have a 7 MiB file, you would need a HD at least that size. In reality even a manyfold thereof, as usually one won't have a HD with just one file. Now, in the real early times, lets say 70s, home ...
  • 178k
13 votes
Accepted

Magnetic tapes as a random access medium?

DECtape was used that way; it was wide (0.750 inch?) magnetic tape, on very small reels, so it didn't take forever to find a sector. PDP-8 and PDP-11 systems from Digital Equipment were the likely ...
  • 2,154
13 votes

What happened to bubble memory - is it still being sold?

I don't remember what the memory density was compared to today's SD cards. No, today's flash offers a way (several magnitudes) denser storage, but it is also way less reliable. What happened to ...
  • 178k
13 votes
Accepted

What happened to bubble memory - is it still being sold?

Magnetic Bubble Memory (MBM) was a technology that never found a sustained market, and was only briefly in vogue a couple of times in the 1970s and 1980s when market and technical issues hit other ...
  • 17.6k
11 votes

Did the original Japanese Tamagotchi device really die *completely* (forever) if the digital pet died?

Perhaps believing that this was the case makes for a much more interesting world, and I'll just get disappointed when you prove this to be a silly myth/lie, or possibly even a PR stunt... Proving a ...
10 votes
Accepted

Which MS-/PC-DOS version was the first to allow multiple partitions to be used?

The short answer is MS-DOS 3.3. According to the MS-DOS Encyclopedia, MS-DOS 2.0 to 3.2 (included) only supported one MS-DOS partition per partitioned device (hard drive basically). (Before MS-DOS 2....
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10 votes
Accepted

What is the history of data compression tools on personal computers?

The story is told in this 1988 usenet post by Paul Homchick: Some time went by and it was a CP/M world, and diskettes were bigger. In 1981 Richard Greenlaw released SQ and USQ, based on Huffman ...
10 votes

Was photographic film ever used for digital data storage?

Sprocket-driven 35 mm photographic film stock was used to store data in the British Elliott 803 computer. It wasn't used optically, however: it was coated with iron oxide and used as magnetic media.
  • 17.6k
10 votes

what OS runs Zip drives?

ZIP drives come with many different types of interfaces. The most prevalent were: Internal ATAPI version, most commonly installed in PCs. (An IDE version also existed, but was rather uncommon.) ...
  • 57.6k
10 votes

Why were optical drives not used as secondary storage instead of magnetic drives?

What prevented optical drives from being used as the dominant secondary storage like the magnetic disk drives in PCs? Speed Density Complexity Technological advantage of Disks Reliability Did I ...
  • 178k

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