PC floppies had already played their great part in the IT industry and it seems they have already gone off the stage. Well, for sure?

The first computer diskette appeared in the market in 1971 and it allowed to store up to 81 kB! As compared to nowadays standards, when the hard disc drives of few thousands gigabytes are installed, the 81 kB capacity sounds like a joke. However, we cannot call it a joke. Actually, these were the standards few dozen years ago and, despite appearances, these standards marked the top technology.

Floppy has been evolving for many years. Its most popular, widespread version was a 3.5? form factor of 1.44MB capacity (1987) or of 2,88MB capacity which appeared 4 years later. We are sure a lot of our readers still remember those times when they were widely in use, in spite of the fact that they weren‘t able to store even a single mp3 file. The special station drives were needed to read from them. 

When there were no CDs (as they appeared in the ‘80s), there was no other remedy but to use them. And even later, when compact disks hugely became widespread and popular, these 3.5? devices still played an important role in the market. It‘s really amazing that in spite of such small capacity they were used to store such data as, for example, games for Amiga computers.

How things are different today. Fast pen drives 3.0 or SSD drives of excellent parameters data transmission, or exchanging the files over the Internet made the floppies fade into oblivion. Certainly, a lot of persons don‘t know either what floppies were or even how they looked like. So, this is a definite and irrevocable end of this square-like data carriers, isn‘t it? Not yet. It turns out that the USA government and probably a lot of companies still use these solutions.

It seems that such important institutions use the modern technologies. Actually, it turns out that the US nuclear program in Pentagon still operates on the old computers built in the ‘70s, however, the data are not exchanged by means of 3.5? floppies. In fact, they still use these big 8? floppies, which had their market debut in 1971!

The employees tend to agree that the computers serving military goals are really old. However, as they are still reliable, the personnel is going to use them further. Taking into consideration that this all applies to the nuclear weaponry, it seems that using such old, obsolete IT systems is dangerous, specially when the new equipment, 100 times more efficient, is available in the market. The US government plans for modernization in 2017, but surely the technology allowed to do so earlier.

Performance of what devices is supported currently by floppies in the US Army?

  • Intercontinental ballistic missiles
  • Nuclear-armed strategic bombers
  • Aerial refueling aircrafts

The list is short but quite impressive. If we take a peek at the 8? floppy on a photo above, the whole situation would appeal to us as yet more peculiar. We hope, however, that the floppies are carefully stored and used. As the floppies are susceptible to damage, they could make a real mess otherwise.

The history of computers is really rich, amazing and long. As it turns out, the old methods, though greatly different from the nowadays modern laptops and smart phones, are still in use. This also provides us with a proof that, although year by year the companies bomb us heavily with the latest technologies, we shouldn‘t forget about the old equipment which improved quality of our lives.

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