Living in the future: Floppies

In one of the boxes I pulled out of the garage a couple weeks ago, there were 100+ 3.5" floppy disks and four Zip disks (and a few data CDs), all of which I had rescued from my father's house in March of 2005. They've been sitting in a box in my garage ever since.

I have a Zip drive, but it has a Firewire connector, which none of my computers still have. But Kam happened to have a Zip drive with a USB connector in a box in my garage, so yesterday I copied everything off the Zip disks.

But I still didn't have a floppy drive. So I decided to order one online. I checked Google Shopping Express, but their floppy drives would've come from Fry's, which I try to avoid if at all possible. So I checked Amazon, and found an external USB floppy drive for under $15, and chose same-day delivery for less than $10. And the drive was just delivered to my doorstep, about fourteen hours after I ordered it. On a Sunday. And now I can read the floppies.

And now the chorus to Paul Simon's “Boy in the Bubble” keeps running through my head: Days of miracle and wonder indeed, when I can quickly and easily and inexpensively order a piece of semi-obsolete technology late on a Saturday night and it'll be delivered to my doorstep on Sunday morning.

The disks themselves are unlikely to contain anything of much value. The Zip disks (100 megabytes! On a single disk! Such enormous capacity!) appear to be related to a class that I'm guessing Nancy must have taken, but if I'm interpreting them right, it's not work that she did, it's just stuff that was handed out as part of the class. The floppies that I've looked at so far are just the executables of Windows applications. And if there is anything worth keeping, it'll probably be Nancy's (I don't recognize Peter's handwriting on most of the disk labels), in which case I'll burn a CD of the data and send it to Nancy's sister. But one way or another, it'll be good to be done with this task and to be able to dispose of the disks.

(If any of you want a bunch of floppies and a couple of Zip disks, let me know.)

(There's some further discussion in comments on the Facebook version of this post.)

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