I actually used a flopy disk yesterday for the first time in months.
Floppy disks are always going to be handy for storing small amounts of data IMO. It sure beats writing data to an expensive RW CD, especially if you are not privvy to a cd burner or the right programs.
They’re absolutely necessary at my work. We don’t have CD burners installed in laptops by default, and staff have a mix of newer IBM laptops with Windows 2000 and IR links, and older machines with Windows 98 and no IR link. Floppy disks are the fastest, easiest way to transfer data between machines while out at clients.
I transfer my floppy disks to cd when I can. I have alot of floppy disks that seem to erase themselves, they aren’t very reliable for data in the long run it seems. Some cd drives & HDs use an install floppy, which can be interesting if you don’t have a floppy drive for installation
The only reason I use my floppy drive anymore is because I have an older Sony Mavica camera, and this too, will soon will be supplanted by a newer digital camera once my tax refunds are mailed to me. I’ve taken most of my files that were on floppies and copied them to the hard drive and then burned them all to a CD, ensuring that there would be enough data to optimize the CD and fill it to its capacity. I still have stuff that I downloaded from BBS systems 12 years ago on there!
While I may still occasionally use my floppy drive if I had a system without one I doubt I’d miss it.
I just bought a laptop, and I specifically bought one that had a floppy drive. I have a Mavica camera too, and until I give that up, I will require a floppy drive. In a way, floppies are like pennies - they aren’t woth much, but sometimes you just can’t let go.
The catch is, not everyone has modern computers or a competent IT staff. I’ve worked with clients who have really old computers - too old to even have USB ports so they can’t use USB flash memory devices. I’ve also worked in places where the IT staff was unable to keep either the local network or internet connections working reliably, so floppies are the poor workers’ only choice.
I use floppies almost never. Any file small enough to fit on a floppy is small enough to send by email.
Unlike Kalashnikov, it’s been years since I’ve worked on a computer that doesn’t at least have a USB port. USB ports allow for a plethora of ways to transfer files, up to and including external CD-RW drives, which are cheap these days.
If I need to move large files from one computer to another, and CDs aren’t an option, I use the memory card from my camera, together with a card reader that plugs into the USB port. Nothing to it.
CD-R disks are about a dime apiece, in bulk, which makes them just as disposable as floppies. (I don’t even bother with RW disks, even though I’ve got a RW drive at home: if I want to change what’s on a disk, I copy it onto the hard drive, make changes, burn a new disk, and toss the old one.)
I don’t like floppies. I don’t know what they make them out of these days, but it seems like every other I try corrupts anything I put on it almost instantly (this is probably an exaggeration). They’re slow. They’re easily damaged. If I need to move a small number of files, I’ll just email them somewhere. If that ever proves too inconvenient, I’ll get one of those USB keystick thingies.
I feel that for a good while yet, the easiest way for me to fix whatevers broken will be with a boot disk (ymmv). Bootable CDs, yeah whatever etc, nothings as simple as a boot floppy.
Been working on a laptop with no diskette station, and on another with neither diskette nor cd. Good sweet Jesus what I wouldn’t have given for a diskette station on either of them. It just make things easier. Apart from anything else, while as RTFirefly CDs are a dime a piece, thats still a dime, and using them as disposable media (as opposed to permenant media) gives me the guilties, both economically and environmentally.
The problem is retrofitting in bulk for businesses. Nobody in my company (6,000+ in the UK alone) has a CD-RW; standard laptop hot-swappable units are a 3.5" drive and a CD/DVD player. Email is useless when you’re out at a client, unless you rush to find an analogue phone line every time you need to transfer a single Word document. It would not be cost-effective for us, or for many businesses in the same position, to replace a perfectly good short-term solution with anything else at this time. One-shot writing of CDs is wasteful when all you want to do is shuttle a Word workpaper back and forth for comments.
The floppy drive on my computer has been broken for 2 years, and I’ve become quite acclimated to life without one. Only problem is I can’t make a windows boot disk. That had me a bit worried when I installed Linux to dual boot my computer, but had no problems and didn’t accidently delete my windows partition.
Apple, somewhat infamously, stopped shipping Macs with floppy drives a few years back. I bought a new G4 about two years ago without one. I have a box full of floppies with back ups, small programs, documents, etc., etc., from old Macs. They make external floppy drives, and I figured if I ever found myself needing anything on those floppies, or needing a floppy drive to easily move stuff from my computer to someone elses, I’d go out and spring for one. In short, I have never once thought, “God, I wish I had a floppy drive right now…”. Between zip disks, decent internet speeds, and the ability to use my iPod as a portable firewire hard drive, I’ve never had a need for one. They also have those pocket flash devices that fit on your keychain, aren’t terribly expensive, and hold way, way, way more than a floppy does.
So, yeah, I do think floppies are outdated. Unless you have things already on floppies and need a way to get it off, I can’t think of a situation where there isn’t a better solution.
I have to use them at work, but just this last week I put a floppy into my home computer for the first time in…oh, I’d say 3 or 4 years. Even then, it was just to pull the data off to burn to cd. Well, the data that was left uncorrupted after sitting in the floppy storage box for 3 years, anyway.
I don’t bother with CD-RWs, either. I figure if I wanted to keep it bad enough to write it off, I’m going to want it again. Sure enough, I usually do, even after a couple of years. “What was that cool utility again? Oh, yeah, it’s right here.”
I’m going to hazard a guess that within a very short time the only “floppy disk drive” that will be available for new computers will be after-market USB-based units. Businesses will have a couple of USB-based floppy disk drives on hand (and in the possesion of the technical support folks) for those rare occasions when files must be recovered from existing floppy disks. When a home user discovers he needs to pull data from an old floppy disk, he/she will either head over to the local computer store to purchase one or borrow one from one a buddy.
The computer I just purchased for home use came with no less than six USB ports!
(And I’ve already successfully used the following USB-based mass-storage devices on it: SmartMedia, Zip Drive, and 80MB Hard Disk. They’ve all worked just fine.)