On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff
YESTERDAY IN PART 1, we found that scads of 1s and 0s weren’t amenable to human memory. Stacks of punched cards had critical ordering. And cassette loading of programs was so 1970s. Today in Part 2, matters get floppy, then compact, then solid, and, if you wish, go positively ethereal.
Floppy Discs. Early computer hard drives were of limited capacity. During the 1980s and 1990s, remote storage evolved through floppy discs, remote devices of decreasing diameter, 8-in., 5 1/4-in., and 3 1/2-in., and through advanced technology, increased capacity.
The two larger sizes were, indeed, floppy; the smallest resided in a rigid plastic case. Each required a dedicated reader, possibly remote, later incorporated as an input slot in the computer.
Floppies were handy for transferring data from person to person or place to place. At one point in my Microsoft Flight Simulator hobby, scads of 3 1/2-in. floppies stored add-on scenery and aircraft. Indeed, they still do, but I no longer have an appropriate floppy reader.
CD-ROMs and -RAMs. Compact discs replaced floppies as a medium of program marketing (CD-ROMs with Read-Only Memories) and storage (CD-RAMs with Random-Access Memories).
My Flight Sim Hawaii scenery resides on a single CD. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 (aka FS9, my preferred version) comes on four CDs. (There’s also a sub rosa “crack” to eliminate an annoying startup feature.)
Man, This State is Solid! Solid-state electronics (loosely, moving electrons, not discs) eliminate mechanical devices. At first, the now ubiquitous USB flash drive was a handy, albeit pricey means of digital transfer and storage. Universal Serial Bus standards, now in USB4, were initially promulgated in 1996.
Flash drives are priced by capacity. These days, Amazon offers a 2TB (i.e., 2000GB) thumb drive for $47.98. Ten 1G devices can be had for $45.99. If you need only a couple, $11.99 will get you two 32G thumb drives.
I seem to have accumulated an assortment of thumb drives, often used in lieu of paper in automotive press kits. Once the information is gleaned, they’re available for storage of one thing and another.
And Then There’s the Cloud. Ethereal though it sounds, cloud computing is nothing more than massive time-shared data centers accessible through the Internet. As noted by Wikipedia, “Cloud computing relies on sharing of resources to achieve coherence and economies of scale.”
I’m something of a Luddite with the Cloud. See “Hey! You! Get Off My Cloud!” I’m happy to use it as free automatic backup for my iPhone. But what about all those thumb drives sitting idle in the drawer? ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2021