17 Apr 2006 nutella   » (Master)

Death to all floppy drives!
I know that non-USB diskette drives are so last century but once in a while I need them for patches or drivers or bootdisks or whatever. One good thing is that they are now insanely cheap, but the bad thing is that they are now considerably more flimsy. When building the new box I made the mistake of grabbing a Mitsumi drive for <$10. It worked fine until I decided to move things around a little and I tried to slip off the ribbon cable and found that it had detached along with three or four of the pins (and I was trying to be gentle). The replacement is a Teac and is over 50% more expensive but is much more solidly built. While I was waiting to purchase the replacement I tried to make do with another drive cannibalised from another box but when I fired it up I found that it was dead. I realised I hadn't put a disk in it in over five years and I had switched off the boot seek option in the BIOS so on the rare occasions I rebooted I didn't realise it had died. Maybe the occasional test would have been good for it. Another Teac of similar age works fine and the Epson in my ~14 year old 486 seems to be okay as well. I actually have a 5.25" 1.2 MB drive in that 486 box as well and it appears to be okay. I still have a stack of 360 k floppies from my postgraduate study days but also transferred them to CDROM some time ago. It was depressing to find that the entire text of my doctoral thesis (WordPerfect 5) fit on a lonely 1.2 MB diskette.

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