Tag Archive for usb flash drives

2011 – Death of the Floppy Disk

Yes, you can still buy them here and there, but the end is near for the ol’ 3.5 inch floppy disk.

Several bloggers, such as Long Island’s own Dave Daniels at DaveDaniels.com are heralding the death of the floppy disk when, in March 2011, after 30 years, Sony will officially stop making them.

The 3.5 inch floppy isn’t happy, but it’s going to make the best of it. You can find out what the floppy disk has to say about retirement in an interview published at esarcasm.com.

The ever-popular CruchGear.com reports, briefly, on how the floppy disk has fared since its sales peaked back in 1995. Should have seen it coming when they stopped making floppy disk drives back in September 2009, but then again, who has seen a new computer with a floppy drive lately?

Beginning of the end. Back in 2005 the floppy disk drive became optional on many new computers. Rewriteable CDs (ca. 1997) and DVDs (ca. 1999) where fairly common by then, and the USB thumb or Flash drive was becoming very affordable, too.

Too little, too much. Economically the floppy disk didn’t make sense either. You would need close to 700 floppy disks at a cost of $530 to match the storage capacity of a $10 or $20 USB Flash Drive (1 GB) — which is smaller than a pack of gum. $154 worth of floppies would be needed to match a $7 Flash Drive. (Prices do vary widely for USB drives. Better drives could be purchased for the same $7 or $20.)

Longevity. On average a floppy disk had a lifespan of 9 months, if you treated it well, and didn’t use it too often. The data wouldn’t completely disappear, but some data loss would be evident on a large file.

Meanwhile I have a Flash drive I bought about 7 years ago (shown at right) which I once found at the bottom of a washing machine after a spin cycle; and it worked. Later, I forgot it was in the front of my computer when I bumped into and bent it; and it’s still working today.