April 27, 2010 Leave a comment
Today, Sony announced it’s ceasing production of the 3.5-inch floppy disc. When you’ve got thumb drives that can easily hold as much data as about, what, half a million of these things, it’s not surprising they didn’t make the latest technology cut. Computers don’t even come with floppy drives anymore, depriving today’s generation of computer gamers to joys of swapping out half a dozen discs just to install a game.
Of course, I remember when you had to install programs from a cassette player attached to a computer whose monitor was whatever TV happened to be handy. It could take up to an hour to load a simple text adventure, and you had to do it every single time you wanted to play. Add that to having to dodge dinosaurs and having no cure for polio, and things were rough back then.
I have to admit though, I have a lot of nostalgia for the “simpler” technological times. I remember trying to come up with cool names for all the 3.5 floppies I had, and finally settling on orc names from The Lord of the Rings, with Grishnakh full of Mac stuff and Shagrat full of PC documents. There was the never-ending dance of trying to figure out which drivers to load in order to have enough memory to run something, and the cryptic symphony of DOS commands that required two lines of text to save a document. But the best thing was listening to a modem fire up as you connected to the internet. There was something about those strange sounds pinging out of your computer that made it feel as if you were entering some mysterious portal to an unexplored world. A world full of porn and Hamster Dance sites, true, but a new world nonetheless.
But now we’re connected all the time, and the internet is simply a mouse click away. The porn’s still there, even if the Hamster Dance isn’t, and I’ll leave it to wiser souls than me to debate the wisdom of how that turned out. But as amazing as some of this new tech is, it doesn’t quite have the charm that some of the older, clunkier tech did.
And we sure weren’t getting sued over copying music on our cassette tapes either.