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The End of the 3.5-inch Floppy Continues 472

Posted by timothy
from the finally-we-can-standardize-on-bernoulli dept.
JoshuaInNippon writes "In a brief press release buried within Sony Japan's website, the company announced that it would be ending sales of the classic 3.5-inch diskette in the country in March 2011. Sony introduced the size to the world in 1981, and it saw its heyday in the 1990s. Sony has been one of the last major manufacturers to continue shipments of the disk type it helped develop, but had ended most worldwide sales in March of this year. The company's production of the 3.5-inch floppy ceased in 2009. Sony noted demand, or lack thereof, as the reason. The company's withdrawal is one of the final acts in the slow death of the floppy era."
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The End of the 3.5-inch Floppy Continues

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  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:21AM (#31973154)

    Ever tried to get a driver for your HD controller into Windows during setup?

  • by couchslug (175151) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:25AM (#31973174)

    "Ever tried to get a driver for your HD controller into Windows during setup?"

    Once, years ago, at which point I discovered slipstreaming (much love for nlite) and never looked back.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:36AM (#31973242)

    Yes, it's extremely unreliable and prone to failure and data loss. Yes, the storage space is pathetic. Yes, many modern computers don't have a drive to use it. But there are still some cases where it can be better than the alternative: when you need to record something very fast, very cheap, and very small.

    E.g.: college. Professors and instructors are still stuck in the 80s and demand students give a "physical" copy of their work, rather than accept it by e-mail or online CMS. The typical college student, naturally, would not bother recording the work on a physical medium until 2 minutes before class. CD recorders are just a tad slower than floppies, and besides, colleges don't like upgrading their computers that often, so even today many labs and libraries have computers with a floppy drive but not a CD burner. So floppy to the rescue.

    And, of course, any sysadmin stuck with legacy hardware that can, in lieu of a hard drive with an OS, can only boot off a floppy.

    Flash keys are far better for personal data storage of all but the largest data sizes, to both CDs and floppies, but unfortunately even the smallest data-size flash drives are too expensive to use as a discardable medium, akin to a CD or floppy. Still waiting until small-sized flash drives sell for less than $1 a piece, so we can record something on them and give away without consequence.

  • Re:Reminder (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sepultura (150245) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:37AM (#31973258)

    If you just look at the PC market you're right - floppies have been out of fashion for quite some time, and I don't think I've used one in at least a decade either, although I know some individuals in education who still have all of their crucial data (exams, assignments, custom s/w for their field, etc.) on 3.5"s.

    However, where this really could cause problems is in some embedded systems. For some reason a lot of manufacturers of CNC equipment, like VMCs or even embroidery machines, stuck with the ubiquitous floppy for far too long. I know at least as late as 05-06 Haas CNC was still using floppies.

    It looks to me like makers of floppy to usb adapters [floppytousb.com] are going to be in for a boon.

  • by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Sunday April 25, 2010 @08:01AM (#31973410) Homepage Journal

    Slightly faster than burning, but recording a full floppy still takes some time definitely not instant.

    "no fucking burning": you don't have to start a separate application (such as Nero, InfraRecorder, or Brasero) and create a "new project" to put files on a floppy. Instead, floppies mount like SD cards or USB flash drives (or more accurately vice versa).

    But I do wish we had disposable USB drives. If they now sell 32GB USB drives for $60, why can't they make a 256MB USB drive for $1?

    USB is still patented. Even after the patents expire sometime around 2020, there's still the cost of a connector, a PCB, a case, and a drive controller, which don't vary based on capacity. It's not like CD-R, where you can go from jewel boxes to a spindle to save money.

  • Re:Reminder (Score:2, Informative)

    by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdotNO@SPAMjawtheshark.com> on Sunday April 25, 2010 @08:10AM (#31973482) Homepage Journal

    I have installed XP on numerous SATA-only machines using a WinXP Pro Volume License CD with only SP2 (and later SP3) without any problem. No, they didn't have emulation at all.

    Yes, a SP1 or even SP0 will need the manufacturer disks, but not anything beyond.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .999mahoj.> on Sunday April 25, 2010 @09:05AM (#31974006)

    I can't work out if you're being sarcastic or not.

    DAT dropped right off the radar, superceded by MiniDisc in the pro market. Betacam was the standard in professional video for years, and has evolved into HDCAM and continues to go on. If you watched TV in the late 80s, the 90s and all of the 2000's then you have definitely watched a *lot* of VT coming of a Betacam deck. HDV has firmly established itself in the consumer market, and you pretty much get s/pdif for free on all audio gear these days.

    Hi8 had a brief time in the spotlight, but was always destined to fail since S-VHS tapes had the physical compatibility bonus going for them, where Hi8 was stuck as an incompatible tape size.

  • Re:Reminder (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nimey (114278) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @10:47AM (#31974954) Homepage Journal

    Not entirely true. You can integrate DriverPacks.net's drivers into an XP (and I'd assume Server '03) ISO image and burn it. I've done one of those with every driver those folks had available two years ago: storage, LAN, sound, video, chipset, wireless, even the AMD Cool & Quiet CPU driver. I further customized that with nLite so it wouldn't ask for a license key and had a few minor customizations.

    Works very well.

  • by mrnobo1024 (464702) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:33AM (#31975434)

    On a 1440kB floppy formatted by MS-DOS, there's a boot sector, two FATs (9 sectors each), and a root directory large enough to hold 224 32-byte entries (14 sectors).

    That makes (2880 - 1 - 9 - 9 - 14) * 512 = 1457664 bytes available for files.

  • Re:I hope... (Score:3, Informative)

    by PrimaryConsult (1546585) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @01:45PM (#31976658)
    Yup. My most recently found USB drive was a nice 2GB one that I found in a *dryer* at the laundromat. I highly doubt any magnetic storage could deal with the flooding of soap and water followed by 45 minutes of heat.
  • by LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @01:58PM (#31976820)
    nLite: http://www.nliteos.com/ [nliteos.com]
  • by RoboRay (735839) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @10:17PM (#31980358)

    The disk material is (relative to a hard disk platter) still soft and pliable. Putting a floppy disk inside a rigid enclosure doesn't mean the disk itself isn't floppy anymore.

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