[LINK] Re: to USB

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Wed Dec 6 03:15:29 AEDT 2006

At 01:10 PM 5/12/2006, Stewart wrote:

>> One could well argue the case, and somebody probably has,
>> that the main reason the computer became a consumer item
>> and essential in business and education, was the floppy disk.
> I would argue that the personal computer gained a rapid foothold
> in the market because:
> 1. VisiCalc on the first Apple IIs and later on the IBM PC, cut the
> work-load of accountants dramatically ..
> 2. Journalists discovered that they could hack out quick copy, upgrade..
> I think both of these developments came at about the same time as the ..
> 5-inch floppy arrived on the scene, but we could easily have carried on
> for a few more years with tape-recorders.

Yes, maybe.. but my apple ][e with tape drive storage was a horrible beast
to drive, and I doubt would have ever have made it to the corner store. 
It was proggies on floppies, kids wanting to run them and dad forking out.
And it would be rare the kid without a floppy and small/medium businesses 
without a sneaker-net. To claim a OS/program as the main reason computers
leapt onto shop shelves, as you and Adam do, is insufficient especially
since the programs mostly came on floppies anyway. But, whatever, it was
just a passing thought regarding floppies and consumer computing.

However, a respected Linker wrote privately, making interesting points:

> - The political overthrows in the Eastern block were mediated by the
>   floppy disk, in the same way that political posters underpinned the
>   American revolution.
> - A friend posed this question a couple of years back: "For the user,
>  what's different since Win-95?" modulo cheaper, bigger, faster on the
>  hardware/network?
>   - The *only* answer I've come up with is:
>     USB -> MP3 and XML -> RSS.
> 'Tis amazing how what seem like small inventions turn societies inside
> out and upside down.

To which email one has readily agreed .. hope he joins this Link thread.

> The main inhibitor in my recollection, was the sheer price of owning a
> printer.  My first daisy-wheel was much much larger, and cost more than
> the Apple PC with two floppy drives.

Yes, and very much an object of desire. I well remember seeing a pristine
old IBM printer at auction. It was the size of a home freezer, and needed
bright machined screw-threads the width of broom handles for some reason.
Ah but in those days machines were machines, diesels were exotic, and none
of your fancy-pants devices with micro-Amps and future fusion machines :-)

Cheers, Stewart
Stephen Loosley
Victoria, Australia

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