[LINK] Re: to USB

Adam Todd link at todd.inoz.com
Wed Dec 6 11:24:25 AEDT 2006

At 03:15 AM 6/12/2006, stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:
>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 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.

But giving claim to the floppy disk is wrong.

8" floppy existed for years before the 5.25" floppy did.    There was 
nothing preventing it's entry into the market as a consumer product except 
three things:

1. The cost of Computer hardware itself was prohibitive for every consumer
2. There was limited software that appealed to the consumer
3. There wasn't the production capacity to produce machines.

The 5.25" floppy was around quite some time before APPLE picked up and 
added them to the ]['s.   We use to use them on the VAX's, the Mica's and 
the ESC4500s.

No it wasn't the floppy that saw Computers hit the consumer market.

It was the demand of hardware production, reducing costs for business, 
hence making them more affordable to the richer or gadget driven consumers 
who purchased them machines placing a demand to suppliers for software to 
do things that were useful in the consumer home environment, hence 
increasing production and the cycle began and hasn't stopped since.

Software for video game machines had been on EPROMS for years before home 
computers, and they were easy to install circuit boards that just plug in.

No, you can't say that this method prevented consumer up take.  Simply 
because it wasn't until about ten years ago ALL home video game machines 
used cartridges that had the software on them.  You plug in the "chips" and 
get a program running.

I dare you to name one Arcade Game machine of the 1980's or early 1990's 
that used floppy disks!  (I can't think of any!)

There were more Nintendo's and Atari cartridge games machines in 
circulation in the home market than there were PC's in the 1980's!

>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.

I'm sorry but this is a view from a person who is a commodity consumer with 
limited use beyond the time when it became either fashionable or 
financially viable to purchase such things to use in the home.

How about "For the user, what's the difference since 1967?"

Tickertape -> Punch card (sorting) -> magnetic tape -> hard drives -> floppy?

What about Windows 2.1?

See this very question posed by the User himself relates to exactly my 
statement that Windows was the cause of the consumer computer revolution, 
not the floppy disk.

Windows could just as easily have been distributed on EPROM circuit boards 
that plug into your computer.

Why not, simple.  There were other means.  Magnetic Tape (Windows was 
available on Magnetic tape!), Floppy Disks.

If there was nothing to put on the floppy disk because Windows didn't 
exist, there wouldn't not have been an increase demand for floppy disks and 
hence consumers access to computers may have been entirely limited.

The Demand for the Floppy disk was not drive by consumers, but by the need 
to distribute the software.

> > 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 :-)

My first printer I had to build from design :(

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