Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Trouble with the Floppies

In my first years of computing my experience with floppy drives was pretty good. I had used several computers for thousands of hours total, and had seen hardly a hiccup reading and writing floppy disks.

The computers I had experience with floppies included:

Apple II+
Heathkit H-89

These used brands like Shugart and Tandem for their floppy drives.

Working with Patrick Alessi there was little trouble. He did smoke a pipe constantly around the equipment but this didn't seem to cause any problems.

At C.F.C. it seemed like floppy disks were more temperamental. Not that they weren't reliable enough for day to day use but they would cause problems just enough to be annoying. Maybe it was the industrial environment, or maybe the quality level for drives and floppy disks was falling. I dunno. Some of our disks came from customers and were formatted by their computers, so maybe that also had something to do with it. Floppy disks had become cheap and didn't have the same quality they did a couple of years earlier.

Some floppy drives could be calibrated using software and a screwdriver. I did try some of that, but I can't say I remember it being very successful.

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