Floppies

I have hundreds of them, and was completely unaware in the mid-nineties that they were, if such was indeed true, already on their way out. I wasn’t seeing signs of that until at least 2000, but when it snowballed, it was over fast. But then, my first PC (as in IBM-compatible) had a 5 1/4″ floppy drive. Have a lot of those around still, too, if nothing like the several hundred – perhaps over a thousand – 3.5″ ones I accumulated. Some have nothing on them, but I bought them a hundred at a time at computer shows in the nineties when I found them at a good price.

All of this was brought to mind by this LudditeCare article, regarding not only the technical problems with ObamaCare, but the roots of the problem: The federal government being slow and creaky at adopting newer technology (NSA being an apparent exception). This is an old story. I’d thought there’d been improvement, but if so, perhaps it hasn’t been enough. Certainly development of the ACA site went more like a traditional technology purchase, rather than more nimbly. For an agency still to use floppies does not surprise me in the least. The biggest problems with them are increasing obsolescence of equipment that can read them, and their size limits. Text files, doc files, even more modest PDF files or graphics might still be viable on floppies in small numbers, but people have forgotten about being efficient with their electrons and magnetized bits.