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64-128MB Floppy

Works in everybody's 3.5" drive, but it holds 64MB.
  (+7, -2)
(+7, -2)
  [vote for,

Floppies are pathetic, zip drives are unreliable. Can't some engineer cram a bunch of flash memory into something the size of a floppy and rig up some interface so that the drive heads in a standard 3.5" floppy can read and write to it? Shaped like a nearly useless 1.4MB floppy, but with much more memory. Kind of like those portable USB drives that are available now. Instead of an external connector, the drive is accessed through the A: in my computer. Isn’t this possible?? Worst case is you would have to download some type of system patch from the disk manufactures website to enable the device. Somebody build it, damn't....
ecolonsmak, Jun 29 2001

Floppy Adapter http://www.smartdisk.com/flashpath.html
Floppy adapters for smart media, compact flash, and memory stick [MuddDog, Jun 29 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

LS240 drives for sale http://www.winstation.com/Superdisk.htm
Here's an outfit in the US that can supply the things (customized, too). [Vernon, Mar 13 2002]

LS240 drives for sale http://www.winstati...k_drive_Support.htm
Here's an outfit in the US that can supply the things (customized, too). [Vernon, Oct 04 2004]


       If you have digital camera that uses flash memory they make floppy adapters for the things. I bet you could hack one of those to store other stuff... I can save text files on my cyber shot....(why I do this is still a bit beyond me...)
futurebird, Jun 29 2001

       To some extent this is a baked idea. There is a disk drive that has been on the market for a few years known as the LS-120. It reads/writes both regular floppies and special floppies. The special disks hold 120MB.   

       More recently, in Japan only so far, there is a new drive called the LS-240, which I hear can do 240MB per special disk. It still reads/writes the old 1.44MB floppies, also. FURTHERMORE, it comes with a nifty software trick that supposedly can put 30MB on one of those ordinary 1.44MB floppies.   

       I should note here that the biggest drawback with the LS-120 drive is the fact that it does not use the standard floppy-disk-drive-cable connection. If internally mounted, it is an IDE device. Most computers these days can only handle 4 IDE devices, and deciding which 4 to use (CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-R/RW, Hard Disk(s), Magneto-Optical drives, etc, can be tough, if you want to use an LS-120. (More expensive external LS-120 drives can connect to a USB port, though.)
Vernon, Jun 29 2001

       Get an 'open box' external 'take-it-with-you' hard drive, surprisingly cheap and available in clearance sections of online computer supply merchants.
thumbwax, Jun 29 2001

       I think FutureBird's on the right track. The problem with special disks is that not all computers have the drives for it. With those special LS-120, i doubt I'd find anybody who has that on their computer. With the floppy adapter you can use any of the compact flash/memory stick/smart media storage devices, and read them through the floppy drive. Why not just make the adapter permanently hold one of these cards, thereby baking the original idea. I don't think zipdrives bake it though, because they're still not on the majority of computers.
MuddDog, Jun 29 2001

       I have never seen a Floppy to Flash Memory adapter that I would find useful, because none of them are able to emulate a true floppy (they only fake one or two tracks), and require driver installation (usually for Windoze.)
dsm, Jun 30 2001

       The LS-240 drive (made by MKE -- called Matsushita / Panasonic / National depending on your location) reads and writes the following media/capacities: LS-240 / 240MB; LS-120 / 120MB; 2MB floppies (uncommon in US) / 2MB; standard HD floppy / 32MB (NB: that's on a standard 1.44MB floppy!):, standard HD floppy / 1.44MB; 'double density' / 720 KB (nobody voluntarily uses these any more, but for compatibility with some who still have them ... -- they have on one square hole on the shutter edge). These drives are available commercially at this date (Jan 02) in USB 1.1, Firewire, IDE interfaces. The USB version is compatible with Win98, Win2000 9 (aka WinNTv5.0)), and can be carried about and plugged in here and there like any other sort of USB peripheral. At least one of the USB drives is bus-powered, so no wall wart is needed. So far, this is the best deal in portable media I've seen (at least for those of us not needing video storage capacities). And the 32MB trick on a standard 1.44MB floppy is the best value portable media available. If you buy right, you can pay almost nothing per disk. Pretty good deal unless you have an unsupported OS. MS-DOS, Win3.x, Win 95, and Win NT earlier than 5.0 seem to be out of luck. It's not clear to me what the Linux or xxx/BSD status is just now. LS-120 have been supported in Linux in some interfaces for 2 major kernel releases. In an imperfect world, it's not clear there's anything better. Pricing in the use seems to be about $150 and up. IBM and HP are both supplying versions for their laptops (at higher $ of course).
wilgus, Jan 18 2002

       Frankly its just more practical to use Flash memory "as is". Build a Compact Flash slot into every PC, or better yet why even do that when virtually every PC has USB and affordable USB-adaptors for Flash memory are so ubiquous.
spaceman_spiff, Jan 18 2002

       Now that CDRW media is almost as cheap as CDR media, they are by far the most data in the least space and in a form that is most likely to be readable by any random system that's less than 5 years old.   

       If the stuff you want to write doesn't change very often, then you can just use CDR and make it compatible with more than half the systems that won't read the CDRW and cut the cost even more.   

       This is a much better general solution than dropping your data on 7 Zip Disks, 6 LS-120 Disks, or 3 LS-240 disks and hoping that your target system has a drive that can read them!
mwburden, Jan 18 2002

       I've had 2 external ZIP drives bust so far on me. I'm not buying another one. And my mom's computer obliterated her LS-120.
The biggest drawback of floppy-based storage I see is the terribly slow access rate. Solve that, and you'll have my vote.
RayfordSteele, Mar 12 2002

       I once thought that you could make an interesting MP3 player in the form factor of a floppy disk. That way it would be easy to transfer files. It was pointed out to me the problem of transfer speed. Around 200bps for a standard floppy mechanism. Transfers are just way to slow.   

       An alternative may be a removeable hard drive like the EaskDisk device. http://www.easydiskusa.com/ It looks like a cigarette lighter but it is a basically computer memory with a USB port. Plug it in to your USB port and use it like a hard drive.
HAL9000, Mar 12 2002

       I probably won't be using floppy disks now that my computer has an internal Memory Stick reader. I am thinking about getting a Memory Stick reader (floppy or USB) just so it would be easier to share files.
Amishman35, Jun 17 2002

       It is still faster to use a floppy for that 200k driver file between computers that seems to always crop up. Unlimited compatibilty for PC's (with the exception of a couple of 'oddballs')
hexan, Aug 30 2002

       i was thinking this a few days ago, when i wanted to transfer from an old PC which didn't support USB drives. The problem would be that ordinary floppy drives probably can't read more than 1.44mb of data.   

       My solution: when you insert the disk, you can't see the data yet. Instead there is just an executable program. The program is an "explorer" type program, that allows you to copy files to your computer from the disk.   

       It would do this by writing 1.44mb of the file you want to the disk platter, copying it over, and repeating until the whole file is transferred. It than combines the 1.44mb files together again, to form the original file. Writing to the disk involves the same process, in reverse.   

       Running a program to copy files is a bit of a hassle, but I think it would be worth it when working with old systems which can't read USB drives.
commanderrobot, Apr 17 2004

       [UnaBubba] CD-R(W)s - even good ones - can be unreliable if you burn a lot of small files (<1MB) repeatedly. Furthermore, not all public computers have CD burners, if you have work to do elsewhere.   

       (I purchased a USB memory stick today - I attracted a bit of attention at the library after not being able to fit some articles I needed onto a floppy; so I thought it was time to get the the times. It looks very aerodynamic.)
Detly, Apr 17 2004

       It'd be a good trick for certain situations, but I'm with [RayfordSteele] - the data rate to/from a floppy drive is dire. It's time to lose them completely. Replace them with a USB port for easydisks etc... they do everything a floppy does, but do it better.
david_scothern, May 28 2004

       //they do everything a floppy does//
...except fit into my Sony Mavica digital camera, which is the main reason I specified a floppy drive in my new-ish Dell (they stopped fitting them as standard some time ago).
angel, May 28 2004

       Rod, MuddDog, Vernon... I tried all 4 links above but they were broken.
david_scothern, May 29 2004

       Yes, the SuperDisk appears not be getting manufactured any more. If you really want some kind of large-capacity floppy disk, then probably the ZIP disk is the only available option. I think some of those are still being made, although with much more capacity than a mere 128MB.
Vernon, May 29 2004

       Are you still trying to rework the ancient floppy diskette? Give it up. That bugger has the same future as 8-track tape. Most serious computer companies gave up on the floppy years ago. Use a mini USB drive or burn a CD. BTW, Zip drives were not so unreliable as many users thought. If you put a Zip disk with a newer version of driver in a drive connected to a computer with an older driver in the OS, you may not be able to mount the disk. If you wait a minute, the OS will give a message asking to format that disk, thus downgrading the driver. Then it should mount. Of course, hardware failure was sometimes the issue but not nearly so often as supposed. The "click of death" was often not coming from a dead drive but from a disk which needed an older driver version to match that of the OS. Even this solution is accademic since we now have smaller, better drives such as Firewire, mini USB and CD-R.
thirdrockphoto, Jul 31 2004

       Is it just me, or is looking back on this idea from a decade later almost adorable?
Hive_Mind, Feb 10 2012

       Sortof, but I still find parts of it valid. [wossname] wants to make a USB port the "A" drive: something more than reasonable and *still* not accomplishable under Windows.   

       And of course the main optical drive should have been "B" since about 15 years ago.
FlyingToaster, Feb 10 2012

       As a Linux user, I will stay out of this one.   

       *goes off to fiddle with a new old computer and see if it will run some 3-D games in Linux better than it craptastically does in Windoze
Psalm_97, Feb 10 2012

       It's nice to see that even in 2001 someone thought floppy drives sucked. I remember using floppies to transfer files between computers until high school 8O
DIYMatt, Feb 10 2012

       1.4 meg size limit has sucked for years and years and years. Can't even fit a Linux kernel... not the OS, just the KERNEL... on one of them.
Psalm_97, Feb 10 2012

       Not to mention my 14-floppy Windows 95 install package. How did people live in the 90s?
DIYMatt, Feb 10 2012

Psalm_97, Feb 10 2012

       Here's to the Hollerith card edition of Windows Eight.
nineteenthly, Feb 10 2012

       I remember the overwhelming blissful joy I felt when I got a Zip drive and one 100 MB disk. Having a 256 MB hard drive at the time to manage by deleting every non-essential file in DOS 6.2 by poking through everything I could find, optimizing my 640k of basic, extended and expanded memory, etc, those were a labor of a sick kind of love.
RayfordSteele, Feb 10 2012

       *shudders and goes off to buy another 3 terabyte hard drive.
Psalm_97, Feb 10 2012

       I honestly still perceive five and a quarter inch floppies to be physically quite small.
nineteenthly, Feb 10 2012

       //Oh, you had it lucky. I used to ...//

...load programs into a Spectrum using a cassette tape.
DrBob, Feb 10 2012

       //I honestly still perceive five and a quarter inch floppies to be physically quite small.// I would agree with you, but I live in 2012 and my phone has a 8GB micro-SD card in it which is litterally smaller than your pinky nail and can hold ~16 feature films.
DIYMatt, Feb 10 2012

       I chanced upon the Galway Computer Museum last weekend. It was very cool in that the machines were all powered up and useable. I wanted to jump on the old Speccy, but they had the ZX81 rigged up in its place. Finally got to use a ZX81 though. Thirty years late.
wagster, Feb 10 2012

       I still have a ZX81 bought on the twenty-sixth of November 'eighty-two.
nineteenthly, Feb 11 2012

       I remember my father buying a pocket calculator in 1972 or 1973, for work. It was the most fascinating thing I had seen.   

       By 1980 I was storing programs in BASIC and HEX on audiotape. Scary how far they've come.
infidel, Feb 11 2012


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