Working at a science and tech publication, I’m confronted nearly every day by new mind-blowing facts, innovations and revelations. None have been more mind-blowing, though, than what I learned earlier this week – floppy disks are, in fact, very much still a thing.
You’d be forgiven for thinking floppy disks had gone the way of the dodo. Once utterly ubiquitous in computing – I remember them being essential on the ECDL course I did during transition year, back in 2004/5 – they were gradually phased out in favour of first CDs, then USBs and hard drives and now, finally, by the cloud.
They’ve fallen so out of use that the vast majority of computers no longer come with floppy disk ports. Hell, some (*cough* Apple *ahem*) don’t even have CD drives anymore. Actual physical storage? How very last decade.
So imagine my surprise when, flicking through Great Big Story – a CNN subsidiary separate from the media giant’s news division and devoted entirely to video that tells stories – I came across this little gem: Floppy Disks Are (Sort Of) Still a Thing.
According to Tom Persky, president of Floppydisk.com, floppy disks are still a vital part of life – so vital that he’s made an entire business out of them.
Persky explains that floppies are no longer produced, so he – for valued customers ranging from the US government to avionics– collects used ones, wipes them, reformats them, relabels them and resells them.
It’s not a business made to last. Eventually, Persky’s supply will no doubt run out. But he’s got a monopoly going and – and here’s the real surprise – it’s actually quite successful.
The more you know…
Gigglebit is Siliconrepublic.com’s daily dose of the funny and fantastic in science and tech, to help start your day on a lighter note.
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