Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Memory of Rust

I sold a floppy disk to one of our computer users today. This is happening less and less frequently. Whenever I do this I always make sure that the disk actually works, since we have had some dud disks in the past.

I find it interesting when some people come into the library with their old beat-up coffee stained disks. Sometimes they have years of personal information on these old disks. I don't think I would be that trusting of a thin layer of rust, as one of my techie friends once put it. Sometimes people don't realize the fine line they walk with data recovery. Newer storage means are much more reliable and hold thousands of times more data than an old floppy disk that has been kicking around in a briefcase for 10-15 years (or longer).

When I bought a new computer recently I had the option of putting a floppy drive into it. At first I was going to, but then I realized that I had not used a floppy disk for my own data in a couple of years, so I decided not to tie up that space with outdated hardware. It struck me how I had to actually think about not including this feature on my new computer. For some people learning how to use new technology can be a scary experience. I don't usually see myself as one of these people but it was interesting that I had to think twice before cutting myself off from the ol' floppy disk.

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