US nuclear force still uses floppy disks

OBW0549

Joined Mar 2, 2015
3,566
Heh. I got a chuckle from the article sub-heading "The Floppy Disk - What is it?" I remember when 8" floppies were NEW, and vastly superior to mag tape and punched cards.

#12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,222
Last week I tried to use a couple of 1.44 meg plastic floppies and they wouldn't even format.
Not much of a loss, considering I haven't opened the drawer for a floppy in several years.
5 out of 7 hard drives wouldn't register after 5 years on the shelf.
I hope the U.S. Military Forces don't have drawers full of dusty old floppies and expect them to work after 5 or 10 years.

Ron

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,398
I'm not surprised they still have some floppies and drives around. I just recently sold off all that I had. But I'm a little perplexed if they actually use them for normal daily operations. I mean, what data could be on them that wouldn't be better stored on a thumb drive or other modern storage device? I guess you could have protocols to make up for the reliability issues and small capacity of the floppies. It just seems like the people responsible for these protocols would have suggested some improvements over the last 3 decades.
One big part of the reason is that the newer the technology, the more susceptible it is to electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Modern storage devices and electronics are inherently far more susceptible to EMP than older technologies. It is much easier to shield old floppy drives and older computers than modern ones.

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,153
One big part of the reason is that the newer the technology, the more susceptible it is to electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Modern storage devices and electronics are inherently far more susceptible to EMP than older technologies. It is much easier to shield old floppy drives and older computers than modern ones.
That's an argument for punch cards!

Unfortunately I threw my last punch cards - with my FORTRAN program on them - off the roof of my dorm. (That was more-or-less standard practice at the time.)