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Old School Computing Revisited and the Power of the Social Internet.

January 17, 2011 by . 0 comments

With over 280 thousand views (and growing), and 300 upvotes we’ve got to mention this question that was posed by Demian Kasier:

What are the Windows A: and B: drives used for?

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For all you old timers out there, this had a very simple and “duh!” answer: The Floppy Drive!  But to some newcomers to the computing world, you may have no idea what a floppy drive is, and probably feel just like these kids:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdSHeKfZG7c

It’s ok, at the rate that technology development has been going, we’ll all be ‘old geezers’ for having used flash drives!  Let take a look at technology development:

Here is a quick graph that I put together showing memory storage capacities of “portable” mediums over the years starting with our beloved floppy drives:image

That’s and absolute explosion!   Even within the short span of just ten years, available space has moved from roughly 2 GB’s (Zip Drives) to 256 GB’s!

Portable storage isn’t the only thing that has exploded over the years.  I found an article written back in 2001 (old I know) that claims these predictions:

Some prominent dates from this analysis include the following:
  • We achieve one Human Brain capability (2 * 10^16 cps) for $1,000 around the year 2023.
  • We achieve one Human Brain capability (2 * 10^16 cps) for one cent around the year 2037.
  • We achieve one Human Race capability (2 * 10^26 cps) for $1,000 around the year 2049
  • We achieve one Human Race capability (2 * 10^26 cps) for one cent around the year 2059.
  *Note: cps stands for Calculations per Second

Crazy!  That’s about as fast as the floppy question’s rise to fame.  What exactly lead to that rise?  Well – thanks to IvoFlipse, we’ve got our answer of the where the traffic came from. But where did it all start?  No one can know for sure, but it definitely helps to have a tweet from Jeff Atwood.  I checked it and the same day that he tweeted… the popularity of the question exploded! Quickly after, it was picked up by Reddit, Hacker News and several other news sharing sites.

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What does this all mean?  The social network is a great place to get an idea, statement or question out there, and of course it doesn’t hurt to have Jeff tweet about it. What else?  Be ready for the tech of today to be the old school of tomorrow.

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