> Even in the days of home PCs with 100GB hard disks and
> gigabytes of RAM, we're still stuck with the 1.44MB floppy
> disk. Surely there should be something better along by now?
Keep in mind that when 1.44 meg floppies first came out, the drives
cost nearly $200 each. Today's CDROM Burners are going for as
little as $80 each.
Quote:> CDs are an option, but the drives are expensive, and not
> found on many computers. For instance, the hundreds of
> computers at my college all have floppy disk drives, but not
> one of them has a CDRW disk. Can you imagine the price of
> upgrading them all? Plus the fact that CDs are extremely
> delicate, and too big to be convenient to carry in your
> pocket. Also, the cases are delicate.
There are several options. There are 3.25 inch CDs, normally used
for MP3 archives, but can be very useful for archiving documents
related to a project.
There are some alternatives to full-blown replacement of drives.
You can get cases for CD-RW drives that can be connected to either
a firewire connector or a USB connector. USB-1b is very slow so
you have to record the CDs at 1x or 2x speeds, but many USB2 drives
and all IEEE-1394 interfaces are really fast. Slower CD-RW drives
are available for as little as $80 each, fast drives cost about
$120 each. The cases run between $30 and $80 each. The Firewire
PCI adapters are about $30, the Laptop PCMCIA/Cardbus adapters run
between $50 and $75 each. USB2 adapters are slightly more
expensive than the Firewire adapters.
Linux supports both types. Best to use track-at-a-time mode since
this reduces the chance of "Coasters". The MiniCDROMs are good for
about 180-250 megabytes. There are even "credit-card" CD-s that
hold about 150 megabytes.
Quote:> What we need is something around the size of a floppy disk,
> with drives that cost around 10, which is durable, and
> holds hundreds of megabytes of data.
Ten pounds british is about $25 U.S. - CD-RWs are falling in price,
but it's the classic problem of speed vs cost. You could probably
get surplus 4x2x8 drives for about that price, but with 48x32x48
drives available brand-new for $50 more, it's hard to say no.
Ironically, just as CD-RWs are getting cheap enough to use as a
backup medium, the hard drives are so big that they can't be backed
up effectively. A 100 gig hard drive would require over 150 CDROMs
to back-up. Even DVD-RWs only hold 4 gigs each.
The simplest quick-backup which is also very cost-effective, is to
stick a 3-1/2 inch IDE hard drive into a firewire or USB case and
back-up directly to the hard drive. The cost is reasonable, about
$1/gigabyte. Tape drives take much longer to back-up. The other
advantage is that you can back-up to the fire-wire drive then move
it to a network which has back-up tape storage available.
Enterprise/B2B IT Architect
Visionary for the Linux community