Do you have 165 Floppy Disks Handy?

The eternal question “does size matter” always gets a strange perspective when you compare storage size, processor speed and the raw size of the plastic or metal case of the device. Apple just released the newest version of their phone software (iPhone 2.1) and while watching the 231 MB update slowly download over my 6 MBit DSL I made a quick calculation how many of the “big” 1.4 MB floppy disks I would have needed in 1991 to update my cell phone. Update my phone? Who would update a diswasher, a microwave, let a lone a phone? May be repaint the black phone pink but update? It’s not a phone it’s a computer and it crashes, needs lots of power and continuous updates. Consider it an improvement.

Western Electric Model 500

Western Electric Model 500

Anyone who has ever fed some 20 of these plastic things into the slot of the drive just to install a word processor knows how it feels when after 147 disks the update process stalls and you have to reboot. Next time you – correctly – think that the iPhone backup is way to slow (apparently fixed in new release), meditate on the floppy disks. How about 32 GB Compact Flash for $299 (MSRP, Oct. 2008). Sounds like a lot? A box of 1.4 MB floppy disks initially sold for up to $100.

UPDATE: (Nov 2014): 32GB USB: $15 (AMZN) 64GB: $28.50 1TB (1024GB): $915 

There’s always a next release and always a smaller storage device that holds more data.
Based on reader requests: “Why is there an image of a telephone and not a floppy disk” and my response “I like phones”, I’m also including an image of a 3.5″ floppy disk courtesy of Wikipedia.

3.5″ Floppy Disk

 

 

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