The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

In a move that should surprise no one, big-time computer seller Dell has begun phasing out floppy disk drives on its computers.

By coincidence, I just brought home a floppy from work yesterday. This was the first time in several months. I had some work I wanted to do from home, and while I usually will email the necessary files to my home e-mail account, in this case there were so many files that I figured it would be easier to just slide them onto a disk. Fact is, even though they were all just Word files, I was still crossing my fingers that they'd all fit on the floppy!

But of course, the age of the floppy passed by years ago. There are three killers of the old flop: the Internet, which makes file transfers easier than ever; CD/DVD drives, which provide way more storage space for when you absolutely must use a portable medium; and computer networking, which has become so ubiquitous that even lots of homes have them. You could even count ever-larger hard drives as an indirect factor, since the massive storage they provide makes removable disk storage nearly pointless.

The article notes that Apple was way ahead of the curve on this, having dropped floppy drives from its computers five years ago. They were roundly criticized for it, even though it was obvious even then that floppies were getting to be just too small to function as useful storage devices. This was, and still is, especially the case with the Mac, which because of it's wide use for memory-intensive graphic and multimedia files, really put itself out the floppy's memory neighborhood. Long story short, Apple leads the way once again.