Sunday, August 15, 2010

How Data Is/Was Stored

Another page from the past, from the 1978 textbook Computer Essentials for Business:

Cassettes that transfer data at 500 to 1500 baud or thereabouts, and 5 1/4" diskettes that store 80K or 160K of data... that's the state of the art for persistent storage as presented here.  And with decades of hindsight it's easy to question author Donald H. Sanders' reliability assessment -- old computer cassettes are usually still readable today, while floppy diskettes have more often given up their bits to incidental grains of dust and electromagnetic fields.

The bottom paragraph of this page is also interesting -- there was indeed a time when it was assumed that everyone would not merely use computers, but would have to learn how to program them.  Then VisiCalc and WordPerfect and Photoshop and Access came along, and that was pretty much the end of that expectation.


  1. The tape drive brings back a very specific memory of playing TI Invaders on the computer in the back of the phyisics lab storage closet in 1983. The first computer program I wrote that was not an assignment: a Dungeons & Dragons character generator. I have no specific memories of thinking of myself as a stereotype, yet there it is.

  2. Hey, Jeff! Seems to me I wrote one of those myself on the TRS-80 once upon a time. Random number generators were SO much cooler than rolling those nerdy dice! Man, the babes really dug on that.