@cefischer: ...I do most of this in assembly so---in relation to my probably obsolete implementation technique---a floppy really means mass storage to me...
I know what you mean -- I come from the time where you were very aware of every byte and clock cycle used ... in my second job (back in 1981) we had a PDP 11/23 computer shared between everyone in the office -- the hard disk contained just one folder / directory shared between all of us -- the first letter of the 8.3 filename indicated the owner ("Mxxxxxxx.xxx" indicated one of my files) ... and the entire disk -- which was in a cabinet the size of a washing machine -- could store only 1MB!!!
@cefischer: @Max: Thank you for the reference to the 507 Mechanical Movements. What fine, practical work this is, it really make things move!
I'm so happy you like it -- even thought it's availbale for free download, I've ordered myself a copy of the paperback version from Amazon ... I'm thinking of re-creating a lot of these movements just for my own enjoyment -- in turn, this has made me seriously start thinking about looking into buying a 3D Printer...
@DMcCunney: I still have a large number of 5.25 and 3.5 disks, I even have some Zip disks. I can still read them...
I once went to a techno-geek fair thing in the valley -- someone had a table set up with all sorts of different disk drives -- apparently he went to every event -- folks coudl take their old media in and he would copy the files over to new media for them -- this must have been 15 or 20 years ago now .. I wonder if he's still doing it?
Oh, I can use them -- I need use them -- call me a fool: I love them! :)
I have hundreds of 3.5'' floppy disks, various different FDDs (also several units of a slim TEAC model new on stock I build into computer prototype systems for personal use) and work with them every day. I store almost everything on them, namely my whole RTOS project and other systems software. I do most of this in assembly so---in relation to my probably obsolete implementation technique---a floppy really means mass storage to me. :D Floppies are simply practical to hold small amounts of data. I can easily make copies. And they are more reliable as one may think. I lately found some disks I lost many years ago in a small dirty box too disgusting to describe further. They were indeed stored under the most terrible conditions ever but I could successfully read and---when necessary---restore all files from them. Gee, the disks contained my first Pascal programs I wrote in 1992. I really don't believe that any CD-R stored under the same rough conditions would preserve data that long and even if they did I would surely not be able to apply these more or less "evil" restore techniques to them as I can do with those floppies. And my love goes even further.
For instance, testing systems software is really fun with a floppy boot sector and ROM image loader. I simply prepare a disk with this 1.5 K loader software and a binary ROM image of my system, put the floppy into the drive on the test system and hit the reset button. I cannot get my own software into RAM much easier. That saves me a lot of time. The ROM and boot sector loader I wrote on my own, of course, but I found the principal idea in "The Embedded PC's ISA Bus" by Ed Nisley. A great book, besides many others I collected during the last few years. Another valuable hint I got from "80386. A Programming and Design Handbook" by Penn and Don Brumm. They use a printer as debug console which made me explore this possibility to build monitor programs that turn my old Epson LX-400 printer into a very neat debug facility. I coupled this with a tiny debugger and now get hard copies of complete memory and register dumps including source and machine code listings of the program section currently executed when any exception has occured or I stop program execution at will. Very convenient because most silly bugs show up easier on paper than on screen and I can pen down some thoughts coming up during a debug sessions where they belong. There are many other examples but I stop here. However, I *can* use these disks and yes, they *do* contain useful data! :)
Anyway, the point is that without having printed books containing secrets as these at hand, life in my lab would be much harder. I always feel that if my creativity is the lever, then old tools make it strong enough and good books provide me with the right place to stand to move things forward into the right direction. I'm not often in need of high-tech tools and techniques since many older but extremely useful things are still available or even in production. One must sometimes look hard enough, of course, to obtain them. I do. I, Fool! :))
@Max: Thank you for the reference to the 507 Mechanical Movements. What fine, practical work this is, it really make things move! I would love to re-typeset works like this with TeX and give them a fresh start in print. Either way, it'll turn out to be more than helpful to solve some mechanical problems I'm working on. Great! Many, many thanks!
@betajet: ...I remember when Radio-Electronics had the tag line [...] I also remember when it saw the error of its ways...
I remember when a computer company I worked for had a bunch of T-shirts made for us all to wear at a tradeshow -- some of the ladies on our team complained -- the tagline on the T-Shirts was "The Better-Built Box" :-)
Wasn't there a Japanese telecommunications company that licenced the Woody Woodpecker character and posted a series of adverts for their Internet service featuring the byline "Everyone needs a Woody"?
And I seem to recall an admiril in the US Navy who was planning on using "In The Navy" by The Village People as the song for a new round of recruting adverts on television... until someone explained the error of his ways...
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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