Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Blast Through the Past

Basement cleaning time … I’m going through and organizing my son’s crap while he lives abroad and taking the opportunity to organize some of my own crap :-)

While I was looking over some junk, I found a few items that brought back fond memories. Like the Nokia 3320 cell phone, which was a candy bar format phone with a monochrome screen. It was GSM, however, and that made it a decent phone I thought at the time. The reason this phone is a fond memory is that it was the first phone that I got for my two sons as well as myself. We all had one and we had fun with them … we bought cases and fancy lighted keypads on eBay and had a real hoot with these things.

Here’s my own cell phone from back then, I was partial to blue keypads that performed interesting dances of the keys while in calls and while ringing. Can’t show it to you lit up because it’s pretty dead … it even has an old after market Lithium in it … luckily, my office has battery recycle bins set up for every kind of battery so it is easy to dispose of correctly.


I also found an old 1.4MB floppy drive. These have a plastic shell and a metal protector for the media exposed at the read slot. This one obviously held a BIOS update for an old motherboard … I’m guessing an Athlon. Anyway … these sucker could hold what would be the equivalent of about 7 seconds of 48k samples per second high quality 16 bit data in stereo. Of course, compression helps a lot … a decent 160kbps stream would allow up to 70 seconds of music on one floppy drive. By today’s standards, that’s a bit of a joke. For a few dollars, you can grab a very small 1GB thumb drive that would hold 50,000 seconds! We’ve come a long way, baby :-)

I remember installing Windows 95 from a set of 25 floppies … and now they must use a good half of a data DVD … call it 2GB. That would require something like 1428 floppies … a little much to handle.

Anyway … here it is in all its glory :-)


And finally … I real treasure. These suckers are pretty rare. I found a box of three 5.25” floppy drives … the soft kind. These specific ones are double-sided, double-density at 96 tracks per inch, and had a capacity of 720KB. Of the three types of 5.25 inch media, these were apparently the least common. I must have shelled out a bit extra for a drive that could actually read at these densities.

And of course these drives hold about 3.5 seconds of full PCM music and about 35 seconds of compressed music. More if you drop the quality, but not much more. WHich is to say that we can be thankful that these big, ungainly drives vanished fairly quickly.


Note how the media itself is completely unprotected when removed from the sleeve. Yuck …


A little peek into the past there … interesting junk.

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