8" floppy system needed to recover old game data

Jules Richardson julesrichardsonuk at yahoo.co.uk
Sat Oct 8 09:35:53 CDT 2005

Scott Stevens wrote:
> On Fri, 7 Oct 2005 20:40:25 +0100 (BST)
> ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk (Tony Duell) wrote:
>>I've pointed out several tinms here that the first disks I bought for
>>my TRS-80 Model 1 cost me \pounds 5.00 _each_ (not a box of 10 or
>>anything like that).. That mackine put 88K on each disk (single sided,
>>35 cylinders, FM (single desnity)). Point is, those disks are still
>>readable 20 years later. 
>>I would like to be able to pay a reasonable amount -- say \pounds 5.00
>>to \pounds 10.00 for a 3.5" disk with the same quality level. Because
>>my data is worth a lot more than that.
> Maybe what's needed is a lower density format and/or a redundant
> filesystem using the current media.  Surely a redundant filesystem or
> lower density encoding scheme that only tried to fit 88K on a 3-1/2" HD
> floppy diskette would succeed in having MUCH greater longetivity. 

I'm not so sure - I seem to find that 3.5" floppies bought today only 
handle a few read/write cycles before they die, whereas floppies from 
back in the disks' heyday are *much* more reliable. There seems to have 
been a drop in the quality of the physical media itself over time.

Funnily enough, storage quality seems to have got *worse* over time. 
CDs, DVDs and modern hard drives all seem piss-poor when it comes to 
reliability for the amount of data they're expected to handle. Back in 
the day you could write your few KB of spreadsheet to a floppy and know 
that it'd almost certainly be OK. These days you write your movie (or 
whatever) to a CD and it's a totally lottery whether you can read it 
back again a month or two later, or whether it'll work on a different drive.

Maybe there is some sense in all these USB storage devices (much as I 
dislike USB). At least there are no moving parts or optical shenanigans 
to go wrong, so if data written to such a device verifies it presumably 
should be good for subsequent reads...



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