Diskette size (was: Repurposed Art (ahem...)

Fred Cisin cisin at xenosoft.com
Fri Jul 21 14:11:42 CDT 2017


On Fri, 21 Jul 2017, Sam O'nella wrote:
> Extremely interesting Fred. I hadn't heard of half of those experimental 
> disk sizes.  Are those stories from your experience or from that 
> article? (Yes I'll rtfm shortly).

Definitely my experiences and presence in the business at the time, NOT 
from article (although one of the two articles was a copy of what I said a 
previous time that I posted here).   The Massaro and Sollman material was 
from the CHM article.

I was around then.  I was not in the middle of it, but it was all heavily 
discussed in the trade publications, at Comdex, etc.   More than a few 
arguments about the different "shirt pocket" disks.
We seriously believed that the major contenders for becoming the standard 
were:
3"    (for technical superiority)
3.25" (for Dysan's software publishing effort to make it the standard)
3.5"  (Sony and HP, and later Apple.  and later IBM which clinched it)
3.9"  (Brown/Tabor)  (because it was announced by IBM)

I gave short shrift to the many other entrants with my dismissive
"3.9", 2.9", 2.8", and several others, never caught on."
Much more should be recorded, such as the spiral track 2.9" (Mitsumi?), 
etc.
I consider the twiggy to be only a a slightly modified 5.25" - if you cut 
another thumb slot (the hole that lets you get fingerprints onto the 
media) in the jacket, you can make usable Twiggy diskettes out of ordinary 
HD ("1.2M") diskettes.
Amlyn (1.2M before 5170?) had an extra square hole for the jukebox to 
grab.
Likewise, 48tpi/96tpi/100tpi are just variants.

BTW, my Micropolis 48tpi was the most reliable TRS-80 drive that I had.
The 100tpi was interesting, but I didn't get into it much.  It came with a 
copy of Micopolis OS for TRS-80!

Although Chuck mentioned Dysan putting on hub rings, Verbatim (who were 
selling more) didn't do so until later.  Therefore, some had 
hub-ring; some didn't.  Office workers might as well have been told, "put 
the ones with hub rings into the drive with the asterisk", since lack of 
hub-ring and lack of asterisk mean nothing.
Note: One of the options for The Berkeley Microcomputer Flip-Jig (MY 
first retail product) was a jig on the side of it for aligning and 
installing hub-rings.


By analogy, most here could talk about the myriad ID,OD,voltage,polarity 
of coaxial barrel power connectors, 20mA,RS232,"Centronics" parallel, and 
USB, mini-USB, micro-USB, USB-C.  And then, in a few decades be 
very pleasantly surprised if anybody ever calls it "extremely interesting"!
(or the story of the ascendency of Google)


I had heard the story of Adkisson and the bar napkin, and then years 
later, saw it in a sidebar in Byte? Computerworld?.  GOOGLEing for 
details on it, I stumbled on the CHM "Oral History" acticle.  In that, 
Massaro and Sollman dispute that story.
I have now found some more discussion/argument of details:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AHistory_of_the_floppy_disk#The_5_.C2.BC-inch_Napkin_Urban_Legend
Massaro and Sollman also talk about Steve Jobs pestering them to make a 
$100 drive (to be sold for $500), but as Chuck pointed out, 
that doesn't fit with the timelin!, casting some doubts on their 
recollections, and thus even casts doubt on their refutation of the bar 
napkin story.

I would really love to see novelty cocktail napkins with a picture of a 
floppy on them.  No, not a little photo somewhere random on it - I mean a 
5.25" napkin with a square "notch" printed on one side, an oval printed on 
it for thumbprints, concentric large circles in the middle, and small 
printed "index hole" circle.  Optionally, where the label would be could 
be the maker's text.  Optionally, the Adkisson story printed on the back.
I will not assert ownership rights to the idea if somebody who makes them 
will send me one or two!


The other article that I mentioned is an RICM (Rhode Island Computer 
Museum?) webpage with outright theft of a post that I made here on a 
previous occasion when I said most of the same things.  It is entirely my 
wording, including several inaccurate quotes of George Morrow (Sellam? 
negotiated with George's widow for public release of "Quotations From 
Chairman Morrow"!)
Lack of attribution is no big deal, but the insertion of "RICM notes that" 
at the beginning of an otherwise unaltered one of my paragraphs turns 
failure to acknowledge authorship into THEFT of authorship.

"The simplistic style is partly explained by the fact that its editors, 
having to meet a publishing deadline, copied the information off the back 
of a packet of breakfast cereal, hastily embroidering it with a few foot 
notes in order to avoid prosecution under the incomprehensibly torturous 
Galactic Copyright Laws. Its interesting to note that a later and wilier 
editor sent the book backwards in time, through a temporal warp, and then 
successfully sued the breakfast cereal company for infringement of the 
same laws."  - HHGTTG


> The only odd one i have is a backup 
> cartridge? that resembles around a 3.5" but is in fact closer to the 
> mythical 12" floppy. Actually here's the picture i brought 8", 5.25" and 
> a CED to show size comparison. http://www.main.org/ctacs/history/2015/20151001/20151001ctacs3744.html

Thank you.  There is no question that there were other cartridge storage 
devices in such size ranges.  I still maintain that claims of a 10" or 12" 
FLOPPY are misremembrances of 8"


OB_story:  At our Comdex and Computer Faire booth, we had a 4 or 5 foot 
inflatable tyrannosaurus holding an 8" disk with a big bite out of the 
side of the disk.  At one Computer Faire, a young boy walked up to Bob 
Fink (my assistant) and said, "THAT'S NOT REAL!"
Bob said, "of course not.  We never bring the LIVE T-rex to shows.  That 
is just an inflatable model".
The kid said, "Not THAT.  There aren't any disks that size."


--
Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at xenosoft.com


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