Floppy Disk – Too Much of a Legacy

Today was one of those days where I learned something I’ve always known. Everybody knows putting things off increases the cost of doing them later…with the possible exception of purchasing a new TV, yet even that will significantly burn you. Because so many people experience similar things, I added a category to my blog called “Thankyou Sir May I Have Another”. It seems appropriate for these types of tales.

Sony Mavica image Dual Floppy Drive image

Almost all of us have old programs or data somewhere we’ve been saving in case we ever wanted to use them again or have something to show the grandchildren. I probably have more of that than most given the fact I did significant work on multiple platforms and I’m by nature a pack rat.

My office looks like the inside of one of those houses you see on the news where they find two old men dead inside with just tunnels to crawl through the trash heap which was their collected treasures. I’ve gotten a lot better, but this still isn’t the kind of place I would show anyone. One thing which really helped was the opening of an electronics recycling drop off center in Kankakee. I now try to make a trip there every couple of months to drop off all those treasures I was always going to “try putting on eBay before tossing out”.

Given what I see for shipping charges and eBay auction fees, I’m never listing anything there again. Other than some memory which came with “free shipping” on the back of a camel which had to swim both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans before getting here, I haven’t even stooped to buying on eBay much lately. If I’m looking for new stuff I can always get a better deal with an on-line search than I ever find on eBay or Amazon. Now the only time I visit eBay is when I’m looking for used junk…like my “new” Sony Mavica .Never visit Amazon.

The Recycling Trip

You might have guessed that I’m getting things ready for a trip to the electronics recycling drop off. It’s not too far from where I get my hair cut and it is getting close to that time again. In building the pile I came across those two 5 ¼ floppy drives I’ve been saving. Yes, I have some things on 5 ¼ floppy that “I’ve been meaning to copy off to disk one day.” Thought I would try making today the day when I “got to it”. Believe it or not, I even had the “edge connector” floppy cable to go with them in a box on a shelf…Odd since I threw two massive boxes of old cables including edge connectors out a few years ago.

I was a good little geek. I dutifully did an orderly shut down on my machine. Opened the cabinet and even cleaned all of the dust bunnies out. (Leave a machine run 24×7 with 3 fans in it and you will be amazed at how much gets inside. Add in the occasional office kitty or visiting office dog and…well…you get the picture.) The motherboard port for the floppy cable just happened to be on the bottom edge in the most inconvenient place possible. Guess a lot of people don’t use floppy drives anymore. I know I keep my LS-120 installed, but mostly copy things off to USB these days. Besides, my Sony Mavica writes to 3.5 inch floppy disk and I need something to read those floppies.

The Dual Floppy Drive

Something in the back of my mind told me this wasn’t going to work. Perhaps it was the fact I had saved two 5 ¼ drives and didn’t mark either as 360 or 1.2? Perhaps it was simply that I had saved these two, but not my dual floppy drive which I always treasured…I did look on eBay to find some fool thinking they were going to get over $200 for one of those…think again.

When I booted the machine I left the case open and hit the DEL key to get into the BIOS. My gut told me this was going to be a bad day…it wasn’t wrong. There is Legacy Floppy support in this BIOS. It will operate either a 720 or a 1.44. If a 5 ¼ drive isn’t Legacy…how can a 3 ½ be? Just how much room could it actually have taken in the BIOS to leave the 5 ¼ code in? Obviously there is room because you have released many BIOS updates for this motherboard since I bought it. Who’s bright idea was it to nuke this?

I like my disappointment in small doses. Put off making today the day I “got to it.” There is still an old machine that used to belong to my parents gathering dust on a shelf. It was the first machine they ever owned which had XP on it. I’m sure it still supports a 5 ¼ floppy drive. Maybe before my next trip to the recycling center I’ll “get to it” then.

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