Economía

Think floppy disks are obsolete? Not as much as you’d think

Franki Medina diaz
Frank Rubio, astronauta de origen salvadoreño, despega hacia el espacio junto a dos cosmonautas rusos

The owner of the floppydisk.com domain says the technology is still in use, and that he will provide users with floppies as long as there’s a need. Remember the floppy disk? A relic from the 1990s, floppies were wildly popular among computer users who used desktop computers with built-in drives. They were eventually replaced by USB sticks or external hard drives, not to mention cloud services

The owner of the floppydisk.com domain says the technology is still in use, and that he will provide users with floppies as long as there’s a need. Remember the floppy disk? A relic from the 1990s, floppies were wildly popular among computer users who used desktop computers with built-in drives. They were eventually replaced by USB sticks or external hard drives, not to mention cloud services.

The obsolete media may not be dead yet, though – apparently, the founder of floppydisk.com says there is still demand for them in the airline industry.

Tom Persky, the self-proclaimed “last man standing in the floppy disk business” says the airline industry is one of his biggest customers in a new book by Niek Hilkmann and Thomas Walskaar called ” Floppy Disk Fever: The Curious Afterlives of a Flexible Medium “.

Floppy Disk Fever is “a book that explores the curious afterlives of the floppy disk in the twenty-first century, by interviewing those involved with the medium today,” its creators say. (Courtesy of Floppy Totaal) In an interview from the book, republished in American Institute of Graphic Arts’ (AIGA) Eye on Design website, Persky’s company is described as one that’s “dedicated to the selling and recycling of floppy disks.

“Other services include disk transfers, a recycling program, and selling used and/or broken floppy disks to artists around the world. All of this makes floppydisk.com a key player in the small yet profitable contemporary floppy scene.”

Persky tells Hilkman and Walskaar that in the 1980s and 1990s he was in the business of duplicating – but that his business eventually evolved: “My business, which used to be 90 percent CD and DVD duplication, is now 90 percent selling blank floppy disks. It’s shocking to me.”

Persky confesses that he took his business where his customers wanted him to, and it was a natural process: “When people ask me: ‘Why are you into floppy disks today?’ the answer is: ‘Because I forgot to get out of the business.’”

He also points out that industrial customers make up the bulk of his blank floppy disk orders: 

These are people who use floppy disks as a way to get information in and out of a machine. Imagine it’s 1990, and you’re building a big industrial machine of one kind or another. You design it to last 50 years and you’d want to use the best technology available. At the time this was a 3.5-inch floppy disk.”

Persky provides airlines with these 3.5-inch floppy disks, as “Probably half of the air fleet in the world today is more than 20 years old and still uses floppy disks in some of the avionics.”

He adds that floppy disks are still used by the medical sector, embroidery companies, and to a much lesser extent, by hobbyists.

Calling his business “a little bit of an adventure for me every day”, Persky says he does not see a popular future for the floppy disk similar to that of vinyl records, for example.

Noting “you’re not going to be able to replace them”, he suggests “Floppy disks are going to be a little bit more like buggy whips or typewriters. They’re going to be a collectible marvel of their time.”

Pointing out that companies and individuals still contact him to send him floppy disks for him to resell, he says “I expect to be in this business for at least another four years.”

Persky ends with a wry joke “in which a three-year-old little girl comes to her father holding a floppy disk in her hand. She says: ‘Daddy, Daddy, somebody 3D-printed the save icon.’ The floppy disks will be an icon forever.”

THUMBNAIL IMAGE: (Wikimedia Commons/ WrS.tm.pl)

HEADLINE IMAGE: (Wikimedia Commons/George Chernilevsky)

Source: TRTWorld and agencies