… magnetic tape?
From the Whatever happened to Padlet comes this suggestion from an anonymous contributor.
There are a lot of bases touched upon here taking us almost through the history of stored computer data!
Personally, I had experience with all of the above. I moved from punched cards to the huge reels of storage and also punched tapes. All were very fragile and the less you touched, the better. Careful handling of any of it was important.
When I bought my first TRS-80 computer, I wasn’t surprised that storage was on a cassette player. In fact, based on my university experience, it was a natural transition from the large reels of magnetic tape to a similar medium, only smaller.
My first computer science classes stored their programs on cassette tapes with the TRS-80 and Commodore PET computers at school. Interestingly, the tapes weren’t interchangeable between computer types. Eventually, the concept of floppy disks and then a fileserver came along and things got a great deal more reliable.
For storage, we had a metal filing cabinet and the students who didn’t have a computer at home would just leave their cassette in the filing cabinet and retrieve it when needed in class. It was essentially our “cloud” of the time.
It was interesting, looking back now. The transition from reel tapes to cassette tapes worked but it also showed a certain locked in mindset. When you think about it, the cassette tapes were a logical step because we were familiar with a cassette player. The only difference was the size of the tape. (well, not really but to the lay person) It was only when the mindset was broken that we moved to different storage media. Of course, we’re all the better for it. At the time though, there always was a desire from my students to “play” a program through speakers just to “hear” it. It prepared us for another large step – dial-up computer access!
What are your thoughts for a Sunday?
- does your history of computer storage go back to big reels of magnetic tape for file storage?
- where in the big storage scheme of things did you first save your work?
- have you ever lost data on your storage medium? Did you ever know why?
- I think we all know the concept of the huge data centres which we effectively call “the cloud”. Do we do a disservice to students by using the term “the cloud”. Should we actually describe it better for students to understand just what it is?
I always enjoy reading people’s thoughts on these Sunday morning topics. There are so many good memories there for us all.
Please share your thoughts via comment below. We really do enjoy reading them.
Do you have an idea for a future post? Please send me a message or add your idea to the Padlet with my thanks.
All of the posts from this series are available here.