Subject: Re: some observations on the peripheral market
To: David A. Gatwood <>
From: dustin sallings <>
List: current-users
Date: 01/10/1999 21:18:14
On Sun, 10 Jan 1999, David A. Gatwood wrote:

// Admittedly, floppies aren't large capacities like zip's, but they
// are a standard.  With very few exceptions, almost every machine
// built snce the early 80's has a floppy drive of one sort or another.  
// That's universal compatibility, not just backwards compatibility.

	True or not, I *rarely* use mine anymore because it's simply not
large enough to store any of my data.  I use floppies exclusively for film
on my Mavica, and OS installs on PC hardware.  I can't think of anything
else I've used them for in years.  I only use one floppy drive at home
(it's on an IPX), and when I go somewhere, I take my laptop floppy drive
with me.  I certainly don't need one on every computer, maybe one per

// As for the argument of being able to buy a drive, that's fine as
// long as you're using your own machine.  It doesn't work very well if
// you're a college student at a uni where they won't let you attach
// external hardware like zip drives....  And when you ask when they're
// getting Zips, they'll tell you there's no money.  Speaking as the
// son of a university prof, they're usually telling the truth (that
// there's no money).  And even if you have your own machine... try
// taking your zip cartridge into a lab to print or to your professor
// to hand in an assignment.  They want a floppy. And since you won't
// get it back, it's a lot cheaper to lose a 20 cent floppy than a zip
// costing 5-10 times as much.

	I always did one of three things when I was in school:

	1) Printed at home.
	2) E-mailed them to the profs
	3) Ftpd my work from my home machines and printed in labs.

	I went to a very low-tech school in central Arkansas.  I can't
imagine that a lot of schools have it worse.

// Regardless, floppies have many, many uses apart from being just like
// the other removable media.  When every machine built for twenty
// years contains a zip drive, and when the cartridges cost $0.20
// apiece (and come free from AOL), then the zip will have effectively
// supplanted the floppy.  Right now, it hasn't done so, any more than
// S-VHS supplanted VHS or PCI powermacs supplanted NuBus ones (or even
// 68k macs... keep in mind the cross-post here).

	My Indy has neither zip nor floppy, and I've never missed it,
because I've got a network.  I've always had a network, always will.
That's the way I look at the iMac, you get one if you don't require a
floppy, which you won't if you have another mac (or something that the Mac
can move files to) with a floppy.  Given that there are zips, and
supposedly floppies available now, that's not even a problem anymore.

// 5 years old is still practically new in the real world.  I can't
// count the number of _030_ machines still in regular use on
// University campuses here, not to mention 040 and early PowerMacs.  
// Keep in mind that five years ago was about when they started
// building PowerMacs....

	This isn't the real world, this is the computer world.  Are you
saying computers should be shipping with 68k chips instead of PPC chips?
This is what I mean by advancement...

// If you're going to set up a cut-off like that, you might as well
// dump half my machines in a dumpster.  While you're at it, care to
// throw away your car every 5 years?  Most people would go broke.  
// The goal of any company should always be to support as many
// customers as possible for as long as possible.  Not only does it
// make the customer happy, it also keeps from filling up storage
// buildings with old gear (or landfills, depending).

	...nowhere did I say you should be stripping all the obsolete
parts out of your obsolete computers.  I love obsolete computers, however,
if I go buy a new computer, I don't want to buy something ``new'' full of
obsolete parts that rarely get used anyway.  Most people who buy software
nowadays buy it either online and download it, or get it on CD.  This
includes Free software like NetBSD and Linux.  In either case, something
like the iMac is covered because it has multiple types of network
connections, and a CD-ROM.

// It's still not as easy as a serial port.  Try debugging an OS over
// ethernet console and see what I mean.  And localtalk bridges are
// fine as long as you're willing to drop a couple hundred bucks to buy
// a stand-alone bridge or take a computer out of service to do the
// job.  That's a lot more than the cost of a single SCC chip on the
// motherboard....

	I don't buy that.  I believe it would cost more to add the chips
than it would for the installations that have a need for localtalk that
great to get a bridge.  I don't have any statistics either way, but I
can't imagine that a majority of the people who buy iMacs really need
localtalk.  It's more than just adding the chip.  Part of the appeal of
the iMac is the simplicity of the hardware.  It has the bare necessities
of interfaces for a machine:

	* one to dial up to your local ISP
	* one to connect to a LAN
	* one to hook up peripherals
	* one to hook up power

	That's it.

// My apologies if I sound annoyed, but it really bothers me when
// people say that I should have to dump everything I have and buy new
// stuff just because it's the "latest thing".  I have my PB G3/250,
// but I'm typing this on a 7100/80.  The best tool for a job isn't
// always the latest, and the best and most universally accepted means
// of carrying files is still the floppy disk -- probably by a million
// to one in terms of the total disk count.  Maybe more than that.  
// The floppy disk is far from dead.  The fact that it fails to meet
// the needs of some doesn't mean that it's not absolutely necessary
// for many others.  That's clearly evidenced by the fact that USB
// floppies were announced within a couple of weeks of the iMac
// announcement.  :-)

	I didn't even try to imply this.  What bothers me is that people
say that there shouldn't be any new stuff because they have old stuff.
You can keep your old stuff, I'll keep my old stuff, but I'd like to have
new stuff, too.

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