Another one bites the dust

vhs_rip.jpgThere was an interesting article in Variety that got passed around today. “VHS, 30, dies of loneliness…The home-entertainment format lived a fruitful life” So the time has finally come… now I may be dating myself but I actually did not own a dvd player till about 4 years ago. Amazing huh? In fact my current desktop doesn’t even have a dvd player (oh the shock of it all. but I do have one in my laptop so you can relax) Despite the fact that I work in the technology field, I am a creature of habit…needing to be dragged kicking and screaming especially when changes in format means higher costs (what? I have to buy a new player AND buy all my movies again?) This same conundrum plagued me during the switch from cassettes to cd’s.

Since those years media storage formats change constantly and we are forced to transfer, archive and throw out dead formats (many not as beloved as the VHS). Let’s take a look down memory lane and see if anyone else remember these friends.

The cassette:
The Compact Cassette was introduced by Philips in 1963 but it wasn’t until the 1970s it became popular. A standard 90 minutes Compact cassette could store around 700kB to 1MB of data on each side of the tape. The tape is not yet completely useless…alot of car rentals still come with a cassette deck. That was probably the only instance I thought…damn if only i had cassettes! Oh and my astrologer tapes her sessions on a tape and gives it to you (to save you from scribbling notes) Problem is…I don’t own a cassette player anymore. I guess I will save the tape for the next time I rent a car.

The floppy:
In 1969 the first floppy disk was introduced. It was a read-only 8 inch disk that could store 80kB of data. In the late 1990s you could get ahold of 3 inch disks that could store 250 MB of data. Remember installing Photoshop from 14 disks? Yeah that was real fun! But wait…do you remember the really BIG ones? 5 1/4 ” ones…that’s what i used to keep my BASIC programs.

Hmm so what if your work doesn’t fit on a floppy? The syquest disks (removable hard drives) enabled you to walk around with a whopping 44, 88 0r 200 mbs. (Although I never saw the 200 mbs one) Syquest filed for bankruptcy in late 1998, and portions of the company were subsequently purchased by Iomega Corp. in January, 1999.

Oh yeah..1 whole Gig! Unbelievable…it was unbelievable that you would want to carry around a gig of stuff. Oh I couldn’t think of how I wouldfill up agig’s worth. (By the way, you can still get one for about 79-99$) I threw all my Jazz disks away two years ago.

This was it…the ultimate solution! Cheap, compact…what more could somebody want? I carried 5 or 6 of those around. Originally it had a capacity of 100 MB, but later versions increased this to first 250 MB and then 750 MB. But then when burning CD’s became dirt cheap…I haven’t touched a zip in ages (I threw the last of mine out this year)Although I’ve been ranting about data storage…we cannot forget Sony’s Betamax, officailly dead since 1988. Although the scaled down version of this Video-8 small-format videotape dominated the home camcorder format for the next 15 years until the mini-DV came along.

The list goes on and on. Its kinda sad to see something that you grew up with fade into obsoletion and exist only as relics that bring on warm and fuzzy feelings. (Like perhaps we will one day)

My home in Thailand still does not have a dvd player. For some reason…VCD’s are big there. They have a V-CD player (afew). I guess I know what I’ll be bringing home this next trip. That and the news that they can now throw away the old VHS player.


One response to “Another one bites the dust

  1. Yes, and running MSDOS off of a floppy. Those where the days.

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