It's time for yet another high-tech funeral. This time, the guest of honor is the good ol' floppy disk.Actually, for a lot of us the 3.5 inch floppy disk was passe years ago. But this week, Sony officially started hammering the nails in its coffin when the company announced that it will stop producing the disks in 2011.
Most PC makers no longer bother installing floppy drives in desktop systems. Dell, for example, dropped the devices back in 2003. And if you go looking for one in a big-box retailer, be prepared to pay a surprising premium -- a sure sign that the supply of the devices is drying up for good.
For a while, this was actually a mixed blessing. The floppy was still a mainstay for things like BIOS updates and Windows rescue disks. But now that every new PC allows USB drives to play this role, even these niche uses are going away.
But that doesn't mean your small business might not get burned by the floppy's swan song. Lots of us still have boxes of floppies sitting around, full of data that we haven't needed or cared about for years.
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Yet we still keep those floppies around, just in case. And Murphy's Law says that you won't think twice about them until you realize that you don't have any way to access that data.
So take a moment and consider whether you have any of those little bits of legacy storage sitting around the office. If you want to protect the data on them, plan to dig up (or buy) a drive that can read them and move the data to a more secure medium.
And what if you still have a box of old 5.25 inch floppies? Use them as coasters. Because unless you're into hoarding vintage hardware (and writing your own drivers), they aren't good for much else.