Walking Down “Memory” Lane.

Image designed by Creator & Curator via www.canva.com.

Drag and Drop

Dragging and dropping files into a tiny piece of technology is often a pain in the ass to me because of the amount of storage that will eventually run out when too many things have been put into it. I have various storage devices ranging from 16MB to 128GB, with each and every one of them stuffed and chock-full of images, videos and audio items.

Then it got me thinking, would we have been able to survive before the modern age of technology? When gadgets and devices had smaller storage capacities back then, despite being bigger in size than the ones we have today? Take the microSD cards, for example, and compare them to their predecessors: the floppy disks. SD cards are the “macro-economy” of technology, smaller yet able to carry more data, while the floppy disks were the “micro-economy” of the same field, bigger but can only carry so much.

Remember these?

Floppy Disks

I’ve always thought ‘floppy disks’ were literally that — floppy, soft, bendy, spineless…, you get the point. Floppy disks were one of the earliest storage devices that I used during my early college days, mostly for college assignments. But because the storage capacity in a floppy disk was kind of limited, I could barely save more than an assignment in it, especially if the assignment was a large one.

Basically, a floppy disk is a small and circular piece of metal-coated plastic similar to an audio cassette tape, and a floppy disk drive reads and writes the data into this metal-coated plastic. The floppy disk drive (FDD) was the primary means of adding data to a computer before the CD-ROM drive became popular. In fact, FDDs were key components of most personal computers for more than 20 years! (Source: Extreme Tech)

CDs, VCDs, and DVDs

Then when I discovered the existence of CDs, I felt my life easing up a bit. With somewhat bigger storage capacity, I gradually made my way to saving my data on CDs. However, it took a painful lesson for me to learn the difference between a CD-R and a CD-RW. I was using a CD-RW once, and had no idea that the “RW” stood for “rewritable”. Which meant that the last and latest file I saved in there kind of overwrote the previous one. Oops!

CD stands for ‘Compact Disc’, VCD stands for ‘Video Compact Disc’, while the DVD stands for ‘Digital Versatile Disc’. How often were you confused by these terms? I was, many times over, and ended up buying the wrong ones whenever I went to a computer store. VCDs eventually became the most universally compatible format for wide video distribution. All DVD players, VCD players and computers with CD-ROM drives can play VCDs. Because of its video quality, many resorted to using VCDs for typical home viewing.

DVDs played the same role as VCDs in storing audio and video files, but with an advantage over VCDs: (1) It can hold significantly more data than a CD or a VCD. For example, two VCDs might be required to record a two-hour movie but only one DVD is needed for the same thing, and, (2) Audio and video files on DVDs have much higher picture and sound quality, and higher storage capability than VCDs. (Source: Extreme Tech)

VHS and Cassette Tapes

These were my biggest nightmares. Not because they were difficult to use, but because they had the magnetic tape wound up and encased inside the plastic tape, and if something went wrong, you’d be hard-pressed to fix it, only to realize that you’ve messed up the tapes and ruined the recording quality, and sometimes the magnetic tape got so entangled that reaching for a clean and empty tape is much easier and safer. Of course, this means that the tape was then rendered useless and wasted.

But I enjoyed the vintage feel of it because I used to own a Sony Walkman and the only thing it played were cassette tapes.

VHS stands for ‘Video Home System’ and it used to be a widely-adopted video cassette recording (VCR) technology. Developed by Japan Victor Company (JVC) in 1976, the VHS tapes use a magnetic tape measuring at least ½ an inch in width, and were popularly used by home consumers with a limited role in television production.

Betamax was another brand, but not as popular as VHS despite some engineers believing that it offered better image quality. The Betamax tape uses a more direct path through the recording and playback apparatus which allows both operations to be quicker and more convenient. However, the VHS tapes perform better than Betamax, last longer too, and have more capacity in terms of recording time. (Source: Extreme Tech)

Memory Sticks and Memory Cards

As time wore on, a number of competing memory card formats hit the stores. CompactFlash and Memory Stick were both released just before the SD standard was introduced, yet neither format received much attention or any large-scale adoption. And then came the SD cards with smaller footprints, larger capacities and faster speeds. As the years went by, the bigger storage formats paved the way for smaller ones to take their place. Seems as though the sizes are just shrinking, and I’m not even talking about a marginal shrinkage. (Source: Extreme Tech)

These were the ones that I regularly used during my time in school and college. I’ve never had much success in using them though, as they had a nasty habit of malfunctioning the night before a presentation or a report that is due for submission.

Do you remember using any of these, though? Technology has advanced so much that what we used to store our personal and/or work data back then had since gone into extinction. Some may still be used now, but not as much as before. Now we have USB pendrives or thumbdrives, external storages like the portable hard disks and solid-state hard drives, and cloud or online storages like Google Drive and Dropbox. Who needs a tiny little thing that was misplaced so often because they were so small and easily got lost and buried under piles of junk?


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