Andy Bergmann's work can be found on CNN, NBA, Sports Illustrated, Washington Post, Deadspin, NPR, USA Today and FastCompany.

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Evolution of Disk (and a tape)

Evolution of Disk

We were cleaning out some drawers in the office yesterday and came across a clunky old SyQuest disk. Memories of a particular workflow suddenly came back to me:

– Flip through a book of stock images. Choose one.
– Walk to the stock agency and pick up the chrome.
– Drop the chrome off at a service bureau for a drum scan.
– Return to the office and wait.
– Receive package from courier several hours later.
– Take out chrome and SyQuest disk with “hi-res” image.
– Try repetitively to mount the disk until it finally works.

This last step was particularly fun, as it often required several OS reboots.

All of this is of course now accomplished with a scroll and a click (and in turn a few extra inches around the waistline), but SyQuest certainly deserves a tip of the hat for making large graphic files portable and quietly revolutionizing the design field.

This graphic focuses on some of the more popular magnetic removable storage formats from the 70’s through the mid 90’s, before optical and ultimately solid state technologies came on with a vengeance.

A quick note: Each of these formats were revamped several times to increase storage capacity over the years. I’ve just included the sizes that were most popular for long periods of time as a frame of reference.

3 Comments to Evolution of Disk (and a tape)

  • Mark says:

    Ahh, nothing like data transport nostalgia. I remember copying data from a Vax 11/780 onto a pizza sized 9-track reel tape in the basement and taking it up to the penthouse of the same building to load it onto a different 11/780. The thought that we now routinely share files around the world does sometimes shock me.

  • JRAD says:

    Loving the color and style of your images! I can imagine turning this in to a very simple but quantitatively effective figure: making a graph of data storage versus time, each point would be the to-scale media you have shown, but it would be centered at the year of introduction and the typical capacity.

  • David Smith says:

    I love your site. Keep doing more of it.

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