“Mature” Tech Test

Identify the following items. Be aware that successfully doing so — without using a search engine — may reveal your decrepitude.

  1. paper-tape
  2. punch-card
  3. mag-tape-reel
  4. 220px-dysanremovablediskpack-agr
  5. cassette
  6. 8-inch-floppy
  7. 525_floppy-300x300
  8. 3-5in-floppy

Obviously, this is not all encompassing. I couldn’t even find images of some of the older stuff I’ve encountered. And this is just computers. You don’t want me to get into telephonic stuff (I was depressed to discover an old rotary switch, of a model I’d worked on, in a museum; they were so proud that it actually worked).

For those who want to argue computer bragging rights, the first computer I owned came with 4K RAM. Permanent storage was a cassette tape. But know what’s been out there, I know that can be beaten.


3 thoughts on ““Mature” Tech Test

  1. Unclezip November 16, 2016 / 5:06 pm

    Early computer terminals were in the 80X25 character format to mirror the punch card format. That punched tape is the mass storage medium. Yeah, I’ve operated an ASR-33, and yeah, I’m old.


  2. TRX November 16, 2016 / 10:15 pm

    1: I ran a Hardinge CNC lathe back in the early 1980s. I still have a few tapes in my toolbox that look like that.

    2: I’d guess a Hollerith card

    4: removable hard disk pack. They went into washing-machine-sized drive units. Normal size was 14″. I have a clock made from a platter from one of those packs.

    5: data cassette. My old Sinclair ZX80 used them. Not very reliable, at least in the Sinclair versions

    6: 8″ floppy disk

    7: hard sectored 5-1/4″ disk. A few early PC compatibles used them, but they went away by the mid 1980s.

    8: 3-1/2″ floppy

    Somewhere I have a 2″ floppy disk, which looks like a 3-1/2″. except smaller. They were used by some laptops, and I think a few cameras used them later. I might have Zip disk somewhere too…

    Next: “Obsolete tape formats for $100, Alex!”


    • Bear November 16, 2016 / 10:44 pm

      Yeah, I left out a lot of stuff. Other data cassette systems like the .25 inch stuff used by DEC and HP. Zip drives, Jaz drives, those 2 and 2.5 inch floppies, assorted memory cards (I have a multicard reader for legacy purposes: MS, CF, SD, X card, among others). The wire recorder system I couldn’t even find pictures of.

      I did run across a picture of a coffee table made from a 26 inch removable HD platter, but I never worked with those; just the 14 inch “washing machines.”

      The 8″ floppies are bad enough. I showed one to a kid I worked with in the ’90s. He thought it was a gag item I’d bought in a novelty store.


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