Monday, November 10, 2008

Answer: November 8, 2008 Whatzit

So I asked you all on Friday what this thing was:
Whatzit 11.7.2008

Four of you responded and all were close, or right! It is, indeed, 3.5" diskette holder. Remember them?

Don't see them as often these days, and most new computers don't even come with a drive for them. But the museum has some.

We're preparing for the first wave of moving, which involves the removal of all filing cabinets to be repainted. When I started here, I went through the office and filled the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet with what I called "Obsolete Technology." This included a bunch of 3.5" floppies, a Jaz drive, and several Jaz disks. As I cleaned out my filing cabinet last week, I decided it was time to see if I could recover any information from those disks (none labeled later than 2002, which in tech years is an eternity).

First I had to hunt for a 3.5" disk drive. Once found, I discovered that half of the disks had been corrupted. Then I hooked up the Jaz drive to a desktop computer and was completely unable to get Windows XP to recognize the Jaz drive. Suggestions regarding how I could get the computer to recognize a Jaz drive are welcome.

So, at the end of several hours, I had about 20 photos of students working in 2001 that I had not had before. I also had a valuable lesson in information management. So much of what we do these days is done electronically, but digital recording mediums can become incompatible or obsolete in a relatively short span of time. Today, I am not burning information to cds, which are fragile and scratchable; instead, our data gets backed up to the server and we use an external drive which is stored off campus as a secondary back up. Is it infallible? No. But it does the job for today. Still, I trust our paper records to last longer than our electronic ones.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So is that a parallel port connection on the Jaz drive or a SCSI?

I'm not sure either of these would be automatically "recognized" by plug'n'play technologies. I expect you'd need to have installed the drivers, etc.

There also looks like there might be some sort of converter or extension cable - might be worth removing it if you have the right kind of port on your computer. Bad cables are always a good place to start looking for trouble.