Floppy disks obsolete, headed for the recycle bin

Floppy disks flop for the last timeYou can officially move your old computer floppy disks to your obsolete file, since Sony has announced plans to discontinue selling them in Japan in March 2011, according to The Consumerist. The early file storage devices have been supplanted by flash drives, DVDs, portable hard drives and cloud storage.

The first commonly used floppies from back in the late 1970s, the 5 1/4" double-density, held 360 kilobytes of information. A modern 4-gigabyte card the size of your little-toe nail has the capacity of 11,650 of these old floppies.

The more recent 3 1/2" floppies, introduced around 1983, held 1 megabyte of data, equal to three floppies. Even these were vast improvements over loading a computer from a cassette player, which I did with my first Texas Instruments personal computer.

So what can one do with leftover floppies? Planetgreen consolidated 10 good ideas for using them, from crafting them into useful objects such as messenger bags and coasters to artistic uses such as picture frames. It also noted a couple of places that will take your old floppies and recycle them: Greendisk and floppydisk.com. The latter even pays 2 cents per floppy in batches of 500 or more.

If you do recycle yours, be sure to erase them first to avoid any unpleasant leak of personal information such as "personal" photographs. This is easier said than done, however, if you no longer have a floppy drive in your computer. Some people use strong magnets to corrupt the data that is magnetically stored on the tape within the floppy, which will probably work fine. However, to be really sure, you could disassemble the case and take scissors to the contents. Either way, recycle the remains; we don't need to turn our digital rubbish into landfill rubbish.
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