carrier we still remember

A modern average person can easily do without external storage devices. Laptops and even desktops are rarely equipped with disk drives these days, and smartphone manufacturers are seriously

are experimenting

with models without information exchange ports in general – they offer to charge such “bricks” only wirelessly.

A similar era of cloud storage and file sharing in online messengers came just a dozen years ago. Before that, we gladly “cut” files into “blanks” of CDs or recorded information on magnetic media. Of course, if you started to get acquainted with computer technology after 2000, then you might not find some of them.

There was no single national favorite. Each standard had its own characteristics and always markedly differed in cost. It was only later that USB flash drives came, which satisfied everyone with both volume and price.

The renaissance of vinyl is yet another proof of how numerous shortcomings and flaws in sound quality are overshadowed by the expressiveness of the image of the carrier. Something similar happened with the troppy disc, which surprisingly lives on in some icon images to this day.

There is nothing unusual or innovative about storing data on tape. Tropic is just a further development of ideas
ZX Microdrive and industrial storage systems on 8-track cassettes Stereo 8 or 8 Track. The 3.5-inch trisket format appeared in the early nineties and immediately won the hearts of users. Relatively low latency when accessing individual files allowed not only archiving, but also daily access, and triskets were unmatched in terms of price and data volume. However, it was not without problems.

The Y-shaped form of the read / write block annoyed users with unreliable operation. In early models, the reading head was pressed against the tape by an unreliable spring, and after a few months of regular use, the metal exhausted its flexibility resource. In subsequent models, the mount was more reliable.

The magnetic tape drive mechanism gracefully fit into a triangular case, for which the carrier got its name. The shape of the trisket entered the collective unconscious. If you show today’s children a triskette, they will probably ask why someone printed a Google Drive icon on a 3D printer. Indeed, the service almost got the name Google Troppy in honor of the bearer.

Archaic, by today’s standards, the construction of the file system took into account the peculiarities of physical access to the tape and the cheapness of reading devices. At the beginning, a table of contents was written, which consisted of listing the first 64 bytes of the file and its size. (Similarly, the table of contents of a collection of poems without titles is compiled.) When the media was initialized, the table of contents was stored in RAM.

Rewinding the tape caused noise in the reading process, but a few errors did not prevent finding a file by its first bytes and the size of the previous ones. For the table of contents itself, a checksum was calculated. If again translated into the language of simple analogies, then this is how to receive a message by the first letters of paragraphs.

The operation of the tape drive mechanism is normally hidden behind a door, which is pushed back either by a troppy drive or a curious user. The tape is wound on two spools whose asymmetrical positioning reduces harmonic vibrations. In this case, the rotation of the second coil is controlled by a mechanism inside the trisket.

If the original plans included plans for some expansion of the format, then in the future they were completely abandoned. But there were intentions. At the top of the trisket there is an empty space in which they planned to put a DRM module to erase the tape after reading.

The left coil made a characteristic sound during operation. The general fragility of the media and sensitivity to harsh vibrations even resulted in the advertising slogan “Don’t floppy that troppy”: users were asked not to bend triskets.

Triskets had enough obvious flaws that when flash media first appeared, they immediately went to the dustbin of history. Nevertheless, many of us still write data to the familiar triangular media. It is possible that you also have a triangular pack of triskets somewhere in your bookcase.

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