This is now!

How tech­nol­ogy has changed

Computer Active (UK) - - Reviews -

Zip drive WHAT WAS IT? Launched in 1994 by Iomega, the Zip drive (pic­tured) could read and write re­mov­able mag­netic disks that looked a bit like 1.44MB 3.5in flop­pies but could store a huge 100MB each. It wasn’t the first high-ca­pac­ity re­mov­able-disk sys­tem, but it was sim­ple and cheap enough to ap­peal to con­sumers.

HOW HAVE THINGS CHANGED? In 1999, Is­raeli com­pany M-sys­tems patented an 8MB SSD built into a USB stick. It stored data on flash mem­ory rather than a me­chan­i­cally ro­tat­ing mag­netic disk. Flop­pies re­mained the favoured medium for ev­ery­day back­ups, but as USB ports be­came com­mon­place it was eas­ier to share files with other users on a ‘stick’ – and USB stick ca­pac­i­ties kept dou­bling ev­ery few months. Today, a USB 3.0 128GB stick costs around £30, stor­ing 1,280 times as much as an orig­i­nal Zip disk for the same price.

Th­ese days, ex­ter­nal hard drives of­fer the low­est costs per gi­ga­byte, while on­line stor­age has re­placed phys­i­cal de­vices for many shar­ing and backup pur­poses.

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