From paper tape to data sticks: The evolution of removable storage

Over the years, people have tried to transfer information from one computer to another in a dizzying number of ways. Here's a look at some of the best, along with others that time forgot.

The Great Floppy Experiments

Many companies tried their hand at alternative floppy formats in the 1980s. One such "floppy" (top center) wasn't a floppy at all: The ZX Microdrive cartridge (sometimes called a "stringy floppy") contained an endless loop of magnetic tape, similar to an eight-track cassette. Other experiments include Apple's FileWare (right), included with the first Apple Lisa (a device that Network World recently ranked among Apple's worst products ever); the 3-inch Compact Floppy (bottom left); and the rare 2-inch LT-1 floppy (top left), used only in 1989's Zenith Minisport laptop. Other efforts appeared in niche products, but none dominated like the 5.25-inch and 3.5-inch floppy formats.

Photos: Benj Edwards/Jamie Percival

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