The evolution of removable storage
From paper tape to data sticks, and more
By Benj Edwards | PC World | Published: 12:09, 17 March 10
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.
Like CDs, magneto-optical (MO) discs are designed to be read optically with a laser. But unlike CDs, which users can't write to at all, and CD-Rs, which users can write to only once, most MO discs permit the user to write and erase data on a disc multiple times. They accomplish this by means of a special magnetic process that works in conjunction with a laser to store data. The first widely known magneto-optical drive shipped with the NeXT Computer (1988, lower right) and used 256MB rewritable media. The best known MO format is the Sony MiniDisc (top middle, 1992), an audio medium that also has a less popular computer capable cousin known as MD-DATA (upper left). Various MO drives and discs remain in production, but their relatively low capacity and relatively high cost make them niche products.