Chapter 17. Magnetic Storage

If you've ever seen a punch card, much less had to work with them, you know why computer workers joyously sang the praises of magnetic storage. When all the world and computers were young, the long-term memory of the best computer systems was entrusted to 3.5×8.5-inch sheets of cardboard, punched with rectangular holes, each one storing a single code symbol, a whole card holding about a sentence. A program took a file drawer filled with them. Cardiac arrest required only dropping the drawer, because the order in which the cards were arranged was crucial.

Magnetic storage is faster, more compact, and more permanent. Although magnetic media appear vulnerable (especially if you've had or heard of a disk crash), magnetic ...

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