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The_Great_Sephiroth
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:12 am    Post subject: I got ZipDisks! Reply with quote

I just acquired two 250MB drives and dozens of (so far) working disks! 100MB and 250MB capacities. I am zeroing the disks one at a time for reliability testing. When done, I'll recreate the infamous partition number 4 and then I get to format it. I was thinking of BTRFS for protection as the magnetic disk surface ages and fails. What have you guys done? Maybe SquashFS or something to cram a lot onto one? Just playing here, but I loved these things back in the day and it's fun to use them again.
Code:

name.hidden@9y84mj1 ~ $ dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=512
dd: error writing '/dev/sdb': No space left on device
489533+0 records in
489532+0 records out
250640384 bytes (251 MB, 239 MiB) copied, 994.56 s, 252 kB/s
name.hidden@9y84mj1 ~ $

Another good one!
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1clue
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm surprised that dozens of working disks actually exited the factory. I bought one of these just before the court ordered them to cease production until their customer support was working right, and if I remember correctly that's the last we ever heard from them.

I wound up using my drive as target practice.
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bobbymcgee
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was so sick of 3.5s with bad sectors by that point I, never had the pleasure. now I think at 252 kB/s, I would end up breaking it by tossing it across the room. :)
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At least you can still use them if you can find a good disk. I've a couple of 8" floppys, a stack of punched cards, and some paper tape in the attic. The last two have no read errors (unless vermin have been eating them).

As for filesystems for potentially unreliable hardware, avoid encryption and compression like the plague. A one bit error can render the rest of the disk unreadable. Redundancy is your friend.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would use badblocks instead of dd for checking disk corruption.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if any official study was ever done, but I suspect that in a comparison of data storage over time, modified by quality expectations at the time of use, that zip disks might be the worst data storage medium ever produced.

Our requirements and expectations for data integrity and system reliability have increased over time, but even with the loose expectations of quality from the floppy disk era, I can think of no storage media or drives which inspired more rage in users.

Couple this with two support lines that each told you to call the other one, and a company intent on selling as many drives and disks as possible with full knowledge that many of them would not work, and no intention of ever fixing them.

I'm surprised that every last member of the board of directors didn't do prison time. A board of directors exists specifically to prevent this type of thing.
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The_Great_Sephiroth
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Odd, I never had a zip disk fail. I have a few of the very first models from way back in the early 90's and they still read and write. I had pictures on them. They are now on a BTRFS RAID NAS I made, but still, they lasted 20+ years on one. Maybe if you use them a lot they die?
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Great_Sephiroth wrote:
Odd, I never had a zip disk fail. I have a few of the very first models from way back in the early 90's and they still read and write. I had pictures on them. They are now on a BTRFS RAID NAS I made, but still, they lasted 20+ years on one. Maybe if you use them a lot they die?


I bought 2 drives right before the court order. One for my work and one for my home. The one for my home failed out of the box. The one for work lasted maybe 2 weeks. Tried to get support on both, never got through to customer support on either after probably more than a day of trying if you add all the attempts to get through into a single lump of time.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That, and the fact that there was a court order, and the wording of the order proves that my experience was not a rare event.
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The_Great_Sephiroth
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have mostly 100MB and 250MB disks. I know they made 750MB disks. Was it those which were so awful?
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe I had 250mb drives. I also believe that pretty much everything called a 'zip disk' was under the court order.

What's crazy is that before that iomega was pretty reliable from what I could find. They got on this product and threw it all out just to get as many sales as possible.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally what I believe happened is that iomega came up with a pretty good product that was a reasonable extension of their previous bernoulli technology.

The product got into the eyes of the home users as a cheap storage medium and thought of them as a next generation floppy disk.

The public demand was, I think, much higher than iomega could deliver. I believe their attempts to ramp up production were too little, too late. I believe they sacrificed quality control in favor of satisfying all orders. In the end they produced junk, this much I'm sure. But the original product may have been good equipment. It doesn't make sense that, if the early drives were poor quality, that they would have gained steam the way they did. So the early ones must have been acceptable quality.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know my zip drive and disks worked fairly well (I got the drive used from a university). I never knew about the issues around them or the court order; the most I saw on them was that when I got it; they were not too popular anymore. The issues with them, may be why I got the drive for free; as even the university was getting rid of using them.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All of mine still work, even the internal combo units which did zip and floppy. Speaking of floppy, I have about 300 5.25" disks for Atari 400/800/1000 and they appear to work. My Atari systems DO work. I am surprised zip disks had trouble. I never ran into it for whatever reason.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you used computers when zip disks were in widespread use you could hardly have remained ignorant of the problems. It was on mainstream news a lot.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1clue wrote:
If you used computers when zip disks were in widespread use you could hardly have remained ignorant of the problems. It was on mainstream news a lot.

I still have my Zip drive and disks, although have not used them for years. I personally never experienced any problems with the drive and disks, which I used for several years, and was not aware of any bad press. Do you live in the USA? Perhaps there was more in the press there than in other countries.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I live in the USA, in North Carolina on the east coast. Never had issues. I am at my father's house now for Father's Day. I broke out the drive to show him since he used to do backups on them weekly. He dug out his old 100MB disks (he has no drive) and we're checking them now. No errors and all kinds of old Windows 9X backups on them! The one I checked first had an Outlook PST file on it. We're zeroing that disk now. Badblocks gave it a good bill of health.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/571835/Iomega-faces-suit-over-rebates-for-its-Zip-drives.html

I believe that there was more than one court action. Google "iomega click of death lawsuit" for more info.

I believe that there was an action about their complete lack of customer support, and one about rebates and another about continuing sales of a product with a very high early failure rate.

I'm on my phone so searching google output is difficult.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All drives get a click of death at some point. WD Caviars used to be (and many still are) HORRIBLE for failing quickly. Also, that link is about a failed rebate program.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had two zip drives back in the day, they both died from that "click of death", although its more like "sticktion"... the heads get clamped to the soft plastic medium, get ripped off the head arms, and ruin both the drive and the disk.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm... I have two 100M and a 250M drive, and only 100MB media. I get around 1MB/sec through them (ATAPI-USB) - I recall being able dd an image in around 100 seconds.

These all were acquired second hand unknown condition mostly, though I did end up with 4 shrink wrapped 100M disks. I never had them in the heyday so I don't know for sure, but as of current, they seem semi-reliable. I do wonder how tolerant these things really of abuse; just like the bernoulli, I think 1.44M floppy disks are more resistant to abuse.

The jaz is something else, if only its media were cheaper...
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Great_Sephiroth wrote:
All drives get a click of death at some point. WD Caviars used to be (and many still are) HORRIBLE for failing quickly. Also, that link is about a failed rebate program.


As I mentioned before, one of mine (my personal one) had the click of death right oht of the box, and the other (the one for work) lasted about 2 weeks. Both of mine were bought right before the lawsuit action started. Where one would expect the worst quality control. No doubt many of the earlier ones were better.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used badblocks on all six of the new disks and not a single error. I am now going through a trove of disks given to me. I have probably fifty of them, a good mix of 100MB and 250MB disks. So my collection has grown to probably sixty or so disks, two USB 250MB drives, and two or three internal drives, one being a combo drive that does floppies and ZipDisks. I know they'll fail one day, but I hold out hope. Hell, my Atari disks (5.25") from the late 70's still work and I can load and play games on them to this day. Maybe these will be as good!
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Great_Sephiroth wrote:
I just acquired two 250MB drives and dozens of (so far) working disks! 100MB and 250MB capacities. I am zeroing the disks one at a time for reliability testing. When done, I'll recreate the infamous partition number 4 and then I get to format it. I was thinking of BTRFS for protection as the magnetic disk surface ages and fails. What have you guys done? Maybe SquashFS or something to cram a lot onto one? Just playing here, but I loved these things back in the day and it's fun to use them again.
Code:

name.hidden@9y84mj1 ~ $ dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=512
dd: error writing '/dev/sdb': No space left on device
489533+0 records in
489532+0 records out
250640384 bytes (251 MB, 239 MiB) copied, 994.56 s, 252 kB/s
name.hidden@9y84mj1 ~ $

Another good one!


Nice find!

1clue wrote:
I don't know if any official study was ever done, but I suspect that in a comparison of data storage over time, modified by quality expectations at the time of use, that zip disks might be the worst data storage medium ever produced.

Our requirements and expectations for data integrity and system reliability have increased over time, but even with the loose expectations of quality from the floppy disk era, I can think of no storage media or drives which inspired more rage in users.

Couple this with two support lines that each told you to call the other one, and a company intent on selling as many drives and disks as possible with full knowledge that many of them would not work, and no intention of ever fixing them.

I'm surprised that every last member of the board of directors didn't do prison time. A board of directors exists specifically to prevent this type of thing.


Although that was a slightly different day and age, I've learned that with most corporations, the only thing a BoD exists for is to increase profit and share profits.

If they do anything else, it's basically a side bonus.

1clue wrote:
If you used computers when zip disks were in widespread use you could hardly have remained ignorant of the problems. It was on mainstream news a lot.


Indeed. It was how Steve Gibson got a little claim to fame when he developed SpinRite.

---

Interestingly enough, I, too, have a couple of these drives - one is a SCSI and the other a Parallel port. Never thought to check them out (and the disks I have are also old *100MB, with a pair of 250MB, but if I kept them, the last time they were accessed they still worked as of then).

Might make for an interesting project one weekend :)
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