Phantom of the Floppera

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Miew (not verified)
Uh..

I know that it's possible to produce specific sounds with a floppy drive, but this tune isn't really played by the drives, is it?

Some C64 games would sometimes crash while loading, and one way to find out if it was still doing anything was to gently open the lever on the drive a bit. If it went GRRRRRRRR that meant it was still doing something. In hindsight it probably wasn't the smartest thing to do with a drive like that, so the thought of floppy drives making sounds like these now gives me the chills.

Btw. not to be a smartass, but the piece isn't Phantom of the Opera but Toccata & Fugue in D minor, so maybe the proper pun would be "Toccata & Floppy in D(rive) Minor" or something like that. =D

Matt Barton
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Accuracy Smaccuracy
Miew wrote:

Btw. not to be a smartass, but the piece isn't Phantom of the Opera but Toccata & Fugue in D minor, so maybe the proper pun would be "Toccata & Floppy in D(rive) Minor" or something like that. =D

Yeah, I noticed that, too. But definitely not as funny. I guess he could have called it Toccatta & Floppy in D: minor or some such. :)

I'm so, so glad we're no longer using floppy disks, though. They always scared me. The grinding was terrible, and you never knew when you'd get a read/write error and/or lose everything on the disk. I still have nightmares about all the hard work, save games, and game disks I lost to random disk crashes. I didn't get into computing until well after the tape drives were outmoded; considering how bad they must have been, I'm surprised anyone had the patience to continue the PC revolution.

My 1541 had a loose pin likely caused by a crook. Basically, I had sold the C-64 system to a family for $500, and I guess they got home and figured out it wasn't "worth" that. My dad claimed the hubby damaged the drive intentionally (he loosened something inside) so he could claim it didn't work and get his money back. After that, every so often I'd have to open the 1541 and use tweezers to pull a little metal rod back into place. To this day I wonder if the guy really did that on purpose or if it just came loose somehow during transit.

I guess hard drives are still prone to errors, but they don't seem to fail nearly as often as the old floppies.

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Bill Loguidice
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To me, the worst were Zip

To me, the worst were Zip drives. Those things would destroy disks on me constantly to the point where I finally gave up on them. I never had major problems with floppies, ironically. I have had issues with hard drives, especially in recent years. Go figure. In any case, it's made me a proponent of RAID 1 setups and regular drive clones and other means of bullet-proof backup. Scared straight and all that...

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Valentin Angelovski
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Totally wicked! But is it real???
Miew wrote:

I know that it's possible to produce specific sounds with a floppy drive, but this tune isn't really played by the drives, is it?

Most likely it is. According to the video description, they're not connected to a PC per se, but instead to a custom-programmed PIC18 microcontroller. At a guess, this chip is converting the MIDI commands into step/direction pulses which are fed into the floppy drive head motor at various preset rates to produce the desired musical tones..

Whilst his creation isn't going to render pipe organs extinct anytime soon ;-) it's still a brilliant effort.

Regards,
Valentin

Mark Vergeer
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Drive music

On the c64 1541 diskdrive there was something similar as well. Well done but of course killing for those drives...

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Bill Loguidice
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Drive Music
Mark Vergeer wrote:

On the c64 1541 diskdrive there was something similar as well. Well done but of course killing for those drives...

I remember and still have that, it was called "Drive Music". Totally awesome, but totally scary at the same time. I only ran it three or four times. That 1541 drive still works, too!

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Matt Barton
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Haha, ZIP! Man... I was

Haha, ZIP! Man...

I was working as a monitor in a computer lab back in 97 or so, and I was in a lab with brand new PCs. Each one had one of those ZIP drives installed. I thought it was pretty awesome at the time, but of course they were never able to get the media cheap enough to make it really viable. I guess they never got enough buy-in.

I never had any issues with zip disks, though I heard stories. Indeed, I would recommend that people use them instead of regular floppies if they could afford it.

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Rascalbots (not verified)
I have to admit that I found

I have to admit that I found this very amusing. I love classical music and old hardware, so this really made my day. Thanks, Matt for posting it.

Also, I looked at the about us page and noticed that there is a Bill Loguidice here. I cannot imagine meeting someone else with the same name, much less someone also interested in old computers. I guess it is a small world.

I have not listened to a podcast before but now am going to try it out. Hopefully I can get it to work on my old ipod.

William

Bill Loguidice
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Hopefully I'm not the evil twin
Rascalbots wrote:

Also, I looked at the about us page and noticed that there is a Bill Loguidice here. I cannot imagine meeting someone else with the same name, much less someone also interested in old computers. I guess it is a small world.

I have not listened to a podcast before but now am going to try it out. Hopefully I can get it to work on my old ipod.

William

Ah, I was wondering why you signed your other comment, "William Loguidice". I'm actually "William Loguidice, Jr.", but I switched long ago to "Bill Loguidice", even for many legal things.

Where are you located?

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Aaron Wegner
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Joined: 01/20/2010
coolest thing of the day

This is the coolest thing I've seen all day. Incidentally, I was talking with some "more experienced" computer scientists at work today, and they were telling me some of their uphill-both-ways-in-the-snow stories. It turns out that the Altair computer operates in similar frequencies to AM radio and is completely unshielded. It causes all sorts of interference if you run one next to an AM radio. One guy had actually programmed his to play music via such interference on his AM radio. Pretty neat.

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