CB FI 417

Circuit Break Podcast #417

Cloud of Disks

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February 13, 2024, Episode #417

Join Parker and Stephen as they delve into Japan's decision to phase out floppy disks and CD-ROMs for government submissions. From reminiscing about nostalgic tech quirks to analyzing the challenges and benefits of this transition, they explore the implications for industries and digital competitiveness. Discussing Japan's slow tech evolution, resistance to cloud systems, and the enduring use of floppy disks in various sectors, they ponder the future of outdated tech and its impact on global standings. Tune in to gain insights into the end of an era and what it signifies for technology and society.

Contest Announcement

Introducing a new Circuit Break contest! This contest is themed around building food-related electronic projects. We’re offering over $5,000 in cash prizes, themed trophies, and free prototyping from MacroFab. The deadline to submit is March 31st, 2024. Thanks to Mouser Electronics for sponsoring the contest prizes!

Discussion Highlights

  • War on Floppy Disks 💾: Discussing Japan's decision to end the use of floppy disks in government operations.
  • Implications of Technological Obsolescence: Speculating on the challenges of transitioning from physical media to digital storage.
  • Comparisons to Government Processes: Stephen shares his experience with outdated military specifications and discusses the reliability of military-grade components.
  • Automotive and Military Testing: Comparison of testing standards for automotive, military, and space applications, highlighting similarities and differences.
  • What does this mean for Parker’s FD5? 😭: The implications for Parker's FD5 camera and its reliance on floppy disks, is this a ticking time bomb?
  • Nostalgia vs. Modern Replication: Discussion on replicating vintage aesthetics with modern tech, including Parker's use of a disposable camera lens on a mirrorless camera.
  • Grease Weasel: Explanation of the grease weasel device and its role in preserving data from old floppy disks.
  • Floppy Disk Bombs: Stephen shares a fun and dangerous way of combining matches with floppy disks. Don’t try this at home kids 🔥.
  • Digital Competitiveness: Japan ranks 32 in digital competitiveness. What are the factors that affect a country's technological advancement?
  • Industrial Use of Floppy Disks: Some industries still use floppy disks, including automotive, medical devices and avionics. Chuck E. Cheese used them until at least 2023.
  • Secure. Contain. Protect. (SCP): Tangent about SCP, a copypasta site about different creatures in an organization called Secure. Contain. Protect.
  • Predictions for Technological Obsolescence: Speculation on the last industrial or commercial use of floppy disks and potential next tech equivalents.
  • We want to hear from you, so head over to our discourse to let us know:
    • What industries that you work in are still using floppy disks?
    • What will be the next tech equivalent of a dinosaur?

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About the Hosts

Parker Dillmann
  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig is a component engineer working in the aerospace industry. He has applied his electrical engineering knowledge in a variety of contexts previously, including oil and gas, contract manufacturing, audio electronic repair, and synthesizer design. A graduate of Texas A&M, Stephen has lived his adult life in the Houston, TX, and Denver, CO, areas.

Stephen has never said no to a project. From building guitar amps (starting when he was 17) to designing and building his own CNC table to fine-tuning the mineral composition of the water he uses to brew beer, he thrives on testing, experimentation, and problem-solving. Tune into the podcast to learn more about the wacky stuff Stephen gets up to.

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