The Guardian – US nuclear arsenal controlled by 1970s computers with 8in floppy disks
The last time I saw an 8 inch floppy disk was working in the offices of an off-Broadway theater in 1983 that used a dedicated machine with DisplayWrite. They upgraded to a real PC with 3 1/2″ floppies that used WordPerfect because that’s what you did if you had any sense.
We’re not even talking the more modern 3.5in floppy disk that millennials might only know as the save icon. We’re talking the OG 8in floppy, which was a largefloppy square with a magnetic disk inside it. They became commercially available in 1971, but were replaced by the 5¼in floppy in 1976, and by the more familiar hard plastic 3.5in floppy in 1982.
Shockingly, the US Government Accountability Office said: “Replacement parts for the system are difficult to find because they are now obsolete.”
This is the part of our defense establishment that costs us trillions. Where’s the money going if they can’t upgrade computers attached to our nuclear arsenal to a nice Apple II or some such?