Technological Artifact: Zachary Larson

When thinking about the technology my generation grew up with, I am fascinated at the journey of digital storage. Nowadays we seem to have access to an unlimited amount that all goes up into the cloud. The internet is ingesting mountains of new data everyday stored on servers all over the world. Even in the two decades I’ve been around, we have made tremendous progress from where we started.

For the first half of my life I grew up playing games on our Macintosh 128K and watching Papa Beaver’s Story Time on the VHS player. You could say we were a family who got the most out of our technology. I remember sitting down at the computer for one of the first times. Sitting at the desk I spotted this sheet of plastic wrapped in metal half way around. My mom explained it was a device used to store information like pictures or documents. They called it a floppy disk. I was perplexed at the idea that a simple piece of plastic and metal could carry such a task.

Sony 1.44MB Floppy Disk

As I grew, so did the technology. Floppy disks turned into CDs which turned into flash drives. Now you can go to the store and buy a micro SD card that holds 256 gigabytes yet it fits on the tip of your finger. The floppy disk is a defining technological artifact for myself because it was my beginning to the capabilities of digital storage. Seeing the history from my beginning is important because it allows me to understand how we have made the technological advances we utilize today and why they are necessary. As our world moves toward a digitally focused interface, knowing the process of how we got here can help to problem solve in the future.

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