My Grudge Against Iomega and the Click of Death
There are companies I dislike, companies I disagree with, even companies that have occasionally angered me with disappointing gadgets that underdeliver. But to date there’s only one company that I hold a genuine, deep-rooted grudge against. It’s the reason I don’t have copies of most of the work I did in college, and I will never forgive.
In the late 90s, I studied Radio and Television Arts (a fancy term for broadcasting), at a time when floppy disks were still the most common way to transfer data between computers. Their paltry 1.4MB capacity was more than enough to store essays or the occasional photo, but useless for moving big multimedia files like audio clips, videos, or massive Photoshop creations. Today you can squeeze half-a-terabyte of data onto a memory card the size of a fingernail, but 20 years ago that much storage was inconceivable.
Just as my storage needs were ballooning, an alternative to floppies quickly gained traction. In 1994, a company called Iomega introduced a product called the Zip drive that could store a whopping 100MB on swappable disks. The drive sold for a reasonable $200, with the disks themselves going for about $20 each. There weren’t a lot of expensive textbooks to buy for my program, so the Zip drive was an easy decision.