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60 Minutes shocked to find 8-inch floppies drive nuclear deterrent


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#1 NickAu

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:57 AM

 

In a report that aired on April 27, CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl expressed surprise that part of the computer system responsible for controlling the launch of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles relied on data loaded from 8-inch floppy disks. Most of the young officers stationed at the launch control center had never seen a floppy disk before they became "missileers.

 

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/04/60-minutes-shocked-to-find-8-inch-floppies-drive-nuclear-deterrent/

 

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#2 Animal

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 09:17 PM

NASA put men on the moon with computations done by slide rule....... How many people have seen those.

I think it's rather naive to think you couldn't fit launch codes on a floppy.

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#3 mjd420nova

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 11:42 AM

The important thing to stress here is that the systems/networks are totally isolated and thus impervious to any infection.  Those systems don't have USB ports or CDROM drives so intrusion would have to be by something on an 8 inch floppy, who owns a machine with backwards technology to write one?



#4 Animal

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 12:41 PM

who owns a machine with backwards technology to write one?


I do: http://www.amazon.com/1-44MB-External-Floppy-Drive-Black/dp/B000M3GODW/ref=lp_1292111011_1_4?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1398879573&sr=1-4

But I also concur that the hardware is isolated and is more impervious to outside threats than almost any other systems known.

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#5 mjd420nova

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 05:16 PM

I could write one too but what language do you use?  Maybe it uses the 8080A processor, who knows?  Who'll tell?



#6 lti

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 09:13 PM

These are 8" floppy disks. I don't think very many people will be able to use those.



#7 NickAu

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 10:46 PM

 

who owns a machine with backwards technology to write one?

Quite a few Linux users, Some Linux users just hate to let go of old stuff.


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#8 Plastic Nev

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 02:04 PM

What about systems first thought up and used before magnetic storage disks of any type, floppy or hard?

Machine manufacturers making machines for various manufacturing purposes, in my case, plastic injection moulding machines for a plastics moulding company, brand new machines some five years ago were still running prorammable machine controllers which relied entirely on E Prom chips. No hard or floppy drive of any sort, all machine function programs stored on a chip that can only be programmed by ultra violet light beams. In fact if exposed to a strong source of ultra violet the chips could be wiped of all data.

No doubt other types of industrial manufacturing machines may still be being made with such an old technology in them.

 

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#9 mjd420nova

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 09:42 PM

E-Proms were used in the early development stages of processors.  Programmers would work out a program, load it into an e-prom so that if things didn't go as planned it could be erased with UV light and reprogrammed.  Early stages of processors used cards, then punched paper tape, followed by 8-track tapes, cassette tapes and finally to a spinning media, the 8 inch floppy.  Things were reduced in size and increased in capacity until the CD/DVD was invented.  Boot times were in the one hour range and often had to be restarted when the media would fail.  Backups were everything then.  Early systems had to have their programs loaded with a series (up to 128 steps) of 16 toggle switches.  You find out real fast how important just one little BIT can mess everything up.



#10 ddeerrff

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 10:13 PM

Initial boot from the 16 toggle switches.  Then let the real program load from the Linc tape. 


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