We had floppy disks long before we had CDs, DVDs, or USB thumb drives. Here's the evolution of the portable media that changed everything about personal computing. 

In the fall of 1977, I experimented with a newfangled PC: a Radio Shack TRS-80. For data storage, it used—I kid you not—a cassette tape player. Tape had a long history with computing; I had used the IBM 2420 9-track tape system on IBM 360/370 mainframes to load software and back up data. Magnetic tape was common for storage in pre-personal computing days, but it had two main annoyances: It held only tiny amounts of data, and it was slower than a slug on a cold spring morning. For those of us excited about technology, there had to be something better. And there was: the floppy disk.

[More]