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It's funny.  Laugh. Data Storage Technology

DataStorm V1.0, a Full-Auto Floppy Disk Cannon 153

Posted by kdawson
from the tres-bouchee dept.
Bob Loblaw writes "I ran across a huge stash of floppies at our office, and after some discussion, it became clear that rather than throw them away, we should build a gun that fires floppies. I had just bought a welder so this was a challenging first project. After about a month of work in my garage at night the DataStorm was born. It was constructed of scrap metal, a kid's bike, a weed-eater motor, and an electric screwdriver. The most difficult task ended up being how to add spin to the disk without significantly reducing its velocity. After a week and a half of trying different options, a stack of zip ties was found to work best. Since we had so much time in it we elected to shoot an infomercial showcasing the device, and had to learn to shoot & edit video as we went. It was basically an office joke that spiraled out of control. My wife is not amused. At all. I hope you like it."
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DataStorm V1.0, a Full-Auto Floppy Disk Cannon

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  • Great (Score:5, Funny)

    by amrik98 (1214484) on Monday May 12, 2008 @12:48AM (#23374576)
    Lock and load those Windows 95 floppies!
    • Win 95 Floppies. What a Wimp. I would use floppies from Slackware 1. 100 Floppies all hand downloaded on a 14.4k modem. The trick was to download tbe following parts first.
      Slackware Base, and Netowrking. then install those packages then boot into slackware download the games and install that. While you download the rest you play lasteroids. This was a huge thing back in 1994 where DOS had no Multi-Taksing windows had Crappy Multi-Tasking and Deskview had bad multi-tasking. Using Linux being able to play a
      • by drinkypoo (153816)
        I only wish I had enough disk to install that many floppies back then. I didn't get started until Slackware 2, but I only installed the A, N, D, and part of the X set because I had only 120MB disk and 8MB RAM (IIRC I had a whole 16MB swap!)
      • by JacobO (41895)
        Word dude. I had the benefit of a friend to share the pain with, we each dl'd some. Don't forget that 14.4 was pretty sweet speed for a while there. Sure beat 2400.
    • Granted, you won't get as many shots as Windows 95. But, you know, Datastorm is registered trademark. Launching Procomm should keep the lawyers at bay.

      I'm pretty I still have a unopened box for Procomm Plus for Windows 1.0 if you need it.
  • by sznupi (719324) on Monday May 12, 2008 @12:53AM (#23374604) Homepage
    ...this could form really fun mash-up.

    Hmm...at the end of shortened old video, sequence of somebody walking in "Terminator 2 flower box"-style and shooting at the kids/Mac?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2008 @12:57AM (#23374632)
    Whenever I come across large amounts of anything, my first thought is "I should build a gun to shoot x." This has led me to my pencil gun, paper gun, paperclip gun, staple gun (turns out this already existed), trash gun, concrete gun, and co-worker gun. I'm currently working on a car gun.
  • Drive gun (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Garridan (597129) on Monday May 12, 2008 @12:57AM (#23374634)
    In 1997, I had a number of floppy drives sitting around, so I stole the ejector springs from some, and made a floppy drive that would shoot a disk about 10 feet. Incredibly, it didn't harm the drive itself, so I installed this into my home computer. Scared the hell out of my friends the first time they'd retrieve their disk. The only giveaway was that it got difficult to push the disk in.
  • by eggman9713 (714915) <{eggman97132007} {at} {mac.com}> on Monday May 12, 2008 @12:59AM (#23374644)
    Good - Floppy warfare and all around destruction.
    Bad - Sure, you can buffer those floppies into a pile at 2.88MB/s, but can your drive read the data that fast? Methinks not.
    Ugly - Damn those evil girl scouts and their cookies. The spawn of satan they be! FIRE AT WILL!
    • Ugly - Damn those evil girl scouts and their cookies. The spawn of satan they be! FIRE AT WILL!

      How about the girl scout's mom who happened to be carying a loaded shotgun in the car?

      Funny video.
    • by SeekerDarksteel (896422) on Monday May 12, 2008 @03:03AM (#23375166)
      Bad - Sure, you can buffer those floppies into a pile at 2.88MB/s, but can your drive read the data that fast? Methinks not.

      Sure it can. Just build a floppy drive raid [8k.com] and you're all set.
      • by Bert64 (520050) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Monday May 12, 2008 @04:12AM (#23375400) Homepage
        We did this on the Amiga years ago, but with only 4 drives...
        The floppy controller was fully DMA, so it worked quite wel with all 4 drives spinning at once, the built in floppy controller on most x86 machines is garbage but i guess the USB ones should be a bit better.
        • by An Ominous Cow Erred (28892) on Monday May 12, 2008 @06:43AM (#23375986)
          Well, that's not quite true. The Amiga's floppy bus did indeed support 4 devices (as opposed to 2 on the typical IBM/Intel controller), and it was DMA (as opposed to Intel PIO). In fact, it used the same DMA controller as the audio system. =) ...but it was only capable of transferring to/from one drive at a time. Traffic destined for other drives would be scheduled in a round-robin fashion. So running 4 drives at once wouldn't give you 4X speed -- just 4X capacity.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by drinkypoo (153816)

            So running 4 drives at once wouldn't give you 4X speed -- just 4X capacity.

            While this is true (the Amiga's floppy controller is not all that different in capability from a PC floppy controller, which can also handle 4 drives if you cable it correctly - it's just tied in with DMA on the Amiga) you can probably get one quarter the seek time in cases where the floppies are fragmented :)

          • by Atario (673917)

            it was only capable of transferring to/from one drive at a time.
            Do you mean it had to wait and do nothing else from the time the command was issued to the time the transfer was finished? Or could it go about its business while waiting for the sector to rotate into position? If the latter, you would still be able to get (usually, depending on the duty cycle of the transfer) 4X speed.
          • by Bert64 (520050)
            Strange, tools like Xcopy seemed capable of reading from 1 drive and writing to 3 at the same time, and it didn't seem to take any longer to write 3 disks in that way than it did to write a single one.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Monday May 12, 2008 @12:59AM (#23374646) Journal
    what to do with the box of floppy disks I found when cleaning the garage this weekend... hmmmmm

    There seems to be no video evidence of it's efficacy against marauding home invading Homeland Security driven police.. but it looks like it might be some sort of deterrent to unwanted guests who are unarmed.... hmmmm

    That long forgotten subscription to PC World and all the free disks will come in handy after all :-)

    Seriously, does anyone know of a website with plans for a gun like this that shoots tennis balls? My pit bull is waiting tirelessly for a machine to play fetch with. It seems the basic parts are similar here.

    Shame they offered no officially sanctioned Hasbro scoring method!
  • What the hell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Monday May 12, 2008 @01:05AM (#23374666)
    What's up with Slashdot and the Videos lately? I was hoping to be taken to a page with drawings schematics, etc of a floppy gun. Instead it was a straight to video.

    The video was obviously shot directly for Fark, one big fark cliche (the B&W picture of the chick with White Teeth) 'Photoshopped' in.

    I like both sites and for different reasons. If I want stupid internet videos I'll get them on Fark.
    • At least put them in the "idle" category, which we know to avoid as the new Myspace/Digg bastard child.

      Also, where'd my d2 go? No more AJAX comments?
      • by Tacvek (948259)
        There have been intermittent problems with the server side components of D2 recently (parts of the template were not getting filled out properly by the Perl scripts). On Friday, D2 was dead for me, as was the related article function. It might that one of the servers has run out of space on a partition. Since multiple servers are probably used, that would explain why the problem is intermittent.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What's up with Slashdot and the Whiny Malcontents lately? I was hoping to read a comment with humorous anecdotes, etc of other crazy office jokes. Instead it went straight to the angst.

      The comment was obviously written directly for Slashdot, one big slashdot cliche (the value judgement of the Internet Video) 'Keyboarded' in.

      I like both the article and the comment for different reasons. If I want whinging blowhards, I'll get them in the comments.
      • Re:What the hell (Score:4, Insightful)

        by zwei2stein (782480) on Monday May 12, 2008 @01:46AM (#23374870) Homepage
        Like whatever you want, videos directly linked from Slashdot (autoplaying, stupid and loud ones especially, not marked NSFW) are not amusing. Not at all.

        There are sites for people who like this stuff. On slashdot, something like this should never get through moderation and firehose.
        • Re:What the hell (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Mikachu (972457) <jjburke AT hunter DOT cuny DOT edu> on Monday May 12, 2008 @01:55AM (#23374906) Homepage
          Hey, come on now. No one RTFA anyways, so what difference does it make? They can link to a picture of goatse, and everyone would just be arguing about how great/bad of an idea it is.
          • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Now if they can design one that shoots CD's, then I have 15 years worth of AOL discs to contribute to the effort >:)
        • Re:What the hell (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Quantum Jim (610382) <jfcst24.yahoo@com> on Monday May 12, 2008 @03:33AM (#23375282) Homepage Journal

          Like whatever you want, videos directly linked from Slashdot (autoplaying, stupid and loud ones especially, not marked NSFW) are not amusing. Not at all.

          There are sites for people who like this stuff. On slashdot, something like this should never get through moderation and firehose.

          Why isn't it amusing? If a transcript of this video was created, and pictures demonstrated the device, it would be ok? Why? What if it had links to the demos and just had the "padding" as text? Would that be ok? So why not the entire thing? The article is entirely entertainment, and the video was not only funny but also presented the topic in an entertaining way. This /. article was actually written a lot better than most others. I really hate those stories that copy the first few paragraphs from the source. It shows no creativity and is borderline plagiarism. (One even had a dangling footnote still in the /. summary.)

          If you are angry because you got caught at work, well that sucks for you. But don't blame us. I have my browser set up not to autoplay flash unless I specifically allow it. This not only blocks spam, but also prevents this issue. You are already playing around. Why do you have your speakers on? Why do you not check the address first (which is not hidden - the domain is Revver.com aka a well-known video site). Why do you not take precautions when browsing /. at work? Especially for an article clearly marked for entertainment.

          You are at work. It is your responsibility to take precautions when you are doing non-work related stuff on your computer. You don't have to be an robot slaving away - I can understand browsing /. on your off time. But you should be smart about it and take precautions like using the mute button or using headphones at very least when at work. Personally, I am not amused by coworkers who keep their speakers on so everyone else can hear Windows startup, beep, alert, and shut down.

          • Why isn't it amusing?

            Because (a) it plays an audio clip without warning, which should never happen, and (b) not every one has Flash.

            If a transcript of this video was created, and pictures demonstrated the device, it would be ok?

            Yes, that would be much better.

            Why?

            Because it would suffer from neither of the two problems cited above.

            What if it had links to the demos and just had the "padding" as text?

            Not as good, as you're still shutting out people who don't have Flash or don't want to hear audio, but better,

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by torgis (840592)
          Firefox + NoScript + that little mute checkbox in your sound control panel. Problem solved.
        • by Dolda2000 (759023)

          -- we definitelly need theese mods: -1 Karma whore, -1 Spam, +1 Crazy idea
          And, not to forget, "-10, Misspelled".
      • I liked the targeted ads:

        solve your backup problem
        speed up windows xp
        copy data to computers
        Hehe :)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Just when the guy's vomiting, the ad changes to Windows 2008 server! They should've used Vista instead!!
    • by rm-ce (1274516)
      Not just a video either, a *flash* video.

      Being on a platform where Macromedia Flash is unavailable (and gnash still a WIP) and being adverse to proprietary software, I'm wondering if perhaps it might be a good idea for /. to have the following submission requirement:

      Able to be viewed without requiring undue work or non-free software.
    • by Skylinux (942824)
      Very true, I thought that the video was made for entertainment only and not to show off their cool design or teach somebody how to make their own.... this video does not belong on slashdot but on the front page of youtube or similar.
  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Monday May 12, 2008 @01:07AM (#23374676)
    Don't lose hope. I'm sure you can find a way to amuse your wife with the second revision.
  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Monday May 12, 2008 @01:28AM (#23374792) Homepage
    ...it became clear that the ultimate weapon would project dead AA batteries a few thousand feet per second. We were never in short supply.

    But yeah, now that I work for a school district, it's quite clear that a microfloppy cannon is the way to go. For anti-armor purposes, maybee a zip-disk launcher.
    • by Nathrael (1251426)

      ...it became clear that the ultimate weapon would project dead AA batteries a few thousand feet per second. We were never in short supply.

      I made such a thing in Physics once, it's pretty easy, but I wasn't really satisfacted with it's shooting range. It was in a lesson on magnetism; if you inserted the battery from the wrong direction in the inductor (and did a couple of other things to it), and then powered it, it worked like a (not very sophisticated) miniature railgun. At least, doing something wrong was funny one time.

    • The number of batteries eaten by a company set of AN/PVS-5's is incredible--I don't think the stupid things will go for more than a couple hours on a set of batteries.

      I remember the company HMMMV carrying ammo cans full of AAs during a couple of two-week field exercises in Grafenwoehr. I also remember the company armorer (who I was sort of an "apprentice" to at the time) complaining about humping a couple dozen sets around.

      If someone comes up with a realistic replacement for batteries for military equipment
  • Skip to the good bit (Score:5, Informative)

    by Thornae (53316) on Monday May 12, 2008 @01:30AM (#23374810)
    If you're going to watch the video, let it load, then skip to about 3 minutes in, then stop watching once you've seen the machine do its thing.

    The rest is padding.
  • I love the Netflix Brick. BSG S1E1 - 383 floppies.

    Thank pasta storage technology has advanced.
  • by dunezone (899268) on Monday May 12, 2008 @01:57AM (#23374918) Journal
    I never thought that a video about a weapon that fires floppies would start off talking about abortions.
  • My roommate has a box of over 500 AOL CDs that I will gladly donate. You may have to rechamber from 3.5" to 120mm, though :)

    • by TavisJohn (961472)
      Just make a crossbow device to fire the CD's. That is what I did when a friend of mine got 3 cases of AOL cd's dropped off at his door... It would make a nice clean slot in the front of the melon... But the back was always missing. lol
  • by the brown guy (1235418) on Monday May 12, 2008 @02:41AM (#23375078) Journal

    It was constructed of scrap metal, a kid's bike...

    Your kid won't be amused either.
  • so Bob Loblaw...do you have your own law blog?
  • 6:46 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by catdevnull (531283) on Monday May 12, 2008 @02:54AM (#23375128)
    6 minutes 46 seconds of my life I'm not getting back.

    Maybe next time somebody invents a office product canon, they'll just make a one-part video: the part that doesn't suck.

    Seriously, a highlight reel of this thing would have been so much easier to make (and so much more satisfying) than whatever that was. The thing about a "parody" movie is that don't have to have a working model of whatever you're featuring--people just assume it's special FX.

    A tech video of how to make it and showing it in use goes pretty far amongst the geekerati here at /.

    ps. Kudos to the girl for her righteous Ash impression, tho.
    • A tech video of how to make it and showing it in use goes pretty far amongst the geekerati here at /.

      Speak for yourself. OK, this guy made a floppy cannon. If you are even 10% geek, you should be able to recreate it from looking at a picture of the thing ("Oh! Nice idea! hack hack hack"). Then he went on to demonstrate practical applications of the device, or at least as practical as a freakin' floppy cannon can possible get. Were you hoping for a library robot or something?

      I thought it was funny. The fact that he welded this up in the first place gives him full geek cred points. Going above an

      • Actually, I'm not just talking out of my ass. I'm a film maker, editor, and videographer.

        This piece needed to be about one third the length with a tighter script and better sound. The production value was actually pretty low with regards to sound and editing. Editing is not the technical splicing of scenes--it's having the balls to cut things down to serve the function no matter how attached you are to your material.

        I don't mean to be an ass about it, it's just annoying to me that end product wasn't as good
        • by dangitman (862676)

          Actually, I'm not just talking out of my ass. I'm a film maker, editor, and videographer.

          Ahhh, so it's jealousy that's the issue. Got it.

          • Hardly.

            I was entertained for about 2:45 seconds. After that, it really dragged out. It's OK to have a different opinion--but please respect mine. I didn't say it sucked, I just said it could have been a lot better with some more effort on the art of editing. It was too long and had too many jokes that fell flat.
            • Actually, I did say it sucked but I meant that only parts of it sucked--there were some good parts (pretty funny part, too). My issue is with the sucky parts that didn't get cut when they should have.
  • Your video editing is a little off. All of the sound was in the left channel. Otherwise, it was neat. I'd do somethign like that, but I'm somewhat banned from owning any weapons.
  • tegescesc ce c es
  • Looks like one of them is possible nominee for Darwin awards. Geek or funny mod points for creating machine that shots floppies and Darwin award for standing in front of that machine.
  • by htnprm (176191)
    Well there is 3 minutes and 46 seconds (That's all I could get through) of my life I'll never get back...
  • Please add the tag for awesomeness.

  • by Argos (173864)
    Is shark-head-mountable?

  • Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of floppy disk cannons?
  • I really wanted to see this baby in action! Maybe when I get home. I have a copy of Flight Simulator for Mac on over 25 floppies that are ready to fly!
  • Hmmm... You might consider patening it and selling the concept to thinkgeek. Have you any idea just how many offices out there have boxes of floppies in the backoffice that they don't know what to do with?? Other ideas: -Reduce the size to about 1/3, ideally 1/5th, the mass market it. - make a machine that can seperate floppy disks into 3 parts for recycling. (inner disk + outter plastic shell + center metalic ring). Then be able to shoot each part in 3 directions where recycling buckets would be laid. I b
  • As a classic computer enthusiast, this gun makes me cry; why not donate the disks to people who use them as part of their restoration efforts?
    • by Jonah Hex (651948)
      Interesting, would people really want my old floppies with early elite warez and backups of my bbs systems? Well besides myself of course.

      Jonah HEX
  • by Nullav (1053766)
    As much as I hate the Idle layout, at least it tells me in advance that TFA (well, TFV) is a waste of time. I now have an idea involving my old foam disk guns, however.

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