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Mary Bellis

Back in the Day - The Death of Magnetic Tape

By August 24, 2013

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cassette tapeToday's dying media spotlight is magnetic tape. By definition magnetic tape "is a plastic ribbon coated on one side with an iron-oxide material that can be magnetized by electromagnetic pulses for storing data."

Magnetic tapes came in open reel-to-reel as well as (housed in) cartridge formats and were used for audio or video recordings, and the storage of information in early computers. Tapes are played back and recorded on decks which wind the tape past a read/write device or "head". Photo Credit: Freefotos

Why is Magnetic Tape a Dying Medium?
Finding something on magnetic tape involves moving the tape sequentially, and even with the fast forward button, tape does not provide the same random access that newer recording mediums do. Copying from one magnetic tape to another results in a loss of quality with each generation of copying.

September 28, 2006 at 2:55 pm
(1) George Margolin says:

Mary — a nit pic — the plural of medium is media.

Second — magnetic media tend to not only lose their magnetic viability — but also can and nearly always DO — print through to the layers above or below.

Now – that’s enough to discourage their use — but the problem is that the replacement for them is now OPTICAL media. Which have some of their own problems of UNKNOWN LONGEVITY!

I’ve been researching it for quite a while and I must tell you that the archival life numbers are confusing and questionable. Lots of CONDITIONS are attached to them.

George Margolin

September 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm
(2) inventors says:

Thanks George

September 28, 2012 at 7:10 am
(3) football says:

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fan frοm amsteгdam

August 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm
(4) Steven says:

I remember back in the stone age (1980) of electronics, when the CD was first introduced that the magnetic disc was supposed to last for 75 years. I was impressed when I read that, then. But then in the early 200′s
I read that now the recorded life span of a CD is only 7 years because of the earth’s and other magnetic interference. Did the laws of Physics change in twenty years ? Or were we conned by big business?

August 29, 2013 at 11:23 pm
(5) akitasmith says:

I remember in the old days working at Commercial Radio News in Hong Kong…. The magnetic tapes were used in the sound cartridges which news presenters would line-up for sound bites… Lots of headaches getting the …(in-words and out-words)… and we always had to scrub the carts with this showbox size magnetic scrubbing machine buzzed away as it erased everything… We were warned tp never ever place a magnet near a cart that you want to use!

August 31, 2013 at 6:50 am
(6) Sinclair Almeida says:

It was so heartening to see an article by Elsa Bray “Rewind, the Cassette is Back” , presumably a reprint from The Independent, in our Times of India on the revival of the Cassette by a few indi British bands – although limited vintage editions with nostalgic artwork, releasing their new albums.

Just to quote from that article: “Cassettes have become a bit fashionable recently, and that;s understandable – they do have a kind of strong pre-internet appeal”, says Scott Wilkinson, singer of British Sea Power, who put out a limited edition cassette of their new album…

[Hope I am not infringing by quoting from that article. Please check before posting my comment]

By the way, I still have a whole lot of cassettes dating back to the 60s, and listen to them from time to time. Those were the days of simple amateur recordings for fun and what nots. Long live the Cassette!!!

September 2, 2013 at 7:15 am
(7) dut makur mapur says:

that was every nice lesson tap , that can work as a recorder and storage of information in some computers

September 6, 2013 at 12:51 pm
(8) Jesse R. Cano says:

talk about getting Provisional Patent and attempt to license your idea and then follow with the patent.
won’t a patent take to long to costly for just someone starting?
I read one simple idea by Stephen Key and his advice for renting your idea is quick and hardly no money upfront.
Jesse R. Cano

September 8, 2013 at 12:18 pm
(9) jackie cox says:

Magnetic tape, the strip on the back of credit/debit cards that until recently criminals were not ably to duplicate. The scientific principle magnetic tape will be with us in some form for a long time. It is a significant discovery of our age.

There are companies out there who have dedicated computers that do not hook up to the telephone system (internet) who still use older generations of computers with tape drives for security measures.

It seems to me, most anyone could have discovered the things patent tribunals (corrupt lawyers) award to those with the revenue and connectability to lay claim that their discovery is a so-called invention. where opinions of patent lawyers are used to give people valuable rights, sharing in the reward results.

Interfering in our infrastructure by allowing some to use the discoveries while disallowing others.

Patent tribunals confusing discovery for invention, do so for cash in the pocket, just another element of our justice system evolving into the very criminality it was first developed to prevent.

September 8, 2013 at 12:48 pm
(10) jackie cox says:

IBM or big blue as the company has been affectionately called has been a major innovator of computer and computer related products during this century and the last. However, before there was IBM, there was C-T-R, and before C-T-R there was the companies that were to one day merge and become the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company.

1. 1896 Tabulating Machine Company

Herman Hollerith founded the Tabulating Machine Company in 1896, which was later incorporated in 1905, and later still became part of C-T-R. Hollerith received the first patents for his Electric Tabulating Machine in 1889.

September 8, 2013 at 12:57 pm
(11) jackie cox says:

Hollerith received the first patents for his Electric Tabulating Machine in 1889. … The 701 uses IBM’s magnetic tape drive vacuum technology

IBM offers tape storage, backup and recovery solutions for data protection and retention.
IBM invented the concept of magnetic tape storage back in 1952. Since then, IBM has delivered many innovations in tape storage and that innovation continues today.

September 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm
(12) jackie cox says:

IBM offers tape storage, backup and recovery solutions for data protection and retention.
IBM invented the concept of magnetic tape storage back in 1952. Since then, IBM has delivered many innovations in tape storage and that innovation continues today.

September 17, 2013 at 5:18 am
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