What Is This? - Win Some STEM!

in STEMGeeks2 years ago (edited)

I like contests as a tool for creating engagement and so I thought I'd try one here. The winner will be the first person who gives me a correct answer AND an explanation and will take away 25 STEM.

I do find a lot of interesting stuff to read here on @stemgeeks but I find that very few people answer comments or want to get into discussion which is a little sad as STEM topics are perfect for involved engagement. It is possible that some who post here are simply rewriting subject matter from various sources to create posts of which they have no real knowledge, but I also know for sure, that's not always the case.

Anyway, let's give this a try and I think this will be quite difficult but just have a guess and ask questions. As a clue, notice I have used #retrocomputing as my first tag but the fact it has the company name 'Suncom' on it is a bit of a red-herring!

What is the 'thing' in the picture?


Good luck and I look forward to some interesting suggestions! I will give you 3 or 4 days before I choose a winner and write a more in-depth follow up post.


Posted with STEMGeeks


That's a disk notcher.

Insert a 5.25 inch floppy disk into the slot, push down, and a small square of plastic gets chopped off the edge, precisely where it needs to be. If the drive detects the notch, it knows the disk is not write protected. No notch tells the drive the data on the disk cannot be altered. Maybe you have disk that's write protected, but don't care about the data, and need a disk to store some data. Make the notch, format it, and that disk that might have been a useless game at some point can now be used to hold a few documents or something. If you then wanted to protect the data on that disk, you could simply cover the notch with tape. Oh and it's worth mentioning disks were double sided but didn't always come with notches on both sides. So if you wanted to write to both sides, you'd need a notch on both sides.

Something like that. It's been awhile. If I remember correctly the 3.5 inch disks used the same tech but came equipped with a switch directly on the disk that could be set to either leave the notch open or cover it.

Might even be worth mentioning/adding the fact audio and video cassette tapes had something similar as well. If you bought some music, and it sucked, but needed a blank tape, one could simply cover the 'notch', then record whatever they wanted to that once 'protected' tape.

It's been so long though and I was a child when messing with these things. I might have it backwards where the notch means the opposite of what I mentioned. These are really hazy memories but I'm feeling all nostalgic now.

No way. It's a mini pie crust hole maker.

I had one in the eighties back when artisan was a real thing. I used to make 70 or 80 of those pies a day for the little people that worked in the nearby chocolate factory. Good times.

Posted via proofofbrain.io

You must be confused. It's actually what they used to punch holes in the time cards back when you worked at the nut factory.

I am so sorry! This is what happens when old people post using alt accounts then forget...
You are of course absolutely correct!

25 stem have of course now been sent, especially minted brain stems, that no one else can mint, and I will now stop fannying around with alts in the tribes. Apologies once more, and I never realised you were so oooollllllldddddd! ;-)


There's a chance I'm not actually that old. But the stuff at school certainly was.

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