- a quirky HDD in a cartridge that was 1GB or 2GB. Removable, SCSI and expensive, they were an attempt at a much large Zip disk. They were also expensive.
Everyone saw then at Egghead Software, CompUSA or Circuit City but few knew someone who bought one for their own use. Colleges (like mine) had at least one or two computers with a Jaz drive for students/faculty to use.
As a young soldier assigned to a PATRIOT unit at Fort Bliss in 2005, I was in the field for my first official field problem in February of that year. At the time I was a 14J (command post) soldier - I worked with the air defense work station, the radios and the commander's coffee pot. No, really, you try manning radios at 0:15 without caffeine!
Anywho, I didn't work in the van. The Engagement Control Station (ECS) is the "van" - the truck that hooks to the radar and talks to the command post. Running an operating system that (at the time) was unique to PATRIOT (complete with it's own data language), it was loaded via a Jaz drive.
All the data sent to the radar, the bootstrap and simulated air battles were loaded on these disks. And there in lies the problem (via Wikipedia):
Earlier Jaz drives could overheat, and loading-mechanism jams could leave a disk stuck in the drive. Forcibly ejecting a stuck disk could destroy both drive and disk. Jaz drives are hard-disk technology, making them susceptible to contaminants in the drive; dust and grit could be introduced through a hole in the disk case where the motor drove the platters, and any dust built up on the external case could enter the drive with its next insertion. Additionally, the metal sliding door was capable of wearing the plastic, resulting in debris and head crashes.
Furthermore, the mechanism used to attach the platters to the spindle motor was complex and tended to vibrate noisily. Iomega implemented an anti-gyro device (much like an optical CD/DVD drive within the cartridge to prevent vibration at spin-up, but this device lost effectiveness with age. As a result, the two platters could lose alignment, rendering the cartridge unusable. The plastic tabs attached to the bottom of a Jaz cartridge could become stripped or broken, rendering the inserted disk physically incapable of spinning up to operating speed.)
So I was expecting to go back to base from our position out in the middle of nowhere. But Noooo!
The #@^@%$! Jaz Drive kept malfunctioning. So we stayed well past my birthday, baking under the Texas Death Orb-I mean the Sun. Took them a day and a half to get it working. We qualified and then went home - at least the CO gave us that Friday off. So I had that going for me.
The Army would ditch the Jaz due to it's problems for PCMICA. The latest PATRIOT ECS build has touch screens replacing legacy switch indicators and circular CRT's
. The computer that runs the weapons used to weight over 100 pounds (50KG) but it's now just a card that runs in the new computer.
So I hate the Jaz drive because it made me miss my birthday.
Those who lost their term papers, projects, files etc have other reasons to hate the Jaz.