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Reynold Johnson, RIP

(Mick Farmer)

Recently, the father of the disk drive passed away. Reynold Johnson, who invented the IBM RAMAC 350 in 1956, is credited as being the first person to come up with a way of storing information in what we now call a disk drive. RAMAC stands for (slap on your propeller beanies) Random Access Method of Accounting Control.

But that's not where you may have first run into Johnson's work. He's also the man who invented those multiple-choice test forms we all know so well that require the use of a No. 2 pencil. In fact, Johnson invented so many other things (he held over 90 patents), I don't have enough room to cover them all.

Like what else? How about the half-inch video tape format that Sony pioneered during the time it borrowed Johnson from IBM? Johnson developed a way to store information on literally half the amount of tape Sony was using at the time, and the rest is VCR history.

Anyway, Reynold Johnson lived to the ripe old age of 92 and got to see (I'm hoping anyway) the IBM announcement last week of the 340MB hard drive platter no bigger than a quarter. If you haven't seen this amazing micro-drive, pay your last respects to this amazing man and check out what he started:


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