December 31, 2012
It’s an Arrow! It’s a House! It’s a…What???
The FairCom logo: that mystical circle of shapes pointing in all directions. If you are like some of our customers and friends, chances are you have wondered what, exactly, the FairCom logo represents.
Some people say it looks like eight arrows reaching toward all points of the compass.
Some people say it looks like eight little houses. Are they fondly remembering the houses from a classic board game?
Those who look closely will note the marks in the middle of each shape give them the look of a floppy disk…each wearing an arrow-shaped hat (possibly a mortarboard—they are very smart, after all!).
While the logo suggests a floppy disk, its circular form transcends any specific storage device. FairCom technology, after all, has always been about giving you control of the data.
This year was the 60th anniversary of computer disk storage. It was 1952 when IBM began developing the Model 305 RAMAC at its newly-opened San Jose facility. The world’s first “supercomputer,” it was to feature high-capacity, fast-access memory. For that they decided to use a new form of storage: spinning disks.
The metal-oxide, which holds the data in magnetic patterns, was actually the same paint used on the Golden Gate Bridge. To achieve an even coat, they sprayed it through a nylon stocking borrowed from a researcher’s wife—an honor that was not shared by the Golden Gate Bridge.
Their first effort used 24 platters measuring two feet in diameter, each weighing 20 pounds. The size of two refrigerators, the first hard disk weighed over a ton and required a fork lift to be loaded onto the modified cargo jet that flew it to the first customer. All this to store a mere 3.5MB of data—or about five of the 720KB floppies you used to receive in the mail from us. By contrast, the smart phone in your pocket probably has 1,000 times more storage!
And so the race to become the fastest, most powerful memory solution began. Fast-forward two more decades and those gargantuan disks had shrunk to a mere 8 inches, they were removable, and the original rigid platters were now “floppy.” A former IBM developer had founded his own company producing storage solutions. During a meeting at a bar, an important client mentioned his desire to have one of those new “floppy” disks, only he wanted it smaller, much smaller. When asked how small, the client shrugged and pointed at a cocktail napkin. Aiming to please, the result of one client’s dream and one company’s ambition was the 5.25-inch floppy disk.
A few short years later, in 1979, FairCom was founded. The first FairCom ads in Byte magazine lacked the logo, but before long the now-familiar symbol appeared. The FairCom logo, a circle of floppy disks, includes a nod to this invention with the added arrows pointing to the future. A design that goes beyond a storage device was a natural choice for our logo, since our mission is to deliver solid, high-performance database technology that puts you in control of the data.
With the release of c‑treeACE V10, FairCom pays tribute to the important milestones of storage. When customers on active maintenance open their update package, they may be surprised to find a simulation of an old fashioned floppy disk. It is our way of honoring the past as we look to the future with the cutting-edge technology of our latest release. Ironically, this iconic piece of artwork is not a storage device—instead it includes a link (in QR form!) where you can download your V10 update from our server to yours…no floppy disk required.
Though the floppy disk has become a thing of the past, our logo remains and serves as a reminder that, like the floppy disk arrows in our logo, we have come full circle. The wheel of history revolves.
- Malone, M. S. (2012, September 14). Remembrance Of Computer Disks Past. The Wall Street Journal, p. A13, U.S. edition.