Floppy Stereo

June 2004

Floppy Stereo was an attempt to create a personal music jukebox. It is constructed out of a salvaged computer, LCD display, USB number pad, and multiple floppy diskettes.

Many years ago I began to convert my music collection from compact disk to compressed audio files. This afforded me the portability and convenience that come with audio files, but I felt the experience was missing something. Previously, I would select a jewel box from my collection, open it up, insert the disk, and play it. With everything on a hard drive, playing the same track was reduced to a few clicks.

I missed the selection, the album art, and the dusty trays and hand-written CD-Rs. The absence of the compact disk reminded me of another format that had recently gone away: the 3.5" floppy diskette.

The Floppy Stereo attempts to recreate that ceremony within a single device. An album’s playlist file is stored on a floppy disk, complete with the album art. When it is loaded, the playlist is read and retrieves the songs from my MP3 collection. Pushbutton controls are wired to a USB keypad. The software I wrote listens for the specific key-presses and sends the message to the playback software.

The result adds an aural, tactile, and considered interaction to an otherwise neglected experience.