ZIP 100 Drive
Well of course, my first concern at the time, was as to whether or not this Zip drive would work on the ST/E and Falcon computer. I was certain it would but more to the point, was there SOFTWARE to drive its electronics? I called "ICD" in Rockford, Illinois to see if they had written any. There was no one there and I left a message on the machine. I waited.
After the moon had set a few times, I began to forget about the Zip question and tend to other business at hand. Gradually, I forgot about that little blue box and bought a Fujitsu 540 to use on my BBS. It was about the same price as the Zip 100 and held much more data and accessed it at a whopping 8ms. I added a SyQuest 88mb removable hard drive to transport data. Time came and went but still not a word from ICD, the gurus of Atari hard drive programs. (I have been running the ICD pro software for hard drives for 6 years. The updates have been consistent. I currently use version 6.5)
Recently, I decided to try one of these "Zip" drives out. I needed it for another purpose within "DigiTalents" and had to be certain if it was the actual solution I required. The only way to find out was to buy one and give it a go. I bought the SCSI model for MAC and PC machines. It included a data cable and a 100mb disk with the dual software needed. I bought a 6 pack of 100mb disks as well.
I connected the Zip to My Macintosh Performa 640CD DOS compatible computer and installed the software. Next, I installed the DOS side and rebooted the Mac. Viola! It worked perfectly. Both Macintosh and PC found and were able to use the same disks!! AHHHH but there was a problem.
As all computer users know, eventually, you will need to reinstall software on your system. This is especially true if you own a DOS machine. (You spend more time figuring out what went wrong AGAIN!!! than you do using it!) The Mac software installed itself on my machine and then, unknown to me, ERASED THE DOS SOFTWARE FROM THE ZIP DISK!! (Kinda like a built in dislike ehh? Iomegas solution to this is to buy another disk...rather contemptuous in my view.)
I next wondered if Zip would be found on the Falcon. I already have a 2x CD-ROM portable drive, a SyQuest 88, and a floptical 21mb connected to the Falcon. I daisy chained off the floptical drive. (The Zip allows only for device assignment of number 5 or 6 with or without termination.) It also allows for continuation of the daisy chain so that other devices may be attached.
I turned on the Falcon and watched the screen as the configuration was being displayed... There it was. "ICD prosoft version 6.5" found the Zip 100 with no problem and TOS 4.04 and GEM appeared. I attempted to read the Zip Drive through Universal Item Selector 3... Oops! Problem! The Zip disks were preformatted with a dual format and worked on both (Mac-PC) sides of the Mac. The ICD software did not read those disks.
I used the supplied ICD format program to format the disk and once formatted, the disk performed just like any other of the aforementioned drives. It is extremely quiet as well. I am told by a fellow Falcon user that ICD supplied a program to format and read the PC pre-format disks but that he has not gotten it to work yet. He has promised to keep me informed of any progress.
Zip drive is about the size of an ordinary external floppy drive and takes up little space. It can be stood on its side or laid flat on your desk. It has power saver features and will shut off after 15 minutes of idle time. Also, it is nearly as fast as the 540mb IDE drive in the Mac and certainly faster than the 2x CD-ROM drive I currently use.
Zip disks are usually removed by pressing a small button on the front. I say usually because it depends on the machine you are connected to and the program you are running at that time. Mac sometimes refuses to allow a disk to be ejected. Falcon users need not worry... Pressing the button has worked for me every time... So far! Although the Macintosh habit of ejecting the disk on shutdown is annoying, I have learned to accept it.
Aside from the current inconvenience of not reading the PC-Mac format disks, the drive has given no problems. This is particularly obvious when swapping the drive mechanism between machines. I currently use it for storage on the Falcon, having moved all my Syquest 44 and 88 removable data to 1 Zip disk. There is now a 1.2 gig Zip drive to tempt you further. I have no current need for such storage but it's nice to know its there!