A disk designed to hold 100 MB of information. Produced by IoMega.
Later on improved to hold 250 MB, then 750 MB. A supposed successor to the 3.5" floppy drive that didn't quite generate enough market share, for various reasons. It was fairly expensive (~150 USD), the media were not that cheap either (~15 USD for one, cheaper in quantity), only Iomega ever produced it (The Media was produced by others as well Fuji, Sony, ...), and well, the other guy also needed a Zip drive. It ultimately lost to cheap CDR-drives.
In the early days, I found Zips very useful for transferring files that were too big for floppy disks. CD-Rs and BroadBand? internet have made shuffling even larger amounts of data around easier... of course, now I've got files that are too big for the CDs to store, never mind a Zip disk. Gonna have to get me a DvdBurner?...
Modern replacement is the ubiquitous USB flash drive. In the US, they can range from 32MB for $16 to 2GB for $750. Best price point right now is 512MB for $120. Some newer BIOSes support booting from them. In mid 2008, the prices are much better with multi-gigabyte drives for 20 to 40 dollars.
Zip disks also earned a reputation for being unreliable. Near the end of their heyday there were many, many tales of self-corrupting zip disks (Google "click of death".) Some of the Iomega drives were fairly cheaply manufactured, which may have contributed to the former problem.
My Model Z100USBNC - manufactured in 2001 has performed flawlessly for over ten years. I have some newer models which were not of the same quality, and are now collecting dust. Another case of ItDepends. However with the introduction of the new multi-gigabyte Flash Drives such devices are archaic. -- DonaldNoyesCategoryHardware