i am a little confused with something here. If I wanted to write a bootloader to load my kernel up and both the bootloader and the kernel are located on a floppy disk than do I have to format the floppy disk or something or have the two files a certain way on the floppy disk. Also what is the best file format to use for writing these things so that the cpu can directly execute them so there will be no use of windows xp here. Also what is the best assembler to use to go about doing this.

but does this stuff still apply to todays pc's?

If you want to boot off a floppy - you did say floppy didn't you?

Perhaps try LOAF