The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #153894   Message #3607996
Posted By: JohnInKansas
07-Mar-14 - 10:30 AM
Thread Name: Tech: Are CDs becoming obsolete?
Subject: RE: Tech: Are CDs becoming obsolete?
Most of the comments here have been about the viability of CDs for music recording. I don't see much reason to believe that distribution of music on CDs is particularly likely to go away any time soon, although there are now alternative forms that compete with them, depending on the "what and why" of what people intend to do with the music.

The promise of CDs as a data storage medium have been exceedingly disappointing. The larger (than floppies?) capacity induced me to burn lots (>350) data CDs in order to "reduce storage space," but after careful storage for about 4 years it was obvious that "external HDs" offered something better. Transfer from the data CDs to HDs (portable USB external) found well under 60% recovery of the datafiles on the burnable CDs.

COMMERCIAL grade CDs can be quite durable, but "writable data CDs" that you can make on your home computer are little better than old photographs. The "storage" is effectively by chemical changes to the CD surface, and "chemical aging" is just a fact of life. Music is essentially analog, and loss or change of a few bits is relatively innocuous, so reproduction of an analog noise from a "mildly lossy" chemical replica doesn't significantly affect what you get back. Loss or corruption of even a few bits of a digital data file may make the entire file unusable.

Addtionally, the "file bloat" that's an inevitable consequence of "cumputer progress" (?) has now resulted in my having quite a few individual data files that won't fit on a single CD.

"Writable DVDs" now offer sufficient capacity that I have only a very few data documents that won't fit on a DVD, but the DVDs still suffer from the same lack of "archival quality" of the home-burnable CDs.

The availabilty of larger HD capacities makes them the choice for data storage - IFF** REDUNDANT BACKUPS of "valuable data files" are maintained.

**IFF = a fairly standard abbreviation for "IF BUT ONLY IF." Apologies to those whe might not have caught my meaning, since I've used the term fairly often here.

It's been a couple of years since I've added a "portable USB external Hard Drive" smaller than 1 TB. There are 2TB drives available now at fairly reasonable cost, and it's likely that I'll pick up a couple fairly soon, but for now some problems with the NTFS format (annooying in Win7) pose some questions on "very large HD" usabilty. I do have three 2TB internal HDs in use with generally satisfactory performance, but I've found no "backup HDs" that aren't portable very reliable for anything that gets moved and/or disconnected and reconnected.

CDs are in no danger of going away, for the uses where they work well. Some of the uses that we hoped they would have are already well and properly DEAD, for those who had once hoped to use a lot of them.