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The Sandwich Shop

These are my thoughts. They are based on what I see going on around me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

I know very little about myself. If I did know myself better, I probably wouldn't be doing this.

Monday, January 23, 2006

To CD Or Not To CD, That Is The Question:

Sent : Friday, January 13, 2006 9:56 AM

America, prepare to have your day ruined:

Associated Press January 11, 2006:
"Do Burned CDs Have a Short Life Span?"
Optical discs may not be your best bet for storing digital media long term,experts says. John Blau, IDG News Service Tuesday,January 10, 2006.
Opinions vary on how to preserve data on digital storage
media,such as optical CDs and DVDs. Kurt Gerecke, a physicist
and storage expert at IBM Deutschland, has his own view: if
you want to avoid having to burn new CDs every few years , use
magnetic tape to store all your pictures,videos and songs for
a lifetime.
"Unlike pressed original CDs, burned CDs have a relatively
short life span of between two and five years, depending on
the quality of the CD," Gerecke says. " There are a few things
you can do to extend the life of a burned CD, like keeping the
disc in a cool, dark space, but not a whole lot more."
The problem is material degradation. Optical discs commonly
used for birning, such as
CD-R and CD-RW, have a recording surface consisting of a layer
of dye that can be modified by heat to store data. The
degradation process can result in the data
"shifting"on the surface and thus becoming unreadable to the
laser beam.
"many of the cheap burnable CDs available at discount stores
have a life span of around two years," Gerecke says. "Some of
the better-quality discs offer a longer life span, of a
maximum of five years."
Distinguishing high-quality burnable CDs from low-quality
discs is difficult, he says, because few vendors use life span
as a selling point.
Similar Limitations:
Hard-drive disks also have their limitations, according to
Gerecke. The problem with hard drives, he says, is not so much
the disk itself as it is the disk bearing, which has a
positioning function similar to a ball bearing. " If the hard
drive uses an inexpensive disk bearing, that bearing will wear
out faster than a more expensive one," he says. His
recommendation: a hard-drive disk with 7200 revolutions per
To overcome the preservation limitations of burnable CDs,
Gerecke suggests using magnetic tapes, which he claims, can
have a life span of 30 years to 100 years, depending on their
quality. " Even if magnetic tapes a re also subject to
degradation, they're still the superior storage media," he
But he's quick to point out that no storage medium lasts
forever and, consequently, consumers and business alike need
to have a migration plan to new storage technologies.
"Companies, in particular, need to be constantly looking at
new storage technologies and have an archiving stratedgy that
allows them to automatically migrate to new technologies," he
says. " Otherwise, they're going to wind up in a dead-end. And
for those sitting on terabytes of crucial data, that could be
a colossal problem."

As someone who's been burning CDs for a long time, I'm afraid
I have to agree with the good doctor. Some of the CDs I
burned more than two years ago no longer play. I had no idea
that the CDs themselves were the problem, I always thought it
was the fact that newer CD players wouldn't play older CDs.
Recently, I passed up the chance to buy a recording studio
quality cassette tape recorder for less than $40. I felt it
was obsolete technology. I'm kickin' myself in the rear now.


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