Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Media Data Storage Portables Portables (Apple) Hardware

Whither the Portable Optical Drive? 440

Posted by timothy
from the do-you-stream-or-spin dept.
"The MacBook Air and the Ultrabook come without a piece of hardware that's been a mainstay in laptops for a long time — the optical drive," says a piece at CNET. "Maybe because they really aren't that necessary anymore." I would have thought otherwise a few years ago, but traveling in the meantime with a small netbook was certainly handy. Since that machine died, I think I've used the optical drive in its low-end laptop successor a grand total of once, which was to test its wireless compatibility with a Live CD Linux distro.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Whither the Portable Optical Drive?

Comments Filter:
  • Speak for yourself (Score:5, Informative)

    by unity100 (970058) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:41PM (#38111782) Homepage Journal
    There are a lot of situations in which people need to use optical drives on laptops. The uses range from gaming to application installs, to backup.

    Only having to use your portable with alive cd to 'test wireless compatibility' tells me that you are a sysadmin, or another i.t. professional. chances are high that you rarely do what normal people do with that portable but work. let me break the news about common people to you - people still move data on cds.
    • by nwoolls (520606) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:45PM (#38111828) Homepage

      I gotta say, from my own laptop usage, my wife's, sister's, mother's, and others, I think you are the one whose needs aren't in line with common people.

      What applications are you installing you bought on CD? Games these days are being purchased more and more on Steam, Origin, and the likes. Backing up is done more and more to external drives or offsite hosted services.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Unless you're looking to be locked into vendor DRM, you're stuck with an optical drive for some things. I have a Samsung external USB DVDRW that I plug in from time to time. I don't use it very often, but I do need it sometimes as USB booting is still unreliable at best when done from a thumbdrive.

        Plus, I have 3 computers total and only the desktop has a built in optical drive, next time I get a new desktop it won't. By that measure having one driver per several computers isn't unreasonable, I only spent $3

      • by tepples (727027)

        Games these days are being purchased more and more on Steam, Origin, and the likes.

        Unless you live somewhere where typical home broadband plans cap your monthly download in the single digit GB range.

        • Re:Cap (Score:5, Informative)

          by Jaktar (975138) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @11:59PM (#38113958)

          I'm on a 600 MB/day limit on my home ISP. I just recently built a new computer for my wife. The GPU came with a free copy of a game. Based on our normal usage patterns, I'll have it downloaded from Steam sometime in the next six months using the leftover bits at the end of the day.

          Central Virginia.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:24PM (#38113328) Homepage Journal

        Games these days are being purchased more and more on Steam

        That was the case until AT&T started this 150gb data limit and I get throttled and charged extra if I go over.

        This week I bought Skyrim on disk. It was the first game I bought that way in a long time. Years.

        I wonder how Steam feels about the new data limits being put on by telecoms.

        • by znerk (1162519) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @03:42AM (#38114834)

          I try not to buy things that don't come on disk. Old habits die hard, but I can't keep myself from thinking about wanting to play some game 10 or 20 years from now, and wishing the company that made it hadn't gone under for whatever reason.

          I still play Diablo, Diablo II, StarCraft (and the Broodwars expansion), Quake2, Quake3Arena, and many other "old" games... and I have multiple disks of a couple of them, for retro-gaming LAN parties. I won't buy StarCraft II because I can't be sure it will work next week, next year, or a decade from now - who's to say Blizzard will still be around (and won't have deactivated the activation server)?

          Installation from physical media, without a requirement for an internet connection at any step of the process... it makes me happy to know that I can play these 10 and 15 year old games without worrying about whether the companies that produced them will go under.

          As another example, how will we (legally) install Windows, when Microsoft shuts down the activation server for the unsupported version?
          There's still nothing "wrong" with XP, despite the Vista/Win7/Win8 hype.

          I have a huge collection of DVD/VHS movies, despite having digital versions of almost all of them (I'm still in the process of format-shifting them). Physical media says I never have to contact an "activation server" to "acquire and authenticate" media that I already paid for, even if my home file server dies in a fire, flood, or other major disaster (yes, many of my physical copies of my movies are stored offsite).

          Another (possibly irrelevant) example: I have iso images of Linux operating systems dating all the way back to 1996, "just in case". I also have images of my Windows install media through the years. Yeah, I collect some weird data. I've just gotten into the habit, over the years, of making backups of everything.

          My point is that physical media, unencumbered by DRM, means that the content of that media is accessible in most cases, years or even decades later.

          • by igb (28052) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @05:51AM (#38115266)

            My point is that physical media, unencumbered by DRM, means that the content of that media is accessible in most cases, years or even decades later.

            I've got some data on a reel-to-reel tape written on a Pr1me, and another from Multics. I've got some data written on QIC-11 on a long-obsolete low-volume Unix box. I've got some punch tape. All of these things might be readable in extreme circumstances (although I think the Multics data would be extremely challenging, what with 9-bit bytes and all) but for practical purposes they're dead.

            On the other hand, I've copied my home directory from system to system for the past twenty-five years. I've got files with Unix time stamps in the mid 1980s (including, usefully, a Kermit'd copy of most of the data from the Multics system).

            Data you want to keep needs to be on current systems, with current backups. Outside a narrow time window, older media isn't readable without extreme measures

    • Four uses remain (Score:5, Informative)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:51PM (#38111882) Homepage Journal

      Gaming in markets with broadband? Steam. Application installs in markets with broadband? Mac App Store, Ubuntu Software Center (which has paid repos now) or whatever Windows has. Moving data from one PC to another? USB flash drives. On-site backup? External hard drives, especially if your data is over the 4.something GB limit for DVD-R or DVD+R media.

      But this still leaves several uses for optical discs: 1. operating system installations, 2. application installations in places that can't get DSL, FTTH, or cable Internet, 3. burning music CDs for people who don't already own and use a suitable PMP, or 4. burning DVDs for the large number of people who own a DVD player that happens not to have a USB input and don't already have a home theater PC. I admit most of these can be done on a USB burner kept at home, and that's what I use with my 10" Dell.

      • Re:Four uses remain (Score:5, Informative)

        by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:00PM (#38113146) Homepage

        4. burning DVDs for the large number of people who own a DVD player that happens not to have a USB input and don't already have a home theater PC.

        I love /. sometimes. Careful analysis reveals that an optical drive can be used for burning files from BitTorrent, while missing the glaringly obvious: They put optical drives in laptops so people can play DVDs.

    • by amanicdroid (1822516) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:52PM (#38111894)
      My external DVD burner works brilliantly for the rare occasions that I need it and shaves unnecessary bulk from my daily carry.

      I've spoken for myself per request.
    • USB, Network, etc. I removed the optical drive in my MacBookPro and it was one of the best things I ever did. I dropped in an SSD HD and I haven't used my DVD-RW once since then as an external drive.

      I bought an old laptop from ~2001 for $10 to use as a shairport jukebox. I PXE boot it with NFS. Over a gigabit ethernet network it's plenty fast.

    • by poity (465672)

      True, but how often does one install software from disc while away from home base? The drives are usually a $60 difference, and I find it more useful to have a 2nd battery in the optical bay instead, and get a $15 desktop burner in a $5 USB enclosure.

    • by beelsebob (529313)

      Really? Which game do you want to install that isn't in {insert online download service here}?

      • by znerk (1162519)

        Really? Which game do you want to install that isn't in {insert online download service here}?

        ... and please do tell me how you get those installed without a suitable internet connection.

        Oh, and before you go calling me a Luddite, I bet you can tell me at least 5 reasonable situations entailing someone not having available at their current location an internet connection suitable for installing a game that might require up to 20GB of downloading before being playable.

    • by kesuki (321456)

      i haven't bought cds in a long time, but i still use them -- when a dvd or blu-ray isn't needed. i think that the idea behind this is to stop end users from wiping their drives or installing OSes thumbdrives are nice but i see more virus activity over that port than optical drives. in a netbook/tablet optical drives aren't needed, but in a real laptop or desktop optical media is a valuable tool, more than just for piracy.

      but yes one can use a netbook and online games, streaming tools etc. but eventually the

    • by Flytrap (939609) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @08:13PM (#38112456)

      People have such short memories (or are too young to remember).

      When the iMac came out without a floppy disk dive in 1998, exactly the same sentiment was expressed. PC makers gasped, then heckled Apple... But before long they too followed suite and started gradually phasing out floppy disk drives.

      Then too, it was the dreaded focus group that dragged out the eventual demise of the floppy - people like you in focus groups saying "... keep the floppy drive, just in case I need to revert to my trusty sneaker-net". Of course we know what every focus group has to say about Adobe Flash... just about the same thing that they have to say about the CD drive now.

      Steve Jobs loathed focus groups... that kind of makes sense when you are launching something that consumers do not know they need yet, like a new product. But focus group are useful tools, when used properly. The problem I have found (at least in financial services) is that focus groups are use to make the decision, instead of gauging the acceptability of a decision.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        That's a pretty blatant misrepresentation. The question at the time was when would the floppy be obsolete. At that time CDs were still fairly expensive to use, IIRC the CD burners that were included were still several hundred dollars, I know my ZipCD was over $200 about that time. Floppies were affordable and mostly worked. Most files of that era were still small enough to fit on a floppy as internet connections and most programs didn't require them to be huge.

        So yes, the ridicule was well justified, nobody

    • USB optical drive (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cryptoluddite (658517) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @08:39PM (#38112604)

      Just get a USB optical drive. They use two USB ports to legitimately get enough power, although you can usually just use one plug. They're basically just a laptop optical drive in a box and work just fine for almost everything, even installing an OS from scratch usually works. And you don't need to have it inside the computer for the 99% of the time you don't need it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    and that's about it

    • by BagOBones (574735) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:45PM (#38111830)

      I just installed my last os via USB. It was much faster than via optical drive. (speed depends on quality of USB drive)

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Assuming it works, the times I've tried that I've found it to be a hit or miss affair. I'd rather do that because I don't want to waste a disc on something I might only use once.

    • I take it that your operating system of choice cannot be installed from a thumb drive?
    • by Deorus (811828) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @07:55PM (#38112342)

      Mac OS X Lion now installs from the Internet [apple.com] into completely blank hard disks (yes, even if the recovery partition is wiped or the original disk replaced), if necessary. No installation media required.

  • Well.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:45PM (#38111832)

    How do you get software on a laptop without an optical drive?
    Most of that stuff is still sold on cd/dvd...

    You filthy pirates are downloading it right... We need more laws!

    • by hedwards (940851)

      If you have a computer you can do what I do and rip the discs to the HDD and then just copy them either over the network or on a thumbdrive to the laptop. At this point even Windows allows you to conveniently mount an ISO without external tools.

      But yeah, I'm guessing most folks get around the limitation by piracy.

      • GP is just a troll. Besides, even Office can be bought and downloaded nowadays; most people I know at least don't use much software anyway besides that and the browser.

      • by JWSmythe (446288)

        I do that all the time. When I get a new disk of anything, I make an ISO of it. That way, if it gets scratched, broken, lost, or whatever, I still have the image. Installing from an ISO mounted as a virtual drive is faster too. :)

        At one office, we had to install a piece of software on a dozen machines (licensed for all of them). It was a breeze, using remote desktop to get to all of them, and mounting the ISO from a shared directory. It would have taken someone much long

    • External (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:55PM (#38111918) Homepage Journal
      Anonymous Coward wrote:

      How do you get software on a laptop without an optical drive?

      By going home, pulling out your external USB burner, plugging it into the side of your laptop, installing the software, and unplugging the burner.

    • Re:Well.. (Score:4, Informative)

      by antifoidulus (807088) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:58PM (#38111936) Homepage Journal
      TFA specifically mentions the Macbook air, on which you can install the OS and tons of apps from the mac app store and it even has a built in recovery partition from which you can always boot if you need to re-install the OS.
  • by isorox (205688) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:47PM (#38111840) Homepage Journal

    I have a DVD writer for my laptop, but my laptop as a whole benefits a lot more from the extra battery.

    I do keep the writer, and a couple of blank dvds and cds with my in my bag though, along with
    * an external hard drive
    * empower + ac adapter, with anything-to-anything plug adapter
    * 5 port netgear switch
    * a few cables
    * gaffer tape
    * leatherman
    * cable ties

    And after a particularly problematic experience in Gaza, I've added a tiny USB keyboard to the list. Trouble is, the bags getting a little heavy, and the CD drive is the only thing I don't use on a regular basis.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @07:15PM (#38112058)

      . . . along with
      * an external hard drive
      * empower + ac adapter, with anything-to-anything plug adapter
      * 5 port netgear switch
      * a few cables
      * gaffer tape
      * leatherman
      * cable ties

      Hell, with all that stuff, MacGyver could build an atomic powered laser . . .

      And after a particularly problematic experience in Gaza, I've added a tiny USB keyboard to the list.

      Hmmm . . . I must have missed that episode . . .

  • Please let me know how you are going to play back movies etc while in an airplane at 30,000 feet.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      from the hard drive, or a USB stick... duh!

    • Re:Movies (Score:5, Interesting)

      by voidptr (609) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:52PM (#38111900) Homepage Journal

      Handbrake it to MP4 before I leave. And more likely than not, copy it over to a tablet that's easier to hold and watch in cattle class than breaking out a full blown laptop.

      Why would I want to waste battery spinning a DVD around?

      • Handbrake it to MP4 before I leave. And more likely than not, copy it over to a tablet that's easier to hold and watch in cattle class than breaking out a full blown laptop.

        Why would I want to waste battery spinning a DVD around?

        Most people don't have the time or inclination to rip DVD's to disk - especially if you simply rent them and drop them in the mail or simply rent locally. Or, if you have a full season, it's a pain to rip them them all vs carrying a cd case. In addition, as laptops get thinner and move to SSD disk space becomes more valuable - I can carry a broader selection with me than I can if I rip it to disk.

        Tablets are nice but not really a viable solution for most people because of the price.

        I think optical drives a

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          Ripping an entire season of some show is not that much of a burden. Although admittedly there aren't really any good "shiny happy" GUI tools for this. It's something that's easily automated once you get past the "metadata" hurde.

          Of course this requires having a little Script Fu.

          Admittedly, your average Windows or Mac user isn't.

          So yeah, the mundane case here will be a bunch of spinny disks and some device capable of dealing with them. All of us geeking out about our highly geeky solutions (even Handbrake qu

      • Which means your desktop needs an optical drive.

        Which I totally agree with. The only time I use the optical drive on my desktop is to rip DVDs to something suitable for my home media NAS.

        On my laptop? Just realized that I've had the same DVD in the drive for over a month now. A movie that I never got around to finishing. If it was interesting, I would have ripped it to watch on the big screen (via XBMC/openelec).

      • by brentrad (1013501)
        250 GB USB external HD and an Asus Transformer Android Tablet with the keyboard dock that has full size USB ports on it? Worked pretty awesome for me when I flew to Vegas for a conference last week. And with the mini HDMI port on the tablet and my mini-HDMI to HDMI cable, I was even able to plug it into my hotel HDTV and watch the same videos in my room (as well as streaming my whole home mp3 collection over WiFi using Google Music.)

        Of course the fact that I get the vast majority of the videos I watch
    • by Yaztromo (655250)

      Please let me know how you are going to play back movies etc while in an airplane at 30,000 feet.

      I suppose if you want to watch in a manner which drains your battery dead the fastest, you could go that way. Personally, I prefer carrying and watching my movies in a more portable form, such as data files stored on a HDD, my iPad, or flash media.

      Yaz

      • I have pretty good luck finding seats with power outlets.

        Copying data files leaves you vulnerable to copyright issues if your laptop is searched by a government agency.

    • by mgblst (80109)

      Wow, if you can't figure that out, this may not be the site for you. Maybe your lost your way from knitting patterns for men?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:52PM (#38111892)

    Optical drives should be external. They cost $30.

    For that price, you could throw one in your laptop bag, and plug it in when you need it.

    http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=420&name=External-CD-DVD-Blu-Ray-Drives [newegg.com]

    I don't believe in built-in optical drives; I use them rarely. They're useless dead weight. Much prefer that the space they took, be replaced by more battery... which is always useful. Or leave both off and make the laptop lighter and slimmer.

  • by einhverfr (238914) <chris.travers@gmail . c om> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:52PM (#38111898) Homepage Journal

    I use the portable optical drive for:
    1) Reading documentation manuals that come with hardware (like printers) on CD format
    2) Listening to CD's
    3) Watching some DVD's
    4) Occasionally rescue CD's come in handy when a root password is forgotten.

    No I don't think they are going away. My guess is that Apple doesn't think their users care about #1, and they don't like the fact that #2 competes with iTunes.....

    • Reading documentation manuals that come with hardware (like printers) on CD format

      I'm assuming you don't carry a printer around with you (unless it's one of those new Polaroid products or something). Leave a USB disc drive where you leave your printer. Before iTunes Store, iTunes software was specifically for doing exactly this.

      Listening to CD's

      If you can stop by home, you can copy the CD to your computer with an external drive and music library software that has come with just about every home computer since 2002.

      Watching some DVD's

      If you can stop by home, you can copy the DVD to an MPEG-2 file on your computer with an ex

    • by Yaztromo (655250) <`yaztromo' `at' `mac.com'> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @07:45PM (#38112262) Homepage Journal

      1) Reading documentation manuals that come with hardware (like printers) on CD format

      Virtually all of which are available online, usually as newer revisions with errata included. Indeed, the CD that ships with the hardware is usually the last place I check for PDF documentation, as there is virtually always more up-to-date documentation online

      .

      2) Listening to CD's

      Are you the one person who doesn't have some sort of portable music player, or who hasn't ripped all their music CDs to a more portable AAC/MP3/FLAC/ALAC format? For playback on a laptop, any time you need to be running off battery playing back a file off your hard drive is going to consume significantly less power than doing the same off spinning physical media.

      3) Watching some DVD's

      Again, having these files stored on the hard drive is more efficient for a portable device. And there are a number of legal solutions for renting, downloading, and streaming movies available online that doesn't rely on physical media.

      4) Occasionally rescue CD's come in handy when a root password is forgotten.

      Since the article (and your post) specifically mentions Apple, in their case all modern Apple systems are perfectly capable of booting from USB or Firewire. I do understand that in the PC world booting from removable USB keys can be really hit-or-miss, but in the Apple world this isn't a concern. Booting from USB is faster, and requires less dedicated hardware in your portable system that you wind up having to carry around the other 99.99% of the time when you're not trying to recover from a forgotten root password.

      I've already made the decision that I don't need to carry around an optical drive that I use <1% of the time in my next laptop. An external drive or drive sharing across the network to a dedicated system will be more than sufficient in the event I need to move data to or from optical disc.

      Yaz

  • useless for me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amoeba1911 (978485) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @06:59PM (#38111944) Homepage
    Yeah, optical drive is useless for me. I hardly ever use the optical drive on my desktop, let alone on my laptop. Optical drives are useless for professionals who know what they are doing, but for computer novices optical drives are still a necessity. If you ever buy a game or an application it comes on an optical media. You even need to have it in the drive to use the software.

    For now, it is cheaper to ship software on optical media instead of some kind of read-only usb drive. There are huge benefits to that though, first of all, a microsd card takes up much less space and weighs a lot less than a dvd. So, maybe one day we will see software that comes on usb drives instead of dvd. That day will mark the death of the optical media, except perhaps for long term archival, stuff i never want to see again but can't get myself to delete i burn on a dvd and throw the dvd into the basement. :)
  • by Mostly Harmless (48610) <mike_pete@yahoo. c o m> on Saturday November 19, 2011 @07:02PM (#38111964) Homepage
    Netbooks and ultraportables don't have optical drives? What's next, cellphones without mechanical number pads? How do people come up with this stuff?
  • And your one use of the optical drive was actually a detriment to the function you were attempting to accomplish. It would have been better served on a USB memory stick. Faster speed and the ability to store changes. Not to mention far more capacity, AND less power consumption on your laptop.

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      One possible use is for security as you can burn a live CD and since it's read only it can't be hacked. It's paranoia at it's utmost but very effective.

    • by thue (121682)

      If you install grub onto your USB stick, then you can have a whole collection of live CDs, which can be accomplished by copying the iso to the USB stick and adjusting the grub configuration file. See for example http://www.panticz.de/MultiBootUSB [panticz.de]

  • How else could we run DRM-d software?

  • Yes I would welcome the death of the CD/DVD drive, like the death of the floppy drive. USB drives do everything they do for just slightly more cash. And the upside is it make laptops lighter. I for one would much rather use that extra space for a 2nd hard drive, so I can use the SSD for Windows/Linux, and the other hard drive for my data.

    Hopefully, the same will happen to the desktop soon enough.
  • Take a Linux CD ISO and extract it to a FAT32 USB drive (7-zip can do that). Delete isolinux.bin and rename isolinux.cfg to syslinux.cfg. Then grab syslinux.exe [kernel.org] and run "syslinux.exe -mifa [drive]:"

    You can still use the drive for storage.

    There are also many tutorials out there for installing Windows 7 from a thumbdrive.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19, 2011 @07:25PM (#38112126)

    Uses for Optical Drives:

    1. Ripping CDs to Itunes, whatever you use (Rhythmbox, Amarok) to manage your MP3s. A lot of people still buy CDs, or have some to rip.
    2. Recording LPs to HD, burning CDs to play in stereos, etc. A lot of folks still have stereos they'd like to use.
    3. Watching Netflix / Redbox DVDs, not everyone wants to watch em on a big screen. Or rip the DVD (takes a long time). Sometimes you just want to watch it and be done.
    4. Guaranteed boot unlike sometimes iffy USB Flash drives.
    5. Archival backup, cheap and easy. Great for weblogs, code base, important docs etc.
    6. Commercial software, upgrades, etc. This is particularly true for naive users who tend to delete stuff they should not (like their download, say). Non technical users know to save the install CD/package, they'll often delete the download.
    7. Burning Library Audiobooks to CDs, and then ripping them via Itunes, RubyRipper, Soundjuicer whatever. This is good for a number of reasons -- a lot of non-technical folks have CD players they like to use to listen to audio books and don't have or want to use MP3 players, burning the CDs also allows you to rip them to MP3s without time-limits etc. You can do this with both the Overdrive Media downloads, and the regular CD audio books (just copy the CDs).

    I love having an optical drive, I consider it mandatory for any serious computer not optimized for light-weight. Netbooks have their place, but for anything serious and regular use I want that optical drive. I use it all the time.

    • by Darinbob (1142669) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @10:11PM (#38113228)

      Agreed. I think it is amazingly arrogant that because some people buy all their stuff online with music stores and DRM that they think they entire world does the same thing. Real people still have CDs we've collected over the years. Retail outlets still sell music on CDs, they still sell software on CDs, and they still sell movies on DVDs. If no one used this stuff then why are they still being sold?

      What is the proper pejorative word that's the opposite of Luddite? I'm tired of those gadget freaks who think the world revolves and them and the latest thing they bought.

      • by voidptr (609)

        Nobody is selling music with DRM on it anymore. The cds that I bought over the years have long been ripped and sit in a crate in the garage that hasn't been opened in in a long time.

        As for the rest, of course there's still a need for optical drives for a lot of people and will be for some time to come. What there isnt anymore, is the need for every computer sold to have one permanently attached. Nobody's going to stop offering them on all of their desktop lines anytime soon. A lot of laptop users may keep a

  • by Junta (36770)

    I don't want an optical drive in my laptop. It's added weight and a little noise on reboot. For me this is no problem, I never ever use the optical drive and my question doesn't apply to me since I run linux exclusively anyway, but do SecuROM gimped games work with USB attached optical drives? I could see that as a major inhibitor to a lot of people.

    • by ksd1337 (1029386)

      but do SecuROM gimped games work with USB attached optical drives? I could see that as a major inhibitor to a lot of people.

      I'm sure TPB has some great fixes for that problem. ;-)

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @07:42PM (#38112246)

    If you travel with a high resolution camera you are going to want an optical drive to back up you photos.

    • Re:Photos (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gnasher719 (869701) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @07:55PM (#38112346)

      If you travel with a high resolution camera you are going to want an optical drive to back up you photos.

      A little 500 GB 2.5" USB hard drive is ten times faster, ten times more reliable, and cheaper.

    • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @09:35PM (#38112940)

      I'm sorry but that's just plain wrong. If you're travelling with a high resolution camera the LAST thing you want is to backup to optical drive. You're typical CF card is 16 or 32 GB, many people travel with multiple cards.

      So am I going to go home at the end of each day of my holiday and sit down for an hour or two and burn 8 or 16 DVDs? Hell no. Not when I can just plug in my usb HDD to the laptop click copy and then disappear downstairs for a meal instead.

      My last holiday generated 400MB of images. My USB harddisk is thinner than 5 DVDs, It's lighter than 15 DVDs, There's no way I'm going to be dragging 100 of the things on my holiday. Not to mention that it is far less likely to cause problems by some customs agent wondering what I'm doing returning from Thailand with what looks like 100 bootlegged movies.

  • by lanner (107308) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @07:45PM (#38112266)

    Years ago, back in 2001, I had a nice Dell laptop with a modular DVDRW drive. However, you could hot swap out the optical drive for a second battery pack. I pretty much ran with this second battery pack in all the time, and it was awesome. It added an extra 60% or so of extra battery time to the laptop and I could go a real-world six to eight hours of use before the power ran out.

    My new MacBook pro has a DVDRW drive in it and it's just complete wasted space. The battery life for this MacBook Pro is already pretty good, but it would be very awesome if I could put a modular battery in there. FYI, I have one of the first generation of unibody MacBook Pros, so I can very easily get to the battery and hard drive. I loath the fact that they un-did this feature of the MBP in later models. Jerks!

  • How do I make Windows repair media without an optical drive?

  • by wisebabo (638845) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @09:49PM (#38113052) Journal

    Build a standalone DVD drive with a USB/Memorycard slot.

    When the user pops in a DVD-ROM, the drive copies an image of the disk onto the memory card. When the memory card is popped into a computer, an exact copy of the disk shows up!

    Of course this would have problems with copy protected media but for software installs it could be useful. Most importantly it is simple enough that your grandmother could use it.

Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

Working...