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Hardware

Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Use Optical Media? 385

The other day at an event, public relation officials were handing out press kit (it usually contains everything the company announced, photos from the event, and contact information of the company) to journalists. When I reached office and opened the kit, I found a CD in it. Which was weird because it's been two to three years since I had a computer with an optical drive. And all these years I didn't need one. Which brings up the question: Does your work require dealing with CDs and DVDs anymore? An anonymous reader asks the same question: I still use optical discs for various backup purposes, but recently I developed doubts as to the reliability of the media to last a reasonable amount of time. I have read a review on Amazon of the TDK DVDs, in which somebody described losing 8000 (sic!) DVDs of data after 4 years of storage. I promptly canceled my purchase of TDKs. So, do you still use opticals for back-up -- Blu-Rays, DVDs, CDs? -- and if so, how do you go about it?I do buy Blu-Ray discs of movies, though. So my life isn't optical disc free yet. What about yours?
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Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Use Optical Media?

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  • Archival grade (Score:3, Informative)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@Nospam.world3.net> on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:22AM (#52774863) Homepage Journal

    Archival grade Blu-ray is great for backups, but that's about it. I don't even bother with that any more, just encrypt and upload off site.

  • by alternative_right ( 4678499 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:22AM (#52774867) Homepage Journal

    I still keep optical drives on all of my machines. Not only do I need to rip CDs on occasion, but I like the durability of optical media. It can be filed away just about anywhere, resists moisture and static, and is a great cheap way to pass information on to others. I wish the recycling options were better.

    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:27AM (#52774917)
      I like the fact that once I have my CDs and DVDs they can't take-back the rights when I have physical media, and I don't have to worry about losing my media when I have a hard disk failure.

      In practice this is also true for Blu-Ray. If I remember what I read back when the Blu-ray standard was first released there was apparently a mechanism to invalidate Blu-ray discs, but I don't think it's been applied in-practice and you'd have to have a network-connected player that the vendor is still providing updates to for that to happen anyway.
      • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:32AM (#52774947)

        I'm no BD expert but I was under the impression that a 'kill list' can be present in media and there is no need to have a network connection to have things be invalidated (media and even equip!). simply by PLAYING a disc, you run the risk of having things that worked yesterday, not work today.

        I never bought a bd player by choice (one came with a laptop I had no choice in) and I won't support that standard. its evil to to the corp (SIC intended).

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:46AM (#52775063)

          I can verify this was true for PS3 a few years ago. An inserted BD often requested to update the firmware because I never went online with that console. If I refused to to the upgrade, the PS3 refused to play the movie on the BD.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          The way it works is that they can generate millions of device keys. Every playback device must have a device key, and must then execute a Java app on the disc that, among other things, validates that key. They have the ability to revoke keys by including a list of revoked ones on the disc.

          So in practice old discs will still play, but new ones might refuse to play until your firmware is upgraded or just at all. Previously keys for cracked software players like PowerDVD have been revoked, with users provided

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by caseih ( 160668 )

      Except that optical media isn't that durable or reliable. Every DVD or CD I've ever burned has become unreadable after a few years. The inks just don't hold the data for long. Pressed disks last a lot longer of course, but there are many documented cases of the aluminum layer of CDs being damaged.

      And it's no longer a great or cheap way to pass information to others since fewer and fewer computers come with optical drives these days.

      If you're going to use optical media as archival storage or backup, you'll

      • Can't speak for more recent stuff, but I just pulled some data from a couple DVDs that I burned in June of 2014. No problems.

      • Stop using shitty and cheap media. I have CDs from 2000 still working, properly stored in individual boxes and inside a environment protected from light and heat (backup CDs).
      • Ironically enough, write-once optical discs are lousy for archiving - the organic dyes need to be kept at a stable temperature away from moisture and sunlight in order to have a fair chance of remaining stable. And even then you're probably lucky to get 5-10 years without some data loss. And definitely don't use standard permanent/laundry markers on them - the acids in the ink rapidly break down the dyes, and your data with it.

        Instead use rewritable media - your data is then stored in a phase-changing crys

    • by OtisSnerd ( 600854 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:50AM (#52775093)
      I have collected almost a thousand audio CDs over the past 25 years, and used to think the same thing. They served as masters for the digital copies I keep on my PC. Now I've discovered that a few of them are suffering from visible bit-rot, with the aluminum layer slowly being eaten / corroded in from the edge. It could be because I lived in a heavy urban area (Philly near I95) with lots of diesel exhaust until last year, but I've also taken very good care of them, keeping them in their cases and minimizing handling, but who knows how much longer they'll last.
      • You've just discovered the DRM worm. A real one.

        Looks like you'll be buying the White Album again.

      • I have disks that old myself. To slow this process, I pull them out every few years and get a baby diaper and some pledge. Does wonders on cleaning them up and giving them a lite protective coating. I haven't had a problem re-ripping anything I've pulled out yet, but I know those days are numbered.

        • I have music disks that I purchased in the mid 80's near the dawn of the CD era that still play fine. I buy used CDs from Goodwill that aren't quite that old, but I've yet to find one that doesn't play due to deterioration. Same with the public library. The only thing that seems to affect playability is scratches or actual damage to the data layer.

          I'd call that pretty durable.

    • Aging is not much of a problem. Just move the important stuff from CD-R to DVD-R, to BD-R, etc as times goes on and you get new media.

      For example the first backup on DVD-R starts with the last CD-R and adds newer stuff, the first backup on BD-R begins with the last DVD-R and adds newer stuff. Of course I'm not referring to complete system backups, rather backups of source code hierarchies, document hierarchies, etc. Music, videos, photos hierarchies not included; they are better backed up to external USB
    • Unless it came from Warner Brothers.

      Then it has bit-rot even if it looks pristine on the surface and if you email that about it they don't give you the courtesy of a fuck-you.

  • I can't remember the last time I used a CD or DVD. Never used Bluray.

    Oh wait, no. I can remember the last time I tried to use a CD; it was the install media for some software that I'd purchased a few years ago. I couldn't install it, the CD had developed a defect. I'm not sure that counts as 'The last time I USED optical media' because I didn't actually get to USE it.

    • I have a few CDs burned with MP3s in my travel bag, which I find useful in rental cars that don't have a USB media input. Most will play data discs. Other than that, my blank DVDs and CDs have been collecting dust for years.
    • Got a bunch of Blurays but never played them, in fact most are still in the wrapper. I only get them because legal digital download-to-own doesn't exist (not really). So I "steal" movies via torrent and buy the Blurays as a license for the ones I want to keep. Everything is played from a NAS, music as well, haven't bothered with CDs in ages.
  • I still get round to ripping old DVDs, and very very occasionally old CDs, that I pick up in second hand shops. I've not loaded a data CD for years.

    I'd be loath to get rid of my optical drive from my hulking great tower PC though. Partly because I have some old backup media that I want to be able to read again one day. (Yes I know I could move it to disk / cloud / whatever and that the CDs are probably degraded already).

    But mainly, a bit like getting hand written letters, I'm sort of hoping for the day I ge

  • All of our computers at work (six of them, small office) are optical media free. We do have a USB DVD drive for the once-every-few-months we need to read or burn optical media. At home I have a DVD drive, but only because my computer is 5+ years old. If I was building a new computer for home use now I'd leave it out.
    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      My junk box still has a USB floppy drive but no floppy disks. I haven't had a floppy drive installed in a system for ten years.
    • I have two optical media readers in my world.

      #1- computer at work has a reader. I don't know if it works, I've never used it...computer is 3 years old.

      #2- my Xbox 360 has a reader. About 4 years ago one of my kids broke it, and it has caused me zero inconvenience since then. Occasionally I will get new games, but it is always a download.

      The last time I thought about optical media was when my mom came to visit. She wanted to show me some pictures, or a movie, or something and she held up a DVD like it wa

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
      I recently bought a new laptop and was surprised it came with an optical drive. It wasn't on the list of things I was looking for - but I also have an external drive for just such an occasion anyway. The much more expensive laptop I got at work didn't have one, but that's because the whole point was to go small with that purchase.
  • by WheezyJoe ( 1168567 ) <fegg@excite. c o m> on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:26AM (#52774907)

    Cheapest way to rent a movie that I know of, even considering online options.

    • A few years back some of my wife's friends were coming over and she told me to go to the store to get a Redbox DVD. I said no, we'll just stream the movie from Vudu. She said that Redbox was cheaper. I rebutted with the fact that the difference between streaming and Redbox was not worth my time to go to the store, stand in a queue, get the DVD, and then repeat the next day.

      There have been enough times when I've gone into a store, seen a queue of people standing at the Redbox, I make my purchases, and the sa

      • True. It gets annoying when there's a queue browsing and looking puzzled at the machine. They haven't learned that that you reserve in advance, online (sigh, get with it people, there's an app on your phone). With practice, if you're lucky to be in an area with lots of these machines, you learn which ones don't draw the crowd of impulse renters, and you can quickly be on your way. And if you're on the road anyway to pick up some chips or a pizza, it's not a thing.

        There's bound to be a day when online ca

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:26AM (#52774909) Homepage

    I work for a law firm. We need to send data out all the time. When possible we FTP it. But for many jobs we need permanent record, so we use a mix of DVD's and hard drives.

    For large jobs, we use Hard Drives. Anything less than 10 GB, we burn DVDs. We do it all the time.

    Also, while I don't buy laptops or tablets with DVD players, I insist on every Desktop computer I buy to have one.

    I will do so just for the ability to play my old movies and TV shows.

    • Medical information (Score:4, Interesting)

      by phorm ( 591458 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:39AM (#52774999) Journal

      This is pretty common for medical records too. When the hospital gives you results of cancer screening/X-Rays, it's often a bunch of files or images/videos on a DVD

    • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @12:14PM (#52775295)
      Yeah, but that's a LAW FIRM. You also use FAX on a daily basis.
  • Clean OS install (Score:5, Informative)

    by sinij ( 911942 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:27AM (#52774915)
    I still use optical media to ensure clean install of various OS, because unlike USB, it is much harder to sneak one past checksum when you burn install DVD directly from ISO.
    • Yeah, I too recently used my PC-BSD DVD to reinstall the OS, after an update to 10.3 had left me w/ just the CLI.

      Also, both the laptops that I last bought had DVD drives, just in case. I'm not confident that I'm at the point that I can do w/o an optical drive and just an internet connection.

  • by Dust038 ( 4606581 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:28AM (#52774919)
    So as a member of a public institution of higher education, Flash drives are up there in the top 3 spots of how data goes missing/copied/stolen along with Email. We have the USB ports disabled except for the 1 or 2 for the Mouse and Keyboard and have those locked to not accept new devices to prevent data from going by the by. I state this because I still use CD/DVD Media for computer deployment under secure conditions where Mass deployment software like SCCM are not practical. Closed systems are the bane of my existence. Also being in user support you have to keep a CD/DVD or 2 around for that one user who will inevitably visit your office with a 6 year old laptop with failing HDD and the USB boot doesn't work and you are forced to recover them via CD/DVD.
    • Our deployment is all network based. It means that a lab full of machines can be reinstalled at the same time. Deploying a new iamge for an upgrade takes about 10 mins (including the walk around the room to reset each machine and change bios to netboot). I like our IT department - they do nice things.

      When students visit me with work it is rare for them to even bring usb, normally it is sitting on dropbox or onecloud. Installing single one-off machines was the last use that I had for opticals, but now usbboo

  • Linux ISO discs... (Score:5, Informative)

    by creimer ( 824291 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:29AM (#52774923) Homepage
    Creating a bootable USB stick under Windows is a hit-and-miss affair. I just find it easier to pop in a blank disc, burn the Linux ISO to the disc, and boot off of that.
    • Creating a bootable USB stick under Windows is a hit-and-miss affair. I just find it easier to pop in a blank disc, burn the Linux ISO to the disc, and boot off of that.

      It's kind of shocking and bizarre that this is still the case. It's got better in the last few years. It used to be REALLY hit and miss. These days, USB usually works. But still not always for some perverse reason.

    • I'm sure there's some benefit in creating a bootable USB stick, but every time I've gone to do it I had to look up some guide or download some application to get it done. With optical media it's literally just burn the disc and you're done.
    • by b0bby ( 201198 )

      Yeah, I find it easier to burn the iso sometimes too. And some BIOSes are picky about the USB boot media; I have a couple of 1GB sticks I keep around for those times I don't feel like hooking up an external DVD to whatever I'm booting. I've had issues with larger sticks.
      So I still get my desktop machines with a dvd. Laptops I don't care one way or the other.

    • Sounds like operator error. What problem are you having? Hell you can even get dd for windows if you want.

    • secure boot / UEFI isses based on format GTP / MBR can come up with usb boot and it can very system to system

  • I just bought a used pair of CD players for 250 bucks a pop.

    • a PAIR of cd players?

      did each one have exactly one channel broken? what are the chances of that happening?

    • That makes no sense. Optical drives for computers are about $15 each at NewEgg, on sale. USB optical drive is about $20. CD players for a stereo system don't figure into this thread.
  • Maybe not for work, but I buy and listen to CDs, I burn CDs/DVDs for myself and others, pull information off of archival CDs and DVDs, pick up Blurays of movies I really like.

    You name it, pretty much.

    I understand that optical media's use is declining, and that makes sense for a lot of reasons, but there are still uses for it today. It seems that some folks are eager for it to die, for some reason.

  • Yes, for now... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:34AM (#52774969) Journal

    I have a BD-RE drive in my home desktop. It doesn't get much use, to be honest, but I'm not quite ready to make the jump away from having an optical drive just yet.

    I've got a bunch of old backups still on optical discs; everything from CD-Rs to Blu-Rays. Admittedly, this is only low priority "nice to have" stuff. Anything it would actually hurt me if I lost (which is only a couple of hundred megs of data when I get right down to it) is backed up by other, more reliable methods.

    I do still have a handful of games on disc that I never bought . Some of these I'm clearly never going to play again and could easily throw out, but there are a couple, such as Warcraft 3, that I'd still like the option to play from time to time.

    I will (very occasionally) watch a DVD or Blu-Ray movie on my PC rather than TV. This is particularly true in the summer months; my living room, where the TV lives, can get brutally hot, while my study, where the desktop lives, is cool and shady.

    In addition to the above, while boot-from-USB is a lot more reliable than it used to be, I've still had more issues with it than boot-from-optical-disc. So I still like to have an optical drive for those occasions when I need to boot from external media.

    • Argh... accidentally deleted a word.

      "games on disc that I never bought ." should have been "games on disc that I I never bought digitally."

  • Self-burned optical disks are crap for data archival. It's pure lottery whether or not you can read them in a few years, even the "good" brands. For movies and music, it doesn't matter so much if you have a few glitches on the disc. For data backups, it matters a lot.

    I only use optical media for short-term data transfer, like handing big files to our local print shop. For me, data archival means spinning rust.

  • disposable media (Score:5, Informative)

    by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:40AM (#52775005)

    All the time, as disposable media. Give some data to someone, don't care if you get the disc back.

  • Government Networks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AF_Cheddar_Head ( 1186601 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @11:42AM (#52775027)

    USB sticks have been effectively banned on DoD networks. We regularly use CD/DVD media to burn software and patches to then transfer it to the classified networks. The optical drives on the high side are almost always read-only to avoid issues with transport of classified off the servers.

  • I have a DVD+RW drive in case I need optical media, but I haven't used it since installing the OS on the system years ago. Even then, I would have used a USB flash drive if I hadn't lost it shortly beforehand.

    The network has gotten faster in the last 10-20 years, and optical media really hasn't. I can copy encrypted data over my internet connection faster than I can burn it to disc.

    Hard disk capacity has grown to the point where everything will fit for most users, so there is no need to dump audio/video/app

  • for personal use, I still access many of my generic "CompUSA" branded CDRs from 1997 that read just fine and I have many others from different manufacturers that are still working fine.

    At work, I create several CDs per week and I've never encountered problems with them after 4+years of use.

  • I don't use it for backup, I use two MyBooks that I rotate - one home, one off-site.

    I still buy music in CD. I don't buy much music, I'd say 95% is classical. I also have ripped around 95% of all my music into 312lkbps MP3.

    For video, I stream / netflix snailmail as a means to screen before i buy it. If I like it I buy it, and on Blu-Ray if possible.

    I have a 7-foot screen on the horizontal and fairly decent projection, sound and room. I have a pretty good blu-ray player. It's still my primary source. (Opp

  • Yep, I still wear my glasses, I am not elligible for a corneal surgery.
  • I back up/image my hard drive regularly using a large-storage, USB, thumb drive with Macrium's Reflect software (I have no relation to them - I like the software); the idea being that the encrypted flash stick can hook to my key chain and be off-site and with me (if I ever need a file while away from home).

    Just a few weeks ago, my sister bought a new laptop to replace her decade old laptop, which still works, but struggles to keep up with today's web. (Why?! Grrr...) I think she inadvertently got one
  • This week I finally managed to find my backups from 2001 on CD(s), and a few DVD backups. All of the them seems to be in perfect state. Planning to buy blueray writer to move to next level of backups at home.
  • Every once in a while I run into an old laptop that will not boot from USB, so I am forced to burn a CD or DVD of Linux to get it into "working good enough to use" territory.

    My car can play MP3 CD's so maybe 1 or 2 times a year I will fill up a CD with random music from my collection and listen to those when the mood strikes me.

    I used to back up my movies for my kids and grand kids to DVD-R or +R so I could keep the originals in working order... but with the advent of streaming from Netflix and Hulu and Ama

    • by JDeane ( 1402533 )

      My post gives me an idea... Maybe some one knows if something like this already exists... Could a boot CD be made that has a list of Linux repo's that have all the different distro's (or even self updates said list) where it could just install what ever the latest distro is for all the most popular flavors?

      I ask because I am currently working on a couple of laptops, and I just had to burn like 6 disks (3 CD's and 3 DVD's) I mean they will be good for a long time. But it seems to me like 1 disk with what I a

  • If someone lost 8000 DVDs they did something wrong. Either buying really cheap media or storing it improperly. I have DVDs that I burned from ten years ago that still work fine. I recently moved a few hundred DVDs over to BluRay for the reduced storage space and only had a few files that I had issues recovering. The rest came across with no problem and that was with a mix of Verbatim (good quality) and Sony (not quite so good quality) media.

  • Subject says it all.

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @12:04PM (#52775209) Journal
    Unless someone starts producing USB flash drives that have a hardware write protect switch that can't be countermanded by software, there is, in my opinion, still a need for optical media. Otherwise there is no way to truly protect your data from being altered or deleted by bad actors. The polar opposite woudl be cloud storage, which is about as 'volatile' as you can get; companies offering cloud storage could suddenly go out of business and screw you out of your data, or if they're being bad actors, futz with your data or delete it. There has been more than one news story over the years of people's digital purchases either being altered or deleted, even though they were stored on their local machines, because of either conscious decision or error on the part of the IP owners and their DRM. Recently there was even a case of a songwriter/musicians' own personal works being deleted by iTunes, even though iTunes/Apple had absolutely NO rights whatsoever to the content that was deleted! Nope, there is still a need for some sort of write-once-read-many storage medium, or something that can be made read-only on demand in a way that can't be overridden. Even removable semiconductor or rotating storage is still read/write, and for all you know the next time you plug it in, something will get deleted by some DRM action or malware.
    • by myrdos2 ( 989497 )

      Unless someone starts producing USB flash drives that have a hardware write protect switch that can't be countermanded by software

      Those already exist.

  • My car stereo only takes CD's, so yeah... still using optical media. I rarely ever use DVD's any more; only for archival grade DVD backups (and even those are becoming increasingly rare) and have never even bothered with BD. I own a BD player as an amplifier for my TV because the audio quality was better than a similarly priced home theater system or *spit* "soundbar", but have never tried an actual BD disc.

  • I expect it to last for the rest of my life, since I've shifted to hard-drive arrays for storage and FTP to exchange files. I've burned 2 DVDs so far this year.
  • Yard Sales (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @12:09PM (#52775259) Homepage Journal

    I buy a lot of older CDs at yard sales to fill in my collections, though others are figuring this out.

    - CHEAP.

    - No DRM, subscriptions, licensing. These are MINE, all MINE! Bahahahahah!

    - Rip them to my music services.

    - Save them to both my archives.

    - Long-term storage of the discs.

    - And it's a cheap way to buy old music. Oh, I mentioned that.

  • On my current gaming rig (i7, GTX 980Ti, SSD, etc) I didn't even bother with the optical drive when I built it a few years ago. Yeah, the DVD Burner was only $20 but with USB sticks so cheap I haven't used a optical disk it in a few years. I already have enough old machines with DVD Burners that they are accessible.

    I do miss not having an optical drive on my MacBook Pro. I guess it is motivation to finish ripping my Audio CD's to FLAC.

    I also miss EAC (Exact Audio Copy) for making perfect rips of my audio

  • You can pry my iomega zip drive from my cold, dead hands.
  • I video plays, variety shows and other presentations put on by the members of our community, and burn the videos to DVD's playable in DVD players, so that the recipients can watch them on TV. I feel badly about using DVD's because the videos are at least 1920x1080 (and 4k capable), so they are dumbed down to 720x480 for the DVD's. But people like to play them in their DVD players and share their activities with their families, so they are very popular. I am planning for the future to switch to Blu-Ray, or e
  • Optical? Last week I had to recover some files that someone forgot to copy when we stopped to use diskettes. It was complicated to find a machine that still supports 3 1/2 drives. By the way, Maxell diskettes could be read without problems even after almost 20 years.

  • I still use them in my car for listening to audio books (in MP3 format). My car *does* have an USB jack as well, but having the disc player means I can switch between two different channels (say, a book on the CD and music on the USB) without losing my place in either. I'd be just as happy with two USB jacks; it's all about having multiple channels of entertainment that each keep track of where you left off.
  • I still need an optical drive because my latest obsession is buying used CDs for $0.25-2.00 and ripping them. I'm able to get all the albums I couldn't afford when I was a starving single person, and all the ones I missed during the '00s when my tastes were different.

    I mostly still use WMP for this, because it has the one neat feature that allows it to start ripping as soon as a CD is inserted without even pressing a button. This allows you to save a minute or two if you have to rip a stack. I'm about to

  • My wife is a part-time photographer and occasionally works a wedding or graduation taking photos. If people want to buy a copy of the photos to print at their leisure, I burn them to CD or DVD depending on the amount of photos.

    I originally bought a BluRay drive for my PC to condense the DVD backups I had onto fewer discs, but now use it to make backups of any Blu Ray movies that I buy.

    Also still burn the occasional music CD for the missus to use in her car.

  • If I order a CD off of Amazon a lot of the times it's CHEAPER than buying the MP3 album - and it comes with the MP3 album already ripped as a bonus. If it weren't for the fact I like to rip my disk to ogg I could put the CD in the box unopened and it would be cheaper than buying the digital album. Yes I realize I could convert the MP3s to ogg, don't lose site of what I'm doing here.

    I buy my movies mostly on BluRay, when I buy a DVD I usually buy them from a super cheap bargain bin for $3 each. I rip them

  • by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @12:24PM (#52775375) Homepage Journal

    R/W or even write-once CDs and DVDs have been known to have finite shelf lives for decades now. Yes.

    One solution is to rewrite them every few years, but that's time consuming, and unless you have a really compelling reason to do so, the investment needed to make this practical, with autoloaders, labelers, and such is prohibitive. At work, the old mainframe reel tape libraries were converted to robotics 30 years ago, then converted to cartridges, and and finally about 12 years ago to a virtualized tape environment - all the requests still refer to carts and such, as if the arms are still running around grabbing plastic, but it's in a SAN and that's properly backed up and virtualized, at least so far as we can tell. Hopefully it's secured better than the storage on the Z series that went tits up this spring. I only lost around 20 VMs, but one had around 100 million customer reports that were lost, and the application software, and the server OS and all other software. About 7000 or so VMs were lost, some irretrievably since the owners didn't have offline copies. If Infoworld still published on paper, this would have worthy of the back page.

    The best practice is probably to replicate that and copy optical media to something more durable, replicate it, and keep the originals if you must in a cooler environment, as heat seems to be a factor. Some brands have had worse longevity than others, but that's a crap shoot.

    Now ask me about my cassette tape archives, or the 10" reel tapes I would have to buy a machine to use... Sentimental value now, I'm sure they would need go go back to 3M to be recovered.

    Data archiving is a pain. I've given in to archiving everything, rather than wring my hands over what 10% of it I really don't need.

  • My van has a DVD player and it will for some time. Sometimes I use a raspberry pi and let the kids access media that way but it's also always good to have a couple DVDs on hand
  • Media and taxes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 26, 2016 @12:25PM (#52775381)

    I work for a software large company, and we still ship software on optical media. Of course we also provide downloads, which is what customers actually use. But in some circumstances we are still required to ship physical media. Why? Because of the tax implications!

  • Last I used was the H&R Block tax software from last year. In fact the disc is still in my laptop drive. I only used the disc version because I got a deal and it was cheaper than a direct download from Amazon.

    I've since switched over to Linux full time so I'll probably have to do the taxes next year on my wife's windows laptop. I've been contemplating getting one of those drive caddies that replace the laptop optical drive and allows you to install an additional hard drive. That way I could put in a sec

  • I like having options every computer I work with on a day to day basis or I own has at minimum USB DVD multi recorder hanging on it if it happens to not have a ODD built in.

    I don't use them a lot anymore but there is no cheaper method of giving files to people offline that's as easy to use and reliable.

    I've never used a cd or dvd as a backup media aside from the os recovery discs you get to burn yourself because they aren't included with new PCs anymore.

    I've got discs burned discs from 2004 that still read

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @12:38PM (#52775511)
    Optical media is WORM - write once, read many. This makes it secure against tampering after it's been written, so something like a ransomware virus can't destroy your backup even if it's still online. You also can't do something stupid like find that a file you need has become corrupted, plug in your backup drive, and accidentally copy the corrupt file over your backup instead of the other way around (I've done that).

    I've been saying for 20+ years that our random access storage media like HDDs and flash memory needs a physical write-protect switch. It would solve so many problems. A significant percentage of the computer support customers I get are to recover media which has become unreadable because they plugged it into a device to watch a movie or copy a few files, and when they unplugged it (without first unmounting) the device screwed up the partition table or FAT making it unreadable. "All my kids' baby photos are on there and my wife will kill me if I can't get them back."

    And if OSes were designed to run off read-only media (write temp files and log files elsewhere), they'd essentially be invulnerable to rooting. A buffer overflow vulnerability might allow an attacker to execute an arbitrary command, but they wouldn't be able to leverage it to modify the system so they have root access after a reboot. Data breaches wouldn't be impossible, but they'd be much, much harder.

    But aside from write-protect switches on SD cards and WORM media, everyone seems to overlook the usefulness of being able to store data as read-only.

    Optical media is also dirt cheap. SSDs/Flash memory is around 30 cents/GB. HDDs around 10 cents/GB. BD-Rs are around 2 cents/GB and if they follow the same pattern as CD-Rs and DVD-Rs, will eventually settle at around 0.8 cents/GB.
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Friday August 26, 2016 @01:02PM (#52775747)
    I have experience with this. I'm not just pulling this out of my rear end.

    CDs - Honestly, they're all pretty much the same now. If you really worry a lot about these, Taiyo Yuden makes high quality discs and Verbatim made ones that use AZO dye may have superior longevity. Maybe. By the time we know if they do or not, nobody will probably care. But honestly any name brand is almost identical in quality to Taiyo Yuden and Verbatim for CDs. That does not apply to other types of discs though.

    DVDs - You can buy Taiyo Yuden and you can buy Verbatim. Everything TY makes is great. Most of Verbatim's stuff is great except their cheap Life series of discs which is the same landfill grade crap that everybody else in the industry makes, including TDK. Note that Verbatim also makes DataLifePlus which is top notch and not the same at all as Life series. Skip everybody else here. And nobody knows if dual layer consumer burnable DVDs will last as long as single layer ones do. Again, by the time we figure it out, nobody will probably care to know. In the earlier part of the previous decade most name manufacturers made really high quality DVD media, but the US marketplace demanded lower price, so almost everybody switched to cheap crap. TDK was actually really good at one time, using Taiyo Yuden as their manufacturer, but that hasn't been true for more than a decade now. I specifically mention TDK because the top article does. Note that Sony sometimes does and sometimes does not use top notch manufacturers for their DVD media but you'll never know which they've used until you buy it. Not worth the trouble in my opinion since you know what you get with Verbatim (non-Life series) and Taiyo Yuden. Note that Verbatim uses AZO dye on all their DVDs except the Life series, even though they don't always say so on the packaging.

    BluRays - I pretty much stick to Verbatim (again, avoid Life series) and Panasonic here. Taiyo Yuden barely makes BD discs and last I checked they only made a single layer LTH type that some burners and some players may have problems with. LTH discs are a way to leverage existing DVD pressing plants so they can also make BD media and because these discs actually are written and read from backwards from normal BD media, some burners and some players have problems with them. Verbatim also makes some LTH BD discs and some regular BD discs. I advise avoiding the LTH media unless you are sure you can burn it and play it.
  • by jgotts ( 2785 ) <jgotts@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday August 26, 2016 @01:15PM (#52775847)

    I just got done burning nearly 100 CD-Rs for a relative who requested a bunch of music. If you don't own a car made in the last 5 years you may not even have an AUX port, let alone Bluetooth. My 17-year-old car has neither, although I did install an aftermarket Bluetooth FM transmitter so I can use my smartphone in that application.

    For myself I burn DVDs of live music, with an archival backup residing on an external hard drive just in case the media fails horribly. Minor failures of the media are no problem, as players will skip it and the viewing experience is not really degraded. Do I like to permanently archive data on optical media as my only backup? Not really.

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