More ecodisc problems...

Comments, suggestions and questions about Linux Format magazine and the coverdiscs

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More ecodisc problems...

Postby alecjw » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:16 pm

I'm a first time reader, and I just bought LXF134 the other day, but I had problems with the coverdisc. Although it read ok in all the drives I tested, by brother's laptop left circular scratches on it, and my PC made terrifying noises while reading it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB9LtXI0M0Y
I had to fish a DVD drive out of my cupboard to play it anyway: my computer doesnt have one since optical media's obsolete nowadays.

I guess it isnt the end of the world though, since coverdiscs don't need to be particuarly long-lasting, but I thought I might as well share my experiences.
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Re: More ecodisc problems...

Postby PCNetSpec » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:24 pm

alecjw wrote:optical media's obsolete nowadays.

Huh ?
I think the game, music, film and software industries will be a bit surprised to hear that ;)
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Re: More ecodisc problems...

Postby alecjw » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:53 pm

PCNetSpec wrote:
alecjw wrote:optical media's obsolete nowadays.

Huh ?
I think the game, music, film and software industries will be a bit surprised to hear that ;)


Optical media's bulky (consider carrying a DVD around in your pocket vs a 4GB flash drive), easily scratched, difficult to store (stacks of CD cases), usually write once (except slow, expensive CD-RWs which only allow you to erase the whole thing rather than individual files) and to top it off, they require dedicated readers on every platform you want to use them with. A flash drive can do everything a cd can: you can store music/video on it, you can put files on it and delete them if you want to, and you can even use them as a replacement for livecds (see extlinux and syslinux). And you can download music off amazon/7digital rather than buying it on optical media. The film industry seems a bit slow to catch up, but thats their problem, not mine :) I watch films on my TV anyway, so no need for a drive in my computer for that. Beyond bundled software (eg driver CDs with hardware, which are usually windows specific and available online anyway) and promotional discs, I rarely find any need for optical discs. Its main advantage is its low per-unit cost, which, beyond these two scenarios, is usually outweighed by the rather large problem of being write-once.
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Postby Rhakios » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:00 pm

Then I can only look forward to LXF giving away a free 4GB flash drive with every issue. ;)
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Postby alecjw » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:03 pm

Rhakios wrote:Then I can only look forward to LXF giving away a free 4GB flash drive with every issue. ;)


I did mention that there are exceptions, and bundled stuff like that's one of them. I'm not saying that LXF should give away free flash drives, but rather that perhaps they should use normal DVDs rather than ecodiscs :)
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Postby Marrea » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:31 pm

Aren't the two major disadvantages of usb flash drives that they have a limited number of writes (although I believe it is pretty large, something like 100,000 times?); and that there are many viruses that specifically target usb flash drives and use them to spread from computer to computer?
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Postby alecjw » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:44 pm

Marrea wrote:Aren't the two major disadvantages of usb flash drives that they have a limited number of writes (although I believe it is pretty large, something like 100,000 times?); and that there are many viruses that specifically target usb flash drives and use them to spread from computer to computer?


CD only gives you one write though, and a few thousand's better than just one :) And as for viruses, well that's none of my business - I don't use windows :p
I was just thinking about the problem with the limited writes earlier though, especially in the context of SSDs. Using a filesystem like ext2/3/4 gives some wear levelling, since files are distributed all across the disk rather than all clustering together at the beginning like in FAT, but presumably the bit of the filesystem where the filenames and locations are stored (not sure what you'd call it) is always in the same place, which means it'll suffer huge amounts of wear? If you had it moving around for wear levelling, then you'd have to have another bit of data saying where it is, which would get overwritten each time, so you'd just be shifting the problem elsewhere. Or maybe you could have that data stored on an EEPROM? But then it'd have to be read and written to every time you try to open a file, voiding all of the performance increase from using the SSD...

Btw, I see you're from herts - greetings from hatfield :)
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Postby PCNetSpec » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:08 pm

Both media types have their pros and cons... I was just surprised by the statement:

"optical media's obsolete nowadays".

When it clearly isn't. :)
Last edited by PCNetSpec on Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby alecjw » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:18 pm

PCNetSpec wrote:Both media types have their pros and cons... I was just surprised by the statement:

"optical media's obsolete nowadays".

When it clearly isn't. :)


Fair enough, maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration. I rarely use CDs/DVDs myself, but I guess others might still use them quite a bit. To be fair, they do still have the advantage of being cheap, so you can just burn one and give it to someone, but I still prefer the internet for that :)
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Postby PCNetSpec » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:40 pm

I agree with you about the so called ecodisks, at least until they become as reliable(ish) as "normal" CD/DVD's.
I rarely "burn" CD/DVD's anymore either, flash drives are definitely more versatile, but until someone comes up with a "better/cheaper" method of distributing data there is still a need for the good old optical drive.

Not to mention the fact that Sony would be annoyed, to say the least, to hear of the death of optical drives/media :)
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Postby nelz » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:44 pm

Optical discs are far better for distributing multiple copies of the same item. They are cheaper to produce, cheaper to store, cheaper to transport and don't need that horrible blister packaging to include any extra material, like instructions.

Being read-only (CDs and DVDs are not write once, they are never written) is also an advantage. No support calls from customer who have accidentally wiped the content and no arguments if content turns out to be infected with some sort of malware.
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Postby ollie » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:23 am

PCNetSpec wrote:Not to mention the fact that Sony would be annoyed, to say the least, to hear of the death of optical drives/media :)


I think it would actually be Philips who would bemoan the death of CDs and DVDs - -RW and +RW.

Pressed CDs and DVDs are the most economical way to distribute multiple copies of the same content. The EcoDiscs are lighter, thinner and more flexible than standard CD/DVD discs, so I think they are not being picked up properly by the spindle mechanism. The first one was also less reflective - you could practically see through them - so that may also be the problem with older lasers.

Some more feedback - the August 2010 EcoDisc (Fedora 13) wont load in my IDE DVD ROM drive, but loads with out any problems in every other optical drive I own - laptop DVD+/-RW slot drives, laptop DVD+/-RW tray drives, computer DVD+/-RW -RAM tray drive and USB DVD+/-RW -RAM tray drive under Linux, Windows XP and Windows 7.
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Postby Marrea » Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:36 pm

alecjw wrote:Btw, I see you're from herts - greetings from hatfield :)

And greetings to you too. I'm over the other side - Hemel Hempstead/Berkhamsted area. :D

I use DVD-Rs and CD-Rs quite a lot, for burning downloaded distros (and also burning distro isos from LXF discs) and for backup copies of data files. But I also backup data files to usb flash drives and external usb hard drives so it's a bit of a belt and braces job with me. If I have spent hours and hours working on an image file in Photoshop (as I frequently do) I want it saved in at least three places !!

I use CD-Rs for copying downloaded iTunes albums to so I can play them in my hi-fi.

If I download any paid-for software over the internet I immediately copy the application file onto a CD, and then design a cover and pop in a jewel case to be stored away with all my other software and driver discs. Yes, I know I could simply keep the application file on a hard drive or usb stick but I just happen to like having a row of CD cases on the shelf with titles visible on the spines so I can easily grab the particular one I want.

I also have masses of shop bought audio CDs and film DVDs.

So you could say I find optical drives quite useful. :)
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Postby pastychomper » Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:13 pm

I've often thought it would be nice if if magazines would go back to rewritable media, like the old days when I never had to buy a floppy disk (or tape) because so many got given away. Eco-DVD~RW, anyone? 8)

On the subject of wear levelling, I've read that modern flash drives do indeed move the data around for wear levelling, but I suspect that's not true of the cheapest ones. Either way, I figure that 10,000 writes would let me use it every day for 30 years or so, so it's not a big problem. I just wish the USB connection wasn't such a bottleneck.
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Postby DaveS » Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:36 pm

So do I get a 4GB flash drive with the next LXF or not? :)
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