Why are CD-Roms the same size as 25 years ago?

This is a discussion on Why are CD-Roms the same size as 25 years ago? within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Originally Posted by brewbuck What would be the point? If I want a smaller medium, I can buy an 8 ...

  1. #16
    In my head happyclown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewbuck View Post
    What would be the point? If I want a smaller medium, I can buy an 8 gig USB stick that fits in my pocket.
    The point is it is cheaper for manufacturers to mass produce CD-Rom media that don't have any electronic circuitry than USB sticks. And a CD-Rom costs a few cents, compared to the cost of a USB stick. Music and software could be distibuted via CD-Rom, rather than USB stick. All that's really required is a way to squeeze more data onto minidiscs.

    People are saying the size should remain the same for backwards compatibility, which is understandable, but backwhards compatibility should not be an impediment to innovation. And hardware migration is not an entirely new concept.

    People still use LP players to play records, and still use tape players to play cassettes. I don't see why CD-Rom drives can't be used to play legacy CD-Roms, while new media is employed.
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  2. #17
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    Innovation is good, but comes with a huge cost, too. Are there enough benefits to justify the cost?

  3. #18
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Making stuff smaller is not an innovation, in fact it's one of the first things to happen to anything, get out. The only value CDs have to me is how much crap I can shove on them.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyclown View Post
    Does anyone know why the CD-Rom(and drive) has not been miniturised? Is there a technical reason? I'd think the technology is available to make this a reality.

    I've seen CDs(data) the size of business cards, so why is this not the standard? If the size was halved, they could fit drives into netbooks, giving them greater capabilities, and thereby replacing the cumbersome notebooks/laptops.

    When do you think the size of the CD-Rom will change? 5 years? 10? Never?
    This sounds exactly like the Apply business philosophy...

    Quote Originally Posted by $teve Job$
    Hmm... Lets find a way to boost sales.
    I know, lets switch from Motorola to PowerPC and force everyone to throw away their old computers & software and buy everything all over again.

    OK, now sales are dropping again. Lets switch the OS to UNIX and force everyone to buy all new software.

    OK, time to boost sales again.
    That hardware switching scam worked so well the last time, I think we should do it again. Lets switch to Intel this time.
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  5. #20
    chococoder
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    only reason I bought an LCD TV was size and availability. Wanted one of a specific size, and that size is no longer offered with CRT (and certainly not at the price/quality one can get from LCD of the same size).
    Same with BluRay. Bought a player because I needed a new DVD player (old one getting flunky) and BR players were now the same price as similar quality DVD players so why not get one and be future proof?

  6. #21
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    The only reason I bought an LCD TV was because my old CRT was starting to get green & purple stains on the screen...
    I put an ad on Craigslist to give my CRT away for free because it weighs a ton and I didn't want to break my back dragging it to the dumpster.
    "I am probably the laziest programmer on the planet, a fact with which anyone who has ever seen my code will agree." - esbo, 11/15/2008

    "the internet is a scary place to be thats why i dont use it much." - billet, 03/17/2010

  7. #22
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    If you buy a new TV, don't you have to get an LCD? Last time I was in a department store, there seemed to be hundreds of LCD TVs on display, but I didn't notice even a single CRT.

    @cpjust: Best Buy recycles electronics, mostly for free, but there is a $10 fee for big things like TV's and monitors. However, your receipt is a $10 Best Buy coupon, so it still free if you buy something. Last time I was there they didn't even bother asking for the $10, actually.
    Last edited by MK27; 04-14-2010 at 07:13 AM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
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    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  8. #23
    chococoder
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    there are still CRTs, but those are mainly the small (15" or so) portable sets and specialty sets for children (was a Carz TV on sale here a few years ago, shell made to look like the front of one of those cartoon cars, windscreen the CRT).

    Stores here are required by law to recycle anything turned in that you're replacing with something bought there.
    To cover cost, there's a fixed tax applied to almost all electrics and electronics (but not computer and photo/video equipment).
    That tax however is a lot higher than the actual cost of recycling, so now the organisation maintaining the money from which stores get compensated has billions of Euros in their bank account.

  9. #24
    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyclown View Post
    The point is it is cheaper for manufacturers to mass produce CD-Rom media that don't have any electronic circuitry than USB sticks. And a CD-Rom costs a few cents, compared to the cost of a USB stick. Music and software could be distibuted via CD-Rom, rather than USB stick. All that's really required is a way to squeeze more data onto minidiscs.
    Unless the discs are re-recordable and extremely high density, they're wastes of material. It's pretty silly to take plastic and metal and burn tiny holes with a laser and ship the disc to me, whereupon I just copy the data off it and throw it in the trash. I could have just used the Internet.
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    	if (a) do { f( b); } while(1);
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  10. #25
    chococoder
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyclown View Post
    People are saying the size should remain the same for backwards compatibility, which is understandable, but backwhards compatibility should not be an impediment to innovation. And hardware migration is not an entirely new concept.
    So you claim that mere smaller size equals innovation?
    Effectively that innovation has happened already, and yielded first the DVD and now BluRay, 2 new media formats that have far higher data density while employing, for that backwards compatibility, the same form factor as the CD.

    Consumers want it because it enables them continued use of their existing hardware (which is why minidisc and others failed), manufacturers ditto.
    For once both agree that a constant form factor is a good thing and consumers aren't pushed into forced upgrade cycles for everything they've purchased over the years time and time again.

  11. #26
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    I think the OP wanted a minidisk sized CDROM for his netbook tho!
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  12. #27
    Just a pushpin. bernt's Avatar
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    Unless the discs are re-recordable and extremely high density, they're wastes of material. It's pretty silly to take plastic and metal and burn tiny holes with a laser and ship the disc to me, whereupon I just copy the data off it and throw it in the trash. I could have just used the Internet.
    A very valid point - why even bother with physical media when our needs are satisfied by the internet? Although I suppose the unfortunate few who don't have massively speedy broadband connections will still want to buy their games and linux distros. But, then again, who of that group really gives a darn whether their ordered CDs are normal size?
    As for music, the same policy applies - I haven't purchased a real CD for more than a few years. It's far cheaper and more convenient to use online services (so long as you avoid DRM of course).

    I think the OP wanted a minidisk sized CDROM for his netbook tho
    It should seem a valid point - normal drives are too big for the netbook, so why not use a smaller media? The problem here is that in order for it to be of any use, there has to be a good supply of smaller disks - you have to be able to buy whatever you want to buy on a mididisc rather than a CD-ROM - and the market just isn't there. A shame, yes, but it's all about dollars and cents.
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  13. #28
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bernt View Post
    A very valid point - why even bother with physical media when our needs are satisfied by the internet? Although I suppose the unfortunate few who don't have massively speedy broadband connections will still want to buy their games and linux distros. But, then again, who of that group really gives a darn whether their ordered CDs are normal size?
    Actually I kinda disagreed with brewbuck on that one. But mostly because I value my physical copies above any other form of storage (I'm talking mid to long term storage here, of course) and USB sticks rewritable feature isn't yet compensated by their higher cost when compared to CDs or DVDs.

    Incidentally, I also find USB sticks harder to manage and organize. Too small for proper labeling and not much out there helping me to neatly store my USBs.

    As for the internet, without trying to be offensive, I have to say only a fool will trust their material to the internet. Neither I think brewbuck was saying we should.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  14. #29
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Incidentally, I also find USB sticks harder to manage and organize. Too small for proper labeling and not much out there helping me to neatly store my USBs.
    You're a velcro shoe fan too, right goldilocks?

    I don't see anything wrong with the minidisk drive idea (nb, I just noticed this is more properly called a "mini-CD", since "the MiniDisk" is a slightly different technology incompatible with normal CDROM drives). They only hold about 200mb, but that is actually a decent amount for a lot of purposes.

    It's purely marketing and economics that stands in the way. One of my biggest pet peeves is that delis (aka, convenience stores) in NYC almost never carry quarts of milk in anything except the 3.25% mf variety. I can drink a quart of fresh, wholesome milk anytime no problem, but I'd rather drink skim. The smallest skim milk is usually a gallon. That just sucks, but it's life. I always say, "Why don't you guys stock quarts of skim?" and they just laugh. It guess it is not worth the bother or something. NYC has an acknowledged obesity problem, btw. Usually I get so p'off I opt for malt liquor instead, which comes in numerous varieties. Downside: more care has to be taken when chugging this on the sidewalk outside.

    Point being, no one claims the marketplace makes that much sense, just that it is properly driven by the tenants of capitalism, as God intended.
    Last edited by MK27; 04-14-2010 at 02:57 PM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  15. #30
    Just a pushpin. bernt's Avatar
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    As for the internet, without trying to be offensive, I have to say only a fool will trust their material to the internet. Neither I think brewbuck was saying we should.
    Nor was I, although I guess I can see where you got that idea. I was only considering the distribution of data. As for backups, by the way, I would prefer using one large solid-state drive (and seeing how costs are falling that may soon become a reality) for all the backups. There's no need to label if there is only one container.
    Consider this post signed

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