CD-ROM = Compact Disk - Read Only Memory
CD-R = Compact Disk - Record
CD-RW = Compact Disk - Record & Write
Popular, digital standard for software, data, audio and other formats. The CD has been a boon for both hardware and music industries. It can hold between 650 and 800 megabytes depending on format and disk and has become exceedingly inexpensive (around $0.10 per disk).
CDs are also useful as they have become ubiquious; there are music CD players in almost every home, data CD players in almost every computer, many of them CD "burners", or writers.
Why buy original CDs?
- Lossy - The quality of music downloaded over the Internet is almost always much lower overall quality, especially on high-end audio equipment. Even though CDs play ranges of sound your ears cannot hear, the higher quality gives the sound a fuller texture. For those who purchase music from online music sources like iTunes, tools such as DFX for Winamp are available to enrich the flattened audio.
- Karma - Support the artist and the industry that markets them and be a good guy. Preferably support independant and small labels (non-RIAA labels).
- Check the artist's Web site - Many artists will list places where they get they highest margins for their material on their Web site.
- Avoid Used CDs - again, artists receive no money.
- Buy other merchandise - many bands make huge margins off tee shirt and other items.
- Album Art - Buy it for the case, booklet, and other printed art. Economists note that many customers like having a product that can be held; things that take place exclusively on their computers are often not considered "real." Many artists take their cover art as seriously as their music and hire major artists to create them (such as Emmerson Lake and Palmer hiring H.R. Geiger).
- IsoBuster - both Shareware and Freeware - Windows. lets you explore a CD's File System while by-passing Windows. This way you get better error handling and several retry-mechanisms to aid you in getting the data, more CDs stay 'readable' after problems, read and extraction from CD-i, VCD, SVCD, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, DVD, DVCD, and more.
- Cdparanoia - GPL. CLI. "Use your CDROM drive to read audio tracks.... and have it actually work right!" Linux only, but does run even on old versions like 2.0 and non-x86. Part of the Xiph project (known because of OGG and IceCast). Many frontends exist. Example: ripperX (GTK+ frontend).
- Daemon-tools - Mount a (downloading) ISO9660 under Windows, bypassing copy protection and without burning it. Unix-like OSes: mount -o loop -t iso9660 ./name.iso /mnt/mountpoint.
- ExactAudioCopy - Windows. License: just send a postcard to the author. Unique ripper, because it features secure mode. This means the data is read from CD multiple times which is then compared. If it isn't the same, that part is ripped again. This makes the process slower, but also less fault tollerant.