A lonely, unopened package of CD‑R

Unopened box of CD-R

Unopened box of CD‑R

I was busy doing some­thing com­plete­ly unre­lat­ed today when I noticed that I had a pack­age of CD‑R which was still shrink-wrapped in it’s orig­i­nal pack­ag­ing.  It struck me that I prob­a­bly had­n’t bought CD or DVD media in the last two years … pos­si­bly not even in the last four.  Media going out of style is a fun­ny thing, and the process is accelerating.

Some of it is just plain con­nec­tor con­spir­a­cy.  The hard dri­ves that I removed from my home router (now that it is no longer also my file serv­er) are no good for any oth­er pur­pose.  First­ly, they’re small (250, 320 and 500 gig) and sec­ond­ly they’re par­al­lel ATA dri­ves … a fea­ture that moth­er­boards have not offered in some time.  I have some PCI con­troller cards for par­al­lel ATA, but PCI itself is quick­ly becom­ing scarce.

The first major media that I noticed van­ish­ing was the flop­py.  They’re unre­li­able at best, but it has been some time since moth­er­boards offered flop­py con­nec­tions.  Because I occa­sion­al­ly had to deal with installing Win­dows XP with cus­tom dri­vers … which was pret­ty much the very last use for a flop­py that I can remem­ber.  I have a USB flop­py dri­ve, so I win against the con­nec­tor con­spir­a­cy, but it’s a hol­low victory.

I could have said the cas­sette tape or even the reel-to-reel tape — both of which I watched pass, but it was dif­fer­ent then.  It was unusu­al to have media dis­ap­pear.  Heck, there was even a feel­ing of progress that the “new” media was “bet­ter.”  There’s lit­tle such eupho­ria now.  It’s even a com­mon con­jec­ture that media obso­les­cence is planned in order to have us line the pock­ets of media-own­ing com­pa­nies as we pur­chase yet anoth­er copy of our favorite production.

I spoke with a court reporter recent­ly who said that her pro­fes­sion is pay­ing out­ra­geous amounts for new cas­settes because the new dig­i­tal media is not yet approved and the old machines only con­sume the now obso­lete media.  This is prob­a­bly dif­fer­ent region-by-region, but it’s always inter­est­ing to encounter obso­lete media still in use — it often takes cre­ativ­i­ty by the peo­ple using it to deal with things.

Back here at home, I prob­a­bly won’t open the pack­age soon.  There are opened pack­ages of CD‑R around (although some of them have col­lect­ed a dan­ger­ous amount of dust).  I don’t even fol­low the prices of CD-sized opti­cal media any longer.  I have no desire to own a blue ray dri­ve.  Most of my media is more ephemer­al: resid­ing on hard dri­ves and net­work resources.  Is this, then, the end of obso­lete media (by end­ing my sole depen­dance on media com­pa­nies)?  Cer­tain­ly hard dri­ves have equal­ly reg­u­lar con­nec­tor con­spir­a­cies that pre­vent me from reusing the dri­ves I recent­ly removed from my old machine.

This post is a lit­tle bit dis­joint.  Maybe I’ll just sing “last post” accapel­la style and assume that the stack of CD‑R will drift low­er in the stra­ta of my office until I no longer think of them.

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