Thursday, May 06, 2004

Not Lasting So Long After All

CDs and DVDs, the storage mediums that are supposed to last for at least 100 years, are deteriorating after 20-some years.
Dan Koster was unpacking some of his more than 2,000 CDs after a move when he noticed something strange. Some of the discs, which he always took good care of, wouldn't play properly.
"We were all told that CDs were well-nigh indestructible when they were introduced in the mid '80s," Koster says. "Companies used that in part to justify the higher price of CDs as well."
Part of the problem is that most people believe that it's the clear underside of the CD that is fragile, when in fact it's the side with the label. Scratches on the underside have to be fairly deep to cause skipping, while scratches on the top can easily penetrate to the aluminum layer. Even the pressure of a pen on the label side can dent the aluminum, rendering the CD unreadable.

I have an vinyl record player that I got a few Christmases ago. My mom's old vinyls from 40+ years ago still play on that record player, even though the quality isn't as high as CDs. I was told that if you played a vinyl record too much it would wear out and you'd have to buy another one. I'm pretty confident that my CDs will last a long time because I keep them in their jewel cases and rarely play them. The batteries for the CD player run out so quickly, that I'd rather just convert my songs into mp3s and put them on the iPod.