Past Meetings

March 17, 2008

Attending: Bob S, Jerry L, Nancy C, Joe Y, Tom B and Bob G.

Topic: CD/DVD - Burning Questions

Most of the meeting revolved around a technical presentation by Jerry, about the designing and manufacturing of a CD disc. In years past, Jerry was the mastering engineer for Kodak, in charge of putting in the master/stamper manufacturing facility, making the stampers for CD-Rs, and was very involved in the design, testing and specification of the Kodak CD-Rs. He more than answered our questions about CD, DVD and Blu-Ray. Before Jerry gave his presentation on disc creation, most of us knew very little about CDs, other than they are flat, round and shiny. After the presentation, we knew there was a whole lot more. See some of Jerry's slides here. He filled in a lot of the blanks around the technical information on the slides. Most of us could identify with the blank spaces fairly well. : ) Jerry cut a CD with a knife so that we could all see and touch how extremely thin is the reflective layer on the clear disc. Amazingly, it is the clear part of the plastic disc that is altered in stamping / burning rather than the shiny reflective layer. One serious point of discussion that arose was, in terms of durability, just how much of our precious memories and history do we want to commit to discs and formats that may not be retrievable by future hardware. One solution might be to start converting your most precious historical and family records into printed hardcover books that can be retrieved by your two hands and eyeballs. The price is more affordable everyday as digital software makes professional publishing ever less expensive. (See Apple Books, Lulu, and Blurb.

MUG meeting recorded using Audacity - While Jerry gave his excellent presentation on CD construction, Tom demonstrated how easy it is to make an audio recording of a live meeting, using the free software Audacity in his old iBook G3 with its built-in mic. At the end of the 1 1/2 hour-meeting, Tom then showed how easy it is to accidentally erase the whole thing if one's attention is distracted to another conversation. What did we learn? Save first, talk second.

Additional ways to burn a CD

Using Disk Utility to burn a Disc Image

Using the Finder to burn Data Files

Using iTunes to burn an MP3 CD

Other Discoveries

Nancy recently experienced the spinning beachball of death on her G4 iBook as she attempted to send a large file via email (Entourage). The system got stuck in mid-send and became unresponsive. Forcing a power down (control+command+power) and rebooting would restore the system until Entourage was launched, whereby the Beachball reactivated. The solution was to reboot, then with system restored, hold down the SHIFT key while launching Entourage. This action cancels the original 'send email' command so that you can go to the outbox and delete the stubborn file. This works with Mac Mail as well, and possible other applications that hang.


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Hammondsport Mac Users Group - Hammondsport, NY 14840 -