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Long in the tooth (and no, I'm not talking about vampires)


I can see a few on my desk, there are a number in my car and the libraries have shelves full of them.  No, it's not vampire books.  It’s the CD and it turned 30 in October.  That’s a long time for a media format and they still account for a majority of music album sales.  Considering how many other formats have come and gone during that time, it’s almost unbelievable to have a single format that long.

Originally designed for music, it didn’t take long for CDs to be adapted to data storage though it did take a while for it to become popular.  Data CDs offered a big improvement on storage space during their early days, but have since been superseded by the larger capacity of the DVD and the larger capacity and easier portability of the flash drive.  Thankfully most computer DVD players can also read CDs so you can still read your old documents.

But what about floppy disks or other old media types?  Well, you’re on borrowed time or completely out of luck in many cases.  While you can still buy them, the 3.5 inch floppy disk hasn’t come on PCs for years.  Have an even older 5.25 inch disk?  Good luck with that.  What about Zip disks?  Jazz drives?  SuperDisks? Do you even remember those?  Hope you know a tech “pack rat” or are willing to hunt around on ebay.  And that’s assuming the disk still works.

So as you raise a birthday cheer to the CD, you might want think about your own documents and copy any important documents you still need that are on one of those old formats over to something a bit newer while you still have the chance.    

According to the BBC, by 2007 more than 200 billion CDs had been sold.  I wonder if that includes all of the AOL CDs?


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We have a floppy disk drive here (with a USB connector) that still gets used from time to time. Maybe the library could collect these rare disks and disk drives - they would make a pretty neat display. I still see a lot of people using a CD to store a single photo or word doc. Long live the CD!

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