Optical Disks are rapidly going the way of cassette tapes, zip disks, floppies, and every other form of removable storage we’ve used over the years. Yes, CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray disks are still important, but they’re far from the most important thing for computer users today. We watch movies and listen to music online or download them from the iTunes store, we download programs from the App Store and games from Steam, and we backup and share files with Dropbox, iCloud, and dozens of other online backup services.
CD and DVD drives are annoying at best. They break more often than not (yes, I’ve seen over a half-dozen DVD drives break over the past several years), and keeping your disks scratch-free is an exercise in futility. Then you have to keep the disks around just in case you ever want to rip that song or install that program again.
That said, DVDs are still rather useful, if for nothing else than watching movies. Downloads are great, but when your internet connection is slow or the discount section at the store beats iTunes prices, the trusty old DVD still serves its purpose. That’s why I own a Samsung external DVD drive to use along with my MacBook Air (I know, Samsung and Apple, sitting together on my desk…).
How about you? Do you use an external DVD drive, or have you kicked disks to the curb as Apple has started dropping DVD drives from its latest Macs? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Last month, Apple announced a 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display, an inevitability to replace the “previous-generation” 13″ MacBook Pro sans high-resolution display. While that old model remains available as a cheaper alternative for the holiday season, our guess is it will be completely removed from Apple’s lineup by the end of next year leaving not a single consumer-level Mac with an optical drive.
What started with the MacBook Air in 2008, and seemed like a crazy concept to an industry reliant on hard media, is now complete, four years later. With software distribution moving entirely to the web and entertainment increasingly being bought and stored in the cloud, the need for an optical drive is diminishing, right? (more…)
The CD data disk came as a revolution when it arrived. Before the most common storage method was still the 3.5″ floppy disk that held only 1.4 MB. The size of programs was rapidly increasing and many popular programs already came on a dozen or more disks and a bad floppy disk was all too common. The arrival of the CD made larger programs and games not just easier, but possible in the days when dial up Internet was still the norm. The DVD soon followed and increased the amount of data on a single disk to 4.7 GB and also brought the digital movie to the computer user.
Installing software now most often comes from a download, whether from the Mac App Store or the vendor’s web site. The DVD adds space and weight that can seem unnecessary. Apple now shows no concerns about removing the drive to shrink the size of their computers. The MacBook Air doesn’t come with a DVD drive to save space and the new MacBook Retina also removed the DVD drive. The trend is clear that Apple considers these drives to be unimportant and best relegated to an external drive in the rare times it’s needed.
Still, computer users can’t quite completely ignore the CD and DVD yet. Most boxed software, which now is relegated to mainly large suites like Microsoft Office or Creative Suite, still comes on a DVD or CD. While digital downloads of both movies and music are the future, many of us also have DVD or Blu-ray movie collections and even (gasp) CD music collections that we’d like to bring with us to the digital world. Here we’ll look at a few programs either included with your Mac or freely available that will help you deal with those physical disks still lying around. An external DVD drive will allow you to get anything on those disks to you Mac with the programs below.
In 2008, Apple kicked off the transition away from physical media. The lack of an optical drive in the MacBook Air eventually influenced the removal of it in the Mac Mini and, more recently, the next-generation MacBook Pro.
With all these Macs ditching their optical drive in order to achieve a thinner form factor, it’s time to take a look at which is better: disk or download? (more…)
Whether you’re looking to do some late spring cleaning, or you just want to liberate some of your guilty pleasure movies from their DVD prisons, it is time we revisit the process of ripping your DVD collection into iTunes. Ripping DVDs is not only easy, it can save a lot of money as you begin (or continue) to build your digital video library.
As the self-proclaimed digital projectionist for the casa de la Stark, let me walk you through the basic steps and available software applications to get those movies off the plastic and into your Mac.
OS X comes with CD and DVD burning capabilities built-in, so you might have managed so far without needing to install a separate app. When I reinstalled Snow Leopard a few months back, I decided to keep my system as lean as possible, since my old Core Duo MacBook has been showing its age. I only installed applications as a real need for them arose.
As it happens, one of the very first apps I added was for burning discs, since I found the native OS X burning seemed to be slower, and certainly gave me less control of how discs are burned.
I had previously had an earlier version of Toast installed, but I decided not to return to that outdated software, and instead went with a free burner app that had good reviews on MacUpdate. Recently, Roxio released the newest version of Toast, and I’m very glad to have updated.
Though there are lightweight apps that can do some of the things Toast does, and there are many cheaper, and even free, programs available, I believe Toast remains best-in-class. And if you go for the Pro version, it’s actually very good value – but more on that later.
Apple is known for often being one of the fore-runners in adopting new technologies – Firewire, ExpressCard, and Mini DisplayPort spring to mind. But equally, the company can be ruthless about dropping the inclusion of features they no longer feel to be relevant.
Blu-ray is an interesting outlier, and it isn’t obvious whether Apple is planning to adopt the technology yet. As themselves a video distributor through the iTunes Store, choosing to include an optical format that’s almost exclusively used for HD films would not necessarily be in their competitive interest.
Apple is a purveyor of the benefits of downloadable content – whether that be apps, music, or HD movies and TV shows. It even seems that they’d ultimately like to move away from optical media altogether, as is the case with the MacBook Air.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with this. I rarely use the DVD drive in the MacBook Pro – a couple of times per year at most – and I wouldn’t think twice before purchasing a machine with no optical drive at all. I don’t own any Blu-ray equipment or media, and am content downloading HD content from the iTunes Store.
But do you feel the same? Or is it Apple’s duty to support a wide range of formats – especially widespread standards such as Blu-ray? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Today we’re taking a look at a range of different CD and DVD burning tools for your Mac. Along with those bundled with your machine already, we’ll consider a number of third party applications that specialise in different fields. Some are delightful in their simplicity, others pack a huge feature set.
Whether you regularly produce and burn optical media, or just need to share a few photos from time to time, there will be something here for you!
Burning files to CD or DVD, although gradually becoming an outdated practice, is still a necessary function for many people. Mac OS X comes bundled with some basic disc writing capabilities in iTunes and the Finder, however these options do not give you full control over some of the finer details of burning to optical media
Today I’ll be reviewing the free, open-source burning application (aptly named) Burn. Although keeping things simple on the surface, Burn packs quite a bit of useful power and custom functionality under the hood.
We all have reasons for importing our DVDs onto our Mac. Whether it is to preserve the movie if the original DVD gets scratched, or to have the ability to carry your movie collection in a digital format. For the duration of this tutorial I will be using my Ice Age DVD (a great movie by the way!)
This step by step guide will teach you how to use the power of HandBrake to rip your DVD’s so that they show up in iTunes, as well as on your iPod/iPhone device!