It has been almost 35 years since Polygram, Sony and Philips executives gathered at a German factory to get their hands on the first Compact Disc.
Now, the first batch of CDs produced are starting to fall victim to what is known as "disc rot".
When Apple rolled out iTunes 8.1 a fortnight ago, we noted right off the bat that some early adopters were experiencing issues with using the Genius feature. Now there seems to be a more worrying bug for Windows users. On some machines, iTunes 8.1 is no longer able to burn to otherwise functional drives, and in some cases can't even read discs from that drive. A long support thread on Apple's own site identifies one potential fix via a registry edit to disable device filters, although many of the users on the thread are reporting that it hasn't helped either. But if iTunes has gone haywire on your drive, it's probably worth following the suggested steps to see if that maes any difference. If you have any other wisdom to impart on this problem, share in the comments below. (Me, I'm unimpressed that merely checking the 'About' dialogue in 8.1 crashed my copy of iTunes, but then I've always thought it was way too buggy for something with that much market share.)
The Online Tech Tips blog delves into a little-discussed feature of Windows Vista that can turn your spare blank discs into drag-and-drop bins for extra files. The Live File System mounts writable CDs and DVDs as pseudo-flash drives, letting you add files to them on a continual basis rather than having to initiate one big burn session. You can't recover space from added files, but if you've got blank discs to spare, Live File System can be a handy write-as-you-go backup method. Turn your CDs into flash drives using Vista's Live File System
If your car CD player or media centre can play and navigate MP3 CDs by folder, using iTunes you can burn your tracks in album-specific folders automatically. (MP3 CDs have the songs burned on them as files, not audio, and as such can fit a whole lot more music than a regular audio CD.) The Internet Duct Tape blog explains the iTunes tip: the trick is to sort the playlist by album first before you burn. Stupid iTunes Tricks - How to Burn a MP3 CD with Folders
Windows only: Archive all your email messages to DVD or to your hard drive with MailStore Home, a desktop email import, search, and archiving utility. Fire up MailStore Home and import any POP/IMAP email (like Gmail or Yahoo Mail) or Outlook, Windows Mail, or Thunderbird email. MailStore Home sucks in all your messages and lets you burn a backup disk or store and search your entire library locally for when you're offline. MailStore Home also has some disk space conservation smarts, and it doesn't lock your messages into a proprietary format.
Danny Gorog at APC has helpfully written a roundup of the numerous updates which Apple has put out this week. It's worth having a look as it includes a rundown of what updates you might need to install, and why. The updates cover hardware, iLife, iWork, iTunes and the iPhone.
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