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The End of the Optical Drive (Page 2)
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Brien
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Oct 21, 2010, 11:34 AM
 
It's just like Steve's speech at D8. Computers are moving into the realm of appliances. They don't need to be upgradeable. The user doesn't need to know what's going on behind the curtain.

Much like you no longer need to know how to work on a combustion engine to drive a car (though it does help!), you no longer need to know how to fix a computer, or how it works, to use one. We'll see this trend continue into, as many people derogatorily use, 'toy computers', in the sense that they will likely be cheaper and more disposable. And that future doesn't include DVDs, or realistically, any user serviceable parts at all.
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 11:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
You mean kind of like floppy disks were by far the cheapest way to store 650 MB of data, back when CD burners and blank CDs were in their infancy and insanely expensive and slow?
No, 650 MB of floppies in 1997 (when the iMac 'killed' it) were quite a lot more expensive than 1 CD. Nice strawman there Dane.

Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
Uh, yeah, sure. No one.
Look, just pointing out the absurdity of saying "I've never used X thus it must be obsolete/stupid/whatever"

I'm sure Aperture is great and many use it. Coincidentally, the same applies for optical media.
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imitchellg5
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Oct 21, 2010, 11:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Well anecdotal story time! I have not used iPhoto, Garage Band or Pages in years. I certainly don't need them, yet they come with the machine and Apple *wastes* money on making and maintaining these apps I don't need.
I suspect from comments that you've made that your usage is nowhere near reflective of anyone else's.

Now, anecdotal silliness aside. Optical media is by far the cheapest and most reliable way to store 50GB units of data down to the CD. It is universally known. It is universally accepted. It is used for a variety of things, not just to install Apperture (which incidentally is an app that nobody uses, so obviously it is obsolete) but to store data, movies and sound.
50GB is a lot of CDs. I haven't used a CD since I installed Snow Leopard. I'm not sure what your point is with Aperture, but I use it every day, and I believe Adobe has said that they want Lightroom to overtake Aperture, so obviously it's made some measure of success.

Internet as a replacement is slower by far, more unreliable and quite expensive. Flash drives are only available in Spherics mind as a viable replacement - sure they technically could replace optical media techically, but like the hard-drive they are far more expensive (no less than $100 for a 50 GB flash drive and well a BD is way cheaper)
Who needs a 50 GB flash drive (and since you're picking nits, there are no 50 GB flash drive)? A backup of an OS install disc takes a little over 7 GB and you can get an 8 GB flash drive for around $10 these days. How is internet unreliable? It's always there.

The great thing about computers is versitility, flexibility and user control. In essence they are a tool that you can apply as you need - you clearly don't need optical drives any more than I need the mini DisplayPort on the MBP (which I've never ever used) - but granted it is useful for many people.
I use the MDP on my MBP every day, all day. Your personal experience isn't the only out there and if you think that Apple is going to cater to one person or specific user group, you're high and drunk. Apple is a money-making corporation. They are going to follow trends wherever they lead, especially if there is money to be made. No different than any other tech company.

Oh I've seen one MBA in the wild, but in a very Apple-centric and rather wealthy crowd. It is the Cube, it is a flop - a complete and utter flop - but like the Cube, Steve has crush on it. Only this time Apple is rolling in cash and can easily justify spending money on a loss-maker such as the MBA, just for the heck of it. But mostly because, like with the Cube, Steve thinks this is the future.
I'm glad you are a market analyst. If you have any hard data to back this up, please feel free. Because, I'll say it again, Apple is a money-making company. They don't spend money just for the heck of it. Like any other corporation, they see a market and want in. Apple's always done this, and always will. I've never seen a first-generation iPod, but does that mean all subsequent lines were flops? No.
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 11:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
I use the MDP on my MBP every day, all day. Your personal experience isn't the only out there and if you think that Apple is going to cater to one person or specific user group, you're high and drunk.
You missed the entire point of his post.
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:00 PM
 
Explain it for me then.
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:04 PM
 
Put me in the camp of those who only use the optical drive for ripping and burning music/video. If indeed Apple is trying to stay at the edge of the curve, like they did with floppy disks, then I think it is reasonable.

If I bought a MBA, I would have to buy an optical drive since I don't buy music/video from iTunes. But for me, obviously, the optical drive provides a sort of specialty function, and I don't find it unreasonable to buy extra equipment (an external drive) for that.

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Oisín
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
No, 650 MB of floppies in 1997 (when the iMac 'killed' it) were quite a lot more expensive than 1 CD. Nice strawman there Dane.
Not if you include the burner, which it was necessary to buy separately back then.

Not an exact analogy, since the requirements are different for flash drives than for CDs (port + self-contained drives versus hardware drive + individual data containers), but the situation is comparable: Apple started to phase out a well-established and well-functioning medium of storage for another one, which was just emerging and not yet economically as viable as the older one. Back then, it was mostly the hardware that was insanely expensive, though the discs were quite pricey, too; this time, the hardware required is basically nil, while the disks are more expensive, that’s really the only difference.

In a couple of years when a 50 GB flash drive costs $5 and pretty much everything has a USB (or similar) port to plug it in through, what will be the point of fiddling around with finicky optical drives and coasters? About the same as fiddling around with floppy disks in 2004, when the optical drive had basically completely killed it off and was fully supported everywhere. Apple are just doing the same thing again: moving towards the newer (and superior) technology early on, when it doesn’t quite make economic sense yet, but (hopefully) speeding up the process in so doing.
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
About 30 % of the DVDs I've burnt now have some unreadable files on them.
That's something I've never experienced. Ever. Obviously if something like that was actually the case I wouldn't even dream of using DVDs - nor would anyone else. Perhaps the problem isn't the DVD tech itself, but rather your drive or something. Never seen as much as one curropted file on a burned DVD. 30% is just insanely high and would make *any* tech just useless were it so error prone.

Which it isn't. Your story is nice, but wow it is one of a kind.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I haven't burnt a DVD in probably 3 years.
And I haven't used an SD card in at least 3 years. It's a dead tech, clearly since I don't use it (and well nobody know does either.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The optical drive is a technology that has had its day: people tend to rent movies online, share files online and store files on external hard drives.
Hard drives are notoriously more unreliable than optical media. And yes you're right, most people pirate instead of buying optical media, but that says more about people than the DVD/BD. 00

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
How do you know Apples makes a loss with the MacBook Air?
Inside information.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
To be honest, if you ask me, I'd very much like upgradeable memory and especially upgradeable storage. However, I think the majority of people don't touch the innards of their machine and keep it as is. And as a second machine, the MacBook Air would make sense for me.
Indeed, as a second machine it makes sense. At least sort of, you're trading a lot of power and I/O for portability. But the attutude of buyng and then throwing away a computer without upgrading it at some point, well that's a rarity in my anecdotal world. Besides it being a huge waste.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Honestly, I think this is the future direction of computers: smaller, lighter, less upgradeable, but more than capable enough for the majority of the population. My predictions: the optical drive is on its way out and upgradeability will become more limited. The computer will become more of a commodity akin to a car: most people don't change the engine or replace the fuel tank, they just want to drive it.
Lowest common denomintator in other words. That's where I think you and Steve are wrong. Completely so in fact. iPad class machines aren't real computers. They serve a different purpose, thus the future of the PC isn't dependent on Steve's 'vision' on shiny things. In fact this lowest common denominator thing is getting really lame (it was always lame, but wow)

HD movies are now "HD" movies. Thanks Apple. CD quality sound is now mp4. Thanks Apple. Computers are now non-upgradable and disposable. Thanks Apple. UI is now only good if it attracts attention, like a shiny object, not if it is actually good. Thanks Apple. .. etc.
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Lowest common denomintator in other words. That's where I think you and Steve are wrong. Completely so in fact. iPad class machines aren't real computers. They serve a different purpose, thus the future of the PC isn't dependent on Steve's 'vision' on shiny things. In fact this lowest common denominator thing is getting really lame (it was always lame, but wow)
If you have a good explanation for how Apple, a consumer electronics company, can continue to grow without catering to the "lowest common denominator," I would be interested in hearing it.

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voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
Not if you include the burner, which it was necessary to buy separately back then.
So you buy a burner and burn 10 CDs. That's cheaper than 6.5 GBs of floppies.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Not an exact analogy, since the requirements are different for flash drives than for CDs (port + self-contained drives versus hardware drive + individual data containers), but the situation is comparable:
If Apple ever drops the optical drive of the iMac, then it is comparable, I'll give you that. Until then.. it's just a Steve Jobs tantrum.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
In a couple of years when a 50 GB flash drive costs $5 and pretty much everything has a USB (or similar)
In a couple of years the BD is 100-150 GBs. And still cheaper than a flash-drive. Besides, a plastic platter is simply cheaper to make than the circuitry of a flash-drive.
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Oisín
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:10 PM
 
That's something I've never experienced. Ever. Obviously if something like that was actually the case I wouldn't even dream of using DVDs - nor would anyone else. Perhaps the problem isn't the DVD tech itself, but rather your drive or something. Never seen as much as one curropted file on a burned DVD. 30% is just insanely high and would make *any* tech just useless were it so error prone.

Which it isn't. Your story is nice, but wow it is one of a kind.
Not really. Thirty per cent is very high, but over the past fifteen or so years (or since whenever it was that we got our first CD burner at home), I’d say about one in ten discs I’ve burned, give or take, has ended up being a coaster somehow or other: only readable on our own drive, not readable by some DVD drives, not playable on stereos, or just plain not readable and useless. Not to mention the ones that were okay to begin with, but would become flaky and useless with age and extended use/play.

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone before who claimed they’d never had a disc coast on them when burning.

So you buy a burner and burn 10 CDs. That's cheaper than 6.5 GBs of floppies.
But not really relevant to the time—it was a very small minority of people who had the need to burn 6.5 GB of anything in 1997. 6 GB was the size of my entire hard drive back then.
     
voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey View Post
If you have a good explanation for how Apple, a consumer electronics company, can continue to grow without catering to the "lowest common denominator," I would be interested in hearing it.
Well that's their problem. I feel for Apple, I've got a long history using and promoting their products - because I genuinely liked them.

But that was because they were good products. Damn good.

Now if they feel they have to make a McCheesburger to grow, well that's their decision, but let's not call it heute quisine then, shall we.
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The Final Dakar
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone before who claimed they’d never had a disc coast on them when burning.
Welcome to the internet. Virgin births? Aisle 3.
     
voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone before who claimed they’d never had a disc coast on them when burning.
Wow, this is like I wandered into the Church of Scientology here! I simply said that anything close to 30% is just crazy. Perhaps one in twenty DVDs and that's me being generous.

Not to mention that once it is written it stays uncorrupted, which cannot be said of hard drives and flash drives.

Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
But not really relevant to the time—it was a very small minority of people who had the need to burn 6.5 GB of anything in 1997. 6 GB was the size of my entire hard drive back then.
So my analogy doesn't suit your agenda. Welcome to the internet. Virgin births on aisle 3.
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SpaceMonkey
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Well that's their problem. I feel for Apple, I've got a long history using and promoting their products - because I genuinely liked them.

But that was because they were good products. Damn good.

Now if they feel they have to make a McCheesburger to grow, well that's their decision, but let's not call it heute quisine then, shall we.
I raise this because your point ("iPad class machines aren't real computers. They serve a different purpose, thus the future of the PC isn't dependent on Steve's 'vision' on shiny things.") brings up an obvious question: are consumers even interested in "real computers"? I would say that increasingly, they are not. The future of the "PC" may be dim from here on out.

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Oisín
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Wow, this is like I wandered into the Church of Scientology here! I simply said that anything close to 30% is just crazy. Perhaps one in twenty DVDs and that's me being generous.
Sorry, I misread—I thought you were saying that coasters had never happened to you, not that 30 per cent being coasters had never happened.

Not to mention that once it is written it stays uncorrupted
… except when it doesn’t.


(Ooh, I have an agenda? What is it?)
     
voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
That must be why Apple is shipping the new MacBook Air with restore DVDs.
MacBook Air, Apple TV, the Cube, FlowerPower iMac, iPod Shuffle without control surfaces and numerous other costly flops are not trendsetters.

The MBA is a super-niche product and it doesn't come with a DVD/BD drive. Thus it has to boot off a rather unreliable flash drive. Enjoy!
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Laminar
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Not to mention that once it is written it stays uncorrupted, which cannot be said of hard drives and flash drives.
Nope.

Optical media longevity
     
Laminar
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
(Ooh, I have an agenda? What is it?)
Homosexual agenda - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Yep, compared to flash drives. Besides I've got 10 year old burned CDs in the shelve that work 100% fine! But better yet, printed optical media lasts pretty much forever.
I could take Sean Connery in a fight... I could definitely take him.
     
voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
… except when it doesn’t.
Yes except when it doesn't. Everything fails sometimes.

Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
(Ooh, I have an agenda? What is it?)

Can't wait to find out, but my anology didn't seem to suit it ... odd really.
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Oisín
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:23 PM
 
Oh. That one.

I think I need to re-read the manifest, then. I had no idea it said anything about optical drives (unless we’ve been talking in euphemisms this whole thread and I just missed it).

Can't wait to find out, but my anology didn't seem to suit it ... odd really.
I was just saying that in 1997, burning CDs would only become cost-efficient if you bought ten discs and burned to them or something like that, which was something that very few people had any reason to do, since such amounts of data were not common.

So for the far majority of people, burning CDs was not initially particularly interesting, ’cause it was too expensive for their needs at the time. This changed as burners and discs became cheaper, and burners were included in hardware. Similarly, flash drives are not interesting right now for most people, ’cause they’re too expensive. But as prices go down, this will change.

But saying that Blu-Ray is much cheaper than flash drives if you want to transfer 2 TB of data (arbitrarily choosing my hard drive size again here) is not very useful for most people, ’cause not very many people have any kind of need to transfer 2 TB of data at this point in time. I’m sure in ten years they will; but by that time, there’ll probably be something far more efficient and far better than both Blu-Ray and flash drives that they’ll be able to use instead.

Besides I've got 10 year old burned CDs in the shelve that work 100% fine!
At my parents’ house, my old computer from around 2000 or so is still alive and being used as a print server. The hard drive in that is about ten years old, too, and still works 100 per cent fine, as well.

Anecdotal evidence to the opposite, for both CDs and hard drives, is just as easy to find.
( Last edited by Oisín; Oct 21, 2010 at 12:31 PM. )
     
The Final Dakar
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
Oh. That one.

I think I need to re-read the manifest, then. I had no idea it said anything about optical drives (unless we’ve been talking in euphemisms this whole thread and I just missed it).
It's all full of pictures of spindles threading discs.
     
voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
Anecdotal evidence to the opposite, for both CDs and hard drives, is just as easy to find.
Oh I agree 100% there, which makes me wonder why the 'death' of the optical drive wakes such glee in some people. Anecdotally, and in reality it works just fine.

Now I'm perhaps a bit annoyed because in the same month my main hard-drive and my backup hard-drive died, along with ALL my data. Everything gone. Despite investing in an external HD, I lost.

Backing up on DVDs was not really possible because they're too small, but BDs would have done fine. And I know that they wouldn't have just 'died' while in storage. PERHAPS in a number of years an inconvenient scratch would have destroyed one file, but all the rest would have been ok.

Instead, by relying on the 'future' and using HDs and backing up on other HDs was a big mistake. Time machine and all that was just fluff in the end for me.

Thus I'm not really all that happy about throwing away the only decent (albeit sometimes boring) way to back up hard-drives.

Yes, it's another anecdotal story, but it does highlight the immense flaw of hard-drives. Backing hard-drives up on flash drives is insanely expensive and no more reliable than hard-drives, unfortunately.
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imitchellg5
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Oct 21, 2010, 12:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
It's a dead tech, clearly since I don't use it (and well nobody know does either.
Oh my God, you really sound like Rob.
     
voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 01:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Oh my God, you really sound like Rob.
Nuance, subtlety and sarcasm aren't for everyone. That 'claim' was made in just such a light.

Thus because one person claims "I don't use it, so it's dead" is exactly a stupid argument.

Rob doesn't do sarcasm. I am sarcasm.

(that was sarcasm)
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imitchellg5
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Oct 21, 2010, 01:43 PM
 
Sorry, I guess I can't spot sarcasm when in every post 10/20 thread you are posting in is rife with these same statements of "I've not seen anybody do this, it must not be important."
     
Phileas
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Oct 21, 2010, 01:56 PM
 
There's a huge difference between being sarcastic and being an ass. Some people mistake the latter for the former.
     
Laminar
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Oct 21, 2010, 02:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Sorry, I guess I can't spot sarcasm when in every post 10/20 thread you are posting in is rife with these same statements of "I've not seen anybody do this, it must not be important."
Yes, he made a point of noting that that argument was stupid and proceeded to use it several times in jest. You apparently missed that.
     
imitchellg5
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Oct 21, 2010, 02:10 PM
 
Apparently. Phileas is correct though. Although if you would have explained it to me earlier as requested, perhaps this could have been avoided.
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 02:15 PM
 
Well, personally, I need an optical drive to:

- watch DVD I rent (I don't have a TV, and don't have enough bandwidth to stream everything)
- rip DVD I didn't have time to watch (3-for-1 deal)
- rip CDs
- burn CDs for my car (no line-in, and CD sound better than FM-modulator)

and, for the records, I keep all my boxes
     
voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 02:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Sorry, I guess I can't spot sarcasm when in every post 10/20 thread you are posting in is rife with these same statements of "I've not seen anybody do this, it must not be important."
Sorry I didn't make it clearer. My mistake.

And indeed sometimes sarcasm and being an ass is confused, as Pileas suggests, but I'd say the difference is whether that person can only dish it but can't take it.

Sometimes sarcasm is important though to make a point, but I do try not to overuse it or abuse it.

On topic, if the dreams and desires of Steve Jobs are excluded, I can't see any problems in the future of optical media. Think about it.
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imitchellg5
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Oct 21, 2010, 02:35 PM
 
I definitely think it will be around for years, but already, it's out of the limelight. Many low-end cars now don't even come with a CD player, instead switching that out for a USB and AUX port.
     
Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Oct 21, 2010, 03:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Yes except when it doesn't. Everything fails sometimes.
     
voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 03:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Even Steve Jobs
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Oct 21, 2010, 03:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Hard drives are notoriously more unreliable than optical media.
I have three backups in three locations of my data, I consider them fairly secure (although only two of them are updated regularly). I also keep my most current work-related files in my Dropbox. I don't fear data loss due to hard drive failure.
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
But the attutude of buyng and then throwing away a computer without upgrading it at some point, well that's a rarity in my anecdotal world. Besides it being a huge waste.
It's rare, because it's a new phenomenon: the power of even entry-level computers seems to satisfy most consumer's needs.

Regarding upgradability, in my new machine (a 15" MacBook Pro), the only thing I can upgrade is the hard drive (I'm already maxed out to 8 GB RAM). And I will probably do that at some point. I think of my computer slightly differently: I want to keep it for ~4 years, i. e. I will upgrade in 2014 and who knows what Apple's line-up will be then. Unless I win the lottery or marry rich, I will keep my machine as long as I can. But if in the close future, we'll have hybrid storage where some content is streamed via some Dropbox-like service, I'd be fine if I couldn't upgrade internal storage.
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Lowest common denomintator in other words. That's where I think you and Steve are wrong. Completely so in fact.
If you want to, you can still get a MacBook or a MacBook Pro. As long as there is choice and Apple doesn't force my hand, I don't care.

They reckon the MacBook Air will be the way to go. If it doesn't pan out, people will continue to buy other Macs and the sales of the MacBook Air will be disappointing. We'll see. All I'm saying is that I see the appeal of the new Air. Whatever Steve Jobs envisions the future to be, people must still buy into it, i. e. consumers vote with their wallets. If you're not convinced that devices like the iPad don't have a future, don't get one.
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
In a couple of years the BD is 100-150 GBs. And still cheaper than a flash-drive. Besides, a plastic platter is simply cheaper to make than the circuitry of a flash-drive.
In a few years, hard drives will be several TB (the largest that was recently announced is 3 TB in size). CD-Rs and DVD-Rs were really useful when their capacity was comparable to that of hard drives, you needed only a few of them. That was ok once a month, but now I have daily backups. Even with BluRay, it's too little capacity, too late.

I grant you that for special applications, they may still be a valuable tool, but for the mass market? Nah.

Optical drives is not a technology that I wish were dead, I don't harbor any negative feelings towards them. I'm just saying I'd trade in my optical drive for weight savings or increased battery life.
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Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Oct 21, 2010, 03:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
Even Steve Jobs
Absolutely.

By and large, though, Apple seems to be tremendously successful at what they do, and since they can only be right if you're wrong, I'm just fine with you keeping on jabbering.

It'd be nice if you could lay off the insults, though. They make you look kind of dumb, and "fremdschämen" (feeling embarrassed for others) is not something I enjoy doing.
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 03:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
Killing the floppy was easy.

Killing the optical drive is going to take a long time.

There's the right answer.

Until 40+ megabit internet lines are commonplace in most homes and movie companies move away from blueray disk media you aren't going to kill off the optical drive in the majority of computers. In ultra portables, sure. Not in full sized laptops and desktops though

How often anyone in here has utilized an optical drive in recent history is irrelevant as no one who is posting in this thread is what could be considered an "average" computer using consumer.

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Laminar
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Oct 21, 2010, 03:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Apparently. Phileas is correct though. Although if you would have explained it to me earlier as requested, perhaps this could have been avoided.
Oh, so it's my fault that you couldn't correctly interpret someone else's posts?
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 04:25 PM
 
Well, you had said that I was reading it wrong, and so I requested you to explain what I was missing, upon which you disappeared.
     
Brien
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Oct 21, 2010, 05:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Captain Obvious View Post
There's the right answer.

Until 40+ megabit internet lines are commonplace in most homes and movie companies move away from blueray disk media you aren't going to kill off the optical drive in the majority of computers. In ultra portables, sure. Not in full sized laptops and desktops though

How often anyone in here has utilized an optical drive in recent history is irrelevant as no one who is posting in this thread is what could be considered an "average" computer using consumer.
Aye. Blu-ray is likely to remain a niche format, though (and I say that as an owner). Seeing the success of Netflix streaming and Hulu (pre-Comcast) does indicate that we're heading the direction, though. Blu-ray is likely to be the last optical consumer storage medium (those holographic discs will probably be great for the sciences).
     
voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 07:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
.

By and large, though, Apple seems to be tremendously successful at what they do, and since they can only be right if you're wrong, I'm just fine with you keeping on jabbering. .
No doubt Apple has never been more successful, but that's despite letting the Macintosh platfor linger on autopilot, not because of it. Regarding the optical drives, I'm pointing out that the emperor has no clothes here - the MBA is a niche computer (super-niche actually, since even the geekiest among us consider it a nice 'second' computer) and the Apple TV is a flop - yet again.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie

In a few years, hard drives will be several TB (the largest that was recently announced is 3 TB in size). CD-Rs and DVD-Rs were really useful when their capacity was comparable to that of hard drives, you needed only a few of them. That was ok once a month, but now I have daily backups. Even with BluRay, it's too little capacity, too late.
There is an upper limit to the practical density of hard-drives, as you know - but setting that aside, 100 GB optical media disks may not be the 'perfect' backup device, I'll grant you that. However for personal data and photos/videos they're plenty and will be plenty.

The growth of media isn't in paralell with the need. I can easily fill a 2 TB drive, but it's going to be full of disposable media, not my media. That is, movies by Hollywood, not my home movies - those can be put one by one (or many together) on a Blu-ray disk. In the future, despite more available hard-drive space, people won't make longer home video or take more super high-res photos.

So when you strip the contents of the hard-drive of the OS, all applications, all replacable media (physically bought music/movies) and leave only the strictly personal an irreplacable media - then 100 GB disks are going to be fine for the next five years at least.

Of course music bought from the iTunes store has to be backed up, which is unfortunate and an annoying waste of space, but there you go. If that wasn't the case it would probably be practical to back up on a BD for the next decade.
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Oisín
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Oct 21, 2010, 07:47 PM
 
the MBA is a niche computer (super-niche actually, since even the geekiest among us consider it a nice 'second' computer)
I think the logic’s rather backwards here. The MBA is a ‘second’ computer to people here exactly because they’re geeks, not in spite of it. It’d be far more likely to be a primary computer with non-geeks than with geeks. My stepmum has a netbook which is just a tad too small for her, but she doesn’t want to haul a full-sized laptop to and from work (a three-hour ride each way, twice a week). The MBA would be perfect for her, and for lots of other people who find full-sized laptops a bit too much to carry for their limited surf-mail-listen use, but find surfing on netbooks too cumbersome because the screen is too small.

In the future, despite more available hard-drive space, people won't make longer home video or take more super high-res photos.
Wouldn’t be too sure about that last one. People’s home videos are probably not going to get longer, but resolution is going to keep going up (along with file sizes), and DLSRs are becoming more and more common.

(Not that I think 100 GB won’t be enough for the next few years for most people—but I do think the space amateur video-making and photography takes up will continue to rise explosively)
     
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Oct 21, 2010, 08:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
I think the logic’s rather backwards here. The MBA is a ‘second’ computer to people here exactly because they’re geeks, not in spite of it. It’d be far more likely to be a primary computer with non-geeks than with geeks. My stepmum has a netbook which is just a tad too small for her, but she doesn’t want to haul a full-sized laptop to and from work (a three-hour ride each way, twice a week). The MBA would be perfect for her, and for lots of other people who find full-sized laptops a bit too much to carry for their limited surf-mail-listen use, but find surfing on netbooks too cumbersome because the screen is too small.
A super-portable, optical-free main computer? For normal people? Main computer, as in the ONLY computer they have.

For 1000 dollars? (well more likely 1600 since they don't want a tiny screen)

An expensive, geeky, practically I/O free, low power, sort of netbook as a primary computer for a normal person? That's one tall order.

That person must always be within range of internet, have a USB flash drive at the ready, have a CD player at home (likely that person owns CDs) and a DVD/BD player (likely that person owns a movie or rents them), never needing or wanting an upgrade of any sort and ready to dispose of the machine for another new one instead of squeezing out an extra year or two with a cheap RAM/HD upgrade, and the only peripheral required for this person would be a printer perhaps. There aren't that many USB ports on the MBA, see (only 2 ports).

As a primary computer, the MBA is very much not recommended. It's a limited geek machine which is kinda evident seeing how it's Apple-geeks (and I use the term affectionately) that drool the most over it. Though I have great doubt that many of us geeks will actually buy one. We know how crippled it is, despite the portability.

Apple is advertising it as "the next generation MacBook" though, so of course I should believe that and be a good boy. I'm not.. and it isn't. Any more than the iPad is what computers will be in the future.
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voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 08:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post


Wouldn’t be too sure about that last one. People’s home videos are probably not going to get longer, but resolution is going to keep going up (along with file sizes), and DLSRs are becoming more and more common.

(Not that I think 100 GB won’t be enough for the next few years for most people—but I do think the space amateur video-making and photography takes up will continue to rise explosively)

Resolution of home video is pretty much pegged at 1080 for the foreseeable future. HDTV maxes out at that resolution, so it's not so hard to predict. So basically what we have today is what will be standard home TV resolution for the next decade at the very least. Unless you know something I don't.

So while it is true, that a home movie might take half or even a whole Blu-ray disc (at 50 GB), that need isn't going to grow.

And the digital cameras (they're pretty high res even though they aren't SLR) will certainly increase the resolution in the next year - after all they haven't even reached the resolution of a good film yet! That means you'd be able to back up all the new photos annually on a single BD.

Not bad really, though if you have more cash to spread around, perhaps a hard-drive would be easier. However, a BD would be far more durable as a backup. So for personal data, for the foreseeaable years, a BD will do fine...

really, check how much personal data you have. I bet it's faaar less than 100 GBs. Mine was (before the untimely deth of the hard-drive) 30 GBs, excluding music. That's personal data collected since 2002 over many different Macs.
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Oisín
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Oct 21, 2010, 08:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
A super-portable, optical-free main computer? For normal people? Main computer, as in the ONLY computer they have.
Yes, exactly.

For 1000 dollars? (well more likely 1600 since they don't want a tiny screen)
$1,000 is the 11” screen, right? That’s the size I was talking about. My stepmum’s netbook has a 9.something inch screen, and it’s just a bit too small. But she thinks my MacBook is just a tad too big. Hence, 11” is just right. [Yeah, yeah, I know, that’s what she said]

That person must always be within range of internet, have a USB flash drive at the ready, have a CD player at home (likely that person owns CDs) and a DVD/BD player (likely that person owns a movie or rents them), never needing or wanting an upgrade of any sort and ready to dispose of the machine for another new one instead of squeezing out an extra year or two with a cheap RAM/HD upgrade, and the only peripheral required for this person would be a printer perhaps.
Most people who are the market for this (people like my stepmum) do have a CD player at home; they watch their movies on their TV, not on their computer; they don’t upgrade, change, or add anything on their machines until their tech-savvy children or grandchildren come along and do it for them; and they live just fine with machines that aren’t the latest and greatest, and don’t run Unreal Tournament (or whatever) smoothly. And apart from perhaps a USB mouse or a printer, they generally don’t need, or want, any peripherals.

These are not creative types we’re talking about. They’re not business types. They’re not geeks. They’re people who use their computers for two main purposes: surfing the Internet and writing e-mails or letters.

To (ab)use my dear stepmum as an example again, the netbook is her only computer (though my dad has a full-sized laptop). It has no optical drive. It has only one or two USB ports. The HD is not swappable, though the RAM is. It’s about two years old. I think it’s a 1.6 GHz processor, but I can’t remember which type. I added extra RAM for her when I bought it (it was a Christmas present), so it has 1 GB of RAM. It runs Ubuntu’s super-tiny distro that I don’t remember the name of. I very much doubt any of her apps are up-to-date, nor the OS or anything else. Edit: And because Maflynn mentioned space: it has a 16 GB SSD drive.

She has two gripes with the machine: the screen is a bit too small, which means it tends to cut off edges and corners of popped-up windows when browsing (and she can never remember to use Ctrl + F4 to close the window); and the trackpad is clunky and crap. That’s it. Never once has the lack of an optical drive or the number of USB ports or any of that other stuff been an issue, ’cause it’s simply not necessary for her needs. And she’s a very typical user. I have fixed and fiddled with computers for at least a dozen coworkers and fellow students that fall into the exact same category.

True, $1,000 is steep for a machine like this, when her netbook only cost about $450. But I think she (and many others) would be able to shell out the extra cash to get a machine that’s so noticeably faster, has a brilliant trackpad, and generally just looks a whole lot better and more elegant. I think she would.
( Last edited by Oisín; Oct 21, 2010 at 08:26 PM. )
     
Maflynn
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Oct 21, 2010, 08:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by voodoo View Post
A super-portable, optical-free main computer? For normal people? Main computer, as in the ONLY computer they have.

For 1000 dollars? (well more likely 1600 since they don't want a tiny screen)
Given the price point, its hard to justify the MBA as a typical consumers only computer but yet that's where apple is positioning it. Its actually closer to 1400 bucks because the 11" model's 64gb storage is really not feasible in this day and age and 11" screen is too small for many people's sole computer, so we're looking at 1599 for the 13" MBA with 4gig. Even that only gives you 128GB of storage.

I remember apple unveiling the G4 Cube, a closed, high priced, limited expandable computer. Many of the geeks I knew, loved the looks, most of the "real" people thought it was too expensive especially when you could upgrade it. I think this is similar, less computer for more money.

Apple is advertising it as "the next generation MacBook" though, so of course I should believe that and be a good boy. I'm not.. and it isn't. Any more than the iPad is what computers will be in the future.
I do think apple is trying to hasten the demise of the optical drive, and that in of itself not a bad thing. The lack of the optical drive doesn't bother me. Its the meager specifications and premium price point. I can get a faster more expandable MBP for less money
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Oisín
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Oct 21, 2010, 08:25 PM
 
really, check how much personal data you have. I bet it's faaar less than 100 GBs. Mine was (before the untimely deth of the hard-drive) 30 GBs, excluding music. That's personal data collected since 2002 over many different Macs.
I realise I’m not the average user here, but I have a lot more than that. My photos alone account for 404 GB, plus 30 GB of music (even if the music is (mostly) ripped from CDs and thus already backed up once, I’d prefer to back up the entire collection of tagged, tuned MP3s, rather than having to re-rip 400-odd CDs and locate all the stuff I have from other places again), 11 GB of various documents, 3 GB of stuff in my /Sites/ folder, etc. I’d say perhaps about 450 GB.

But like I said, I’m hardly an average user in that respect.
     
voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 08:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
True, $1,000 is steep for a machine like this, when her netbook only cost about $450. But I think she (and many others) would be able to shell out the extra cash to get a machine that’s so noticeably faster, has a brilliant trackpad, and generally just looks a whole lot better and more elegant. I think she would.
True I forget sometimes that the CD isn't dead and nor is the DVD or optical drives in general... which would ironically be the only viable instance where a person would consider an optical free computer!

However, $1000 gets your step-mom the MBA 11" or a full fledged MacBook! Expandability and way more power (MBA 1.4 GHz/800MHz bus while MacBook is 2.4 GHz at 1066 MHz bus both at $999, 60 GB storage on the MBA and 250 GB on the MB at the same price)

The MBA is 1 Kg and the MB is 2 Kg.

Basically that's the only - ONLY advantage. One thousand grams.

Honestly, I don't think I could ever recomend anyone that over a better machine. 2 Kgs is still way within what a healthy person can carry and the added power does justify the weight - because with added power comes longevity of the machine. A 1.4 or even 1.6 GHz 800MHz bus machine has no future outside 2011. That's it. A MacBook is still useful in 2013 or 2014 even.
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voodoo
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Oct 21, 2010, 09:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oisín View Post
I realise I’m not the average user here, but I have a lot more than that. My photos alone account for 404 GB, plus 30 GB of music (even if the music is (mostly) ripped from CDs and thus already backed up once, I’d prefer to back up the entire collection of tagged, tuned MP3s, rather than having to re-rip 400-odd CDs and locate all the stuff I have from other places again), 11 GB of various documents, 3 GB of stuff in my /Sites/ folder, etc. I’d say perhaps about 450 GB.

But like I said, I’m hardly an average user in that respect.
In the light of backup purposes:

I concur that the average user doesn't have 400+ GBs of photos, and all music is replaceable that you have on CDs (even if it is annoying, though it is automatically named and such at import)

So setting aside music you have on CDs, movies and giving you a resasonable 30 GB photo collection, I'm confident we can have you all backed up and good to go on one or two Blu-ray discs.

That's not bad at all to protect and conserve personal and irreplacable information. You'll know when you lose it how worthless all peripheral media data is. Losing ripped movies or music is completely acceptable in comparison. If nothing else, it can be repurchased - but not personal data.

Thus the ability to back up is important, as even Lord Steve has said, but not just to hard-drives, because after all it is a cornerstone of the usefulness of optical media that is lasts a long long time. Far longer than hard drives and is immune to any magnetic interference. It's optical after all.
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