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Sony To Make Its Last MiniDisc System Next Month

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the way-of-the-eight-track dept.

Sony 263

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports that Sony, the creators of the MiniDisc audio format, are to deliver their last MiniDisc stereo system in March. Launched over 20 years ago in late 1992 as a would-be successor to the original audio cassette, MiniDisc outlasted Philips' rival Digital Compact Cassette format, but never enjoyed major success outside Japan. Other manufacturers will continue making MiniDisc players, but this is a sign that — over ten years after the first iPod — the MiniDisc now belongs to a bygone era."

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263 comments

Killed by DRM and licensing (4, Interesting)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782647)

I remember looking at these in the early 90's. They seemed interesting, but the inability to easily make copies due to idiotic DRM made it uninteresting to me. And I'm sure that Sony was asking absurd licensing fees for others to make players (like the home Betamax days).

And rather than Sony learn any lessons, they have doubled down. For two decades. Is it any wonder their stock and their corporate goodwill are both in the shitter?

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (5, Informative)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782689)

I was going through a closet just today and threw out about 20 blank minidiscs that had never been used.

Several years ago I bought a portable minidisc player. Battery life was terrible. I literally had to carry a couple of AA batteries with me at all times. But even worse was getting music onto the player. There were only two choices -- a program made by Sony that was a complete piece of shit, or, a plugin for Realplayer.

And, for added amusement, transferring songs onto the player from my computer was very slow because they all had to be converted into Sony's propriietary, DRM infested ATRAC format.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (5, Informative)

mug funky (910186) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782817)

you could install the sony shit and use GraphEdit to wrangle it to your will, but generally it was never worth having to real-time play everything like the analog days.

great hardware, terrible software. this is how sony roll.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (4, Informative)

Kenshin (43036) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782825)

Battery life was fine on mine. It ran for ages off one AA battery.

Mine wasn't a "Net MD" player, so I got music into it by recording. I had a TOS Link cable out from my sound card, and just played a playlist while it recorded. Ya, it was a bit slow that way, but MP3 players at the time were expensive and very small capacity and CD players were chunky.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783347)

I did the same. I never bought music on minidiscs. CDs were just more readily available and cheaper and I preferred mixing my music together myself. CD players were just too clunky, ate through batteries even faster and most of them would just skip even with "skip protection". On the lithium-ion battery my minidisc player would also last for ages.
Definitely more sturdy than my disk based ipods. In the last 6 years I dropped 2 of them and killed the HDD.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782841)

Sony's use of "MagicGate" DRM on the computer-to-MiniDisc link was inexcusable, as was their removal of line inputs from later MiniDisc "recorders" (so that you had to go through the DRMed computer-to-MiniDisc path). Their decision to separate MD-Åudio from MD-Data wasn't too great, and their slowness in releasing a high-density MiniDisc format (for a long time, they just pushed higher compression rates - LP2 and LP4) didn't help MiniDisc's cause.

They probably could and should have lobbied against the copy protection / DRM, recorder tax, and media tax provisions of the AHRA. Especially given that they bought out the Columbia/CBS studios and record company around the time of the DAT fight. (Hope I'm getting my timeline straight here.)

However, ATRAC in and of itself was not an evil thing. MP3 _players_ came out around - what - 1999? MiniDisc _recorders_ came out in 1992, and they had to be able to compress audio in real-time, not just to decompress it. ATRAC was no doubt designed to allow for real-time compression with the sort of embedded computing power that was available at the time.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782973)

> I was going through a closet just today and threw out about 20
> blank minidiscs that had never been used.

have you not heard of eBay? those things are worth something to someone man, especially as they become rare as hare's teeth.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783185)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare

Hare's teeth are rare? I prefer them medium-well.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783197)

especially as they become rare as hare's teeth.

That made me laugh! I think the idiom you meant was "hen's teeth".

Hare's don't suffer from a shortage of teeth...

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783229)

Yes, they're worth $1.49 each before expenses. So he threw away $30. That's 14 hours of labour for someone working tip-free as a waitress! Or about 1 hour of labour for someone making a half decent wage, or about 1/4 hour of labour for a rich person.

Completely not worth the effort of selling unless you happen to be making literal peanuts.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783287)

I'd have probably taken them to Goodwill. In most places, when they get things that nobody wants, they turn around and sell them on eBay or Amazon, and the revenue goes to fund their continuing operations. Plus if you're itemizing anyway, it's a tax write-off.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783045)

My experience was similar except for battery life. Mine always got super good battery life. That was one of the good things about them actually. Remember, the point of comparison was either a cassette player or portable CD player.

Also the players were durable and did not skip. ATRAC format was actually very good and sounded listenable at 64kbps unlike mp3.

The discs use the faraday effect to encode. Almost like a hard drive that is read with a laser. That is fucking cool.

Now that i am done praising Sony engineers i will commence cursing Sony marketing and business. SonicStage was utter shit. Like iProducts, the later players would let you drag and drop files, including music files, just like a flash drive, not that anyone had heard of such a thing. 2GB was a lot of storage back then. Howeved you could not actually play the files unless you used sonicstage. Still scarred by sonicstage, i refuse to use iProducts because of iTunes lock-in, even though iTunes is fucking golden compared to sonicstage. I actually gave up and simply recorded my CDs and records right to the minidisc. The players allowed easy editing so it was no problem to mark and exit track boundaries. I upgraded all the way to the RH1 which finally allowed lossless recordings of SPDIF. But really, doing 1x recording just because the software is shit is offpissing just on principle.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783265)

*exits time travel pod*

GREAT GREAT MANY TIMES GREAT GRANDFATHER!! DON'T DO IT!! Go get those disks, and put them back in the closet! Those things are collector's items in my great great grandmother's time, and if you hadn't thrown them out, she would have been filthy freaking rich! Go get them, put them in the closet again, and when you die, they'll be put into someone else's closet, and handed down, until I can finally reap the rewards!

*muttering to self*

If I could travel through space as easily as I can travel through time, I'd go slap that old fool around for awhile!

*to Grandfather*

GO! NOW!! DO IT NOW!!!! Get those disks back into a safe place! All of them, including the one with a crack in it! I'm checking right now to see that you've done it.

*climbs back into time travel pod*

*disappears*

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783271)

But even worse was getting music onto the player. There were only two choices -- a program made by Sony that was a complete piece of shit, or, a plugin for Realplayer. And, for added amusement, transferring songs onto the player from my computer was very slow because they all had to be converted into Sony's propriietary, DRM infested ATRAC format.

This is a good description of why Apple was successful with the ipod.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782723)

The DRM certainly didn't help, but what really killed the minidisc was the introduction of the iPod and other MP3 players. Instead of constantly swapping out discs (each minidisc held 1 CD worth of music) you could just load up your MP3 player with dozens, or hundreds, of CDs. Once MP3 players came along, the minidisc went the way of the cassette Walkman.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782765)

Early mp3 players, contemporary with the introduction of minidisc, had almost no internal storage. And additional storage for devices that could use it was pretty expensive. Most of us knew that would change, but it was hard to blame the minidisc owners who had the coin around for buying what was, at the time, a more practical device.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (5, Informative)

smegfault (2001252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783037)

There are no early mp3-players "contemporary with the introduction of minidisc". I had an MD-deck in 1993. The first widely available unit was the Audible.com mobileplayer in 1997 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_media_player#Audible.com_MobilePlayer) which had a pathetic 2MB storage capacity. It took almost 10 years for the price of CD-RWs to fall enough to become a feasible alternative to MDs, especially if you erased and re-recorded a lot like me.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783119)

Some of the early CD-RW discs seemed to have stability problems. From my experience if you left them around long enough they would "go bad" and wouldn't blank properly. If you tried to burn then again after that they would become unusable. The discs were kept at proper room temperature and were nearly scratch-free. Maybe I was just unlucky but I lost well over 50% of my early discs to this problem. Even some DVD+RWs were affected by it. The whole experience kind of turned me off to rewritable media especially after high-capacity USB drives got cheap.

I haven't bought any new CD-RW or DVD+RW discs in over 5 years so I have no idea if new ones are any better.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

smegfault (2001252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783175)

No, I've had the same experience. My first CD-burner unit (a Philips unit) would consistently wreck at least one out of three CD-R burns. Pretty frustrating as it was a 1x speed burner, so you had to wait for over an hour only to find out the writing operation failed and you had yourself a pretty expensive shiny coaster. Of the last three-pack of DVD+RWs I bought, only one still works after two years of very light use. The other ones would just refuse to be blanked.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783195)

MD sucked because the DRM was such that you couldn't copy files to it. I want to copy at 48x speed or faster. Only being able to record at real speed sucks.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (2)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782789)

The first iPod was released in 2001. I don't think it was the reason. I owned a MD player in the mid-90s and - as said gmhowell above - the system lacks flexibility when it comes to copying. Besides that, the MD player was great!

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782885)

And unlike a lot of the MP3 players, most MD devices could record from analog sources (line input or microphone). Sound quality was pretty good and Hi-MD devices could record uncompressed audio (the downside was that a regular MD could only hold ~20 minutes of PCM recording, Hi-MD discs could hold more).

I still use MD to listen to digital audio when I'm not at home (for analog I use a cassette walkman). I also use it when someone asks me to makea digital copy of ananalog source (cassette, record etc) - I record to MD uncompressed then copy the recording to my PC - no need to use the PC for realtime stuff...

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (2)

smegfault (2001252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783005)

The portable recorders are still very popular with local radio stations (always strapped for cash) doing field interviews as they're compact and rugged and sound good. Plus, the stations often use MD-decks for playing jingles and commercials, so the interview can be easily transferred and edited.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783199)

Are you nuts? Sansa Clip recorders are way cheaper, have better pickup and can be plugged into anything with a USB port.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783257)

The recorders were actually stellar. Problem was just to get out again what you recorded unless you wanted to use the analogue hole. Which, coincidentally, was crappy enough that you could as well just record to a cassette tape.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

smegfault (2001252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782949)

For me it was a logical step up from cassette tapes, especially at a time when mp3s weren't very good and not very abundant, and CD-RWs were prohibitively expensive. I used tons of MDs to copy CDs off my friends, first analogue and then with an optical cable. It was just as slow as cassette tapes but not subject to being eaten by my tape deck and they sounded much, much better and they let me shuffle and edit. It also seemed a lot more practical than its ghastly contemporary DCC, which was more of an evil stepsister of cassette tapes minus the slow decline in sound quality (well, only if you cleaned the heads regularly...) I liked the small, sturdy size of the disks, too. Back then (early teens) I had no idea what DRM was and although I must've copied hundreds of CDs I've never encountered a problem with DRM, only when I tried to copy from MD to MD. Yeah, MD went into a quick decline when (re)writable CDs came along but for a while they were a very practical stop-gap between cassette tapes and the MP3 era.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782977)

One feature I particularly liked (again, ca. 92-93, not a decade later like some are referring to) was the incredible resiliency to skipping. Portable CD players of the time were dreadful for skipping. This by itself may have convinced me to pick up a player if it weren't for the problems I mentioned above.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783033)

DAT decks didn't skip, either, but they DID do digital 'buzzsaw'. mostly due to tensioning issues and using the thin (90 meter and longer) tapes vs the industry standard 60 meter (2 hour) tapes. or if you didn't have a CLA on your deck, you'd get buzzsaw sooner or later.

I'm remembering the sony car DAT deck. what a thing, in its day! it even had remote 10 disc cd changer that you could put in the trunk. the sony car dat was pretty unique and expensive. imagine a spinning vcr-like head in a car system. its almost funny now that I think of it. DAT decks had problems just sitting still and sony put one in a car DIN mount size meant for bouncing in a car environ. and car temp swings, too. pretty ballsy engineering move and oddly enough, that was one of the better DAT decks out there, period.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (2)

smegfault (2001252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783059)

imagine a spinning vcr-like head in a car system. its almost funny now that I think of it.

They'll be saying that about CDs in 20 years.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782953)

The DRM certainly didn't help, but what really killed the minidisc was the introduction of the iPod and other MP3 players. Instead of constantly swapping out discs (each minidisc held 1 CD worth of music) you could just load up your MP3 player with dozens, or hundreds, of CDs. Once MP3 players came along, the minidisc went the way of the cassette Walkman.

I know that's what it says in the article and on Wikipedia. But by the time MP3 players came along, MD was already dead. The cassette Walkman went away. Except in Japan, MD never arrived.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (3, Insightful)

dubbreak (623656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782791)

The DRM was definitely silly and I think that's what held it back. I had a couple MD players. In the era of 128mb solid state and cd mp3 players they were awesome. Lasted a month on a single AA (cd mp3 players would last a few days at best on 2xAA). Add extra memory cheap as compared to solid state. Super durable storage (much more resilient than CDs).

The Canadian software was a lot more lenient on copying mp3s over (converting to AAC). IIRC you could copy an mp3 to devices 3 times before syncing it back as deleted off a device. Stupid limitation when with comparable devices you could make as many MP3 cds as you wanted or copy to mass storage type devices with no limitations. Other huge down side was not being able to get digital copies back off the device via the USB cable. You could use the optical out and record from that, but no drag and drop. It was a great device to plug into a mixer when doing a jam or even a show (high quality recording), but you couldn't easily get the digital file off. You should have been able to just grab it via USB like a comparable device, but that would encourage copyright infringement or something. Normal Sony behavior.

I loved the format. I could have a few different mixes, throw them in my backpack and not worry. Carry an extra battery for when it finally got low and I was good to go. No skipping, pretty small (for the era) and reliable as could be. I really think the DRM and not licensing it were the reasons it never took off. That and not being able to use it as mass storage. In university as a computer science student having that as storage would have been extremely useful. Oh well. One more dead format to add to the pile.

Sony shares are great. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782835)

Is it any wonder their stock and their corporate goodwill are both in the shitter?

I suspect any Goodwill is more down to the growth of competing technology form Apple/Microsoft/Samsung as for their shares currently at a third in just months...ironically the same that Apple has fallen in *six*

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782863)

Now that the dumbasses have let blu-ray succeed Sony will continue with these practices.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

sd4f (1891894) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782955)

I don't think sony has much in the tank left, sure they beat HD-DVD, but can you honestly say that blu-ray is a successful technology?

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782985)

I don't think sony has much in the tank left, sure they beat HD-DVD, but can you honestly say that blu-ray is a successful technology?

Just so you know sony didnt create blu-ray, they were one of many partners that created it.

Get your facts straight.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (0)

sd4f (1891894) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783039)

I suppose it would be pretty good if i said somewhere that "sony created blu-ray"

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783309)

Philips took $50M cash to make that happen.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782867)

Nah, it's being killed due to obsolescence.

(I have multiples units from MZ-R30 through MZ-M200.)

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (2)

sd4f (1891894) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782919)

Yea, you couldn't extract audio digitally off a MD, definitely not easily, all the consumer level gear wouldn't allow it. So once it was on a MD, you could only record it to something else via analogue.

I didn't use hi md, so im not sure what that was like, but md was a really great replacement for a cassette player, on the basis that you used it in the same ways, ie copied music onto it, made recordings which were better quality, but didn't need to copy over to something else. Once flash started to get cheaper, there wasn't any real reason to look back at md though.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

rthille (8526) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783109)

I've got a Sony MD/CD player that will 'high speed' copy from the CD to the MiniDisc. It didn't have optical out to get the audio off my old MDs (mostly copies of my old Vinyl), so I hard-hacked it to add one. I never had one of the NetMD versions. Don't think I would have gotten one of the MDs at all due to the DRM if they started with that crap. One of these days I'll finish copying the MD's to my laptop and eBay the MD/CD box (and the portable MD player/recorder). They were nice tech for the time, but technology long since passed them by.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783111)

Uhh yes you can grab digital output. You just need an MD deck that has digital out. I modded my MDS-JE480 to do so. Wasn't hard at all.

So as to be pedantic, Hi-MD, of course, has PCM.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

iamagloworm (816661) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782967)

"if you get caught using that..."
"i know. this never happened. you don't exist."

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783013)

drm? you mean scms?

we solved that with DAT using scms-strippers. I was never into MD but I think they did have spdif inputs and outputs, on some models.

but that's not the point. the point is that they used lossy compression and DAT was literal (lossless). so even spdif->scms-stripper->spdif, you still get a less than perfect copy with MD and DCC. with DAT, it was always perfect if scms=00 (the 2 bits that 'stick' once set and let copies go on forever, even using consumer decks).

ah, the DAT tape memories. I still have dat decks but no one really fixes them or cares anymore.

Remember their Memory sticks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783135)

Remember their memory sticks? And the secure memory stick?

Some of their cameras still ship with it, and it's why I don't buy Sony cameras, laptops or anything else. Proprietary crud, and some of it designed to work against my interests.

Re:Remember their Memory sticks? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783165)

Yep. I remember not buying one of their tv's due to this 'feature'.

Re:Killed by DRM and licensing (1)

jcr (53032) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783277)

Yeah, they screwed up DAT the same way. Made them both useless for sound editing.

-jcr

Fond memories. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782657)

I used to use a Hi-MD formatted minidisc system to store files on it for schoolwork.

showing up with an avi to watch a movie or tv show on school computers in vlc was awesome, especially when I multicasted it to every computer in the room via windows media player :)

Re:Fond memories. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782677)

then I would pop in another disc and play back last nights 16 hour recording of digitally imported!

Long live minidisc!

Re:Fond memories. (1)

_merlin (160982) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782725)

Hey kid, I'd left school behind before Hi-MD existed. Back in the '90s I worked in radio and we used MiniDisc for jingles, station IDs, ads, etc. Far more convenient than the old way of doing it on 30-second 8-track carts. You could have all the samples you needed for a day on two MiniDiscs. The ATRAC compression used on MiniDisc sounded pretty good if you started with a good source, but for some reason re-compressing something that had previously been compressed with MP3 sounded awful. Something about the combined artefacts of the two compression schemes was nasty, so you never wanted to record your MP3s off Napster onto MiniDisc. Now get off my lawn!

Re:Fond memories. (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782951)

I think I retired in the 1990's

I don't exactly remember...

I have poopheimer's. That's where you forget shit.

They still make those? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782713)

I have one gathering dust in the closet. It was pretty neat but essentially obsoleted when cheap blank CDs were available. I bought it when blank CDs were $6 a pop. One of my first just-out-of-school-working-for-a-living purchases.

Actually pretty decent (1)

KC1P (907742) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782717)

These seemed to be marketed to people who wanted to make mini-disc mix tapes, which seemed weirdly specific and obviously didn't catch on. But they were really good for recording live music and sucking it into a computer. Flash is obviously much better, but MD was around for eons before flash got cheap...

Re:Actually pretty decent (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782781)

I remember reading somewhere, long ago, that the minidisc was originally envisioned as a higher capacity replacement for the floppy disc and storage for digital cameras (I once had a Sony camera that stored the pictures on a floppy disk)..

Neat for the time, but useless today (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782739)

I bought (and still have in storage) this thing way back when, thought a useful replacement for walkman. Audio quality comparable to CD, but in a more durable packaging.

Don't know much about how DRM killed its prospect.

Whatever, today, its dying is not even a non-issue. Other than my nostalgia for the miniaturized electro-mechanical devices, its death is not even a whimper.

Who the fuck uses this thing today anyways?! Why did they keep making these things?

Re:Neat for the time, but useless today (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782787)

Japan. A lot of products that failed in (or failed to make a large impact) in the US were fairly popular in Japan. The Japanese market is a strange one, a country where high-tech reigns supreme and so do... fax machines?

Re:Neat for the time, but useless today (1)

Kenshin (43036) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782853)

We still use a fax machine at my office here in Canada.

I hate that thing, I'd rather just email a PDF, but suppliers still have a fetish for them for product orders.

Re:Neat for the time, but useless today (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782945)

They probably invested in fax->computer image software back when digital signatures were new but faxed ones were established case law.

Re:Neat for the time, but useless today (1)

Kenshin (43036) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783065)

We get faxes through a virtual fax number. The service converts them to PDF and emails them to us. Saves a hell of a lot of paper, because most of what we get is spam.

Re:Neat for the time, but useless today (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783031)

A lot of businesses only accept faxed copies of signed documents. Sure it makes more sense to scan and email, but you have to do what the client wants.

Re:Neat for the time, but useless today (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783291)

Yeah, but what good does it do when I sign, scan, and email it to my sister to fax from her work?

Re:Neat for the time, but useless today (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783141)

That explains how the S. Koreans managed to take over from the (once) mighty Japanese electronics industry.

finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782761)

of all the world's major economies, only Japan has a management culture weird enough to keep pumping money into half-baked products like MiniDisc without anyone batting an eyelid. sure, you can find crappy product ideas anywhere without even trying, but ones that stay alive for 20 years before the plug is pulled?
"WTF Japan" indeed.

Re:finally (0)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782801)

only Sony has a management culture weird enough to keep pumping money into half-baked products like MiniDisc without anyone batting an eyelid. sure, you can find crappy product ideas anywhere without even trying, but ones that stay alive for 20 years before the plug is pulled?
"WTF Sony" indeed.

fixed

Re:finally (1, Interesting)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782889)

only Japan has a management culture weird enough to keep pumping money into half-baked products like MiniDisc without anyone batting an eyelid

That's not true. The MiniDisc was a great product, I owned and used one for a long time. In Japan it got a pretty decent success, a MD player was usually embedded in hifi systems, and it was also used to exchange data. One problem if any was the DRM (for MDs having music like CDs).

The main problem that was not mentioned here yet, was the Western protectionism. Western countries wanted to slow down the electronics invasion coming from Japan. MD was not "revolutionary" enough to create a need in Western countries that would have counter balanced the anti-Japan products protectionism.

Re:finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782911)

Uhhh so far as I know the last Minidisc product Sony newly shipped was in 2006. While the original stuff was early 90s, there's been maybe close to 100 different MD products.

Poor bootleggers will remember mini-disc fondly (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782819)

There were many of us who couldn't afford the Sony DATs like the M1(MSRP $1,000, sold anywhere between 500-900 used). We loved music and we loved "archiving" it. The mini-disc was a very reliable way to do this and get a reasonably good quality. It was not quite DAT or CD, but it was much better than tape. It was far easier to sneak in that a DAT or tape recorder as well.

This was a pre-smartphone where concert security as at a high. We had to duct/masking tape our mini-discs to the inside of our thigh at menu venues to sneak it in. We'd then proceed to the bathroom to undo that and attach it to our microphones that we spent almost as much on as our mini-disc players. We'd periodically check our device worrying that we forgot to hit the record button or that we forgot to activate the hold switch.

I will remember my MZR-55 fondly. Even though my original MZR-55 battery has corroded and since been thrown away, i am still able to play my bootlegs back via the AA add-on attachment that was necessary for longer shows.

Re:Poor bootleggers will remember mini-disc fondly (1)

TheRealRainFall (1464687) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782843)

Thought i was logged in an could edit typos later. Sorry about that. Menu=many. That=than.

Re:Poor bootleggers will remember mini-disc fondly (5, Funny)

Kawahee (901497) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782875)

logged in ... could edit

Wait, what?

EDIT: Never realised I could do this.

Re:Poor bootleggers will remember mini-disc fondly (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782971)

Huh? How? You mean the "continue editing" on preview, or a real after-you-submitted edit?

Re:Poor bootleggers will remember mini-disc fondly (0)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783071)

you have to be logged into ultraslash to be able to edit posts.

Re:Poor bootleggers will remember mini-disc fondly (1)

Sancho (17056) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782983)

You can edit? For the longest time, you couldn't.

Re:Poor bootleggers will remember mini-disc fondly (1)

tbird81 (946205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783075)

Can we edit? I'm just posting this as a test.

Re:Poor bootleggers will remember mini-disc fondly (4, Informative)

tbird81 (946205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783077)

No.

Re:Poor bootleggers will remember mini-disc fondly (0)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783123)

Wait, what??

Re:Poor bootleggers will remember mini-disc fondly (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783129)

I don't think that you can actually edit a comment once posted (or at least, I can't find a way). What did you do?

They'll be back (0)

promythyus (1519707) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782837)

Don't worry, Sony will just create another "god damn fucking piece of shit oh god i hate you sony please die in a ditch" proprietary format.

Haven't bought any Sony products that require it (except a PSP, but you can but microSD adapters these days), and never plan on doing so.

Re:They'll be back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782859)

they already have, it's called blu-ray

Angry, Dumb Fanboy Meltdown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782881)

Do you cry every time you see how Blu-Ray how become the industry standard disc format for storage and media?

Let me guess...

* Xbot
* Bitter HD-DVD fanboy

Both?

Re:Angry, Dumb Fanboy Meltdown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783125)

Kill yourself, retard.

Re:Angry, Dumb Fanboy Meltdown (1)

promythyus (1519707) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783303)

Not even. Blu-ray is fine, if you're still interested in the dying optical medium.

Blu-ray isn't a shitty non-standard that nobody else uses, however.

Does this describe Sony? (2, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782899)

Don't worry, Sony will just create another "god damn fucking piece of shit oh god i hate you sony please die in a ditch" proprietary format.

This describes Apple and Microsoft, Sony by comparison follows standards...Compare and ebook readers; phones; consoles to the competition and you will find standard connectors; standard components; standard formats.

Re:Does this describe Sony? (0, Flamebait)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782963)

Don't worry, Sony will just create another "god damn fucking piece of shit oh god i hate you sony please die in a ditch" proprietary format.

This describes Apple and Microsoft, Sony by comparison follows standards...Compare and ebook readers; phones; consoles to the competition and you will find standard connectors; standard components; standard formats.

Hrm... obviously Sony fanboy there. I mean, let's see the Vita - proprietary game cards, proprietary memory cards (the are NOT memory stick, SD, or any others, you MUST buy Sony's overpriced memory - $20 for 4GB, $100 for 32GB). Never forget the thing that was UMD. Or the PSP Go, proprietary USB cable, uses Sony's M2 format cards (if you can find any...).

The Vita's is Sony's latest console. No doubt Sony will take inspiration from it for their PS4.

Hell, Nintendo consoles are probably the most "standard" - USB hard drives, SD cards...

Re:Does this describe Sony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783153)

Hrm... obviously Sony fanboy there. I mean, let's see the Vita - proprietary game cards

[much vitriol against proprietary game media snipped]

Grasp at straws much? Name one portable console that was even remotely successful that didn't have a proprietary game media. Hint: no Nintendo machine qualifies.

Now, you might have a point with memory cards. However, then you produce a gem like this.

Or the PSP Go, proprietary USB cable, uses Sony's M2 format cards (if you can find any...)

This is false. Memory Stick Micro is not proprietary, although it is a Sony-developed standard. SanDisk and Lexar are happy to sell you one--it took me exactly six seconds to go to Amazon and search for "memory stick micro." On which plane of reality did you obtain your PSP Go and yet had a problem finding storage cards for it?

Hell, Nintendo consoles are probably the most "standard" - USB hard drives, SD cards...

You are aware that the PS3 supports USB hard drives and SD cards, and even allows you to replace the internal disk with a bog-standard 2.5" SATA drive, yes?

Re:They'll be back (2)

Brad1138 (590148) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782959)

I really don't get all the vitriol aimed at Sony over the last decade or so. I have sold their TVs and other electronic equipment, owned their Playstations, I can think of far worse companies. And Blue ray is a very good media.

Re:They'll be back (1)

tbird81 (946205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783079)

They are in the recording industry.

sony rootkit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783357)

sony root kit
sony root kit

The holdouts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782897)

The last people I knew that still used MiniDisc were local sports radio broadcasters. When covering a live game, they had a live feed to the station via ISDN or POTS, and also had a high-quality recoding being made to MiniDisc. Recordings from the MD could be used for highlights or recaps the next day. This setup allowed a single reporter to conduct a live remote from a game with minimal equipment to lug around.

Good enough for Neo. (2)

Brad1138 (590148) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782923)

The most recognition I ever saw for this was that Neo used them.

Re:Good enough for Neo. (4, Funny)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783351)

The most recognition I ever saw for this was that Neo used them.

popular in a dystopian parallel universe. This makes sense.

Besides DRM (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782925)

Minidisc used lossy compression, but did so before MP3.
Still being a physical format on a spinning disc, with a lossey codec devised early on, before much experience was gained, which was not well-rated... that killed it for me.

Sony at the time (as usual) was hoping to replace the open CD format with their closed format. It wasn't just about portability. They wanted to sell pre-recorded discs and kill the CD.

I'm amazed it has taken them this long to stop making them... I hope they lost money on it.

It made about as much sense as ministick memory.

Re:Besides DRM (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783057)

at the time, digital audio for consumers was 3 choices: MD, DCC and DAT. DAT was finicky and expensive. DCC and MD came later and battled it out. DCC tried to get the cassette form factor guys to accept them. no one I knew (I was into digital audio in the 80's and 90's) had DCC. MD was more reliable than DAT, though, in many ways. it was lossy, but it didn't mistrack like DAT did.

for live music tapers (I used to) you could pick MD or DAT. again, most people wanted lossless recording, so we never saw MD tapers, only DAT tapers at shows.

DAT stayed alive for studios, where 2 track 44.1k audio was needed. MD was intended pretty much ONLY for consumers.

(and so ends our history lesson for today) ;)

Re:Besides DRM (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783187)

...Sony at the time (as usual) was hoping to replace the open CD format with their closed format. It wasn't just about portability. They wanted to sell pre-recorded discs and kill the CD.

I'm amazed it has taken them this long to stop making them... I hope they lost money on it...

Remember that Sony is one of the powers behind the RIAA; the limitations of the MD would have been the result of a deliberate corporate decision to hobble the format. Being able to copy content digitally, accurately, would have been utter anathema to Sony.

And if you don't get the problem with Sony, they have a long, long history of egregiously bad corporate citizenship. This is extensively documented in Groklaw. It's horrible. They love to litigate, and being a customer is no guarantee they'll treat you fairly or honestly.

MD-ROM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42782947)

I had one of these when I was about 15 (lucky birthday present ~ 1998) and I loved it!! It came at a time when we were still using casettes and recording our own compilation tapes so doing the same to make CD quality discs was amazing!! a friend of mine used to hook ours up together and steal each other's music. I just wished (even now) that they would release a data storage version and a pc MiniDisc Drive to go with it. A CD-ROM with a special protective case to stay away the scratches sounded like a fantastic idea! I know flash is here and here to stay but I used to treat some of my discs like absolute shit and they would always play time and time again!

Sony.... WTF!? (0)

The_Revelation (688580) | about a year and a half ago | (#42782981)

I have a Sony MiniDisc player/recorder right here. It was given to me because I work with bands who occasionally throw it at my face as one of the worst things I've ever tried to freely give to them. It highlights how out-of-touch Sony is with consumers and producers. The fact that they are still being manufactured surprises me no end.

Allow me to summarise the article summary (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783017)

The BBC reports that Sony, the creators of the MiniDisc audio format, ... now belongs to a bygone era.

:)
But more seriously, the era of proprietry formats and manufacturer specific devices is over. If you make your own 'special' device, it's going to be more expensive than the competition. Some modern device manufacturers counter this by creating a device eco-system or brand which makes the device better for the user for one or more reasons.

Sony has never quite grasped that you can't beat, cajole, bribe or force people to do what you want. It's possible to encourage, enthrall and excite .. but it's not possible to control a global electronics market. Despite which, this 20 year demonstration of near complete failure still won't help Sony to adapt to modern markets. It's sad that the few heads at the top of Sony are slowly destroying what was once the most exciting designer of high quality electronic goods.

Re:Allow me to summarise the article summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783093)

The BBC reports that Sony, the creators of the MiniDisc audio format, ... now belongs to a bygone era.

:)

But more seriously, the era of proprietry formats and manufacturer specific devices is over. If you make your own 'special' device, it's going to be more expensive than the competition. Some modern device manufacturers counter this by creating a device eco-system or brand which makes the device better for the user for one or more reasons.

Sony has never quite grasped that you can't beat, cajole, bribe or force people to do what you want. It's possible to encourage, enthrall and excite .. but it's not possible to control a global electronics market. Despite which, this 20 year demonstration of near complete failure still won't help Sony to adapt to modern markets. It's sad that the few heads at the top of Sony are slowly destroying what was once the most exciting designer of high quality electronic goods.

Sony was destroyed the year they became content producers. From then on, their entire CE devices would be hampered/killed by idiotic DRM. The visonary days of Akio Morita were dead. And what few "interesting" devices Sony had, they had because Morita pushed for them. Such as the smallest world band radio receiver, unequaled even to this day.
Sony nowadays is just a name with no substance behind it.

Pity (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783051)

MOD media (the mini-disk technology) keep data and music reliable for more than half a century. Data on the crappy SSD technology gets shaky after a few years.

Allow me to provide a correct summary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783083)

The minidisc is being killed off because Baquack Obamailure is mad that his daughter's minidisc player broke, and now he's ruining Sony.

He is the devil, and he wears the mark of the devil (666). He paid Anonymous to hack into Sony and mess up their shit. He is also in the process of implanting all soldiers with GPS chips and brain modifications so he can plug them into computers, read their thoughts, and REPORGAM them! He is turning our boys and girls into demon cyborgs that have no soul, and he is sending them to China and Russia.

This will be the end for us! :(

I'll probably be modded down by one of the nerds that Obama has hired to HIDE THE TRUTH from the American people. He is a bigger liar than Bill Clinton.

Yet another reminder (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42783321)

Not only does Sony sell you stuff that doesn't work with your other stuff, they will sell you content on that incompatible stuff so that when they give up the ghost on that proprietary format you have to buy the White Album AGAIN on their new, proprietary format that's totally better than the old one.

..what is an iPod (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42783327)

sorry i don't buy drm'd control freak hardware

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