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The CD Turns 25 Today

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the getting-old dept.

Music 326

netbuzz writes "Seems like only yesterday to those of us of a certain age, but the CD turns 25 today. Philips, maker of the first CD on Aug. 17, 1982, estimates that more than 200 billion have been sold since. The younger set might have trouble appreciating the difference in auditory quality that the compact disc represented over vinyl or cassette tapes (some have probably never even seen a record). And all but true trivia buffs will have trouble coming up with the name of the artist on that first disc."

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326 comments

Happy Birthday! (4, Funny)

Kranfer (620510) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261761)

Happy Birthday Compact Disc! Now wheres my isolinear optical chip I was promised by Star Trek?!?!?!

Re:Happy Birthday! (3, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261797)

I'm still waiting for my dilithium crystal powered car.

Re:Happy Birthday! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262031)

Oh, you mean the USB thumb drive/MP3 player that holds 4gb? Why not just check your order status on line. ;)

The First Discs Were Not ABBA (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261783)

The artist on that first disc: ABBA.
Huh, that's funny because I always thought that the first discs were of the Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauß [cdman.com] . I read about it yesterday on an actual article that isn't written like a comedian was drunk [physorg.com] . From the article in the summary,

And lastly -- hey, hey, hey, wait just another second, those video games aren't going anywhere ... And lastly, I want you to know exactly how close the manufacturing of that very first CD came to killing -- and I mean killing deader than Elvis -- the entire music industry.
Maybe ABBA's "The Visitors" was the first commercially released CD in the United States but even Wikipedia says there were 16 different discs released in Japan [wikipedia.org] first, it wasn't until a year later they came to the United states and all sixteen of them couldn't be ABBA. Furthermore they were popular at the time, how could that kill the music industry? There was only trash on Blu-Ray for a while but that doesn't mean other movies aren't going to come out. Ugh, I hate articles that are written poorly & contain pointless interjections making fun of my age. Of all [google.com] the news [bbc.co.uk] sources you could link to, this one is pure trash.

He also forgot the part where they re-released a few new or live tracks on a disc just to make the die hard fans buy into another medium. That kind of practice really makes me sick. Of course, we're doomed to see it repeated until the end of time in the name of making another buck.

Re:The First Discs Were Not ABBA (3, Informative)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261911)

Maybe ABBA's "The Visitors" was the first commercially released CD in the United States

Nope, that was "52nd Street" by Billy Joel. [sony.net]

Re:The First Discs Were Not ABBA (1)

linuxboredom (1054516) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261991)

Ah, thanks. I could have sworn it was Billy Joel, but couldn't find it online.

Re:The First Discs Were Not ABBA (4, Informative)

taupin (1047372) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262029)

Billy Joel's 52nd Street was actually the first album released on a CD in Japan.

Re:The First Discs Were Not ABBA (4, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262201)

Huh, that's funny because I always thought that the first discs were of the Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauß. I read about it yesterday on an actual article that isn't written like a comedian was drunk.

According to Philips [philips.com] the first discs from the assembly line in Langenhangen were ABBA's "The Visitor".

The 74-minute story (5, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262235)

The story I've heard in reference to the creation of the CD and have always found fascinating is about the 74 minute length. For those who haven't heard it already:

Apparently (so the story goes), the discs were originally designed to hold 60 minutes of music. But the VP of Sony decided this was unacceptable, since it would not be long enough to allow uninterrupted playing of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony without a disc change -- the piece as usually performed is a little less than 1:15, or about 74 minutes.

According to Wikipedia, there was probably more than just a love for classical music in here; the demand for 74 minutes as opposed to 60 (which necessitated 120mm discs instead of 115) was strategic. Polygram (one of Sony's major competitors) already had an experimental facility set up to make 115mm discs, Sony didn't, and therefore it was advantageous to force 120mm in order to start the playing field off level.

Still, I've always gotten a kick out of the idea that the now-standard size of the CD (and DVD, and BluRay/HDDVD) could have been influenced by a piece of music written in 1824.

Re:The 74-minute story (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262715)

Reminds me of how modern rail lines (US standard ones at least) are all derived from chariot ruts IIRC.

Re:The First Discs Were Not ABBA (3, Funny)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262295)

ABBA (whats the Unicode for a backwards 'B'?) were just first in alphabetical order, because popular beat combo Aaron's Aardvarks hadn't formed yet. And still haven't.

Re:The First Discs Were Not ABBA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262459)

A bit of research indicates that there isn't a unicode backwards B character. :(

Re:The First Discs Were Not ABBA (1)

dawnzer (981212) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262555)

MY first CD's (I bought two at the same time) were "Janet" by Miz Jackson and "II" from Boyz II Men. I was a junior in high school and remember being so exited that my mom gave me a Sony Discman for my birthday. I already had a stereo system from a few years previous that had a turntable AND a dual cassette deck - so getting a new one with a CD player was out of the question.

My household completly skipped the 8-tracks. Sigh... where did the time go?

I'm cracking up! (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262639)

They must know by now I'm in here trembling
In a terror evergrowing
Crackin' up
(I have been waiting for these visitors)
My whole world is falling, going crazy
There is no escaping now, I'm
Crackin' up

the name of the artist on that first disc (1)

LSD-OBS (183415) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261795)

Bruce Springsteen, was it?

Re:the name of the artist on that first disc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262397)

Bruce Springsteen, was it?


Wrong guess. On the very first CD there was a track Frist Prost by Anonymous Coward.

heheh (2, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261817)


I remember when they released. I commented something to the effect of "Bah, perhaps for classical music they'll be great but for stuff like Motorhead or Slayer? Why? So I can say 'this is the cleanest distortion around?'

Boy was I ever wrong. I still miss the large album covers and inserts from the LP days. Other than that vinyl is dead to me.

Re:heheh (4, Interesting)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261925)

Actually the distortion used by Slayer, etc. is incredibly nuanced from an audio point of view. If you start dropping the higher harmonics, the distortion gets progressively more "dull" sounding and eventually just ends up sounding like you're clipping your speakers. Marshall amps have been legendary partly because their brand of distortion is highly distinctive. CDs allow you to retain some of the higher harmonics dropped by an audio cassette, so IMO the difference between Slayer on CD and tape is more immediately obvious than the difference between a classical track on CD and tape.

Re:heheh (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262567)

IMO the difference between Slayer on CD and tape is more immediately obvious than the difference between a classical track on CD and tape
For me, the difference is immediately obvious on classical tracks due to the noise floor being so low. When the music gets quiet, or there's a solo part, you can hear all of it, instead of missing parts of it because of tape hiss.

Of course, it's likely there's more distortion on a Slayer track than quiet parts on a classical track...;)

RIP (4, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261823)

Judging by the lack of Philip's logo on most (if not all) music media sold today (due to the inclusion of DRM efforts violating the standards), I'm not altogether sure CD-DA has lived long enough to reach 25.

Re:RIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262263)

I don't ever recall seeing a Philips logo on any CDs that I've owned (although I know that they have released classical music on the Philips/Laserlight label). However, maybe you are referring to the Compact Disc Digital Audio logo, which still appears on more than a few discs produced today.

Re:RIP (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262383)

"However, maybe you are referring to the Compact Disc Digital Audio logo, which still appears on more than a few discs produced today."

The logo is owned by Philips, which is how/why they are able to deny others the use of it for violating the standard.

Re:RIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262325)

I think the Compact Disc logo is what makes it an official CD, I don't think the Philips (or Sony, for that matter) logo ever went on.

Philips used to own a record label, perhaps that's what you're thinking of.

Re:RIP (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262425)

GOTO [slashdot.org]

What a sad begining... (3, Funny)

bbernard (930130) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261833)

I can't believe the artist that was first recorded on CD. What, were the Bee Gees unavailable? And now I've got one of their damn songs going through my head. Damn you first CD trivia!

Re:What a sad begining... (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262379)

The funny part is, after reading the first half dozen posts in this article, I realized* that the song playing through my headphones is ABBA - Take a Chance on Me. I have four weeks of continuous music on shuffle so I never hear the same thing twice in a month, and I pulled that up today...

* I don't listen to the music most of the time; it just tunes out my neighbors. I couldn't tell you what the last five songs before this were.

Re:What a sad begining... (2, Funny)

abbamouse (469716) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262517)

You go to hell! You go to hell and die! How dare thee besmirch the names of Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn, and Anni-Frid!

So sayeth the ABBA mouse. So shall it be done.

how many of them work after that time (2, Interesting)

randuev (1032770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261837)

i wonder what percentage of cds released 20-25 years ago actually work nowdays :)

Re:how many of them work after that time (4, Informative)

Greg01851 (720452) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261953)

I have quite a few CD's purchased in the 80's that work just fine. It's the CD-R versions that degrade over just a few years, the commercially pressed ones last quite awhile. reference: http://computerworld.com/hardwaretopics/storage/st ory/0,10801,107607,00.html [computerworld.com]

Re:how many of them work after that time (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262013)

Uh, all of them? I have dozens to hundreds from that era and there hasn't been any problem with any of them, aside from the occasional scratch (that can be polished out). None, repeat, none, are unplayable.

      Bear in mind I am talking about commercially-produced audio CDs. "Do-it-yourself" CD-Rs are constructed differently.

        Brett

Re:how many of them work after that time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262023)

My oldest CDs are about 22 years old, they are more substantial than any I've bought in the past 10 years, and all play fine, in fact I can only think of one CD I own that has real problems playing.

Re:how many of them work after that time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262045)

I have a 24-year-old CD that still works fine. It's a 1983 pressing of Metallica's "Kill 'Em All" on Megaforce, before they signed to Elektra.

Re:how many of them work after that time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262121)

I still have a sizable collection from back in the day and they all still work.

Re:how many of them work after that time (1)

brewer13210 (821462) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262155)

My first CD was a copy of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here", purchased in 1985. Still plays fine.

Re:how many of them work after that time (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262319)

100%, Every single music CD that I've ever bought still works. Even the ones that I got in 1985.

Re:how many of them work after that time (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262431)

I have quite a few and they all work fine. The main difference that I notice between my older discs and newer ones is the level.

Asks the cynical youngster (1)

deesine (722173) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262525)

Plenty of us /.'ers are old enough to have bought CD's in 1985 and '86. Like the others here, all of mine work just fine, except for the occasional deep scatch, or one where sand got in the case with it. :)

Happy B-Day (1)

sh3l1 (981741) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261849)

Happy Birthday CD. Try not to melt yourself on the candles. Does anyone know how old the hard drive is?

Re:Happy B-Day (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262153)

Re:Happy B-Day (4, Interesting)

crgrace (220738) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262417)

No one has pointed this out, but early CDs actually sounded like shit. They were WAY under compressed so the noise of the signal path was very significant. Also, they were mostly encoded at the studio in 16 bit, so mulitiplies and stuff going on in the mastering process (most were mastered on analog equipment but there was a required digital transfer to the master). The early CDs I heard in the mid 80s were really trashy. Better than tapes, but not as good as records on a decent hi-fi. This was pretty much common knowledge amongst people who liked music. The real selling point, and what made me get on eventually, was the random track access. That was huge, and I believe that is really what made the CD take off.

Interestingly, there was a kind of golden-era of CD sound in the late 90s when we had high dynamic range mastering equipment, before the loudness war pissed it all away in a hail of clipping.

Re:Happy B-Day (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262257)

Does anyone know how old the hard drive is?.
It is 51 years old [wikipedia.org]

Anyway, even I (born in 1981) started buying LPs (my first LP was Europe's Final Countdown) and then went to cassete (I beat the crap of a walkman because it chewed my Ride The Lighting cassete... a very sad day). I still remember how CDs were supposed to make music albums more affordable, too bad I have never felt that way...

coming through loud and clear (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261851)

WTF? I thought CDs stimulated the olfactory sense.
Man, it never made any sense that people could get off on shoving CDs up their nose. I've been doing it wrong all these years!

cue the... (1)

alexhard (778254) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261855)

The younger set might have trouble appreciating the difference in auditory quality that the compact disc represented over vinyl or cassette tapes
Cue the vinyl fanatics who will whine about how "warm" their vinyls sound

Re:cue the... (4, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261881)

Cue the vinyl fanatics who will whine about how "warm" their vinyls sound

Don't worry. I think I've managed to kill tham all.

Re:cue the... (1)

htricia (1133795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262487)

Oh, don't worry, you haven't killed them all. I do think vinyl sounds warm. I think one thing that keeps records in such good shape is their size and use. Mainly, they cannot be played in the car, which means they stay at home stacked neatly beside the record player (or in my case record players), while cds get tossed around the car. I gave up on store bought cds years ago. They are so easily destroyed. And as someone has already mentioned this is a contributing factor to piracy. Why buy it when you know it will soon be destroyed. They are in some ways already being phased out by the mp3 player. In my opinion each medium serves its own purpose though. Anyways... Happy Birthday Compact Disk!

Re:cue the... (2, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262303)

The younger set might have trouble appreciating the difference in auditory quality that the compact disc represented over vinyl or cassette tapes

Cue the vinyl fanatics who will whine about how "warm" their vinyls sound


Actually, there's a bit of truth to that (and ditto on valve amps). Transistor amplifiers, and digital electronics also, suffer from a phenomenon known as "clipping" if you give them too large an input. (For an amp, that would be the at the amp's input, for digital, it would be during the conversion to digital process, if the input peaked over the ADC's max input, or during processing which causes the sample's value to overflow).

If you take a decently powerful headphone amp (decently powerful - most headphone outputs on devices are very weedy), and plug its output into the line level input of another device, say, your soundcard, then playback the audio, it sounds like crap. Clipping is very harsh to the audio, and just sounds so bad. (People should do line-level checks as well - you can clip on those, but it's harder to come up with a decent demonstration).

Or, take an MP3 or other audio file on your computer, and open them in Audacity or other audio editor. Simply apply the "Amplify" effect to 200%, then listen. A mess - you may be able to make out what's happening, but it sounds just plain bad. Unfortunately, a lot of MP3s are apparently created like this... people don't seem to know how to rip CDs, so do the D/A/D thing without properly setting levels.

Valve amps, and vinyl don't clip when subjected to out-of-bounds input. Instead, they distort (which is why good guitar amps are valve based). This distortion makes the audio less accurate, but still much more pleasing to the ear. (And some argue that when it's distorted properly, even better). That's why valve amps are almost always in the power amplifier section (never preamp - the input levels to a preamp tends to be fairly standard (line-level, minding above)) - the preamp can easily overload the power amp inputs, which should trigger the distortion. If there are transistors in front of the tubes, they must be set so they don't clip before the tube distorts, or it's all for nought.

(In vinyl, the distortion comes because the needle cannot move very far before it impacts the neighboring grooves).

Alas, the vast majority of people don't actually configure their hardware correctly.

The CD is as old as I am (2, Interesting)

theWrkncacnter (562232) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261857)

I always thought of CDs as new and cool when I was growing up, I didn't realize that they're only slightly younger than I am (I was born in Feb of 82). It's kind of ironic though that in the last 5 years I've bought way more vinyl records than I have CDs.

Re:The CD is as old as I am (0)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262081)

Hah! My birthday is August 20 '82 ! We're almost the same age to the day!

I WIN YOU LOSE I WIN YOU LOSE HA HA HA!!!!

Er, sorry.

Re:The CD is as old as I am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262167)

You are almost 13. It's time to grow up.

Re:The CD is as old as I am (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262489)


Not to mention your UID is substantially lower. That makes you a DOUBLE PLUS PLUS WINNER!

"...that the compact disc represented over vinyl" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20261873)

quality that the compact disc represented over vinyl

False for freshly pressed vinyl. True after a few dozen plays.

5..4..3..2..1.. discuss!

Everyone's seen a record (1)

EvilGoodGuy (811015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261879)

(some have probably never even seen a record)

As cool as you may like to think you are because you were born when records came out. Nobody else cares. Nearly everyone has seen a record.

Re:Everyone's seen a record (1)

Ivan Mawesome (1144015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261997)

+1 - They must have had this joke waiting around for a while before the CD was even finished. It's really not funny anymore.

Re:Everyone's seen a record (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262109)

As cool as you may like to think you are because you were born when records came out.

Given that Edison created the first phonograph [wikipedia.org] in November of 1878, that would make him about 128 years old. Considering that the oldest person in history died at 122 years old, that makes your statement impossible.

Yes, I'm being a smart ass. However, I thought it was important to point out that "records" were not the latest thing when the CD came out.

Re:Everyone's seen a record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262545)

Given that Edison created the first phonograph in November of 1878, that would make him about 128 years old. Considering that the oldest person in history died at 122 years old, that makes your statement impossible.
The oldest person to have their age verified died at 122 years old. That makes his statement unlikely, but absolutely possible.

If you're going to be a smart ass make sure you're being smart, otherwise you're just an ass.

What's a CD? is it like an MP3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20261887)

You mean music once came on a PHYSICAL thing and you didn't download it?
Wow. How 20th Century.
Next you'll be telling me that there were all sorts of these physical things that had music on them and gave them funny names like "Tape" (why? did it hold stuff together?) or "LP" or "45s" or "78s"
I get the giggles just thinking about a world where you actually had to leave your house to buy music...bizarre
Oh well...the history lesson in TFA was nice to read
Oh, gotta go... my Pizza that I ordered over the 'net has just arrived at my front door.

Re:What's a CD? is it like an MP3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262391)

"I get the giggles just thinking about a world where you actually had to leave your house to buy music...bizarre"

Why is that bizarre? You leave your house to buy virtually every thing else. Mail order was available back then just as it is today.

Re:What's a CD? is it like an MP3? (1)

internewt (640704) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262613)

Oh, gotta go... my Pizza that I ordered over the 'net has just arrived at my front door.
Your hydrator's broken?

Stupid CDs (3, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261891)

I had to laugh at this part of the press release:

The invention of the CD ushered in a technological revolution in the music industry as CDs -- with their superior sound quality and scratch free durability -- marked the beginning of the shift from analog to digital music technology.
I think that initially CDs were intended to come in plastic cartridges that would protect the actual playing surface from scratches, but those were eliminated very early on. The CD as released is very fragile and prone to scratching. In the old days of cassette tapes, I could throw all my tapes in a big pile and still be fairly confident they would play (unless I left them out in the sun or something). If you try and throw your CDs into a big pile, you're going to get a big pile of scratched up coasters.

Maybe CDs are more scratch resistant than LPs (which isn't saying much), but they're still ridiculously fragile. Maybe music piracy wouldn't be so prevalent if CDs were more durable. I know that I hesitate to buy CDs because I don't want to spend 15-20 bucks on something that could end up being worthless in 6 months if I don't treat it with extreme care.

Re:Stupid CDs (3, Insightful)

melt away (1126703) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261977)

They are MUCH more scratch-resistant than vinyl, though - which I think was the point at the time. But yeah, they are far less indestructible than first advertised.

Re:Stupid CDs (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262021)

Sorry but I have hundreds of CDs And maybe one or two have any problems. I am not neat freak or anything but you must abuse the daylights out of your CDs.
AS to cassettes tapes all I can say is what???? I have had more of them wear out and or get eaten by a tape deck than any amount of CD failures.

Re:Stupid CDs (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262173)

Agreed. Throwing them directly at walls or leaving them on the floor of my car to be stepped on sometimes causes problems, but just putting them in a piles had never left me with an unreadable disc.

Re:Stupid CDs (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262529)

Sorry but I have hundreds of CDs And maybe one or two have any problems. I am not neat freak or anything but you must abuse the daylights out of your CDs.
AS to cassettes tapes all I can say is what???? I have had more of them wear out and or get eaten by a tape deck than any amount of CD failures.
I can say in all honesty I've had more luck with cassette tapes than CDs when they fall of the seat and get crunched by passengers, fall out a window at street speeds, or fall in a couch. Not to speak of the fact that in a car or jogging tape is far more ideal.

Being eaten was something I didn't experience often. If you bought a cheaper deck, then yes it was very much an issue.

CDs however take the cake as far as playability with low maintenance. A good tape deck would have run you well over $100, a good car deck well over $200. Anything sub par would eat tapes if you looked at it funny.

But probably the best thing about the digital resolution is the ability to copy things faster than real time without loss of quality, making it possible to fill your car with copies rather than originals, at a price usually about 10c/pop. Better still is the solid state option which addresses issues with jogging and shaking the player.

Re:Stupid CDs (1)

EMeta (860558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262113)

CD's are actually rather amazingly durable. The information is written at almost the very top of the disk, so any scratches that don't develop into cracks can be polished (or ground then polished) out.now if you step on it on an uneven floor, you're out of luck. But short of that, it's not so easy to break a CD in most settings.

Re:Stupid CDs (3, Informative)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262147)

IMHO, the worst problem with scratches is that the data surface is just below the label side, with the bulk of the plastic in CDs being part of the optical path. You can usually polish off scratches on the optical side, but any significant scratches on the label side will destroy the data. DVDs are much better in this sense, as the data layer is exactly in the middle of the disc.

Another stupidity about the audio CD standard is that you've got this nice digital storage space, yet all the metadata is stored on liner notes only. Surely it wouldn't have hurt to add some kind of metadata into the spec, even if most early players hadn't been able to use it.

Re:Stupid CDs (1)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262485)

They did, it's called CD-Text. It wasn't originally in the redbook standard but it's quite common now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CD-Text

Re:Stupid CDs (1)

IndieKid (1061106) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262259)

The first CD-ROM drive we had at our school (in about 1993) actually required that you put the CD into a cartridge before placing it into the drive. All the CDs that were kept in our library (Encarta and other similar rubbish) were stored on the shelves in these cartridges, probably to prevent them from getting scratched.

Re:Stupid CDs (5, Interesting)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262419)

Maybe CDs are more scratch resistant than LPs (which isn't saying much), but they're still ridiculously fragile.

Who are you, The Hulk? CDs aren't indestuctible, but I would say they are far from "ridiculously fragile." I often pile nekkid CDs or transport them stacked in spindles and have never had an issue with scratches.

But what I really want to respond to is:

Maybe music piracy wouldn't be so prevalent if CDs were more durable. I know that I hesitate to buy CDs because I don't want to spend 15-20 bucks on something that could end up being worthless in 6 months if I don't treat it with extreme care.

That's just stupid. You can justify breaking DRM to rip and copy CDs because of concerns from handling disks, but piracy? I don't want to be troll-ish, but that is just stupid. Do you justify kidnapping? Would you want to carry in your body for nine months something which will end up being worthless if you don't treat it with extreme care?

Of course, this post misses an actual good point--not that a CD might be worthless in six months because Hulk smash, but that a CD will be worthless years later because they just aren't stable for long term storage. Again, not to justify piracy, but certainly to justify breaking DRM to make back-ups.

It will Never Fly! (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261897)

I still don't see these newfangled CD Devices going anywhere. As long as I can still get my Fame Soundtrack and Toto songs on cassette, I'll be happy.

Re:It will Never Fly! (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262495)

You kids and your cassettes. I'll stick to my Iron Butteryfly and Blue Cheer on 8 track.

Now get off my lawn!

I love you CD (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261909)

Me and CDs have a love hate relationship. When I was a kid, the CD just started coming out and becoming popular. At first I was in awe and treated the CD with respect. Now, I have literally hundreds of CDR/RW that I consider disposable and burn, use, and forget about. I guess this is an apology CD... I hope you can someday forgive me.

Re:I love you CD (1)

Fx.Dr (915071) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262289)

I was a very early adopter of the portable CD player. The thing was an absolute piece of garbage, you had to hold the thing completely level whist walking or risk scratching the CD, it wasn't bump tolerant in the least, and so on. To top it off, it came with a $400+ price tag. Ouch.

However, all that aside, after 2.5 decades in the market the median price of a commercial CD has dropped all of, what, $5?

Re:I love you CD (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262473)

I still have the first CD player I bought in the late 80's. It's a full size audio component style. I was amazed when I finally opened it to see how it was built: a giant through-hole circuit board with lots of discrete components and a few DIP chips. It still works, but I haven't used it much lately. Otherwise the laser might have worn out by now.

What do you know... (2)

onetwentyone (882404) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261933)

I'm 25 today too. And before anyone says it, yes I know this is off topic.

Re:What do you know... (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262135)

This is also offtopic: Happy Birthday!

Even though (1)

obergfellja (947995) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261937)

Even though I was born a few months prior to, I remember the CD's becoming popular in the late 80's and early 90's. Granted, I was a Wee-One... but none-the-less, my memories can be traced back to 1984 on (of my life). Good to see a format change the way we listen to music... or should I say "Good to hear [enter rest here]"

Hazy Memory (2, Informative)

Brit_in_the_USA (936704) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261939)

I may be a bit wrong on this but I remember UK show tomorrows world covering the CD before it was launched, they showed how you could scratch the surface with metal pads and it still played. IIRC they had a Dire Straits album on display next to it (though not necessarily the first CD). It took me a while to get my first CD player (my parents had had one for a few years), I think it was around 1994 - which happened to be a 2x SCSI CD-ROM drive for some PC work I was doing. The CD needed inserting into a cartridge first before you could put it in the drive. I remember friends with HI-FI CD players were amazed at the track seek time I had (practically instant) - I had to remind them that this was optimized for read access, 4-5 seconds they were experiencing would kill it for PC applications. I also experimented with ripping, but soon stopped as my hard drive space was an order of magnitude smaller than the CD, and compression consisted of re sampling at 12Khz 8bit if I wanted to play about with loops and do silly things off the hard drive, no MP3 (that I knew of or had software to process) for me in those days. It was only a year or two later that as a student I could afford a CD HI-Fi sperate unit (and amp, and speakers) of my own. Within another 2 years I had a 2x CD burner - then the fun really started. :-)

Re:Hazy Memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262297)

I remember that Tomorrow's World show. I don't remember the scratching, but they did drill holes in a CD and cover it in jam. It played fine after a wash. I'm not sure they actually tried playing over one of the holes.

War on standards (2, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20261983)

It was the time of the war between Betamax and VHS. Surprised CD side too was not racked by similar warfare.

Now a days people are so confused by so many warring, deliberately incompatible media. CD-R, CD-RW was one schism, that looks trivially comprehensible compared to the acronym soup of DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-ROM, etc. Then the HD/Bluray war.

People eschewed Betamax, the memory stick, the mini-DVD all Sony offerings. One would think people really understand the need for open standards, supported by multiple vendors, all fighting to get your business and thus delivering all the glorious things free markets and competition are supposed to deliver. But when Microsoft deliberately muddies the waters by confusing the "choice among vendors and products" with "choice in standards" people don't reject it summarily.

May be because hardware is tangible and people get a feel and they have demanded and obtained complete interoperability in brake fluids, car tires, radios and garden hoses, they expect the same in electronics. It would take a while before the consumer understands the similar need for fully open standards for software too. Till then MSFT will continue to rake in , wait a minute. When did I go so off topic?

Re:War on standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262033)

"wait a minute. When did I go so off topic?"

I'd say on your first sentence.

Re:War on standards (3, Informative)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262309)

CD-R, CD-RW was one schism ...
No, it wasn't. CD-R is a write-once medium. CD-RW is a re-writable medium that is significantly more expensive and less compatible. The two have never been in direct competition, because they are not in the same market niche.

DVD-R[W] vs. DVD+R[W] vs. DVD-RAM was a true format war, but it has been completely resolved. (ie. -RAM is completely dead and almost all burners on the market support +/-R.) The only active format war right now is HD vs. Blu-ray, and while it far from over, there are drives that support both.

Re:War on standards (3, Insightful)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262353)

> CD-R, CD-RW was one schism, that looks trivially comprehensible compared to
> the acronym soup of DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-ROM, etc. Then the HD/Bluray war.

You said, it brother.

I once witnessed the following discussion between a sales droid and a customer in a major department store:

C: (looking at blank media) What's the difference between the DVD minus R and the DVD plus R?
SD: The DVD plus R, you can read and write to it. The minus R is, well, you can only write to it, you can't read from it

*jesus fucking christ*

sad (2, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262027)

The CD is 25 years old, yet my parents still refer to every recording (audio, video, digital or not) as a "tape." They also refer to all acts of recording as "taping."

Technology progresses quickly, but humans aren't quite as fast, it seems :-(

Re:sad (2, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262279)

Haha!! I remember in the 1980s older relatives giving me "Pac Man tapes" for my Atari. (No matter what game it was, they still called it a "Pac Man tape," as in "Here's the Pac Man tape of 'Pitfall' you wanted!" Later I would collect "Nintendo tapes" for my NES.

Nowadays my mom still calls DVDs "CDs." Baby steps..

Re:sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262511)

Both of you have stupid relatives :-)

Re:sad (3, Informative)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262557)


Technology progresses quickly, but humans aren't quite as fast, it seems :-(

No, people just don't really care about the original meaning of words, nor should they. Do you get bent out of shape every time someone talking about "dialing" a telephone, even though 99% of telephones no longer have a dial? There's hundreds of examples like this where the original etymology of the word was forgotten and the words takes on a modified meaning of the original. That's just how language works.

he was commenting on how... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262701)

humans work.

Amazing! (1)

T_ConX (783573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262039)

It's great to see that the format is still in use and still popular after so long. Equally impressive is how so many formats after it have the exact same form-factor (DVDs, HD-DVDs, Blu-Rays). Can you imagine watching a movie off of a disc the size of a vinyl record? Oh, thats right... LASERDISC [wikipedia.org] .

Maybe it's just me (1)

rk (6314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262131)

But CDs didn't sound any better than records... at least the first time you played an LP.

I got into CDs because they still sounded as good on subsequent listenings without going through a High Holy Ritual of cleansing and handling whenever you wanted to hear something. Even then, the LPs eventually degraded. You also couldn't play records in the car, though I have a half-memory of some harebrained device that let you do that. Good luck leaving LPs in a hot car, though.

Compact Disc, dead at 25 (1)

acceleriter (231439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262177)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - technological and musical innovation Compact Disc was found dead in its Hanover, Germany home this morning. The cause of death is rumored to be Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy digital music, there's no denying its contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Compact Disc, dead at 25 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262377)

Truly an American icon.
How was it an American icon?

If there's one thing worse than flamebait it's bad flamebait. Way to go genius.

First CD's (4, Interesting)

CheapEngineer (604473) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262179)

I was working at a Lazarus department store that fall in '82, in the stereo/camera department (remember when there was a Camera Department?) when we go our first CD player.

It was included in a new Fisher 100watt component stereo system right across the aisle from me. I remember the only CD's the salesman had to sell, or demo, were classical music.

I also remember watching the salesman carefully take one our of the jewel case, by the edges, show it to all of us carefully - then drop it on the floor and STOMP on it.

My boss nearly Shat himself. It played fine.

OT: That same Fisher 100watt system - we took the audio output line off the back of an Atari 800 (we sold 'em then for $699, I believe) and ran it into the stereo in an AUX input.

Fire up Star Raiders, and crank up the bass. Kids would come running in from the mall *downstairs* to watch and play.

I sold a *lot* of Atari computers that winter...

Cheap "Old Bastard" Engineer

Too bad modern mastering makes CDs sound worse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20262193)

Auditory Quality? (2, Insightful)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262205)

The younger set might have trouble appreciating the difference in auditory quality that the compact disc represented over vinyl or cassette tapes (some have probably never even seen a record).
Auditory Quality? Maybe CDs sound better than cassette tapes, and technically, they probably sound better than vinyl, but I still prefer the sound of vinyl records to anything else. I grew up listening to my dad's music who has something like 10,000 45s and LPs. I love the sound of the needle touching down on the record and the opening scratchiness. Maybe it's just me, but I think we're missing something... analog.

Bill Joel appears to have been first (1)

mlavender (1144017) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262311)

From Sony: "...while Sony was launching the CDP-101, CBS/Sony launched the world's first fifty CD titles, the very first one being 52nd Street by Billy Joel."

OK, not the first artist to record on CD, but... (2, Informative)

Thomasje (709120) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262433)

I think Klaus Schulze's "Dig It" deserves an honorable mention as the first *truly* digital CD: performed on digital synthesizers, recorded and mastered on digital tape. Nothing analogue until you popped in your player! Nifty. (Cool CD, too.)

That surprises me (0)

eric76 (679787) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262505)

I thought they were already here. I remember reading a multiplage newspaper story describing the technology while a grad student. That would place the time period as in the spring of 1980 or before.

In 1982, I had an idea that I described to a few people about using a CD to store aviation charts. The idea was to put a small display in an aircraft cockpit along with a small computer and using Loran radios to provide the current position to the computer so that it could display the location of the aircraft on the display for the pilot. Unfortunately, I didn't have any idea how to get the financial backing to try to produce the device. Now, of course, they have just that, but using GPS instead of Loran, and for far more than just aircraft. It would have never occurred to me to use them for cars.

In 1983, I wanted to store images of title records on CDs and had a customer of mine who was very interested in doing that. The customer was ready to foot the bill to send people to the local county courthouses where he did business to photograph the title records, page by page, for this purpose. But it never came around.

Later, in the early 1990's, my brother's company was publishing data on CDs and it cost quite a bit to write the data out every two weeks. He was going to buy a CD-writer so he could avoid sending them out to be done by an outside company. I think the cost to create the master at the time was $1,000. After that, pressing a few hundred CDs was not too bad. I advised him to wait a little while for the cost of the CD writer to decline in price from about $50,000 each. He bought his first CD writer for about $4,000 a year or so later.

Early on, I figured the audio CD players would never catch on unless they could bring them under $200 each. So I watched the newspapers and when one sold for $199.50 or so, I went to the store and bought one. At the time, everyone was fascinated by the idea that you could scratch them without affecting the sound. So every demo CD in the store had scratches across the bottom as people would test that out for themselves.

At that time, I lived near a large record shop. Their entire selection of CDs were on a table in the store that was about 3 ft by 3 ft and had plenty of empty space on top. Sure enough, they caught on and CDs really began to replace records in the store about a year or two later.

Re:That surprises me (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262589)

There was one other thing about that first CD player.

When my younger brother's wife saw it, she was so impressed that she asked me if I would leave it to her in my will.

200 Billion? (2, Funny)

shogarth (668598) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262597)

Anyone care to guess how many of these wre AOL coasters?

Rap doesn't sound good no matter what the format! (0, Flamebait)

pigiron (104729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20262635)

The many reasons for poor CD fidelity have been amply delineated but hip-hop sounds (I hesitate to call this stuff music) are awful no matter how well recorded.
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