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Schweb's Lounge Forum for general conversation, chit chat, or most topics that don't fit in another forum.

(my opinions) How little USB flash drives could replace CDs/DVDs


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the8thark

 
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I just wrote a little piece and want to ask, Is this worthy of posting as a blog in the M-F blogs area?

*******************

How little USB flash drives could replace CDs/DVDs

I just an idea. Just a little blog like thing I want to post. About how I think these little drives could easily replace the optical media we use today.

Music
Firstly you release all CD's on USB drive instead. A 1-2GB one is all you'd need. And then you don't have to constrained to the size of the disc. You just release your album on a USB drive big enough to fit your album + bonus content. And if you kept the album cases the same size roughly as they are now then you could have the album art and lyrics and other things too.

Also this means you won't need to have a disc drive in your home theatre set up. You just could just have a really tiny box with a USB port. Plug in the album and it plays. The box would also have ports to speakers and visuals like TV's and the like. This little box could we wireless enabled too. Kind of like the home theatre hubs we have now just much smaller. And smaller is always a good thing. We can decorate our homes better. And I'm sure the business world would find many uses for these smaller boxes too.

ipod
At the moment to listen music legally in your ipod you need to purchase from itunes or buy the CD from store, take it home, rip the tracks and upload them to the ipod. But if the album was released on USB or similar drives you could just plug the album into the ipod and within itunes (on the ipod) click upload album from the drive. And within a few mins of album purchase you could be listening to the album on your ipod.

I think Apple really need to be patenting this technology now. Cause I feel this disc-less future will come one day. And even if it does not, no loss to Apple. They patent stuff all the time that never sees the light of day. Cause to me having to wait till I get home (cause I do not own a notebook) to listen to an album can be a real drag.

Movies
Just like music (Music DVDs though are treated like movies for the purpose of this discussion), the movies can be released on a USB or other drive. And then if your movie + bonus content is a little larger then a disc say you don't have cut things to fit the disc, you just put the movie + bonus content on a drive the right size. And the home theatre box I mentioned above could the used for music and movies if hooked up to a TV.

Be it Blu Ray or standard dvds, you'd only need the one tiny box that would play everything. Pretty much plug in the drive and play the media content, whatever it is. And before you cry will this kill blu-ray? I say no. As to me blu-ray is the higher quality content and not the media it's on. The media only exists cause the content needed more space. So you can have the same high quality blu-ray content shipped on a 25 or so GB drive. They'd be shipped in the same sized boxes as movies are today so the cover art and advertising and little booklet would still be there.

Software
Just like the new MBA's OS, you'd just release the Applications on the USB drives. And install them via drive. Many people make USB versions of their favourite game or application discs. So this is very doable.

Also you won't have to release some software on multiple discs anymore. You could just have only large USB drive for it all. And you'd select what parts of the software or game you want to install.

Cost
I can see 2 possible outcomes of the cost if this was to happen.

1. Many many USB flash drives are made to meet demand and this drives down the cost of flash storage. To the point where a say 1-2 GB usb drive would be treated the same as a blank cd or dvd is today. Something rather disposable that would easily put data on and give away. Like when you burn data onto a disc for a mate, you don't ask for the disc back. And the smaller flash drives will be same. They'll become so cheap you won't bother asking for the drive back. You'll just buy 10 more at the local store and think nothing of it.

2. The other possible outcome is every big movie, music and software company goes into a bidding war to get supply of flash drives. And cause of this there is limited supply after all of this, left for the average consumer. And this lack of supply could raise the prices of flash storage. But I see option 1 more plausible cause if they stopped making all the billions of discs they mach each year they could easily make enough flash storage to meet needs for the foreseeable future.

Durability
Discs are prone to scratching and snapping etc. And you have to be really careful, especially with the Blu-rays cause even finger prints on the data side of the disc can affect it's performance. You'd have so such issues with a USB drive. And if there was a little cap hinged to the drive itself to cover the metal prongs then the drive was not in use, then you've something much more durable then a disc.

And the data on the flash drives should last for a long time, 10 years + I'd suspect. Cause you're not constantly rewetting and deleting sectors like in a standard SSD drive. The USB sticks would be read only, just like a disc. Sure a few smart cookies would be able to hack this but as long as it's too hard to hack this for 95% of the population then it's ok.

Packaging and Shipping
A USB drive is smaller then a disc. A little thicker but nowhere near as wide. And this means for many things would could house the drive and instructions in a much smaller box. And that'll keep all the green people happy. Also smaller boxes equals more boxes per pallet greatly reducing the cost to ship the product around the country or world.

Conclusion
The vinyl record died. And if the disc (CD, DVD) died and was replaced by mini USB drives I'd be happy. Sure I do have 1000+ music cds all store bought. But I only rip them once to my itunes list then they just look pretty in my room. So in short they take up a lot of space and do nothing. And things that look pretty but do nothing we usually call antiques. Maybe it's time the disc died.
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iggibar

 
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I do think cd's are old tech, and understand that there are people out there who seem to believe that having a physical cd is more worthy than having it on a usb(don't understand that one), but I think flash drives are going to replace cd/dvd's. While they were great, cd's easily get damaged, little heat can easily destroy them. The time has come for something new. And Apple starting/ending this trend, as they have done with the past disc,floppy/usb, it will get recognized, making others follow.

Also, there are sandisk 4gb sticks for less than 7 bucks(!), with music cd's usually having 12-15 songs, you don't even need a 245mb memory stick for that. So the argument of being expensive isn't really there, even though it has yet to become a standard(which will make it even cheaper).

Though, those don't come close to my biggest reason to getting rid of cd's/drives on computers. The thing I hate the most about them is their odd shape, huge amount of relative power it takes to do such a simple task as reading a file/media, the noise, and the huge space it acquires from already cramped computers(notably notebooks/netbooks/laptops).

Plus, who wouldn't want something that loads faster?

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the8thark

 
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Nice post but . . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by idrinorbarsaku View Post
Also, there are sandisk 4gb sticks for less than 7 bucks(!), with music cd's usually having 12-15 songs, you don't even need a 245mb memory stick for that.
In AIFF or the old wav formats which are used on store bought cds, it's about 10MB per minute of audio. So your average cd of 12-15 tracks as you say is more in the region of 600-700MB. Still a 1 GB stick which is cheap as chips would suffice quite nicely for this.

And for the rest of your post (though I like my old CDs) I agree with you 100%.

And something I forgot to mention, CD drives cause of the moving parts nature of them are prone to skipping. Where a little USB drive can't ever skip in the same way.
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I think you're right in the eventual demise of CD/DVD as a distribution medium, but I think you're wrong in how it will happen.

CD/DVD won't be replaced by another physical medium for distribution (other than maybe, and I stress maybe movies). Long-term it won't be flash drives or anything else, it will be digitally distributed via downloads and streaming.

CD/DVD will remain for people who absolutely want them, just like you can still buy vinyl records today, but for the mainstream it will be digital.

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Jade Tiki Puku

 
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This why Apple will not support Blu-Ray. Why should people buy a $70 (and upwards) B-R burner when they can get a 32GB USB drive that will do the same thing for much less?
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My MBA came with a USB copy of OS X. This was very nice. Streaming will probably replace physical media at some point. I'm guessing when systems are commonly able to be booted off a stream and operating systems installed via a stream this will happen. When you hear that you can boot OS X <some_big_cat> from the App Store, then physical media will truly be dead again. Everything started will dumb terminals and a "mainframe cloud", then went local, and now is trending back to dumb. I wonder when it will move back to local again? I'm leery when anyone who pronounces any technology category definitively "dead". The physical devices may change, but the concepts seem to come back in and out of fashion.

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I knew it was the beginning to the end for the CD when Steve Jobs announced that the new logo for iTunes 10 would no longer be a CD!
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The case against CDs and DVDs isn't durability, cost of shipping or the fact that you need a disc drive, the problem is convenience: why go to the store to buy a DVD or album if I can get it immediately as a download.

Music CDs are already dead for most people and with Netflix and iTunes streaming increasing in popularity, DVDs are heading the same way.

USB drives are just one more thing to lose.
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I like Blu-Ray's video and audio quality over any format out there and at 25gb's and up
I don't see them porting over to thumb drives till they come way down in cost and if it gets downloaded I will bet it will be compressed enough to lower the quality besides taking awhile unless you can afford your providers highest speed and not get capped.
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I still buy CD's. I can rip it in any format or bitrate I want, and 10 computers from now, I'll still have the CD on my shelf, with artwork, etc.

Bad news is Best Buy and others are reducing their CD inventory, so I'm having to use Amazon and other online CD retailers. I'll still do that rather than have vapor music.

I still pull out CD's from 20 years ago and listen to them.... Do you have (in any format of any kind) 20 year old computer files? Do you think you'll have them 20 years from now? Do you think the average Joe household will? How many people have you heard of who've lost their entire archive of family photos when their HDD crashed? Moronic yes, but representative of the average computer user.

I'll keep my CD's for music.

I'd be happy to use USB sticks to install an OS or other software, though. Bring it on.
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