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Old Jan 17, 2003, 5:02 PM   #1
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10 Tips You Never Knew You Needed to Know About Burning CDs…

There is more to burning CDs than just burning them…

If you are just burning CDs for the short term, much of this advice, with the exception of the section on mailing, may not be as useful to you. However, if you are burning CDs that have to give you back whatever you’ve burned onto them for years, than this information is critical.

In all these cases, you will want to make sure that you know about, and follow these suggestions. The problem is, if you miss one or more steps and the CD is rendered useless, there is no way in current knowledge of repairing them. The files/images that were on them is gone forever.

Here are those tips...

1) The #1 thing you never want to do is put a CD-R or
CD-RW in direct sunlight. Unlike CD-ROMs, CD-Rs and CD-RWs are light sensitive. In some tests, CD-Rs left out in the sun for as little as 2 hours, the music, data and photo files on the CD-Rs completely erased. This is especially important if you listen to CDs in your car. Putting a CD-R on the dashboard in the summertime, or in the direct sunlight can quickly destroy a CD.

2) If you are going to burn a CD that you want to last for years, you need to use an archival quality CD. If you only have a short-term use in mind for the CDs you are burning, almost any CD you buy that works with your computer will be fine.

3) In labeling a CD for a short-term use, almost anything will suffice. Paper labels are fine; but at times, a bit tricky to apply. If the paper labels are not applied perfectly, they can unbalance the CD, delaminate the CD, or even damage the CD Reader. However, if you want a CD to endure for years, your choices are more limited. The most cost-effective option is to use a CD Marker. There are several of these out on the market, and their inks have been specifically formulated for CD use. Markers with alcohol in their formula are not recommended. The same goes for a permanent marker. And a ballpoint pen must never be used to mark any CD. Ballpoint pens can scratch the surface of a CD and render it unreadable.

4) When you burn a CD-R or CD-RW, always do a quality check to make sure it contains all the information you wanted burned onto the CD. Never assume that your CD Burner will always burn properly.

5) Short-term storage of CD-Rs and CD-RWs is very forgiving; vinyl and paper sleeves are fine to use. For long-term use, the only storage options recommended are the Tyvek sleeves and Jewel Cases. Only these two media will be benign and chemically inert over time. Jewel cases are especially recommended because they protect against accidentally dropping a CD or something being dropped on a CD, which let’s face it, has happened to us all.

6) When mailing CDs, you need to be aware that the U.S. Post Office can easily damage CDs. With the new regulations as of July 2002, the U.S. Post Office now imposes a surcharge on all CDs. One possible way around this is to mail one or two CDs at time. Hand addressing mailers containing CDs is also likely to get them processed so that they are not sent through the OCR sorting machines where most of the damage happens. But, if you are sending a large number of CDs or you simply want to be sure that nothing happens to your CDs, you have to use a stiff cardboard mailer. These cost more than ordinary envelopes, but they do get the job done. I have a customer who mails religious CDs to 143 countries using one of my very rigid mailers, and as a result they all get through to his customers intact.

7) Catalog your CDs as you burn them. By cataloging your CDs, you will know: when you burned your CDs, what was on your CDs, what program you used to burn your CDs, and anything else that will make your CDs easy to retrieve, share or update. It doesn’t take long to have burned so many CDs that you lose track of what’s what. That’s why we offer a number of CD Freeware and Shareware cataloging programs as part of a book we‘ve put together, that is available for download on our website.

8) Always update any CD you’ve burned when you install a new version of any program you used to first create the CD. It doesn’t take long for a program to “migrate” to the point where you cannot open a CD you burned with an earlier version.

9) Be sensitive to the environment in which you store CDs. I had a customer from Boston write me when I was creating my book on CD handling and storage. He said he’d burned some music onto CDs and brought them onto his boat. Within something like 6 weeks the sea air had delaminated the CD. This could have been the fault of the CD brand he was using. However it points out the general principle that in order to keep data, music and photos files on CDs that you burn, you have to be aware that they should be stored in a reasonably stable environment. This includes a stable temperature and stable humidity levels. Extreme vibration is also recommended against.

10) Finally, be aware of the “human error” factor. Human error can be responsible for a high percentage of mistakes made when burning CDs. Be sure to always have a backup CD if the data on the CD is important. Also be sure to keep a copy of the original program used to create the CD.

If you pay attention to all of these tips, your CD burning should be a trouble-free. If you have any additional questions for Mark Goggin, please call him at (818) 865-7942 or e-mail him at gse@cdsleeves.com. In addition, you can download, at no cost, the 102-page book I just released that contains extended information on the 10 tips presented in this article. This book also contains several pages of freeware and shareware programs you can access to help future CD burning.

You can download this at:http://www.cdsleeves.com/7fatalmistakes.html
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