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DVD annoyances

Hardware: I’ve been needing a decent backup solution, since I’ve got 60GB of crud on my hard disk that isn’t being rsynced offsite yet. So I bought myself a nifty DVD writer from a week ago, supporting DVD+RW, DVD+R, DVD-RW, and DVD-R, and a spindle of 20 DVD+Rs from Target. Little did I realise the world of pain I was entering.

Did you know there are no less than 6 barely-compatible DVD formats? Prerecorded DVD, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, and DVD-RW, from the DVD Forum, and DVD+RW and DVD+R, from the ‘DVD+RW Alliance’. Interoperability is, needless to say, a total mess, even with the Sony 4-format drive I picked up.

I eventually managed to burn myself a DVD+R backup of bits of my home dir, making several coasters in the process (DVD+Rs apparently do not support simulated-write dry-runs, at least not with growfs). So, great!

Next thing to do was try it out on my laptop’s internal CD/DVD drive to make sure it worked. Needless to say, it didn’t.

Apparently, single-session, single-track DVD+Rs are virtually identical to DVD-ROMs, which most generic DVD-reader drives support. However, Sony drives do not support setting the ‘book type’ bits, which is the trick that turns a DVD+R ‘into’ a DVD-ROM-compatible disc. Guess why (hint: it’s Sony). Yep, that’s right, paranoia about piracy. Well, thanks a bunch, Sony — my backups are now of decidedly limited usefulness, since I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to read them again! (more info from the OSTA.) I think I now see why Woot were flogging them cheap.

I’m not sure where to go with this — do I have a spindle of 17 shiny frisbees? I have a very nasty feeling I’m heading into dead media territory here. What a mess…

Aaaanyway. Here’s some possibly-useful bookmarks.

OTOH, I got to watch the BBC’s new documentary, The Power of Nightmares, a fantastic history of the two parallel ideological worlds of al-Qaeda and the US neo-conservatives. Mind-boggling, but highly recommended.

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