Data compression you can see

Data compression you can see

Summary: Compression even your Mom will loveThe compression ratio is better than 4:1. Try that with Lempel-Ziv!

TOPICS: Storage

Compression even your Mom will love The compression ratio is better than 4:1. Try that with Lempel-Ziv! I'm talking about compressing your CD collection - not electronically, buy physically. I've been doing it at my house and it works great.

Where 10 CDs once sat, I can now store over 40. I'm actually going from over 30 linear ft (~10 M) of shelving to almost zero. With the exception of some rarities and box sets, all the CDs are going into a storage box that slides under a bed.

Here's the new data compression algorithm Take the CD out of the case, place it in a paper CD envelope, slide in the front and back paper CD inserts, and toss the jewel case. The paper CD envelopes with clear fronts are a nickel apiece in bulk.

All the bits are going into iTunes As part of the process I've been ripping, and in some cases, re-ripping all my CDs to the highest quality MP3 format iTunes supports: 320 kbps. I rip while working, 1 CD at a time. I'm ripping while I write. At 20x ripping doesn't take long.

By the time I'm done I'll have a about 100 GB of MP3s. I'll keep the CDs - it is only Fair Use if I do - but I'll also back up the MPs to 20 odd DVD-Rs as well. I'll have two backups: the originals and the DVDs. Should my 2 copies on disk disappear the DVDs will make for a fast restore.

When disk is cheap enough, I may re-rip in a lossless format. And back up to 200 GB Blu-ray disks. Then I'll be ready to tackle my 800 DVDs.

iTunes changes music Or at least the Party Shuffle has. In my Party Shuffle review I noted

. . . [Party Shuffle] has changed the way I become familiar with new music. . . . I can add a new album and, over time, be introduced to each of its cuts in a context of familiar and loved music. For example I just added a CD of Chet Atkins to my collection. While writing this a cut I’d never heard before, “Boo Boo Stick Beat” came on. I loved it, didn’t recognize it, looked at iTunes, and realized that the genre label “country” fell far short of encompassing Chet’s genius . . . . Free of preconceptions about his music, I could just be delighted by what I heard, when I heard it.

The Storage Bits take Massive storage doesn't have to be physically massive. I love my music, but the physical infrastructure is nothing to get sentimental about - although LP album art could be terrific and I miss that.

The Virtualization of Stuff, including CDs, books and video, enables us to live fuller lives with less physical impact on an ever more crowded world. It can also lower the cost of access when "things" don't need to be packed, shipped and stored.

I'm loving the digital age.

Update:The first comment got me to thinking about CD longevity. You've no doubt heard that CD-Rs have a limited lifespan. Recordable CDs use a chemical dye to record and over time the chemicals can degrade, losing your data. Commercial music CDs and, AFAIK, commercial DVDs, use a mechanical mold to physically imprint the content on the disk. These "glass mastered" CDs are much more stable than CD-Rs.

Update II: Ripping a lot of CDs? iTunes will only rip 1 at a time - but if you have 2 CD readers - you can set iTunes to automatically "Import & Eject" in the Advanced section of Preferences. Feed each reader a CD and when the first finishes ripping it'll pop out. You'll keep the system busy without having to watch it constantly.

Comments welcome. I think I'll rip my DVDs to disk in 2011. What do you plan to do?

Topic: Storage

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  • paper can scratch the the heck out of cd's

    I tried storing cd's in a similar way to this in a zippered cd case.

    Sliding the cd's in and out repeatedly scratched the cd's very badly against the paper inserts.

    I'd suggest instead using a narrow jewel case, since it has a space for the front cover of an audio cd, or a vinyl cd sleeve, leaving out the front cover completely, but be cautious with paper sleeves or paper inserts on either side of the cd.
    • Good point - paper can scratch cd's

      However I'm not planning on taking out my CDs more than a few times after I get
      them stored.

      I should be concerned about whether the coated papers will stick to the surface of
      the CD. I'll have to do some research on that.


      R Harris
    • paper

      I have done the same thing, but use the soft felt type holders in an album. They scratch too, but a little less. The only true way is don't touch.
    • Minor scratches are no big deal.

      I've been checking out cd's from the library to sample some new music and many of those are seriously scratched up but they still play without problem.
    • Um...

      That would be "CDs". "CD's" is possessive....
  • RE: Data compression you can see

    Personally I won't use the paper covers. If I buy a physcial CD/DVD, I want to protect it. Those will at least take the slim-line jewel case. But copies? Give me paper.

    - Kc
  • RE: Data compression you can see

    I have an old CF-27 Toughbook buried in my crawlspace. Yes it's three feet down in a storage crate with a metal lid and 3" of loose soil on top. It has a 30' ethernet cable running from my wireless router and a 250GB USB hard drive attached. It's a P2 with Win2k installed and burns less than 30 watts of power. It's my 24/7 hot backup for work files and yes, MP3 collection.

    I had issues with condensation until I ran down a couple 2" pvc pipes, one high, one low. No fan required, convection cools the space.
    • Wanted: Converted Missle Silo

      That would be the ultimate in data ( and HUMAN ) survival.

      Fully self contained and radiation proof to boot. Think " Blast from the Past " >8-)....

      The only problems I see in this plan is hassles from the MPAA, RIAA and publishers...8P...
      Old Timer 8080
      • Atomic Lawyer Goo...

        I see what you mean. There you are, in your reinforced steel-concrete-bunker on springs, able to survive a direct hit from a Russki nuke, and yet, in the aftermath, you are unable to hold out against the worst threat of all...

        ... legal action. Saint Brendan's Barnacles! What's a survivalist to do?
        • Is everyone related to my wife?

          This got started as a quick firesafe backup project. I guess I should store a pistol and some ammo next to my MP3 cache. You know, just in case the inlaws want some Yanni, Tesh, or Hasselhoff - post apocalypse.
          • I am related to her

            We share the same single celled amoeba from the primeordeal soup.
            ;-P Give her my love.
            Fred Nurks
  • Data compression you can see

    I was hoping that this was gonna involve a trash compactor. ;-)
  • RE: Data compression you can see

    Not much of a backup if the disks are under your bed. Speaking from flood ravaged SE Minnesota, move your CDs offsite...
  • Depressing

    to think that CDs hold so little value as objects, or as holders of music, that folks are ready to toss them because all they want to do is dump the music to another format that is "good enough," and listen to it mixed in with other music. We used to cherish our vinyl LP covers, with 144 square inches of artwork per side (more if it was a folded LP cover) and lyric sheets with type big enough to read. Creative stuff like the [i]Sticky Fingers[/i] zipper cover, the fake newspapers of [i]Thick as a Brick[/i] and [i]Volunteers[/i], and all that great Yes album art.

    Not to mention that you had to listen to albums all the way through, because you couldn't stand to listen to the song [i]Aqualung[/i] without hearing [i]Cross-Eyed Mary[/i] immediately after. The albums were built out of the songs, not just stuck on.

    Nope, music today is just an interchangeable commodity to be tossed together on a hard drive and listened to at random, just more background noise.
    big red one
    • Umm, try Amarok..

      You get all the album covers you want, then you print the ones you like....lyrics too.

      Oh, you don't run Kubuntu? Too bad.....
      Old Timer 8080
      • I love Amarok.

        But it still lacks the lovely booklets that come with the CDs.

        There are no liner notes with Amarok.
    • Change happens - our reaction is our choice

      People today will never understand the thrill of the shared cultural experience of
      the release of Sgt. Pepper's, nor the time spent examining the detailed cover
      collage with its myriad cultural references. The '60s were unique and so was the
      Beatles' hold on that generation.

      I distinctly remember listening to side 1 of Sgt. Pepper's more than side 2 because
      of George Harrison's droning "Within you without you".

      Album art went out with the CD, not MP3s, which was another way the record
      companies devalued the music experience.

      Every once in a while I get the urge to listen to an entire album which is easy to do
      with iTunes. But far from being noise, I love how iTunes constantly surprises me
      with music that, left to my own inertia, I wouldn't think to put on the box.

      R Harris
      • Album art is still there.

        It's just smaller in size. Artists put a lot of effort into the artwork on CD covers and the booklets within.
    • Amen!

      I love my CD collection. I still rip it, but I'm not about to "toss" the CDs.

      mp3 files don't have liner notes.
  • RE: Data compression you can see

    No! Do NOT put ANYTHING in touch with the bottom surface of the CD! Use a jewel case which "floats" the surface.