13 January 2007

Paranoia and CD rot

I was talking with a friend at lunch and he claimed that his entire CD collection had been obliterated by the Australian humidity. I searched Google and sure enough there is a phenomenon known as "CD rot." (Also, see a short Wikipedia article.) Apparently, some of the CDs manufactured in the 1980s were defective and extremely susceptible to rot. Present-day CDs are better now, but there is no hard evidence that they last a human lifetime (50-100 years). The best advice I've read is to rip all your CDs to lossless, open-source (and most importantly DRM-less) FLAC format. You could rip to mp3, but what would be the point of paying CD price and saving it to your hard drive in a lossy form? The makers of dbPowerAMP estimates that a 3 minute song takes up 30 MB in FLAC format.

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