[vcf-midatlantic] M-Disc (was: several things)

Herb Johnson hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Wed Jan 1 15:35:48 EST 2020

While DVD's and Blu-Rays are not on topic, archiving files for the long 
term seems plausible to discuss. Here's what I found from Web search today.

Wikipedia on M-Disc is not current. It appears from Web search,
that yours.co (the Web site for the alleged owners of Millenniata 
intellectual property) is not accessible at least today. Neither is 
mdisc.com. Domain registration for yours.co was renewed Aug 2019 so it 
ought to be. There's some kind of kickstarter for yours.co about 
"transforming videos into a magical experience" for delivery Oct 2018.

I conclude yours.co is dead; of course millenniata was already dead. But 
they sold licenses to produce and label M-DISC to several brands of 
drives and media. Those resources seem to be active and available.

Web search seems to show that Verbatum currently offers M-DISC media in 
blueray and DVD. The Verbatum page notes that to write to M-DISC 
requires special drives; Wikipedia was not specific on brands and models 
but has a similar note. Verbatum says the DVD or BR drive may have a 
"M-DISC" brand or label. Playback should not be a problem on ordinary 
DVD or BR drives, both sites say.

Verbatum wants about $2 per 4X DVDR M-DISC in 25 packs. I didn't price 
Blue-Ray media. Other sites have similar prices. Given the application I 
would not buy non-branded media.

Sites selling DVD or BR drives may specify M-DISC models; but check the 
manufacturer's docs to confirm. newegg shows an LG Blue-ray M-disc drive 
for $60 or $100. Amazon of course shows several models but some may be 
"all hat and no cattle" (liars). Dig deep to confirm specific support. 
But apparent LG external DVD slim drives seem to be cheap ($30). Given 
the range of prices, it may make sense to get a Blue-Ray compatible 
drive even if one only writes DVD's.

I searched for plausible technical or review articles on M-DISC. What I 
found was semi-tech blogger who talked but didn't have serious data or 
experience to provide. Some were incoherent, maybe they were 
machine-translated English. But the physical technology of M-DISC seems 
like sound physics; and one needs M-DISC compatible drives for their 
higher power during write to physically punch through the "stone" coatings.

Dave McGuire's post in this thread, seems to offer similar 
considerations to mine and a similar experience of looking at DVD and 
drive technology; his views are a little sharper. He makes a fair call 
for saving to smaller few-TB drives and archiving physical drives, on 
cost and performance and reliability; and makes other considerations 
which one should read.

This discussion suggests to me, I should look at my stored DVD's and see 
if they have degraded by year. I have some redundancy and hopefully a 
run of DVD's might provide a complete set of desired archived files. I 
continue to recover files from diskettes four DECADES old, with drives 
of similar (sometimes newer) vintage; and occasionally from ZIP disks 
and drives maybe two decades old. So I'm optimistic.

Regards for another decade,
Herb Johnson

Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
preserve, recover, restore 1970's computing
email: hjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT com
or try later herbjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT info

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