Flash Drives and Optical Storage
Bill Gates once said, “I think it's fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we've ever created. They're tools of communication, they're tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.” Flash drives and optical storage is not something people think about on a daily basis. What most people don’t realize is that a lot of times a person uses their laptop, their optical drive is helping them out tremendously. Or the report that was started at work and wasn’t finished is probably going to be brought home to finish on a flash drive. Really, these overlooked things are very important to everyday life.
Essentially, optical disk drives shines a laser light on the disks surface to read what’s on a disk, by detecting the quantity of laser light reflected. For disk reading, such as a DVD or video game, a disc is inserted into the loading mechanism and the disk is inserted usually by a roller into the mechanism, except for PlayStations which use a flip top disk load and no roller is involved. The lasers inside the mechanism read the disk and it allows a person to watch a video or play a video game. The major elements of an optical disk drive are the laser and optics, rotational mechanism, loading mechanism, and computer interfaces, the laser and optics portion of the drive being the most important. On read only versions of disks, grooves are made on the disk during manufacturing and that is what the laser reads. “A recorder encodes (or burns) data onto a recordable CD-R, DVD-R, DVD+R, or BD-R disc (called a blank) by selectively heating parts of an organic dye layer with a laser. This changes the reflectivity of the dye, thereby creating marks that can be read like the pits and lands on pressed discs.” (Wikipedia) This procedure is permanent, and cannot be recorded over. The recorder is found within the optical disk drive.
Compact discs have been around since 1982, making them over 20 years old. Most optical disks are used for storing music, like on a CD. They are fairly durable; having three layers, but is still easily scratched or broken and can hold up to about 75 minutes of music, or 650 megabytes of storage. There are many different kinds of optical disks, some are allowed to be written on, some to re-write, and some disks are read only. As these disks have become more popular the number of sales for prerecorded disks has gone down. DVD’s are the second generation of optical disks, as are a lot of video games. “DVD is a digital optical disc storage format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than compact discs while having the same dimensions. “ (Wikipedia, DVD) Like CD’s, DVD’s can also be purchased in a writable or recordable format, even though most of the DVD’s that are purchase are in read only format, meaning the content cannot be erased. There is a great difference in the storage capacity of discs....