Monday, October 04, 2004

Burning DVDs

I got a DVD burner awhile back. I played a DVD on it, no problem. I then attempted to burn a DVD-ROM data disk, and it reported an error. Oddly enough, it then allowed me to try again to burn the same DVD (idiotic, as it was a DVD-R, not -RW, but some software is lame, I suppose). I tried again with a new disk, and it reported success, but neither my home machine (WinME) or my work laptop (XPPro) would read it. (Shamefully, no, I haven't tried it on either of my Linux boxen. That'll be next weekend, I suppose.)

This weekend, I figured out at least part of my problem. Apparently, the ISO9660 filesystem only goes up to 4GB. There are various versions of another filesystem called UDF, but you need XP (or at least Win2k) to read that. And there's a hybrid called UDF/ISO9660 that seems to be the best of both worlds, going larger than 4GB but readable on WinME.

I found some of this info buried deep in the docs for the software that came with the burner, and the rest via Google on Usenet. The software, ULead DVD Now (or Burn Now, I forget which), I blame for not having any better sense than to burn a DVD on a system that couldn't read it, without at least giving a warning, and for not documenting the filesystem limitations any better than it did.

As a counterexample, Easy CD Creator is at least kind enough to inform you of the fact that audio CDs that you burn on a CD-RW may not play in all players. (It should have a "Stop telling me this" checkbox, 'cause I'm getting tired of being told this, but it was useful information when I first got it.)

IMO, people who write intended-for-the-masses software should have various chapters of About Face tattooed on their foreheads. Which, I understand, would lead one to reply that, "Hey, Dave, I didn't think you were 'one of the masses', etc", to which I'd respond, like About Face does, that everyone is "one of the masses" when they start out in a new problem domain, and that not everyone wants to be an expert at everything.


No comments: