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87GB On DVD-Sized Media 354

BostonMACOSX points to this report in the Detroit News that says, in part, "Boston College researchers have found a way to store about 19 times more data on a disk than a common DVD can hold, using optical media made with common products, the December issue of Nature Materials reports." And it's a mix of high and low tech: the disk is formed of "an epoxy glue sold at hardware stores and a glass-like substance," but written with a currently expensive laser.
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87GB On DVD-Sized Media

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  • Great technology, but again, remember back when they announced 100 gigs on a CDROM? Seems storage size is getting smaller ;P

    When I see someone manufacturing it, I'll be impressed, but until then.....

    oh yeah- don't forget- just how long would it take to back this up (should it ever become RW?) At SCSI 120mb/sec..... right, you get the picture.
    • by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:44PM (#4672228) Journal
      And the more important question, would the RIAA/MPAA ever let it happen? Imagine people selling discs of thousands of hours of music, or a whole year's popular films for $5 on the street.

      I think we may be doomed to never have large capacity disposable/cheap removable media.
      • by |absolut| ( 31939 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:47PM (#4672249)
        well the article says the Air Force is very interested in these types of technologies.

        I'd like to see the responce of the AF when the RIAA tries to tell them no :)
        • by Blimey85 ( 609949 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:56PM (#4672356)
          "My fellow Americans...

          You will be happy to know that today,
          I wrote into law legislation that will ban the RIAA forever.

          The bombing will start in 5 minutes." - Former President Ronal Reagan
          speaking on behalf of the US Air Force in response to the RIAA saying no.

        • by IIRCAFAIKIANAL ( 572786 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:59PM (#4672388) Journal
          Charlie: Excuse me, Lieutenant. Is there something wrong?
          Maverick: Yes ma'am, the data on the DVD reader is inaccurate.
          Charlie: How's that, Lieutenant?
          Maverick: Well, I just happened to see a DVD containing...
          Goose: We!
          Maverick: Uh, sorry Goose. WE happened to see a DVD containing 89 megabytes.
          Charlie: Where did you see this?
          Maverick: Uh, that's classified.
          Charlie: It's what?
          Maverick: It's classified. I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

          (All credit to IMDB [imdb.com] and none to me - I didn't even try to make it funnier. I'd say I am a lazy karma whoring bastard, but I think i'm capped :)
      • by IanBevan ( 213109 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:59PM (#4672390) Homepage
        I think we may be doomed to never have large capacity disposable/cheap removable media.

        I disagree. We will, because we can. It's human nature. It's why the RIAA is destined to fail to control all digital entertainment media in the same way that the suffragettes (sp ?) eventually got the vote. It makes sense, most people want it, and therefore it will happen.

        I have a similar theory that I apply to my everyday working life (software development projects); given enough time, common sense will prevail.
      • And the more important question, would the RIAA/MPAA ever let it happen? Imagine people selling discs of thousands of hours of music, or a whole year's popular films for $5 on the street.

        With the latest legislative trends, the world will soon be safe for this kind of media. Maybe something like: make an illicit disk containing 20 movies, receive 20 consecutive life sentences. That should keep everyone on the straight and narrow path.

      • by Syncdata ( 596941 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @06:05PM (#4672441) Journal
        would the RIAA/MPAA ever let it happen
        Okay, this is just silly. The RIAA is not omnipotent. They cannot stop DVD-R's from being produced just because it has the capability to store a movie, nor can they stop Hard Disks from being produced, for the same reason.
        The RIAA/MPAA is pissed because there are applications out there whose main use (not necessarily intended, but main use) is distributing copyrighted material illegally. They won't sue dell for shipping computers with ethernet connections, just because they facilitate downloading music. Press the pause button on the conspiracy theories.
      • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @06:09PM (#4672475)
        And the more important question, would the RIAA/MPAA ever let it happen? Imagine people selling discs of thousands of hours of music, or a whole year's popular films for $5 on the street.

        When the Tech Industry creates its own, well funded PAC a la the NRA and starts outbribing the Hollywood Cartels in Washington. The tech industry is orders of magnitude larger than the consumer electronics industry, which in turn is an order of magnitude larger than Hollywood and the Recording industry put together.
    • With larger hard drives becoming more common place everyday this technology is really far overdue, It's virtually impossible for some of us to really be responsible about backups the way we should be because of the prohibitive amount of data that needs to be backed up, yea it might take a while to fill up 100 gigabyte using IDE, however let's just figure .5 meg per second, that's 30 mb per minute, or 30 minutes per gig, equaling out to about 3000 minutes, that's about 50 hours for a full burn at the rather fast rate of .5 meg per second. But, consider the alternitives, swaping out 1000+ CDR's... Personally, I'll take the 100 gig disk and let it do it's thing for two days...
  • The RIAA and MPAA has banded together with researches from Boston to create a "fail safe" copy protection technique. And in yet other news, Media companies sales have dropped 99% as now people can fit 19 times the copyrighted content on cheap media with faulty copy protection.
  • backup (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Sounds like this could replace tape drives for backup, if it's cheap enough
  • Instead of paying $27 for my four DVD set of Lord of the Rings, I might have only paid $17 if this technology were available today?

    • Re:So... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Silvermask ( 596398 )
      Naw, they'd probably charge you more becuase they could fill up the disc with less compressed data and then use "87 Giga-Bytes of entertainment!" as a reason to tack on another $15 >.>
      • that, and they would have 4 hours of non-fast-forwardable previews before each movie
        • non-fast-forwardable crap really pissed me off. It's bad enough that I have to watch it the first time I pop the movie in but if I switch dvd's, I have to watch it everytime I put it in. And I have several collections of tv shows (mostly British comedy of course) that I like to watch once in a while. I watch an episode or two, put in a movie, later I watch another episode or two. But each time I have to sit through 90 seconds of warnings about everything under the freakin sun.

          I wouldn't mind 4 hours of previews on the new format that I could watch when I want. Previews are good, when you CHOOSE to watch them. I like to watch a preview before I see a movie so I have an idea if I'll like it or not but forcing us to watch previews is like going to a car dealer to get an oil change an being forced to take a test drive or two or three before getting the service work that you need done.

          • Re:So... (Score:3, Informative)

            by tps12 ( 105590 )
            There is no such thing as "non-fast-forwardable" material on a DVD. Try watching it with mplayer on Linux. You don't even have to see the stupid title screen, just jump right to the movie. You can even skip the credits if you want. It is a random-access medium, after all.
            • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Blimey85 ( 609949 )
              Does mplayer allow you to watch encrypted movies without breaking the law? Are you therefore suggesting that I should break the law???

              So if you want to get technical and stay within the law, there is such thing as "non-fast-forwardable" content on dvd's. While I'm aware that mod-chips exist for the dvd players that I own, and that I can use various software applications on my computers to view the dvd's in any manner I choose, I was talking about the movie studios attempting to force us to watch previews, copyright notices, etc.

            • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

              by _ph1ux_ ( 216706 )
              From my couch? so I *have* to have linux and mplayer to accomplish this?

              No thanks. Not that i am against linux - or mplayer, I just want to plop it in the tray and sit at my couch and wathc the movie. My computer room is upstairs and far away from my single TV. and I am dont want a machine wasted on being my DVD player when i have a dvd playter already thankyouverymuch.
          • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by fishbowl ( 7759 )
            >I wouldn't mind 4 hours of previews on the new
            >format that I could watch when I want.

            You just made me realize something: Where is the line between what will and will not be tolerated by the consumers? We seem to be willing to accept the forced (effectively forced, for most viewers, at least) exposure to ads in the intro to dvd movies, the FBI stuff, trailers, and commercials. Would we take a full minute of this? How about a full five minutes? At what threshold would we return to the video store for a refund and/or to cancel our club membership?

    • Re:So... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes but the fundamental difference is that you'd be able to store your DVD on the wall. Simply lick the glue side as you would a postage stamp and leave your dvd on the wall next to your entertainment center. In this way you can show off you serious 'bling-bling' to your geek friends.
      • Back in the days of my Yamaha 4x burner, I tacked up the coasters throughout my apartment. After I ran out of nails and wall-space, I decided that a new burner would be a good investment. It was kinda cool because everywhere you looked there would either be a blue or silver disc, as well as several other colors of the rainbow.
    • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Havokmon ( 89874 )
      Instead of paying $27 for my four DVD set of Lord of the Rings, I might have only paid $17 if this technology were available today?

      No, you'd still pay $27, but you could watch the whole movie without changing discs.

  • by Dareth ( 47614 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:44PM (#4672220)
    What next, you play it more times than your supposed to, it melts in your DVD drive as punishment glueing it shut to prevent future acts of piracy?!?
  • Well... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Flyskippy1 ( 625890 )
    I must say that this will be good for backing up my harddrive, but when else will I really have an opportunity to fill the entire thing up?

    One can only use so much porn....
    • Some films released today already do this, but since there's no excuse now...they can put BOTH Fullscreen and Widescreen formats on all DVD releases, along with the multilanguage sounds and subscript, as well as the other crap that comes on DVDs.

      I mean, come on! I think widescreen's just a ploy to sell more 16:3 tvs. Sure the pano effect looks nice even on a large 4:3 tv..but what about the folks with only a 20" tv? Why the Fsck should I buy a widescreen TV when everything else comes in standard format.
      • I think it would be a great use of this technology to pack on more "special features" as well as both full-screen and wide-screen. I myself have a 36" tv and I primarily watch dvd's on it. I do subscribe to cable (why? I don't know. I never watch cable), but dvd's are what I do with my free time when I don't want to use my brain much. I love movies, plain and simple. If you ever have a chance to look at the same movie playing in wide-screen on one tv and full-screen on another, both standard tv's, you will see a huge difference.

        You don't need a wide-screen tv see the difference. (But it does help)

      • Hey, I'm looking forward to the wide screen tv's becoming the norm. Why not watch movies the way they were originall made?
  • by phraktyl ( 92649 ) <wyatt@dra g g o o .com> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:45PM (#4672235) Homepage Journal
    While getting 87 Gig on something the size of a CD is cool and all, how is it possibly going to effect us? It has very little chance of being adopted by major manufacturers, and even less of becoming a standard. I'm sure that, to the folks that created it, it was a neat project, but that's about as far as it will go...
    • by xchino ( 591175 )
      Why do you think it has little chance of adoption? Many media types have given greater MB/$ ratios, but people seem to LIKE the size and shape of CD's, which is one reason why DVD was adopted. If you can fit more information into a smaller space it ALWAYS has at least one useful application, even if it is just consolidating all your porn.
    • They're all like this. "Researchers at Acme, Inc have discovered a way to put 2 TB on a Post-It with 2GB/s transfer rates, excellent durability and low cost...."

      There's seldom a followup story, unless it involves the mythical holographic cube storage, in which case we hear about it all the time; maybe each time Taco watches 2001.

      In reality, we have lots of cheap ata disks and 4.7GB DVDs will be everywhere in about a year or so, but no zillion-gig storage devices.
      • These minor changes are likely to trickle into society soon, but that's not what we need.

        With a bit more work we could turn the disks into nanotube [lbl.gov] interfaces to a frozen light [physics.hku.hk] held inside the platter. The article on that wouldn't say how many paperbacks it can hold, more like "If you could convert your body into pure data, you could store N million skinny people (or M million fat people)." Sure it would have to be kept cold, but big deal. And that's not even new technology, what's so great about a lousy 90 GB?

    • I have a dream... imagine a drive where all the necessary OS files are stored, not a byte of them on the Hard Drive... then imagine that the configurations and other changable files ONLY are stored on the HDD. Now imagine upgrading your entire OS just by changing the disc in the drive...
    • but that's about as far as it will go...

      Yep. And 640k should be enough for anyone.
  • Headline reads "Researchers boost computer data storage with common materials". This discovery is, of course, nothing to the great Filo's "How to build plutonium out of common household objects".
  • Dust (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zebs ( 105927 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:47PM (#4672258) Homepage
    If you're packing more on then dust will have a much bigger impact on the readability of the disks?

    Bring back caddys?
    • Re:Dust (Score:3, Informative)

      I think they are increasing the layers of data, not the density, so the impact of dust would be the same.

      The article doesn't really confirm either way, however.
  • by g00z ( 81380 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:47PM (#4672262) Homepage
    You know, I've been waiting a damn long time for a optical storage solution that catches up to the size the will make backing up todays hard drives (40 Gigs and Up) a realistic possibility. 700 Megs just isn't cutting the mustard anymore when were talking about trying to back up 200+ Gigs worth of data.

    I Currently have about 1.4 TB of data sitting here in my room on CD-R right now, and let me tell you -- it's getting out of hand. DVD writables are not a solution (Too little, too late theory). I would love nothing more than to consolidate the 13 200 CD Cases I have here into something a little bit more compact.

    I've seen a couple of companies working on something like this (Optical CD-Sized solution that stores around 100 GB). Anybody have any theories to when the common dude can roll down to compusa (pick your posion) and snag a few blank 100 GB Disks for a reasonable price? I'm starting to feel like it's 1995 again when a 1.4M Floppy disk was as good as it got.

    • God, what do you do with 13,200 CDs? Those are all music CDs you bought? Or full of open-source software?

      Or of homemade videos? (Probably not - else you would have got a DVD burner)
    • by Rader ( 40041 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @06:00PM (#4672401) Homepage
      I hear ya. I have exactly half of the data you have, and having 20 spindles of 50-paks laying around isn't that hot.

      Buying hard drives to hold it all isn't feasible, since it's a huge investment, and sizes keep going up and prices go down. (Not to mention you'd still want backups of that on....cdr!?)

      And DVD-R will only help by 7X.

      If blue-laser discs were out right now at the pace DVDR is, then that would be be a different story. That would be the perfect size to convert to right now to make it worth it.
  • by Blimey85 ( 609949 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:48PM (#4672268)
    Then I need an mp3 player for my car that can use this type of media. My entire music collection on one disc. All those thousands of dollars on one disc. Hmm... would seem like such a waste at that point.

    Think of the uses for this though. Being able to back up all of my servers to a single disc without compressing anything. That would be a great time saver. And then there are the not-so-legal-but-who-cares-we're-all-going-to-die- eventually-anyway uses... like storing all the episodes of shows that aren't released on dvd in the US (Family Guy for one).

    But how much would they cost per disc and how much for the burner? While dvd burners are getting pretty cheap now, the media still isn't as cheap as I would like it.

  • by GeneralEmergency ( 240687 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:48PM (#4672269) Journal

    ...it means that when all the LOTR movies are done, we can REALLY piss off Jack Valenti by ripping them on to just one disk?

    Must go buy more popcorn now.

    • Of course, you'll be able to fit the MOVIES on one of those, but who wants the movie? You already will have seen it in the theatre!

      If you want the extended-super-extra-feature making of the movie 94 disc feature set, which includes the entire life history of every actor, including those guys in the orc suits, as well as how Tolkien came up with the idea, and the complete works of Tolkien and every author he liked as read by Charlton Heston and William Shatner (with special guest appearances by Macho Man Randy Savage for the part of Sauron), there's no way its going to fit.
  • by Matey-O ( 518004 ) <michaeljohnmiller@mSPAMsSPAMnSPAM.com> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:48PM (#4672275) Homepage Journal
    My brain inserted 'household' between Common and products. I got real excited when I thought something like Lemon Plegde would allow me to store more data on a DVD...

    ...kinda like taking a hole punch to a SSDD 5 1/4 floppy.

    (ya see, when _I_ was your age, floppy disks were actually bigger, and floppy, not 3.5" on a side and 'stiff')

  • burnable media (Score:2, Interesting)

    by datsclark ( 46380 )
    It seems as though every so often someone comes out with a new form of media storage which reflects our current style, as well as about the standard size of storge. I remember when DVD's were announced, i had two 9 GB harddrive in my PC. Now i have two 80 GB drives.
    And by the time this comes out, or something like it, it will cost considerably too much for a while, and then it will be fairly priced and it will be a norm that we find boring. The RIAA will have a fit about it.
    I think that new generations of storage media that use entierly new technologies, that really push the envelope, will be the real exciting times.
  • I need something to backup my 120 gig drive onto.
  • by IIRCAFAIKIANAL ( 572786 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:49PM (#4672284) Journal
    Though it may placate the MPAA/RIAA a bit :)

    On another topic, I hate shit like:

    "...equal to 87,000 paperback books."

    My mother in law knows what a gigabyte is. I think it's safe to stop with the point-of-reference crap.
  • what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by bje2 ( 533276 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:50PM (#4672293)
    it's a mix of high and low tech: the disk is formed of "an epoxy glue sold at hardware stores and a glass-like substance,"

    c'mon, what is this? MacGyver's [imdb.com] guide to making storage media???
  • Too many "said"s (Score:2, Insightful)

    by medscaper ( 238068 )
    Sorry, this just struck me as weird. 30 sentences, and I counted 14 uses of the word "said". Is this bad journalism? Or simply repetetive, dry and boring?

    Whatever happened to declared, spoke of, pronounced, noted, claimed, admitted, told, pointed out... ??
  • So... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Longinus ( 601448 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:51PM (#4672308) Homepage
    ...how many Libraries of Congress is this?
  • by redfenix ( 456698 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:52PM (#4672315)
    By John Stebbins / Bloomberg News
    "and the data don't degrade"

    Looks like Mr. Stebbins might be a slashdotter himself!
  • by WaxParadigm ( 311909 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:52PM (#4672316)
    The FIRST version of FMD from c-3d would have been 100G...they were thinking 20 layers (200Gig+...I think I read somewhere they were hoping for a terabyte) would easily be possible..and they had tested throughput at rates high enough for 1080i HDTV (full-resolution) reads.

    I think the company (which I once owned stock in) is now dead. Their site is not working. Here's a a couple interesting links to info...

    http://www.filmandvideomagazine.com/Htm/2000/10_ 00 /News/c3d.htm

    http://homepages.ihug.com.au/~roidy23/technology s. htm

    If they couldn't make it with this killer technology (TONS of storage) how does this other company expect to fare any better with technology that is only 1/10th the product.

    C-3D was doing pretty well with agreements for disc makers, agreements with WAMO (who pushed DVD), etc.

    Sucks ass when something this promising doesn't ever come to fruition. I remember last year this time they had working RW drives.

    Damn it, I want FMD...not this wussy 80GB crap.
    • by cryptochrome ( 303529 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @06:13PM (#4672506) Journal
      Yeah, what he said. Not only that, this new tech sounds remarkably similar - it also involves flourescence at multiple layers. Of course c-3d's players would have been fully backwards compatible. Or alternately, wouldn't have even needed a laser per se, just coherent light.

      However anyone that's worked with flourescent compounds knows that eventually they will bleach. I have a strong suspicion that this may have been what killed c-3d, and it's possible it may prove to be an intractable problem with this new tech as well, although they say it doesn't degrade. We shall see.

      (For the record, I think c-3d's FMCs - a card-sized non-rotating version of FMDs - were their best idea. Exposed disks are too easily damaged and distinctly kid-unfriendly, and the normal sized disk is too large to carry in a pocket. CDs and DVDs got this very, very wrong.)

  • Screw Media (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bkruiser ( 610285 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:52PM (#4672319)
    Why are we looking for Media Solutions... Data should all be Stored Dynamically. I need a 10t store at "Yahoo" (pick your flavor) for $5 amonth with a data access rate in the 5ms range accessable from any spot on earth, by me and anyone else I so desire. - anyone working on that?
    • by Hektor_Troy ( 262592 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @06:59PM (#4672904)
      I need a 10t store at "Yahoo" (pick your flavor) for $5 amonth with a data access rate in the 5ms range accessable from any spot on earth
      Let's see. Light travels at roughly 300,000 km/second. In .005 seconds it can travel 1,500 km.

      The circumfrence of the earth is roughly 40,000 km, so the farthest you can be from a given spot is 20,000 km.

      Add to that, that you also need to send the request, you somehow need to think up a transport medium, that can travel at 20,000 km / 0.0025 seconds == 8,000,000 km/second.

      We'll get in tuch with you, when we manage to send data at 26 and 2/3rds the speed of light at a distance of 20,000 km.
  • by Quaoar ( 614366 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:53PM (#4672323)
    Take it from me...pouring epoxy glue on a DVD does not increase the storage capacity.
  • so what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by io333 ( 574963 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:53PM (#4672325)
    I've been seeing reports of stuff like this for at least two years. Wasn't there someone just a few months ago, probably reported here... hang on a sec...

    yea here it is [slashdot.org].

    Anyway, I've been seeing reports like this forever, but zero consumer products. When something hits the market, I'll be interested. Until then I don't care.
  • Suggestion. (Score:3, Funny)

    by 3-State Bit ( 225583 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:53PM (#4672327)
    Whoever implements this:

    Breathe the wrong way on this baby and you've wiped out HOW MANY library of congresses worth of text?

    Okay, no panic, we're not there yet. But we will be.


    I'm tired of renting blockbuster dvd's with cigarette burns on them.

    Um, yeah. I just got a down-mod shiver, so here's something insightful.

    a DVD-size disk able to hold about 87 gigabytes, equal to 87,000 paperback books
    EXCUSE ME?? Are you saying a paperback book is 87 megabytes? NOT EVEN IF YOU SCAN EACH PAGE IN BITMAP!!! (Because paperbacks are black and white.)

    What's the writer smoking?
    • by TheKey ( 465831 )
      Also of note - they had to specify paperback? I mean, are they any larger or smaller than hardbacks? Are they basing the file size of book on weight?
    • Re:Suggestion. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by WaxParadigm ( 311909 )
      Uuh, do the math moron...that's 1MB per book...not 87.

      87,000,000,000 / 87,000 =! 87,000,000

      87,000,000,000 / 87,000 = 1,000,000

      Not only are /. ers poor at spelling, they can't divide either.
  • Question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mpost4 ( 115369 )

    Other then people doing video work, at this time who really needs this kind of storage.

    I have a 20Gb mp3 player and I still have not filled it 1/2 way.

    I would hope that a system would never need more then 15Gb for a full useful install (included a suit of programs for use to be productive)

    With the above listed size I would hope a system would never need, a 20 Gb system would still have 5Gb for user data, a 40 Gb system would leave 25 Gb for user data. (admittedly some specialty apps such as cad systems would need more storage, but here I am thinking more on the lines of home users, maybe I am wrong thinking there, maybe these systems are targeting business then I can see the use, databases can get very large)

    Also how is the speed of this DVD?
    What applications would you see for use of this technology?
  • it's much cheaper:

    A number of issues still need to be worked out, Fourkas said. One is that once data is written to the disk, it can't be changed. Each disk has to be written individually, he said. A mass- production method would need to be found to lower costs. The cost of the laser also is prohibitive. "The one we use is about $100,000," Fourkas said. The cost would come down with mass production, he said.

    • The cost would come down with mass production

      Why do people state the obvious? Doesn't the cost of EVERYTHING come down when it's mass produced? Why is it that when someone gets interviewed about their cool idea, they suddenly think that anyone that will read or hear the interview is a complete moron?

      So the big question is, what company is going to be the first to market with this new media? If they can get the cost of the laser down to $100, they should be able to sell burners for this media for around a grand and make a killing. Just think of all the warez pirates out there. Since they obviously aren't spending any money they have on software, they have more for hardware and can easily afford a drive that can burn 87 gigs.

      And what will come next? Development efforts will continue on this and the process will be refined so that even more data will fit on the same disc.

      • Doesn't the cost of EVERYTHING come down when it's mass produced?

        To me it seems that the factors that are limiting the price-cuts from mass-productions are ones that are not feasible by current technology. Ofcourse, the price will come down - but is this invention still feasible in say 3-4 years when the technology needed to bring the cost to a fraction of the current is available? Don't know, but...

        Why is it that when someone gets interviewed about their cool idea, they suddenly think that anyone that will read or hear the interview is a complete moron?

        No - just the opposite, I thought the /. audience would be equipped with the brains to make up the rest of what I wanted to say, after stating the obvious. Sorry :)

  • by drxenos ( 573895 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @05:59PM (#4672382)
    They should start measuring storage space in hours of porn.
  • by Jack William Bell ( 84469 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @06:00PM (#4672400) Homepage Journal
    This seems pretty similar to the 'Scotch Tape Drive' [ecrix.com] where they were getting 10 gigabytes of data onto a roll of adhesive tape using a laser in much the same way.

    Jack William Bell
  • I hate to say it... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cervantes ( 612861 )
    I really do, because I hate the "old news" posters, but I do recall seeing this for CDs. A guy in check-o-slow-va-kia (those who've seen the show will get the joke) made a multilayer CD that could hold gigs worth of data. It was revolutionary, but was derided because HD's were getting so large. Why do I think the same thing will happen here? (after everyone is done the pr0n jokes)
  • Blu-Ray? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tedDancin ( 579948 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @06:14PM (#4672517)
    What is happening with Blu-Ray, the DVD format that nine members of the DVD forum supported earlier this year? Blu-Ray uses a 405nm blue-violet laser, and can hold up to 27GB on a single-sided single-layer disc. While the capacity is not as great, the commercial support [matsushita.co.jp] is.

    I think I'll wait on this format (that has the backing of Hitachi, Sony, Pioneer, Philips etc etc) before going out on a limb with any epoxy solution.
  • by Cutie Pi ( 588366 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @06:19PM (#4672559)
    I fail to see the value of this technology for several reasons. The recording medium is not so much the issue in optical media. The bigger issue is the optics, specifically the laser. Why aren't 100GB Blu-ray DVD-ROMS in our computers right now? It's because the blue lasers in them cost > $2K right now. It's not because the technology isn't there to cheaply make the reflecting layers and organic dyes.

    So what do these guys do? They decide to reinvent the recording medium, only their medium is inferior because it can't be stamped. And that means their discs can't be mass-produced. To top it all off, they use a laser that costs $100,000, or 50X that of the Blu-ray laser.

    These guys have a product that:
    1) Has lower storage capacity than Blu-ray
    2) Costs 50X more than Blu-ray
    3) Uses an inferior recording medium compared to Blu-ray

    It might be kinda nifty that they used common materials, but that fact that those materials are inferior is probably why CD's and DVD's aren't made with common materials now! It reminds me of the /. story about the researchers who measured the dielectric constant of chicken feathers and then said it could someday be used to replace the high-tech dielectric layers being used in today's microchips. Dream on guys....
  • I mean, I know this is for the most part just some researchers saying "look what we did", but every time someone says "here, we trumped everything that has come before" a few things happen.

    First, for the lesser informed, it sends a wave of "oh shit, that DVD player I just bought is already obsolete!". This is of course absurd.

    Second, there's always people who don't really know what they're talking about who then go and preach the aforementioned "DVD will be obsolete soon!" bit. Somehow these huckleberries always seek me out - probably because I'm a techie. Perhaps they want to impress me, perhaps they want to pretend they're the first to know something, perhaps they want to make me feel stupid for buying so many DVD's. No amount of evidence seems to convince these people that just because something brand new has been produced in a lab doesn't mean it will be on the market next week. They especially hate it when they tell you "HDTV is the next big thing!" and you point out that this has been the situation since 1989.

    But the worst part is that there's a certian chunk of the population that hasn't bought into Technology X and go on to say "yeah, I'd get DVD but I'm going to wait for the next format." They don't realize it takes decades for formats to get formalized and introduced to market - and then only if there's a killer app neccessary. The Compact Disc came out and worked since the music industry was ready for a new format. Witness how the VideoCD didn't go anywhere outside of Asia - VHS was king (killed Laserdisc even) and only with the advent of the fast Internet, big hard drives and CD burners did VideoCD take off, and mostly due to piracy. DVD only worked since they decided the killer app was video, namely movies. Notice how DVD-Audio is pretty much going unnoticed. The only format I see coming along in the near future is whatever format supports HDTV - fortunately the DVD Forum has decided that the HDTV DVD format will be reverse compatible.

    Just because something better comes along doesn't mean that everything will be tossed out in favor of it. I'm 25 and programming a 1985 mainframe in COBOL for a living, so I can vouch for this line of reasoning. However, much like people tend to think the latest (whatever) is always the best, they tend to think that the latest technology is about to obliterate whatever is currently out there and they're the first to know.

    And don't even get me started on those 13-year olds griping that their copy of Windows.NET Server 2003 RC1 won't run Counter-Strike...

  • Damn... (Score:3, Funny)

    by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @06:49PM (#4672802) Homepage Journal
    ...now I'm going to have to buy the White album again.
  • by zejackal ( 186296 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @06:49PM (#4672803)

    I don't know about you folks, but I'm of the opinion that the CD/DVD format is on it's way out. I don't mean that CD's or DVD's are going away, simply that newer denser media won't look like those disks. The problem is this, as the spacial density of the data on the disk increases, the impact due to scratching increases. Instead of obliterating x number of bits, a scratch on a more dense media obliterates many times x bits.

    This can be mitigated by using error correcting codes. The cost of these codes is that the number of bits required to represent the same amount of real data goes up. At some point on the density curve we will reach a point where the amount of error correction bits required to make the media immune to most normal scratches will equal the added amount of information storage due to a higher density.

    We are already starting to see this with DVD's. How many times have you rented a DVD and it gets skippy and/or halts. Then when you eject it and look to see if it is scratched you see a few scratches that you know wouldn't even give your CD player pause were they to occur on a CD. That's because when the CD format was created they had a quarter inch rule in the standard. The error correction had to be able to withstand a quarter inch hole being punched in the CD. A DVD certainly can't handle that.

    What we will begin to find in our exposed media disks is that a higher and higher percentage of the available bit positions on the disk will have to be devoted to error correction. Thus a boost of n in the density won't corrispond to a boost in the actual amount of usable data stored on the disk. The solution, of course, is to put the media in a case, like a 3 1/2" disk for example. This mitigates the risk of actually scratching the disk and so we wouldn't need such a high degree of error correction. We would have those bits to store actual data in.

  • CD Scratch = Bad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JojoLinkyBob ( 110971 ) <joeycatoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @06:49PM (#4672808) Homepage
    Great for backing up your system, but depressing when you find out that "one little CD scratch" just wiped out a few hundred megs of important data.
  • RIAA (Score:3, Funny)

    by nothing safe ( 626252 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @08:19PM (#4673531)
    In other news, the RIAA has dispatched a team of snipers throughout Boston College with orders to kill any geeks on site.
  • High Tech? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by acoustix ( 123925 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:45PM (#4674058)
    "And it's a mix of high and low tech..."

    Can someone explain the difference between high tech and low tech? There's only one technology. High technology and low technology? Technolody is technology.

    It is like the episode from Seinfeld: A big coincidence? No. Just a coincidence. There are no levels of coincidence. Just a coincidence.

  • Big deal... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Call Me Black Cloud ( 616282 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:28PM (#4674240)
    I can store an infinite about of data on my hard drive.

    Not all at once, mind you...

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"