Are CDs and CD-Rom drives a thing of the past?


It has been the norm for quite some time for people to use CDs whenever they need to distribute large quantities of information.  But large is truly relative.  I remember when anything that reached 1MB (we are talking filesize here) was big and now photos we take on our phone are even bigger than that.

cdFor the people out there who may not know (hyuk!) CD is short for compact disc and does more than store music or videos, they can store just about any kind of digital information.  There are two sides to a CD, the shiny side is where the information is stored and the dull side is where the sticker usually goes.

But I digress.  The reason why I wrote this post is really more to ask this … why do some companies give their clients or partners CDs when most people do not even have a CD-rom drive anymore?  How are they supposed to play it?

Are there still computers that can play CDs?

Ok, ok.  It isn’t fair to make a blanket statement.  Yes, there are still computers out there (in the wild) that have CD-rom drives.  The big, bulky Windows machines, for example, still have them (upon request) but newer models normally do not have them anymore.

Intel Nuc

Intel Nuc

Intel’s NUC, for one does not have a CD-Rom drive.  Instead it has four (4) USB ports – 2 in front and 2 at the back.

The latest iMac does not have a CD-Rom drive.

Netbooks don’t have CD-Rom drives.  The user often needs to purchase an external CD-Rom drive if they really need one.

Slim laptops such as Macbook Air and current models released by Acer, Asus, Lenovo, etc. do not have CD-Rom drives.  Just as with netbooks, users will often need to purchase an external CD-Rom drive if they will have regular need for one.

Tablets and tablet computers do not have a CD-Rom drive.

Smartphones do not have a CD-Rom drive.

Xray and laboratory results are digital now

ankle xrayI recenly got an xray for my ankle at a medical center in Megamall and when I came over to claim the results they gave me a CD instead of a film.  According to the clinic everything is digital now.  That’s ok, but here’s a dilemma … how do I view it to send to my doctor?  I scrounged around in my gadget graveyard and found an old external CD-rom drive that still worked.  Yey!  I’m saved!

Acer external DVD-Rom drive

Acer external DVD-Rom drive

I attached the drive to my computer, pushed the button to open it, inserted the disk, pushed it in, and waited.  Guess what?  It had a program that only ran on Windows and my laptop is a Mac.  Waaah!  I had to go through all the files in search of the jpeg otherwise, off to find a Windows machine!

This does not make sense to me.  Most likely their computer runs on Windows, hence the output.  But could they not have used a software that was compatible with any operating system?  Maybe that is asking too much after all, if statistics are correct, Windows still has the market share when it comes to desktops and laptops.

St. Luke's Medical Center, Quezon City

St. Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City

St. Luke’s Medical Center (Quezon City) is my hospital of choice.  The last time I had any laboratory tests and xrays done there they just gave me a piece of paper then told me to register on their site (if I haven’t yet) as all my test results are on a database online in my name.  This totally worked for me!  My doctor and I got to see my results anytime and from any device.  I am so glad they did not offer me a CD.

Press releases for media (traditional and online)

And other times I go to some media/blog events and the agency reps hand us the press kit at the end which includes a CD that often contains their official PR and their own photos that we could use.  This is the norm but the then how do we access the information?

sample press kit

sample press kit

Usually I just ask the agency representative to email me the files or a link to the files where we can download them.  After all, expecting them to give us thumb drives would certainly be too expensive, right?  Also, what will be do with all the thumb drives we will end up accumulating?

At the end of the day, though, if no accomodation is made, that’s ok.  I just wait until I have to go to my day job where I have access to a computer with a CD-Rom drive. 🙂

My conclusion

Let’s keep CDs for music, movies, storing data that that is more than 300MB.  But when all we need is to send small files … beam it, email it, or send a link to it.  It’s just more efficient.