Wednesday, April 16, 2008

BURNING CDs and DVDs:what YOU need to know

Hello Blog Buddies!

Ok, so we have my friends/neighbor and co-worker, Bob, to thank again for today's blog!

The other day, Bob created a movie using iMovie (a fun and easy editing software) on his new Mac, and he exported it to iDvd (a really great DVD-maker software where you can create menus with buttons and titles in fun little themes and then burn a DVD that you can play in your DVD player like a real, professional DVD!) and burned a DVD that he sent to his family and friends. "What's the problem, then?" you might ask. Certainly, this sounds like a success so far, right?

Well, blog buddies, I'll tell ya what the problem is: after Bob burned his fancy "authored" DVD that would play in a DVD player (we're going to start calling this type of DVD an "authored" DVD going HERE for the Wikipedia reference for DVD authoring. At the bottom of the entry there is a list of lots of software options--from high-end to freeware--for authoring your own DVD's), he deleted all of the original working source files off his computer (and by "working" and "source" files, I mean the iMovie file with all of the video/picture data in it that he originally created). He did this thinking that if he needed another copy of it, he could pop in the DVD he authored, and then just pull the files off it and copy them back to his computer. Click on the following link now for the sound effect that evokes:

In order to copy files from a DVD (or a DATA CD, for that matter), you need to have your SOURCE FILES burned onto a DATA DVD or DATA CD.

I know that this might be a bit confusing to some people, since you use the same burner on your computer to create both of these types of DVD's, but there is a distinction that is very important. Here's how I like to break it down using the metaphor of burning Audio CD's:

  • when you use iTunes to burn a CD that will play in your car's CD player, I'm sure you all know you can only fit 80 minutes worth of actual music (usually enough for a standard-length album) on it. well, have you ever used a CD to burn/back up your actual iTunes music files? you can fit TONS of them on there! Usually an 80 minute CD is equal to about 700 MB (mega-bytes) of DATA disk space. Why do you care about this when we're talking about DVD's? Here's why:
    • When you burn an AUTHORED disk, the software you are using needs to write special tracks on the disk that contain the information that allows you to play certain tracks or menu elements in your CD or DVD player, respectively. This data takes up quite a bit of room, depending on how complex your menus are, and essentially all of the information you are burning--including your original SOURCE files--is all being merged together into one, long "track" (for lack of a better word). This is why you cannot then pop it back into your computer and extract the original source's all mixed in there with the DVD authoring files! (although, there is software that is not necessarily legal for "ripping" authored DVD content to your computer, which I would NEVER give out info about here* ;)
*feel free to email me if you want info about this :0)
    • When you burn DATA on a DVD or CD, the disk acts as a storage device, not unlike a removable USB drive or...brace an old floppy disk! (remember those?) Whatever data you burn on a DATA disk just gets plopped on there in no particular order, and because there are no other commands burned on there (i.e. that would tell the CD how to play tracks in your CD player, or that would tell the DVD how to display the fancy menu you created when you pop it into your DVD player).
In order to actually show you the difference in what these types of disks look like when burned, I've taken the same content, the Juno soundtrack (BTW, GREAT movie, one of my faves), and I've burned it as both a DATA CD and as an AUTHORED CD, and then I popped them both into my computer and pulled up all the technical info about each disk. Here's what showed up:

The grand total side-by-side comparison?


That means that the AUTHORED CD, in order to make it playable in CD players (and the same would go for a DVD) used a whopping 68% of the disk space on the CD for the SAME SOURCE CONTENT that the DATA CD used only 6% of total disk space for.

I hope that makes sense! Email me if you have questions about this or need clarification (, I know it's a bit confusing! Bottom line is that you CANNOT take the source files off an AUTHORED DVD or CD, and you can fit a lot less SOURCE content on them because of the space needed to actually author them. DATA DVD's or CD's, on the other hand, can fit a lot more of your source files, the data can be copied from them to any computer, but won't play your music/movies using a CD or DVD player. Make sense? Good!

Ok Blog Buddies, that's enough from me today!

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Daria :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Geek Girl Movie Review: The King of Kong A Fistful of Quarters

Hey Gang! So, I know this is not a movie review site, but I saw this documentary this weekend and I thought to myself, "Self, what is GEEKIER than full grown men rallying for the title original Donkey Kong high score?" The answer? Probably not much. :)

This film just came out on DVD, and I got a hold of it through a friend of a friend, and I had no idea what I was getting into when I popped the DVD in yesterday. What ensued was a wonderful story of good vs. evil...seemingly. You'll have to see it for yourself and decide, but I love the way the characters are set up (and remember, this is a real documentary, not a spoof documentary, but sometimes it almost seems like a spoof because the characters are such caricatures of stereotypes), and I love how the film ends. It's really interesting that there's a group of people who certify high scores in video games, too.
Here's a link to the website for the film:

I highly recommend this if you can get it on Netflix or however you watch movies.

Now for some Housekeeping items: I'm in production on the "Geek Girl Goes Green" video podcast...than you all for your suggestions and emails! I've got plenty of great content and ideas for this one. If you have a last-minute idea for how to be technologically green (remember to think outside the box here!), please send me an email or better yet, send me a VIDEO QUESTION as an attachment to and I'll make sure to include your video in my next video podcast!

To check out my YouTube Channel, click
To check out my MySpace and become my friend, click HERE.
And make sure to subscribe to my videos on iTunes...they are FREE and the quality on iTunes is way better than on YouTube. Plus, you can take me with you on your iPod. :)

Cheers, Daria :)