Another age, another round of technological discoveries. In other words, adopting new types of hardware into my household. This time round, it is moving on to use Double-Layer DVDs to archive ever-increasing content sizes. More and more DVD ISO images are appearing all around with sizes exceeding 4.38GB (do not get deceived into thinking it is 4.7GB), and using DVDShrink is usually not an option when it comes to pure data discs.
So last week I purchased my first batch of DL DVDs. These are expensive media; S$3.40 per disc; it looks like the mainstream is not entirely into DL media despite quite a span of years since it first arrived. No matter, this is not a BluRay media I have to burn, so a DL DVD is the only option. I pop a blank into my writer drive and burnt the image in as usual.
As usual? Is it safe to even assume a DL DVD works the same like a single-layer DVD? When I am in "consumer" mode, I do think so. After all, there is hardly anything written anywhere to warn otherwise. Not in the hardware documentation. Not in the software documentation. So it works the same, right?
As it turns out, yet again, things are not as straightforward as they should be. The end result was a disc that plays fine on the first layer, but at a particular timing thereafter, it stops playing. On four computers' drives. One of the drives is able to read beyond, but the video is corrupted and jittery. I inferred that was where the second layer came into play, and anything stored there was not burnt in properly. Is there some trick to double-layer burning?
How is it that I frequently walk across usage concepts that are potrayed as simple, yet full of catches and quirks? Why do I always need to meet with failures and problems on first attempt to force me into "investigator" mode; researching and studying the technologies in depth, just so I can use them properly? And please do not use the argument that one should learn not to place metals and old plastics into microwave ovens. These are tech devices; they can be smart; they can be designed to warn regular users of the ups and downs of certain decisions or usage patterns.
What was the solution out of this incident? I was advised by a friend - not some official documentation - to burn the DL disc at the slowest speed possible. Nero Express, the software that came with the drive, offered the lowest at 3.2x. That sure did the trick; finally a readable DVD. But that also means the disc rating of 8x speed is not a guarantee at all. Guess it is something like the mpg ratings of cars manufacturers like to advertise. But what if I did not have an experienced friend to tell me this? How many pages of Internet searches do I have to plough through before even finding an explanation and suggestion that is valid? How many more people in the world would have to go through the same experience of wasting a couple of expensive DVDs before finding the proper procedure to cooking up a good, well-baked disc?
Yes indeed, using technology is more akin to cooking; you have to practise and practise. Wasting plenty of eggs and flour, as well as delicacy spices and pounds of meat, before approaching something palatable to the tongue.