Disco Inferno

Thanks to fast burn speeds and smokin' prices, CD-RWs are charring the CD-R competition.

We're bidding a fond farewell to floppy disks. Not everybody has a Zip drive, and SuperDiscs can't be read by regular floppy drives; but you'll be hard pressed to find a computer that doesn't have a CD-ROM drive. That flat tray that looks an awful lot like a cup holder is the key to widely compatible removable storage. So, in today's CD-R-friendly climate, with prices dropping and speeds acceler-ating, it's time to either replace your old 2x CD-R or buy a brand-new CD-RW of your own.

While the music applications are obvious, the business potential is something to really tap your toes to. Backing up files is an often-neglected task, but CD-RWs at least offer a convenient format and 650MB of space for your important data. No mere floppy can claim that. Fast burn speeds and cheap media make it less of a headache to create several backup copies for safekeeping.

With CD-ROMs being a fairly universal medium, they can also be quite effective as communication tools. Put a PowerPoint presentation onto a CD, and you've got a customer handout. HTML documents, company information, PDF files, forms and references can be passed around in CD format. If your computers aren't networked, CD-ROMs can be a handy way to transfer large chunks of data and files from machine to machine.

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This article was originally published in the November 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Disco Inferno.

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