Saturday, June 10, 2017

Compact disks, the mystical mysterious reflective plastic frisbees.

     I love CDs. I really do. Have about 200 of them, maybe more.

     And yet, sometimes I don't get them. Sometime, they mystify me.

     You probably heard of the "CD rot", have you? It's when water, air, or that dreaded UV light gets inside the CD, and damages the precious information layer beyond repair. That shit is scary, and you do NOT want that to happen to your precious music. So, when you see that there is something VISIBLY wrong with your CD, you imagine the WORST. And yet,........... everything's..... fine?????

     I have about 40 musical disk thingies (an over-estimation) that have holes in them. When you examine them close to a strong light source, you see teeny-tiny holes in the aluminum(?) layer, light shines through them. Clearly, something got to the information layer, and ate it up, like a moth through a sweater. My precious, beloved CDs, damaged beyond repair! All the lovely music, gone forever!

     . . . . . . . . . .

     . . . . . . only the information is still all there???

     Yes, exactly as you read. Despite the visible holes in the metallic information layer(?), all the bits are still there, the laser can read the data NO PROBLEM, and if I rip one of the """rotten""" CDs to a hard drive, the program detects 0 errors. ZERO ERRORS. Even though some of the information is supposed to be gone forever, "damaged" sectors forever unreadable. And yet, the ripped files play perfectly, with no clicks, no static, no nothing.

     What the HELL is going on?!?

     Well, I certainly do not know. What are those holes, anyway? What made them? Were the disks (mis)printed that way? Are these holes in the actual metallic layer, or the outermost top surface of the plastic coating? Is the metallic layer in CDs actually mostly see-through? I once accidentally (lightly) scratched the red printed label on a CD with a fingernail, and a tiny speck of red paint came off. In that place, there is now one of those "see-through" holes. The information is there, the laser can see it, and if I try to rip, report gives no reading errors.

     Is this "disk rot"? Certainly not, since the information is still there, and readable. What is it then? What to call it? I don't FUCKING know! All I know is those holes are found almost exclusively on older CDs (printed in the 80s and early 90s). But a lot of older CDs also do NOT have any holes in them, so age cannot be the only factor. The only newer CDs in my massive collection to have that is the (fantastic) 2001 remaster of Benefit by Jethro Tull. However, the 3 tiny holes are not exactly on the information layer, but in the center, the part with the numbers and the bar code.

     To finish off this strange post, I am stumped. I do not know what the heck is happening, I do not know why some of my CDs have visible holes in them. I do not know why the information there is still readable with no errors. I do not know what causes this, how it is possible, and what to call it. I love you, CDs, but you are fucking weird.

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