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Environmental DVD Wrecks Apple Drives 459

Posted by Zonk
from the look-before-you-leap dept.
FST777 writes "The British Mail on Sunday published its latest DVD giveaway on the EcoDisc, a thin and bendable DVD format that is supposed to be more environmentally-friendly than regular DVDs. Despite the clear warning against using them in Apple slot drives, some Mac users decided to give it a go. The result? A brisk trade for repair shops in the UK. 'The EcoDisc's manufacturer, ODS, insists the disc won't break drives. "We've produced over ten million of these discs — we've had less than a dozen phone calls," says managing director, Ray Wheeler. "There are ways to get the discs out." Wheeler says the problem stems from Apple's slot-loading drives. "It uses an ejection system that doesn't get approval from the DVD Forum." He claims the EcoDisc should work in other types of slot-loading drive, although admits that it hasn't been tested in the PlayStation 3.'"
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Environmental DVD Wrecks Apple Drives

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  • by Bryansix (761547) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:26PM (#22083088) Homepage
    Just throw the whole computer out and buy a new one!
    • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:33PM (#22083178) Journal
      Simple Fixes for Simple People.

      Who takes an unknown disc that they find in a newspaper and sticks it into their machine without so much as reading the cover? It says right on the thing, don't use it in a Mac. Then they want to complain?

      Bunch of Flakes.
      • by snowraver1 (1052510) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:40PM (#22083280)
        I don't know if you have noticed or not, but many CDs that are distributed today do not contain the "Compact Disk" logo. Back when DRM started, manufacturers started putting blank sectors and other stuff to try to thwart copying. Poeople started complaining about this as those disks no longer conformed to the "Compact Disk" Specification.

        The companies that were producing these disks just dropped the logo, going under the assumtion that if is was the same size as a CD and had a shiny bottom, that people would put it in thier CD players, and people did just that.

        To most people a CD is defined as "something that is about 5 inches across and has a shiny bottom. If I put it in my computer something happens."
        • by Klaus_1250 (987230) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @03:00PM (#22083502)

          The companies that were producing these disks just dropped the logo...
          They didn't, not until they were hit by class-action lawsuits and Philips reminded them that using the Compact Disc logo without permission (e.g. conforming to the Red Book standard) constituted to Trademark infringement and they were prepared to sue.
      • Years ago my uncle related a story to my father and I about his work at tech support for Data-Com warehouse, which one season jumped drastically. See the company as a whole (Macwarehouse, PCwarehouse, etc) started as a gift bundling in floppies that where calculators in disguised.

        Sure enough hundreds of misguided buyers put said disks into their floppy dirves which then broke.

        So to answer your question, hundreds if not thousands of idiots would take a disk from their paper and stick it into their drives

      • Who takes an unknown disc that they find in a newspaper and sticks it into their machine without so much as reading the cover? It says right on the thing, don't use it in a Mac. Then they want to complain?

        You're right. Someone saw something that looked like a DVD, and treated it like a DVD. The fools. (The warning on the disc was, apparently, the entirely clear and obvious phrase "NO APPLE SLOT IN DRIVE" in the bottom corner of the label. You did look at the article, right?)

        Tomorrow I'm going to leave a platter of poisoned brownies in the lunchroom at work, along with a big sign saying "BROWNIES". It's all on the up-and-up as long as I leave a "NO MOUTH FOOD" label in the bottom corner of the sign, right? I can't wait to see how many suckers I can catch. Ha ha!

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by WK2 (1072560)

          The warning on the disc was, apparently, the entirely clear and obvious phrase "NO APPLE SLOT IN DRIVE" in the bottom corner of the label...Tomorrow I'm going to leave a platter of poisoned brownies in the lunchroom at work, along with a big sign saying "BROWNIES". It's all on the up-and-up as long as I leave a "NO MOUTH FOOD" label in the bottom corner of the sign, right?

          "NO MOUTH FOOD" is too clear. "NO APPLE SLOT IN DRIVE" would be more analogous to "NO MOUTH IN HEAD".

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Just throw the whole computer out and buy a new one!
      I realize that you're trying to be funny, but in all seriousness, slot-loading drives that don't conform to the DVD Forum standard were a very, very bad idea on Apple's part. Fortunately for Mac fans, not all Macs have these slot-loading drives.

      I don't imagine anyone's going to trash their Mac for a few EcoDiscs, but still, it's a bit unsettling that the drives don't properly conform to standard.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by MacColossus (932054)
        Macs use slot loading panasonic (matsushita) and LG drives. It's not like they are some bastardized proprietary drive. I've ordered replacement's from Newegg when out of warranty.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:46PM (#22083332)

      Wheeler says the problem stems from Apple's slot-loading drives. "It uses an ejection system that doesn't get approval from the DVD Forum."
      This is exactly why I have never bought an apple product (was given my iPod). They don't abide by standards. They are just like Microsoft in that sense except with a cult following.
  • For reading the Mail on Sunday. Apple users should go for the Guardian's mixture of smugness, cult like atmosphere and complete indifference to reality.
  • pot, meet kettle (Score:4, Insightful)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:29PM (#22083128) Homepage
    "It uses an ejection system that doesn't get approval from the DVD Forum."

    And these new discs do?
  • by goatpunch (668594) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:30PM (#22083136)
    Apple has solved this problem by releasing the MacBook Air without a DVD drive built in- it's much easier to throw away and replace a USB accessory.
  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:31PM (#22083150) Homepage Journal
    On the plus side, this is a good form of idiot tax. This might not make sense to non-British readers but the Mail has, let's say, a certain reputation [wikipedia.org] in the UK for its readership being most of Britain's jumpy, middle class, alarmist, conservative, "immigration is evil and all non-white immigrants should be castrated" type readers.
    • by Pluvius (734915)
      It still doesn't make sense; how many conservatives do you seriously think own Apple computers?

      Rob
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ettlz (639203)

      the Mail has, let's say, a certain reputation in the UK for its readership being most of Britain's jumpy, middle class, alarmist, conservative, "immigration is evil and all non-white immigrants should be castrated" type readers.
      Yeah, but it's good for a laugh though, in'it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pentagram (40862)
      I like the description in Everything2: the empty headed sheep who buy it would probably still do so if it had typhoid-infected razorblades glued to each page

      Oh and let's not forget it's support for fascism in the 30s.
  • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@hot[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:36PM (#22083222) Homepage

    Wheeler says the problem stems from Apple's slot-loading drives. "It uses an ejection system that doesn't get approval from the DVD Forum."
    So the drives are out of specs. Yet the DVD Forum's specs allow for thin and bendable discs? Doubt it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jesdynf (42915)
      I'm not sure I understand. "Our product X is designed to work with and has been confirmed to work with everything approved by universally-accepted standards body Y." This is an absolute defense, is it not? Whether X has been approved by the standards body seems irrelevant to me -- non-complying product Z is out of spec, and must accept the slings and arrows of uncaring vendors as part of the bargain.
      • by timster (32400) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @03:04PM (#22083558)
        I think it's more like this: Product A isn't compliant to standard X, but works with all products conforming to standard X. Product B also works with all products conforming to standard X, but is also noncompliant itself. And now it so happens that Product A and Product B don't work together, and the makers of Product B are blaming the makers of Product A.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kebes (861706)

        I'm not sure I understand. "Our product X is designed to work with and has been confirmed to work with everything approved by universally-accepted standards body Y." This is an absolute defense, is it not? Whether X has been approved by the standards body seems irrelevant to me -- non-complying product Z is out of spec, and must accept the slings and arrows of uncaring vendors as part of the bargain.

        Let me ask you this: is the "X" in your hypothetical Apple's drive or the bendable CD? See the problem? When two "X" (non-complying products) interact, it doesn't always work. They can both claim "X" (we work with everything approved), but they are both really Z (out of spec).

        That's the point of adhering to a standard: everything works because each half of the interface is complying with the same pre-arranged rules. One product can deviate from the spec, and maybe it's no big deal... but only so long as

    • by SharpFang (651121)
      The discs are non-compilant for a good reason reason - they aim at being environment-friendly - thin means less material used, bendable means won't break as it would being thinner and not bendable.

      OTOH The Apple's drives are non-compilant for no good reason whatsoever.
      • Matsushita was part of the consortium behind the DVD spec. I find it hard to believe they make non-compliant drives.
  • by fred fleenblat (463628) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:37PM (#22083226) Homepage
    The environmentally friendly thing to do would be to have NO disc at all. Just point people at a download site and let them get the disk image from the tubes using zero plastics, chemicals, landfill, or other resources in the process.
    • by pclminion (145572) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:40PM (#22083272)

      Because the Internet doesn't use any electrical power?

      I agree that it's probably more efficient to download data instead of burning it on DVD and distributing it that way, but by how much?

      • by Alioth (221270)
        Well, it's not that the intertubes uses no power, but the internet will be powered up and will use pretty much the same amount of power whether the files were downloaded or not. So the incremental energy use of distributing this material over the intertubes is likely a lot lower.
      • Well many of the internet servers are kinda always on with trafic or with out. So basicly all the middle stuff doen't count. The servers hosting the program will be split by the theoretical amount of CD shipped. So the endergy to make a disk vs. having A PC one for the extra time it takes to download it... I think the Download will win. There is the heat to melt plastic, and metals, spinning moters etc....
        • by pclminion (145572)
          Okay, but there are other factors. Consider the power used by the PC during the download. A 4 gigabyte image is going to take hours to download. Had the data been distributed on DVD instead, the computer, at least in principle, could have been powered off during that time.
          • by geekoid (135745)
            but in practicality, it won't be.

            Plus, you can download it while doing other things on the computer.

      • by Bert64 (520050)
        The internet uses electrical power yes, but chances are the servers hosting the files will be up anyway.. I doubt they will use much more than all the machines and raw materials required to produce DVDs...
        Your computer will need to be on to read from a DVD, and chances are these days it would be connected to the internet in any case. And spinning the DVD will consume a little extra power.
        Also, how many of these discs will never be used (theres one stuck to every newspaper, not every reader will use the DVD
      • by geekoid (135745)
        Considering all the computers to transfer it are already on, I can't imagine it being much more at all.

      • Because the Internet doesn't use any electrical power?

        What's bad about electricity [asu.edu]?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by thomas.galvin (551471)

        Because the Internet doesn't use any electrical power?

        I agree that it's probably more efficient to download data instead of burning it on DVD and distributing it that way, but by how much?
        I can download a lot of data on one charge from my battery. I can't burn even one DVD. I don't know how it compares to stamped disks, but I'd say the efficiency gain from downloading is significant.
  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:39PM (#22083258)
    although admits that it hasn't been tested in the PlayStation 3

    Well, yeah, that's understandable seeing as it's still so hard to get a hold of a PS3.
    • although admits that it hasn't been tested in the PlayStation 3

      Well, yeah, that's understandable seeing as it's still so hard to get a hold of a PS3.
      I wouldn't take out a second job just to get a PS3 and put a floppy DVD in it.
  • Slot loaders look voracious, and what keeps them from scratching the disk when it slides in and out? If the ejector fails perhaps on a bad disk, it's surgery time for the entire drive. Ask for trouble, and ye shall find it.
  • "It uses an ejection system that doesn't get approval from the DVD Forum."

    Well, who are they to tell Apple and Sir Steve what to do?
    • by theurge14 (820596)
      The iMacs sold in late 2007 shipped with a Pioneer DVR K06 DVD±RW as the "SuperDrive". Perhaps you should save your snark for the Embrace and Extenders.
  • Doctor! Doctor! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by s31523 (926314) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:49PM (#22083360)
    Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I do this... Doctor: Don't do that.
  • Not a CLEAR warning! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord Byron II (671689) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:49PM (#22083372)
    The warning was:

    "no Apple slot in drive"
  • Hello, standards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:55PM (#22083426) Homepage
    The question is whether either the disc or the drives carried the DVD Logo [dvdfllc.co.jp]? From what I have seen it's doubtful that the "EcoDisk" would qualify as it is less than half the thickness and weight of a real DVD, so it's interesting to see ODS trying to point fingers at Matshita for not following DVD Forum specifications [ods.com].
    • by Ash-Fox (726320)

      The question is whether either the disc or the drives carried the DVD Logo?
      The picture [pcpro.co.uk] shows a 'ECO DVD Video' label. No regular DVD label. It even has a warning telling Mac slot in driver users 'no'.
  • Another case of macs looking cool but not being fully functional. I absolutely hate slot loaders and once had to completely rip one apart to get a CD out of it. (The drive wasn't going to be used again anyways)
    • by geekoid (135745)
      I have ripped apart many tray drives because of a bad DVD/CD or a mechanical failure. It doesn't mean trays are no good.

      While I recognize the issue, I have never had a problem with a slit drive, and I have owned several devices with one for a long time.
  • by foxtrot (14140) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @03:16PM (#22083712)
    I think I've accidentally been transported into a parallel universe. Is this not Slashdot?

    What, you say it is Slashdot? Then how do you explain this article without someone (incorrectly) referring to "bricking" the Apple CD drive?

  • I see this story is tagged "Macs for morons", and various posts joking about destroying Mac owners' machines is not a bug, it's a feature, and so forth.

    I must take issue with this stance. If we are to celebrate the fact that a certain demographic sector suffered inconvenience and damage to property, I must insist we aim the full force of our collective schadenfreude not at Mac users, but at Mail on Sunday readers ;-)

    (Serious explanation: The Mail is one of the most nasty, deplorable shit-for-brained rags

    • You fail to mention that illegal immigrants killed Diana, presumably while stealing our jobs and living off benefits.
  • This worked for me (Score:5, Informative)

    by jlherren (1025754) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @03:31PM (#22083916)
    A friend once put such a disk in his MacBook and then called me after he couldn't get it out. I tried several things, including opening the Mac, with no luck. After some searching I found a solution on the net: Reboot the MacBook holding it upside down... the disk properly ejected right on booting. I don't know why and I don't know if it's reproducable, as I didn't want to try to put it in again. (btw, reading the disc while it was in worked fine.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by v1 (525388)
      I remove disks from drives here from time to time and I'd say you got VERY lucky, holding the machine upside down does provide an advantage, but it's so slight as to be amazing that it worked. The disk is too flexible and when the edges are lifted up, it does not release from the hub lock. Gravity can't be helping it very much...

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