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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features July 22, 2014

8/4/2013 6:00:00 AM
Make sure CD burner finalizes disc

Q: I burned a CD with some files and gave it to a friend, but he can't read anything on the disc. He brought the disc back to me and I can read everything without a problem. What happened?

A. Assuming that your friend's CD drive is operating properly, the issue is probably related to the way you created your CD. This problem is more common than you might expect and is caused by the nature of CD-burning programs and their default settings, which many people never even think about.

There are many different CD/DVD burning programs available. Some are free and may be supplied with your computer or are available through a download, while others are available for purchase.

Typically, they are all set up for you to use, although they might not be set properly depending on the way you want to use your optical disc burner. In addition, the same feature may have different names depending on the software company. So it can be problematic in that there are no "standard" settings applicable to all users.

The majority of burning programs are provided by either Roxio or Nero, and most programs already installed on computers are actually different versions of Roxio. Nero is typically more "geeky" and permits you to select a multitude of options, which you'll probably never use. One isn't better than the other; they're just different.

You will need to find the setting for your burning program that deals with "closing" or "finalizing" a disc when you have finished burning it. These two terms are technically different but are often used interchangeably by different programs. Leaving a disc "open" allows you to add additional files to it at a later time. However, that feature often restricts reading an open disc to the drive that created it in the first place.

As you have found out, leaving an optical disc "open" can cause problems when sharing it. And if you should get a new computer, you might not be able to read your own disc. The solution is to make sure that your burning program "closes" or "finalizes" your disc when it's done creating it.

Q: I'm going on vacation and need to travel light. I love to take pictures. I've been thinking of leaving my camera at home because I have a good camera built into my phone and that way I can take one less item. What do you think?

A: Modern phones offer enough mega-pixels to make good quality enlargements and their lenses are also of good quality. Best of all, they are nearly always with you.

Nevertheless, I still think you should take your camera since it offers features that your phone camera may not have. The latest phones finally have zoom lenses but their range is restricted compared to the 15x-50x lenses on super zoom compact cameras. Often, the lenses on your camera are faster and let in more light, which works better in indoor situations where flash either can't be used or is ineffective. Modern phones may have a flash but it isn't very powerful, so a faster lens is a definite advantage.

The sensors on most phones are not very large and so many photos taken with phones could have been sharper if taken with a camera with a larger sensor.

Because of all these factors, cameras still do better under extreme conditions such as low light or high-contrast scenes, or taking close-up photos of small objects.

I love my phone camera for candid shots and casual photos, but when I want to take serious photos, I grab my camera for the better quality and versatility available. It is the right tool for the job.

For more information about digital photography and computers, visit the monthly digital photo meeting of the Prescott Computer Society. Go to www.pcs4me.com for the schedule.

The Prescott Computer Society (PCS) holds several entertaining and educational meetings each month to show you how to get the most out of your computer. Visit www.PCS4me.com. Email questions to PCSquestions@gmail.com.

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