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This chapter is from the book

CD or DVD Writer

Do you really need one of these? It’s a matter of opinion and mine is "yes, absolutely." There are a couple of good reasons. First of all, most software these days comes on CD-ROM. And most reasonably new computers already have a CD-ROM drive built-in. But you need a CD drive that writes disks as well as reads them. It’s called a CD-RW. CDs are the preferred storage method for archival copies of electronic files. CDs are easy to store and, unlike the floppy disk, are unlikely to become obsolete any time soon. If you have commercially processed pictures returned to you on CD, you need to be able to view and retrieve them to the computer to edit. If you’re planning to share your scrapbooks with friends or relatives, sending a CD-ROM through the mail is a lot easier and cheaper than sending a bulky book.

The difference between a CD and a DVD is a matter of size—how many bits of information a single disc holds. DVDs are frequently used for feature films because they can hold about three to four times more data than an ordinary CD-ROM. The data itself can be any kind: movies, scrapbooks, music, programs, and games. After all, no matter what you’re seeing on the screen or hearing from the speakers, it’s all just ones and zeros.

For protection of your precious photos, consider putting them on a CD-ROM or DVD and putting it in a safe, disaster-proof place, such as a safe deposit box at the bank or a fire-proof home safe. Office stores and warehouse stores like Costco or Sam’s Club sell them. You can even send a copy to a friend or relative in another town. Then, if there’s a fire or natural disaster that floods or otherwise trashes your house, your photos are still safe.

You can also safely store photos online at such places as Snapfish or Hotmail. Go to their sites to register and then follow the directions for uploading your files.

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