FAQ for the alt.cd-rom usenet newsgroup. Last modified on 19 June 1992. The latest version

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============================================================================ FAQ for the alt.cd-rom usenet newsgroup. Last modified on 19 June 1992. The latest version is available via anonymous ftp from cdrom.com (192.153.46.254): /pub/faq. Disclaimer: I have a direct financial interest in some of the companies mentioned in this posting, and indirect financial interest in several others. ============================================================================ 1. What are some good sources of CD-ROM discs? 1a. What are some good sources of CD-ROM discs in North America? 1b. What are some good sources of CD-ROM discs in Europe? 1c. What are some good sources of CD-ROM discs in Asia? 1d. What are some good sources of CD-ROM discs in Australia and New Zealand? 2. Can you recommend a good CD-ROM drive? 3. Where can I get caddies? 4. Are there any good periodicals and publications on CD-ROMs? 5. Why are CD-ROM drives so slow? 6. Is it important to have a fast CD-ROM? Does 300ms vs. 700ms really matter? 7. Is it important to buy a fully SCSI compatible drive? 8. How much does it cost to make a CD-ROM? 9. Where can I get a CD-ROM published? 10. Where can I find equipment to make my own CD-ROMs? 11. How much information will fit on a CD-ROM? 12. Why doesn't MSCDEX work with DOS 5.0? 13. Where can I get the latest version of MSCDEX? 14. What is the difference between `High Sierra' and ISO-9660? 15. Where can I get a copy of the ISO-9660 standard? 16. Can you give a short explaination of ISO-9660? 17. What the heck does `Red Book' and `Yellow Book' mean? 18. What is CD-ROM/XA? 19. What are the Rockridge extensions? 20. Is a short technical introduction to these standards available? 21. Are there any ftp sites with good stuff related to CD-ROMs? 22. How do I write an MSDOS program that can access a cdrom using MSCDEX? 23. How do I mount an ISO-9660 disc on a Sun? 24. How do I use a CD-ROM with OS/2? 25. Why do CD-ROMs cost so much? 26. Why do all the bundle deals require me to buy a drive? What if I already have a drive? 27. Are alt.cd-rom archives available anywhere? 27. ???? Please send any other questions (and answers) that should be included in this FAQ to rab@sprite.Berkeley.EDU. ========================================================================== 1. What are some good sources of CD-ROM discs? Jim Raehl has compiled an excellent list of sources for inexpensive CD-ROMs. His list is periodically posted to alt.cd-rom, and is available via anonymous ftp from cdrom.com:/pub/faq_disc. You can get a list of about 85 CD-ROM titles by sending a blank message to CD-ROM@micromed.net.netcom.com ========================================================================== 1a. What are some good sources of CD-ROM discs in North America? --------------------------------- Buckmaster Publishing Route 3, Box 56 Mineral, VA 23117 703-894-5777 or 800-282-5628 A ham radio callbook database and 5000 public domain programs: $50 --------------------------------- Bureau of Electronic Publishing 141 New Road Parsippany, NJ 07054 1 800 828-4766 Publish lots of CD-ROM titles. Call them for a catalog. ---------------------------------- CD-ROM INC 1667 Cole Blvd, Suite 400 Golden, CO 80401 1 800 821-5245 Many discs, drives and accessories. Call for free catalog. ------------------------------------ CDROMS Unlimited P.O. Box 7476 Fremont, CA 94537-7476 1 510 795-4286 Call for catalog ------------------------------------ CD-ROM User's Group Post Office Box 2400 Santa Barbara, CA 93120 805-965-0265 Bundle of 10 discs for $99. ------------------------------------ Computers At Large 18728 Cabernet Drive Saratoga, CA 95070-3561 (408)255-1081, (408)255-2388 - FAX ------------------------------------ EBSCO Subscription Services (CD-ROM Handbook) P.O.Box 325 Topsfield, MA 01983 508-887-6667 800-221-1826 508-887-3923 (Fax) ------------------------------------ EDUCORP 7434 Trade Street San Diego, CA92121-2410 1-800-843-9497 ------------------------------------ Faxon Co., Inc. (Access Faxon) 15 Southwest Park Westwood, MA 02090 617-329-3350 800-225-6055 617-461-1862 (Fax) ------------------------------------ Nautilus 7001 Discovery Blvd Dublin, OH 43017-8066 1-800-637-3472 Provides a CD-ROM of the month subscription. 13 CD-ROM's for $138. ------------------------------------ Prime Time Freeware 415-112 N. Mary Ave., Suite 50 Sunnyvale, CA 94086 (408) 738-4832, (408) 738 2050 FAX, cfcl!ptf@apple.com Unix source code on CD-ROM ------------------------------------ Profit Press 2956 N. Campbell Ave. Tucson, AZ 85719 602-577-9624 MEGA-Rom, 600+ meg MSDOS, $79 ------------------------------------ Raynbow Software, Inc. P. O. Box 327 Rapid City, SD 57709 (605) 394-8227, louis@ce.ucsc.edu, CompuServe: 70410,413 5000 GIFs on CD-ROM with Search Engine for $55 ------------------------------------ Stanford University Press 415-723-1593 CD-ROM with authoring system containing four books illustrating its use: $17 ------------------------------------ Sterling Software 1404 Ft. Crook Rd. South Bellevue, NE 68005-2969 800 643-NEWS, 402 291-2108, 402 291-4362, cdnews@Sterling.COM uunet!sparky!cdnews, ftp.uu.net:/vendor/sterling NetNews/CD: Usenet news on CD-ROM ------------------------------------ Updata Publications, Inc. (CD-ROM Guide) 1736 Westwood Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90024 310-474-5900 800-882-2844 310-474-4095 (Fax) ------------------------------------ Walnut Creek CDROM 1547 Palos Verdes Mall Suite 260 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 1 800 786-9907, 1 510 947-5996, 1 510 947-1644 FAX Snapshots of major internet archives on CD-ROM ------------------------------------ Wayzata Technology Inc. P.O. Box 807 Grand Rapids MN 55744 1 800 735-7321 Call for catalog ========================================================================== 1b. What are some good sources of CD-ROM discs in Europe? ------------------------------------ British Software Licensing 280 (T/L) West Princes Street Woodlands Glasgow G4 9EU United Kingdom +44 41 339 8855 x 5021, +44 41 339 7264, Graham_Robertson@vme.glasgow.ac.uk ------------------------------------ CD-ROM Jacob Aarstrasse 98 CH-3005 Bern Switzerland ------------------------------------ CD ROM (UK) Ltd 8 Sheep St, Highworth Swindon, Wiltshire SN6 7AA United Kingdom 44-0793-861146, 44-0793-765331 (Fax) ------------------------------------ EBSCO Subscription Services 3 Tyers Gate London SE1 3HX United Kingdom 44-71-357-7516, 44-71-357-7507 (Fax) ------------------------------------ Faxon Europe, B.V. Postbus 197 1000 AD Amsterdam The Netherlands 31 (20) 91-05-91, 31 (20) 91-17-35 (Fax) ------------------------------------ Micro Haus Limited P.O. Box 149 Gloucester GL3 4EF United Kingdom ------------------------------------ STARCOM International Computer Services Limburggasse 45 A-9073 Klagenfurt-Viktring Austria +43 (463) 29 67 22, +43 (463) 29 67 24 FAX ------------------------------------ WasaWare Oy Palosaarentie 31 SF-65200 VAASA Finland Telephone & Fax: +358 61 173365, Email: hv@uwasa.fi ========================================================================== 1c. What are some good sources of CD-ROM discs in Asia? ------------------------------------ Software Studio Shop 217 Olympia Shopping Center 255 King's Road North Point Hong Kong +852 510 7470 FAX ========================================================================== 1d. What are some good sources of CD-ROM discs in Australia/New Zealand? ------------------------------------ The Cave MegaBBS PO Box 2009 Wellington New Zealand BBS: +64 4 5643429 V22b, +64 4 564-5307 FAX, clear@cavebbs.gen.nz ------------------------------------ Ilb Computing 48 Nebo Drive Figtree Heights NSW 2525 Australia +61 42 28 5827 ========================================================================== 2. Can you recommend a good CD-ROM drive? ------------------------------------ The NEC CD-ROM drives 336,37,73,74,83, etc. have received many favorable recommendations. NEC CD-ROM drive information can be FAX'ed to you. Call NEC Fastfacts at 800-366-0476, and then follow the directions. You will be prompted for a Catalog or Product Number. Catalog Number 2 is for CD-ROM and Product Number 730101 is for the CRD-73M and 730100 is for the CDR-73. Similarly for the CDR-37. No information was available on the CD-74. You will be prompted for your 10-digit FAX number and your local voice telephone number. If you haven't received your FAX with 30 minutes try again. ------------------------------------ DAK offers a very inexpensive drive, bundled with several discs for $200. The drive is slow, but reliable. DAK Industries Incorporated 8200 Remmet Avenue Canoga Park, CA 91304 Orders: 818-888-8220, 800-DAK-0800 Technical information: 800-888-9818 ------------------------------------ The Pioneer DRM-600 6-disk changer drive is available for $979 from Kintronics Computer Products 3 Westchester Plaza Elmsford, NY 10523 914-347-2530 or 800-431-1658 attention Neal Allen ========================================================================== 3. Where can I get caddies? Here are a few sources of caddies: --------------------------------------------------------------- CD-ROM INC 1667 Cole Blvd Suite 400 Golden, CO 80401 1 800 821-5245 Call for the latest price. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Digital Audio Disc Corp. 1800 North Fruitridge Ave. Terre Haute, IN 47804 +1 812 462-8100 Sony Caddies "Made in Japan", 1000 for $4100 ---------------------------------------------------------------- QB Products 1260 Karl Court Wauconda, IL 60084 +1 800 323-6856 +1 708 487-3333 Sony Caddies "Made in USA", 10 for $54, 1000 for $3900 ---------------------------------------------------------------- Walnut Creek CDROM 1547 Palos Verdes Mall Suite 260 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 +1 800 786-9907, +1 510 947-5996, +1 510 947-1644 FAX Sony or Philips caddies - $4.95 each, no volume discounts ========================================================================== 4. Are there any good periodicals and publications on CD-ROMs? ------------------------------------------------------------ A catalog describing CD-ROM publications and a newsletter is available from Future Systems P.O. Box 26 Falls Church, VA 22040 Telephone 800-323-DISC or 703-241-1799 One of their books contains a list of about 1500 CD-ROM's. ------------------------------------------------------------ CD-ROM Professional is a bi-monthly magazine with product reviews, technical articles, industry news, etc. This is a "must read" for anyone in the CD-ROM business. $39.95/year CD-ROM Professional Magazine 462 Danbury Road Wilton, CT 06897 +1 800 248-8466 ------------------------------------------------------------ "The CD-ROM Directory" is available on either paper or CD-ROM from UniDisc 3941 Cherryvale Avenue, Soqeul, CA 95073 (408) 464-0707 ------------------------------------------------------------ "CD-ROM Collecion Builder's Toolkit, 1992 Edition" Paul T. Nicholls Eight Bit Books, Weston, CT ISBN: 0-910-96502-1 $39.95 ------------------------------------------------------------ Newsgroups and mailing lists: On the internet, the best source of information is the newsgroup alt.cd-rom, which is linked to the BITNET list CDROM-L. You can subscribe to CDROM-L by sending the following command to LISTSERV@UCCVMA.UCOP.EDU: SUBSCRIBE CDROM-L Your full name The internet newsgroup comp.multimedia is a good source of information on multimedia topics. CDROMLAN (available on usenet as bit.listserv.cdromlan) covers the use of CD-ROM products on local area or wide area networks. You can join the list be sending the following command to LISTSERV@IDBSU.IDBSU.EDU: SUBSCRIBE CDROMLAN Your full name CD-ROMs are in heavy use in libraries and government document repositories, both for access to indexes and for distribution of government data. The relevant lists are PACS-L (bit.listserv.pacs-l) and GOVDOC-L (bit.listserv.govdoc-l). Send to LISTSERV@PSUVM.PSU.EDU: SUBSCRIBE GOVDOC-L Your full name Send to LISTSERV%UHUPVM1.BITNET@VM1.NODAK.EDU SUBSCRIBE PACS-L Your full name Discussions of music on CD can be found in rec.music.cd. ========================================================================== 5. Why are CD-ROM drives so slow? Compact discs were originally designed for music. When you are listening to "Willie Nelson's Greatest Hits", you are accessing the data sequentially and at a very regular speed. The only time you need to seek is when you decide to skip over a song, or back up and listen to "Always on my Mind" one more time. In order to fit as much music as possible onto the disc, the data is recorded at the same linear density near the outer edge of the disc as it is near the center, so there is more information in the outside tracks than in the inside tracks. In order to deliver a steady rate of data, the linear velocity of the disc moving under the head is constant, so the angular velocity of the disc changes when the head moves from the center toward the outside tracks. This is no big deal when you are playing music, but when you are trying to do random access to a CD-ROM, the need to accelerate and decelerate the disc is the biggest obstacle to making it faster. Most magnetic discs spin at a constant angular velocity, so the data density decreases toward the outside of the disk, but seeks are faster. A few other reasons that CD-ROMs are slow: Optical disc heads tend to be heavier than magnetic disk heads, so they have more inertia, and take longer to stablize onto a new track. Many CD-ROMs contain too much data to make effective use of RAM caches. As time goes by, CD-ROM drives will get a little faster, but don't expect any miracles. ========================================================================== 6. Is it important to have a fast CD-ROM? Does 300ms vs 700ms really matter? It depends on what applications you will be using. Many CD-ROMs are just big archives of stuff, and you can copy individual programs to your hard disk before using them so speed is not really very important. But if you are going to be using large ramdom-access databases, or any kind of interactive multi-media applications, then the speed difference is very noticible. ========================================================================== 7. Is it important to buy a fully SCSI compatible drive? Several CD-ROM drives only support a sub-set of SCSI, and usually come with their own semi-SCSI controller card. Full SCSI compatible drives usually cost more, but are better if you already have a SCSI controller and want to daisy chain several devices, or if you want to be able to use the drive on different machine types. ========================================================================== 8. How much does it cost to make a CD-ROM? You can get a master made for about $1300, and then about $1.50 per disc for duplication. So to make 1000 discs, it will cost you about ($1300 + (1000 * 1.50)) = $2800. Publishers often have `first-timer' specials with steep discounts off the list price. For instance, DMI recently had a special of mastering, 50 discs, and two hours of tech support for $750. If you only want a few discs, you can have single `one-offs' made for about $200 for the first disc, and $100 for additional copies. ========================================================================== 9. Where can I get a CD-ROM published? I have used both of these companies, and highly recommend either: Digital Audio Disc Corporation 1800 North Fruitridge Avenue Terre Haute, IN 47803 812-462-8100, 812-466-9125 FAX Disc Manufacturing Inc. 4905 Moores Mill Road Huntsville, AL 35810 800-433-DISC, 205-859-9042, 205-859-9932 FAX A more detailed list of 25 publishers in 8 countries is available via anonymous ftp in cdrom.com:/pub/publshrs. ========================================================================== 10. Where can I find equipment to make my own CD-ROMs? If you want to do single copy `one-offs', or low volume CD production, there are recorders announced by JVC, Philips and Sony. JVC Personal ROM-Maker $12500 Philips CDD 521 $6000 Sony CDW-900E $10000 None of these recorders are actually available. You might be able to buy one of the JVC drives by late summer. The Philips drive will not be available till September. The Sony drive might be available in July. Here are some phone numbers you can call for more info: JVC Product Information: +1 714 965-2610 Philips Consumer Electronics: +1 615 475-8869 Sony Computer Peripheral Products: +1 800 352-7669 ========================================================================== 11. How much information will fit on a CD-ROM? It depends on the drive. Most CD-ROM drives will handle up to 650 megabytes with no problems. Some CD-ROM discs have over 700 megabytes of data, but some drives will have trouble reading all the tracks. The CD-ROM Users Group (see above) has a diagnostic CD-ROM that will tell you how much information your drive can handle. ========================================================================== 12. Why doesn't MSCDEX work with DOS 5.0? You must use SETVER with MS-DOS 5.0, to make MSCDEX 2.20 work properly. Otherwise you will get an incorrect DOS version message. See the MS-DOS 5.0 documentation on how to use SETVER. MSCDEX 2.21 works with MS-DOS 5.0 without SETVER. ========================================================================== 13. Where can I get the latest version of MSCDEX? Call MS BBS at 206-936-4082. Choose F for file library, S UPDATES, F to list files, then D MSCDEX.ZIP to download the file. (Microsoft may have deleted this file.) You can get the latest version of MSCDEX (2.21) in a self-extracting zip archive via anonymous ftp from cdrom.com:/pub/cdext.exe. You can get the latest MSCDEX extensions by email by sending a blank message to MSCDEX@micromed.net.netcom.com. ========================================================================== 14. What is the difference between `High Sierra' and ISO-9660? Not much. When the standard was first proposed, it was given the name "High Sierra'. Later it was adopted as an offical standard, with a few minor modifications, and was designated ISO-9660. Usually when someone says "High Sierra", they really mean ISO-9660. ========================================================================== 15. Where can I get a copy of the ISO-9660 standard? You can order a copy of the ISO-9660 standard from ANSI Attn: Sales 11 West 42nd Street New York, NY 10036 212-642-4900 Cost to US destinations is $50, plus $6 shipping, check or money order. ========================================================================== 16. Can you give a short explaination of ISO-9660? ISO-9660 is an international standard that defines a filesystem for CD-ROMs. Almost all systems support ISO-9660. Level one ISO-9660 is similar to an MS-DOS filesystem. Filenames are limited to eight single-case characters, a dot, and a three character extension. Filenames cannot contain special characters, (no hyphens, tildes, equals, or pluses). Only single case letters, numbers, and underscores. Directory names cannot have the three digit extension, just eight single-case characters. Here are some examples of legal and illegal filenames: Legal Illegal Why test_1c.txt test-1c.txt hyphen test1c.txt test 1c.txt space test.1c test.1c.txt more than 1 period readme Readme not single case Subdirectories are allowed to nest up to eight levels deep. Level two ISO-9660 allows longer filenames, up to 32 characters. But many of the other restrictions still apply. Level two discs are not useable on some systems, particularly MS-DOS. ========================================================================== 17. What the heck does `Red Book', `Yellow Book', etc. mean? "Red Book" is the common name of the "Compact Disc Digital Audio Standard". When a disc conforms to the red book standard, it will usually have "digital audio" printed below the "disc" logo. Most music CDs conform to this standard. "Yellow Book" is the standard for CD-ROM. When a disc conforms to the yellow book, it will usually say "data storage" beneath the "disc" logo. "Green Book" is the CD-I (compact disc interactive) standard. "Orange Book" is the standard for write-once compact discs. "Blue Book" is the standard for LaserDisc. You can get the Red Book and Yellow Book from ANSI Attn: Sales 1430 Broadway New York, NY 10018 (212) 642-4900 Red Book: CEI IEC 908 Yellow Book: ISO 10149:1989 You can get the Green Book from American CD-I Association 11111 Santa Monica, Suite 750 Los Angeles, CA 90025 (213) 444-6619 [If anyone can tell me where the other standards are available, I will include that information here.] ========================================================================== 18. What is CD-ROM/XA? CD-ROM/XA is an extension to the Yellow Book Standard. A track on a CD-ROM/XA disc can contain computer data, compressed audio data, and video/picture data. Many CD-ROM drives do not support CD-ROM/XA. [ I really don't understand what is the big difference between CD-ROM/XA and CD-I. If someone can email me an good explaination, I will include it here. ] ========================================================================== 19. What are the Rockridge extensions? The Rockridge extensions use some undefined fields in the ISO-9660 standard to allow full unix-like filenames, symbolic links, and deep directories. "Rockridge" is named after the town in the movie "Blazing Saddles" for no particular reason. To receive a copy of the current version of the Rock Ridge specifications, please contact Bob Niland, e-mail rjn@fc.hp.com, fax 303 229 4545. For information on Rock Ridge at Sun, try rrinfo@Eng.Sun.COM or cdgroup@fantasy.eng.sun.com. For information on Unix-based premastering software supporting the Rockridge extensions contact: Young Minds Inc. 1910 Orange Tree Lane Suite 300 Redlands, CA 92374 714 335-1350 714 798-0488 FAX yngmnds!ayoung@ucrmath.ucr.edu ========================================================================== 20. Is a short technical introduction to these standards available? The file ftp.apple.com(130.43.2.3): /pub/cd-rom/cd-rom.summary gives a short techie introduction to compact disc technology. There is a good brief explaination of all these standards in the paper "Compact Disc Terminology" Nancy Klocko Disc Manufacturing Inc. 1409 Foulk Road, Suite 202 Wilmington, DE 19803 1-800-433-DISC ========================================================================== 21. Are there any ftp sites with good stuff related to CD-ROMs? A couple sites with cdrom related stuff are cdrom.com (192.153.46.254): /pub cs.uwp.edu (131.210.1.4): ========================================================================== 22. How do I write an MSDOS program that can access a cdrom using MSCDEX? The MSCDEX interface documentation is available on the Microsoft Programmer's Library CD-ROM. This also has detailed specifications for drivers that talk to MSCDEX. It even provides solutions to a number of sticky problems. The file mscdex21.zip contains Microsoft's info on how to talk to the CD-ROM extensions (MSCDEX.EXE) and a sample DOS application which is crude but effective in playing audio tracks. This file is available via anonymous ftp from ftp.cica.indiana.edu:/pub/pc/win3/uploads/mscdex21.zip or cdrom.com:/pub/mscdex21.zip. MSCDEX programming information can be found in INTER30?.ZIP. Ralf Brown's interrupt bible. The information is very complete. There is also a book by Ray Duncan (Microsoft Press) detailing all extensions to Dos (XMS, LIM EMS, MSCDEX etc..) which should be available in book stores. I don't have the exact title handy, but it is a small paper back and handy reference. ========================================================================== 23. How do I mount an ISO-9660 disc on a Sun? Su to root and run this command, # mount -r -t hsfs /dev/sr0 /cdrom or even better, put the following line in your /etc/fstab /dev/sr0 /cdrom hsfs ro 0 0 and then run # mount /cdrom ========================================================================== 24. How do I use a cdrom with OS/2? short answer: create a dos system diskette that can access the CD-ROM. Copy the diskette onto the os/2 harddisk using the VMDISK command. Attach the image file created by VMDISK to a program icon. ========================================================================== 25. Why do CD-ROMs cost so much? Here are several answers, take your pick: A. Because too many people are willing to pay the high prices. B. They are not really very expensive when you consider how much data they contain. Even the most expensive CD-ROMs are often cheaper than the least expensive floppies when you figure the cost per byte. C. Because there isn't enough competition. The prices will come down when more people buy drives, and more CD-ROM titles are available. ========================================================================== 26. Why do all the bundle deals require me to buy a drive? What if I already have a drive? Many disc producers sell outdated or surplus discs at steep discounts to be bundled with new drives. The theory is that the new drive owner will find the discs useful, and order the latest version at full price. There are some bundle deals that do not require you to buy a new drive. For instance, the CD-ROM User's Group (see above) has a bundle of ten discs for $99. ========================================================================== 27. Are alt.cd-rom archives available anywhere? Good question. I don't know. If anyone is archiving this group, please let me know. ==========================================================================

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