Some Unusual CDs
Hobbies have a way of accumulating odd bits. For many years my hobby was the CD-Recordable FAQ, so I picked up a few curious items along the way.
Here's a picture of a GD-R, which is the recordable version of the GD-ROM disc used in the Sega DreamCast game console. These are very uncommon; I had access to one because I happened to be working for Microsoft at the time. The disc went through a microwave, but you can still see distinct regions on the disc.
Here are a couple of shaped CD-Rs that somebody found in Japan. The discs are essentially 120mm discs with an 80mm recordable area. The outer section of the polycarbonate has been cut into an interesting (but balanced) pattern, and cute designs have been printed on the top.
There is no palpable seam where the 80mm recordable area meets the rest of the disc, so it's not an 80mm CD-R that was "extended" outward.
Next is a 80mm x 60mm CD-R "business card". As pictured here it's clipped inside an 80mm converter, which allows the disc to sit in a caddy meant to hold 120mm discs. Next to it is a standard business card, which measures 88mm x 51mm. These were very popular for a short while, but faded due to practical considerations: they don't work with all slot-loading drives, and nobody wants to risk getting a virus or spyware from playing a stranger's CD-ROM into their computer.
MediaCloQ Copy Protected CD
This is the Charley Pride CD that gained fame as the first copy-protected audio CD. It was protected with SunnComm's MediaCloQ technology (see FAQ section (2-4-4) in the CD-Recordable FAQ). What makes this disc interesting to look at is it has a heavy visible band at about the place where the music ends. The area outside that has some barely visible radial patterns that might be an attempt to foil counterfeiting. The area where the music is has some very faint circles that correspond to about the place where a track boundary would be. It's unclear what effect, if any, this has.
Here's the disc label and a jewel case insert. The top of the disc, as well as the back of the case, says:
This audio CD is protected by SunnComm(tm) MediaCloQ(tm) Ver
It is designed to play in standard Audio CD players only and
is not intended for use in DVD players.
Licensed copies of all music on this CD are available for downloading.
Simply insert CD into your computer to begin.
Here are three images of the data surface, with different angles and lighting. You can see the heavy band and the faint circles on both sides of the disc if you catch the light the right way.
The disc appeared to my Plextor CD-ROM drive as a multi-session disc with 16 data tracks and no audio tracks. My CD player thought it had 15 audio tracks. For more details -- including the steps I used to get the first unprotected copy -- see section (2-4-4).