Dear FileSlinger clients, colleagues, and friends:
Have you backed up your data this week? If not, make sure you do so before the end of the day.
I’ve devoted a few of these newsletters to CDs and DVDs (known collectively as “optical media”) and backups. To recap briefly, for any “archival” backup that needs to last more than a year, it’s best to use brand-name CDs and DVDs, and safest not to apply stick-on labels because of possible damage from the adhesive.
Lately I’ve been noticing more and more ads for “inkjet printable” CDs. On the face of it, that sounds very enticing, especially to those of us who are visually oriented and creative. I print my own business cards, brochures, greeting cards, and even bumper stickers, so why not CDs?
It’s easy enough, and not very expensive, to get CDs with a special inkjet-printable coating. Try putting them in most inkjet printers, though, and neither the CD nor the printer is going to be usable thereafter.
In fact, only a few consumer inkjets (that means printers that normal people can afford) are capable of handling CDs. The Epson Stylus R300 M starts at about $179 and the Epson Stylus Photo R800 starts at about $325. Otherwise, you have to buy a dedicated CD printer, and that will run you easily $1000. (See CNET Shopper for a listing of models and prices.)
A somewhat less expensive alternative is to get a thermal inkjet printer. These start at about $70 and are more compact than their inkjet counterparts, but they print only CDs and not paper. Like inket CD printers, thermal printers require specially treated media.
Both methods of imprinting CDs are considered safe, though not as good for archival CDs as just writing on them with a CD marker (about $5 a pack). If you’re planning to write on CDs with other pens, you might want to get the ones with the coated tops, just to be safe.
For a thorough treatment of the different options for labeling and printing CDs, see the article at CD-info.com. There’s even a link to a service which will allow you to print customized blank CDs in small quantities. (Most CD-imprinting companies require a minimum order of 100.)
Remember—the important thing isn’t to have backups that are pretty—it’s to have backups, period. Don’t put it off until tomorrow.