In the circumstances, the answer was “maybe.” I know several ways of getting data onto a CD, but only on PCs, and my client has one of the new Intellimac/Macintel machines. The last time I owned a Mac, it had System 7.1 on it. OS X is mostly a mystery to me. I can operate programs like Word and Quicken, but overall I’m not too comfortable. And I had never tried to burn a CD.
I decided to see what happened when I inserted the blank CD-RW to which my client had attached the note. A dialog box popped up asking me what I wanted to do next. There were decidedly fewer options than when I do the same thing on my Windows machine, which always includes several options for burning a CD (because I have several programs that can do so).
Dragging files to the CD icon on the desktop didn’t seem to work, either. I eventually fumbled my way into the Disk Utility and made my way through the slightly convoluted procedure of first creating an image from a folder and then burning a CD from the image. It worked, and my client (who only recently upgraded from an ancient iMac and can fit all her documents onto one CD) was happy, but it seemed to me that there had to be an easier way. “Easier” is what Macs are known for, after all.
There is, in fact, an easier way, and if I’d been thinking clearly I would have discovered it before I started in with the always-dubious BullYourWayThrough technique. A Google search conducted this morning revealed several detailed descriptions of how to make various kinds of CDs using the built-in software. Boston College starts at the very beginning, with a description of what CD-ROMs are and where to find the “eject” button on a Macintosh keyboard.
When presented with the “You have inserted a blank CD” dialog, instead of opening Disk Utility, open the Finder and drag the files you want to put onto the CD over to the CD’s Finder window. (This drag-and-drop approach will be familiar to anyone who has burned a CD using Windows XP’s built-in software.) Then you just select File|Burn Disc (again, similar to Windows’ File|Write these files to CD).
Now if someone could just explain to me why the OS X “burn” icon looks like a radiation warning symbol…