Techie: Make your mark
Always losing your pirated CDs? Label íem
John ďjaQĒ Andrews
youíve made a perfectly legitimate backup copy of your music or software
Youíre adding it to your library when you realize, oh snap, how will you
ever find that particular CD again? It looks just like all the others!
with many of the insignificant problems we technologically domineering
Americans find ourselves tackling, this one has spawned a variety of
creative solutions. Short of the silkscreening process used on
mass-produced discs, the individual user has options.
newest, hippest and geekiest way to label your CDs, HPís LightScribe
technology comes only in specially equipped CD and DVD burners. Many of
their new PCs come with these burners installed. The idea is that the
same drive can both burn data onto a disc and then burn a label onto the
catch? There are a few. For starters, you need to buy special
LightScribe discs. They have a special chemical coating that the driveís
laser zaps to produce text and images. Ordinary spindles of 100 CD-Rs
for free after rebate wonít cut it. Secondly, you need to eject, flip
and re-insert the disc in order to label it. Not a big deal, admittedly,
but itís just annoying enough to prevent me from hailing LightScribe as
the biggest thing since electricity. Lastly, LightScribe only produces
black-and-white images and text. No flawless CD pirating and selling for
Casio CW-50 CD Title Printer
This baby looks sort of like an external CD drive. It connects to your
PCís USB port and can print monochrome text or graphics on any CD or DVD
ó no special brand required. Its ink comes in ribbons of several colors,
but you can only use one at a time.
Most consumer inkjet printers donít have the capability to print
directly onto CDs for the simple reason that CDs donít bend like paper
does. Epson offers several models with a straight-through feeding
mechanism just for this purpose.
of the most economical is the Stylus Photo R200, about $80 after rebate.
With customized software for designing labels, this might be the most
practical solution if youíre looking for a printer anyway. You get full
color labels ó though you do need to buy inkjet printable discs. Not as
expensive as LightScribe discs, but you still need to pay attention.
Inkjet Label Kits
you canít afford to invest in a whole new printer, there are plenty of
kits complete with design software, CD labels and applicators. The
labels usually come two per 8.5Ēx11Ē page and any inkjet printer can
give you full-color beauty. The applicator is typically a round plastic
contraption that lines up the hole in the label with the hole in the CD,
but you still have to be careful to get the label on smoothly, with no
air bubbles and not falling off the side of the disc. Either of those
can spell disaster for an unsuspecting CD player as bits of sticky paper
come flying off a spinning disc. Yuck.
you really donít care what your label looks like, and can read your own
handwriting, the low-tech option is always there. You can even pick up a
free Sharpie Mini if youíre good enough at a Breakout clone game the
company has set up: www.sharpieminigame.com.