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SAY IT TO THE MANUFACTURERS

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SAY IT TO THE MANUFACTURERS

Postby Rich on Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:28 pm

Hi,

I just got an idea

:roll: ::hey look out he's got another idea:: :roll:

I was thinking about a new category where folks could put down ideas for doing this burning thing better and manufacturers could occasionally pass by and maybe someone's idea would actually be used to improve the quality of burning disks.

After some thought I realized it may not get enough input so I figured I'd post a message in this cagegory since it's fairly close to the mark.

Anyway, here goes:

I'd like to see drives have a media diagnostic feature. When you buy a new spindle of media you'd put a disk in your drive.

Then you'd bring up something like Plextools and select this new "Media Diagnostic" feature. You'd enter a brand name for the media, the size, the X-Factor and click the ok button.

Then the drive would analyse the disk both passively and dynamically. First it'd look at the disk then it'd burn test patterns. It'd burn a sequence at 2.4x; 4x; 6x; 8x; 12x 16x and so on. On the Plextor it'd burn each of these with several angles of the laser. Multiply that by different power levels. With the vast cylinders on the disk there would be plenty of room.

Finally the drive would go and analyze the burn reading the disk back at several speeds to finally come up with 2 reports. One would be for folks like me who just want to know what is the best speed to burn the media at. Perhaps it could have a range from perfection to pretty darn good with a suggested speed in the middle. The 2nd report could be for folks who want the nitty gritty and would be pages of details.

Ultimately you could click 'save' on this 'profile' and choose the profile when using this media.

This should be already possible. The drives burn media. The drives read the media. It would just be a software thing.

Thanks,

Rich

Now, what's your idea?

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Postby hoxlund on Thu Oct 21, 2004 12:38 pm

awesome, awesome idea, standing ovation

this feature should really be pushed, not just for select manufactured drives either
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Postby Rich on Thu Oct 21, 2004 1:29 pm

hoxlund wrote:awesome, awesome idea, standing ovation

this feature should really be pushed, not just for select manufactured drives either


Hey, thanks for the great reply!

A software ap, independant of the drive's manufacturers could do it.

...actually I was wondering about a pop-out electric razor too.

:: of course I was kidding! :: :P

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Postby dolphinius_rex on Thu Oct 21, 2004 2:01 pm

I'm sure every drive manufacturer who reads your post will die of a heart attack :wink:
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Postby Rich on Thu Oct 21, 2004 2:20 pm

dolphinius_rex wrote:I'm sure every drive manufacturer who reads your post will die of a heart attack :wink:


Gee, how come? Seems like an opertunity to make their drive 'solid'.

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Postby dolphinius_rex on Thu Oct 21, 2004 3:29 pm

Rich wrote:
dolphinius_rex wrote:I'm sure every drive manufacturer who reads your post will die of a heart attack :wink:


Gee, how come? Seems like an opertunity to make their drive 'solid'.

Rich


I don't think what you ask is actually possible.... not on a single test, and not with the hardware being currently used. The closest company to maybe even considering doing something of that magnitude would be Plextor, followed by BenQ, and I don't think either of them really want to spend that kind of time doing R&D for something most users wouldn't even care about. The fact is, we users on CDRlabs and other forums are by far the minority of the burning industry. Most people know little, and care even less. I'm not saying it wouldn't be a nice thing to have, but just I think it's unrealistic.
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Postby Rich on Thu Oct 21, 2004 3:49 pm

dolphinius_rex wrote:I don't think what you ask is actually possible.... not on a single test, and not with the hardware being currently used. The closest company to maybe even considering doing something of that magnitude would be Plextor, followed by BenQ, and I don't think either of them really want to spend that kind of time doing R&D for something most users wouldn't even care about. The fact is, we users on CDRlabs and other forums are by far the minority of the burning industry. Most people know little, and care even less. I'm not saying it wouldn't be a nice thing to have, but just I think it's unrealistic.


Thanks Rex,

I appreciate your response. You maybe right on the most of the users but as far as being unrealistic, I believe that most of the work is done.

Plextools for instance has enough diagnostic code already. All that would need to be done would be to have a controlling master subroutine that would use the existing diagnostics in Plextools and execute them in a stuctured manor. For new users it'd be comprehensively designed so that there would be no real user input, only to specify what the disk brand name and such for disk id purposes. Shoot, if Plextools would take command line parameters it would be half way there.

One additional benifit for manufacturers like Plextor would be to use this application to approve various media to go onto their "Approved Media' lists. That could save themselves time instead testing media manually.

But thanks again.

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Postby Halc on Fri Oct 22, 2004 7:35 am

Rich,

I'm afraid the process works a little bit differently.

A drive manufacturer can make their drive compatible with media by building a write strategy for it and embedding that strategy in the drive's firmware.

It's not like the market can be simply divided into 'good' and 'bad' discs.

Media are 'compatible' or 'incompatible' with each drive model. depending if the model was optimized for that particular media type or not.

As for finding out universal media quality by using a Plextor drive alone, it's not possible.

There are several ways to read back a burned disc.

One of these ways may be more compatible than another way of doing the reading.

The differences in reading implementations will influence the way the drive sees the disc as having 'low errors' or 'high errors'. The errors are in the reading process, not on the disc.

So, while I think your goal is very good and I applaud the effort, I'm not sure it's possible to do it the proposed way.

I'd personally be content, if all the manufacturers standardised on a way to report raw PIE and second stage PIF/POE data with common units (that conform to dvd spec limits).

This data could then be dumped in a text file, read in and analyzed.

But I don't think manufacturers are too keen on implementing that.

The only ones that have tried it are LiteOn and Plextor.

Pioneer and Nec have are not even inerested in co-operating with third parties who have offered to build such utilities for them (and for everybody) free of charge.

Such attitude implies that they are not very interested in building such tools themselves (imho).

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Postby Rich on Fri Oct 22, 2004 12:30 pm

Halc wrote:Rich,

I'm afraid the process works a little bit differently.

halcyon


Hi Halcyon,

Maybe I missed the mark in what I communicated.

Sometimes you could use the word 'orange' and not be clear in whether you meant food or color. Sometimes you just fail to get what your thinking down into words, and maybe I did fail at that.

Halc, if you have a pioneer, or a plextor, and either drives says it'll burn +R media at 4x and you buy 4x media and use it with either drive they should burn it properly.

Now the 'money' word in that sentence was 'should'.

That meant should like little girls and boys 'should' be good. It doesn't try to say they will.

You see how the communication can fail?

Halc, there is a product out there called CloneCD that takes control of the drive and does correct efm encoding. I believe that is taking control of the drive from even from it's own firmware.

This is mute point. What I'm trying to get at is that drives can be controlled by software and it is proven when copying copy protected disks.

Now, to clearfiy another of my failings, I never meant to say, and I'm not sure I did, that a drive could be made to burn all media perfectly.

I believe I covered that by describing a report:

Quote: One would be for folks like me who just want to know what is the best speed to burn the media at.
EndQuote:

What I was thinking is in the case a user buys a spindle and in using this finds that the 'best speed' to burn at would be 1X and that would be specified as only 80% accurate.

Do you see where my idea would now show the user that this media is impossible?

There are times when a project will desperately need to be burned and inferior or media with a low compatiblity with no write strategy in the burner's firmware will be the only stuff available. At times like this the media diagnostic would could "on some occasions" show a user that they could get acceptable quality if they just burned it an 1X.

This is what I was describing. The media would be tested just as I described, burning a couple cylinders at one speed, at one angle of the laser, at one power setting and the next two cylinders at the next setting. You'd have plenty of cylinders to cover the whole spread of possibilities atleast (grossly atleast) 3-4 times to cover the various rotation zones in the drives that change speeds and such to give a comprehensive test.

Then the reading would be done just as I said testing at various speeds to see how bad does it get at higher speeds.

In the case that concerns you: a perfectly INCOMPATIABLE media type the tests would show it. And like I said above it would show only a terribly low accuracy rate even at a terribly low X factor.

I would envision a preset bit pattern used over and over again such as the 256 ascii codes so the test would know just what it should be finding and comparing.

Now to take your argument even a step further from here. Media even varies from 'run to run' or better said 'batch to batch'.

What I meant to say is this process is for a 'spindle'; meaning a paticular spindle. The spindle of the same media you buy 5 weeks later of the same brand and so on would be re-tested since they may have screwed up a run or done a better run.

Now if you ADD what my miss-communication left out:

This process would not make a drive burn any media, it would just tell you how to set it for the best result and how good that paticular best result will be. If the media was perfectly incompatible, the results of the test would show that. ie: "At 1x the media was only 23% readable."


Such a diagnostic feature could be done with software.

Such a diagnostic feature could create a write strategy for compatible media.

It could show the best strategy for a paticular 'run' of compatible media.

It could show a patuclar 'run' of media would be impossible.

It could do it in a manner that would be black and white for a new user.


Please keep the comments coming,

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Postby dolphinius_rex on Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:40 pm

Rich wrote:This is what I was describing. The media would be tested just as I described, burning a couple cylinders at one speed, at one angle of the laser, at one power setting and the next two cylinders at the next setting. You'd have plenty of cylinders to cover the whole spread of possibilities atleast (grossly atleast) 3-4 times to cover the various rotation zones in the drives that change speeds and such to give a comprehensive test.


The paragraph above is the main problem that I see with your idea. Basically, you cannot burn "a couple cylinders" and expect to be able to tell the burn quality... also, since the higher speeds of burning are only acheived at the end of the disc, which is also the most problamatic portion of the disc usually, it's impossible to do proper burning/testing of that portion of the disc at all possible speeds (using all possible angles...?) on only one disc.

Rich wrote:This process would not make a drive burn any media, it would just tell you how to set it for the best result and how good that paticular best result will be. If the media was perfectly incompatible, the results of the test would show that. ie: "At 1x the media was only 23% readable."


This paragraph seems to contradict the other paragraph... perhaps I'm misunderstanding?

Rich wrote:Such a diagnostic feature could create a write strategy for compatible media.

It could show the best strategy for a paticular 'run' of compatible media.

It could show a patuclar 'run' of media would be impossible.

It could do it in a manner that would be black and white for a new user.


This last bit sounds a lot like what LiteON is doing with their "learning Eeprom" which does calibration check and the like while the disc is burning, and adjusts the write strategy with every disc. Now this takes 4 or 5 burns at the same speed on the same disc to acheive optimum performance (so I've been told) but on top of that, in situations where the disc is damaged in some way before burning, it can TOTALLY throw off your write strategy, because the disc's performance is averaged into the total, and the drive thinks the writing strategy needs to be changed, when only the media is at fault.

So again, it cannot be done using only one disc, and it's really not as easy as you make it sound. However, FE/TE testing abilities now offered by Plextor and BenQ (to be released this weekend I'm told...), as well as the learning Eeprom from LiteON, are slow steps toward something sort of similar to what you are suggesting (as I understand it). But your suggestion as is, I believe is currently impossible.
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Postby Rich on Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:51 pm

dolphinius_rex wrote:
Rich wrote:This is what I was describing. The media would be tested just as I described, burning a couple cylinders at one speed, at one angle of the laser, at one power setting and the next two cylinders at the next setting. You'd have plenty of cylinders to cover the whole spread of possibilities atleast (grossly atleast) 3-4 times to cover the various rotation zones in the drives that change speeds and such to give a comprehensive test.


The paragraph above is the main problem that I see with your idea. Basically, you cannot burn "a couple cylinders" and expect to be able to tell the burn quality... also, since the higher speeds of burning are only acheived at the end of the disc, which is also the most problamatic portion of the disc usually, it's impossible to do proper burning/testing of that portion of the disc at all possible speeds (using all possible angles...?) on only one disc.
.


I'm racing to get out the door for work. But as far as changing mid burn; remember buffer underrun protection; stopping and properly restarting the burn?

You just stop the burn, change gears (so to speak) and restart where you left off.

When reading you test to see what the read quality is for all portions by choosing what part of the cd to read like reading a paticualar file. You don't have to read the whole disk to get one file. Then you change read speed and do it again. Then you compare read speed data and factor in the speed the paticular areas were written in and you get one heck of a graph.

gotta run, I'll cover more tonight/tomorrow.

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Postby Rich on Sun Oct 24, 2004 11:23 pm

dolphinius_rex wrote:
Rich wrote:Such a diagnostic feature could create a write strategy for compatible media.

It could show the best strategy for a paticular 'run' of compatible media.

It could show a patuclar 'run' of media would be impossible.

It could do it in a manner that would be black and white for a new user.


This last bit sounds a lot like what LiteON is doing with their "learning Eeprom" which does calibration check and the like while the disc is burning, and adjusts the write strategy with every disc. Now this takes 4 or 5 burns at the same speed on the same disc to acheive optimum performance (so I've been told) but on top of that, in situations where the disc is damaged in some way before burning, it can TOTALLY throw off your write strategy, because the disc's performance is averaged into the total, and the drive thinks the writing strategy needs to be changed, when only the media is at fault.

So again, it cannot be done using only one disc, and it's really not as easy as you make it sound. However, FE/TE testing abilities now offered by Plextor and BenQ (to be released this weekend I'm told...), as well as the learning Eeprom from LiteON, are slow steps toward something sort of similar to what you are suggesting (as I understand it). But your suggestion as is, I believe is currently impossible.



...now to finish the reply I began a couple days back. I'm sorry for the delay but life got busy.

It sounds like Liteon is on the right track.

As far as not being able to write the drives top speed except at the outer portion of the disk is absolutely true, so then that speed would not need to be tested in the inner regions.

Just how many cylinders does a dvd have, thousands? Sounds like plenty of area for testing in one burn.

As far as possiblity I believe it's possible.

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Postby Rich on Sun Oct 24, 2004 11:31 pm

A new thought in this area has actually went through my mind many times.

For a critical burn it'd be nice if you could have the drive analyzed (passivly) and make a list of bad spots in the media. Then when burning they'd be skipped over like the old MFM drives. Thus, the data would be more securely burned.

Also another way for this could be to burn 20 megs and then test 20 megs. Rewrite the errors in the next section. THIS would only be for things a person would select as critcial. I'm saying so the error correcting features wouldn't need to be used. Those error correcting portions of the burn would still be there fully, but hopefully never needed until the disk is very old.

One more way would be (and seems to me to be a natural that the manufacturers never gave us) would be to have a data-safe mode where the entire write strategy of the drive would change and only put 2.5 gigs on a disk but it would be solid as a rock.

Personally I'd happily give up a gig or two from time to time for a VERY sound burn.


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Postby Halc on Mon Oct 25, 2004 2:00 am

Rich,

I agree with your point that if a consumer buys a 16xDVDRW burner and a 16x certified disc, then he/she should be able to burn that disc at 16x and read it back at 16x without problems.

That's a goal that everybody, except the unscrupulous media makers, are trying to achieve (based on my reading of compatibility meetings between media/drive manufacturers).
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Postby Rich on Mon Oct 25, 2004 6:38 pm

Halc wrote:Rich,

I agree with your point that if a consumer buys a 16xDVDRW burner and a 16x certified disc, then he/she should be able to burn that disc at 16x and read it back at 16x without problems.

That's a goal that everybody, except the unscrupulous media makers, are trying to achieve (based on my reading of compatibility meetings between media/drive manufacturers).


Thanks Halc,

I share your concerns about unscrupulous manufacturers.

This could help too when you get like 8x media that a drive maker lets you push to 12x. A diagostic and evaluation of the data could help insure it would truly burn well at a faster speed, or show us to hold back for a paticular batch of media and just burn it as directed.

Thanks again for the reply,
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