How to Make a CD or DVD Case from a Sheet of Paper

Many people just stack their CDs or DVDs and leave them laying out, exposed to many hazards. While these optical disc formats do have a certain amount of redundancy so that a disc player can recover lost information, leaving them exposed without some protection will put your videos, music, or data at greater risk that is necessary. Protection as simple as a paper cover can prevent contamination, nicks, or scratches in the disc surface. Preservation of discs is important and not at all difficult. In addition to, protecting the discs, the appearance of your storage location can be greatly improved if you do not have stacks of unprotected DVDs and CDs in multiple piles. A simple, basic sleeve or cover for these discs will also make them easier to clearly label and organize. You can make a simple case or sleeve for CDs or DVDs out of an regular sheet of paper. This is an easy and inexpensive way to protect and organize your precious video, music, or data discs. The instructions to do this are below. Instructions for Making a CD-DVD Sleeve or Case from a Sheet of Paper Step 1 – Start with a standard 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. Step 2 – Fold the left and right side toward the center as shown. Step 3 – Form a pocket by folding the top down and creasing it. Step 4 – Now lift the pocket flap from step 3 back up half way. Then fold the left and right inside corners under that top flap at 45 degrees, as shown in this photo. Step 5 – Spread the sides of the pocket to the sides to make the “wings” shown here on the left and right sides. Step 6 – While folding that top flap of the pocket back down, tuck the wings in between the the front and back parts of the so they are not sticking out. Slip the disc into the pocket. Flatten the pocket so the disc will stay in the pocket. Now dog-ear the bottom corners as shown. Step 7 – Tuck the dog-eared flap into the pocket. Step 8 – You’re done with your simple protective cover for a CD or DVD. You can also write on the sleeve to indicate what it contains. Of course, if homemade paper cases aren’t your style, you can find great deals on cases and covers...

read more

Digital and Analog Audio Video Cables Explained

As consumer electronics have evolved over the past 50-60 years, a plethora of cables and connections have evolved to interface them. It can be a little confusing. Here is an overview of the audio and video cables used to connect all kinds of electronics that will help you understand what is going on the next time you need a hook-up. What’s in an Audio-Video Cable? There are three components in a cable that affect signal quality: the conductor, the shielding, and the connector. The conductor is the type of material used as a medium through which the signal passes. Different conductors have different properties like resistance, and techniques like twisting affect these properties. Excess length and inadequate diameter for the signal are common conductor issues. Since a conductor is also basically an antenna, it can also pick up other signals. Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) introduce noise signals into the desired video or audio signal. Proper shielding on a cable reduces electronic noise that the conductor receives. Every connector on a cable actually makes two connections – the connection to the equipment and the connection to the conductor. Bad connections on either side can mean serious degradation of the signal and are a common source of quality issues. Technical performance information is usually readily available when shopping for cables. You don’t have to become an expert, but by learning some basic terms and understanding what is good and what is bad, you can prevent greatly overpaying for a not-so-great cable (which is easy to do). Analog Audio Cables The ¼ inch plug connections (male and female) commonly known as RCA or phono jacks have been around from almost the beginning of the component stereo era. They are still a fairly common way make audio connections between components. A separate connection is used for left and right stereo signals, so connections are usually color coded in red, white, or black. As video became part of home electronics, the RCA jack was employed to connect video signals as well (color coded yellow). While great for analog audio, the RCA jack is less than ideal for video. However, it was adequate when the common format for video was VHS tape. Digital Audio Cables Only recently have cables used only for digital audio started to become common. Digital audio signals are frequently combined with digital video signals (as described with HDMI), so separate cabling is not needed. The most common type of digital audio connection is the Coaxial Digital Audio cable. This uses an RCA connector on each end with a coax cable. Since both audio channels are transmitted digitally over one wire, only one cable is needed for both channels. Since coax cable is used, Coaxial Digital Audio cables feel and look more substantial than RCA cables, plus the connector is frequently plated with a fine metal to improve the connection. Optical Digital Cables use fiber optics to transmit digital audio signals as pulses of light. While this may be the optimal way to transmit digital information, optical cables are expensive, can be somewhat fragile, and have bending limitations. On the positive side, optical cables are immune to interference and do not degrade over a long distance. Analog Video Cables There a number of cables used to carry analog video signals. As mentioned, a common RCA jack was typically employed early in the life of consumer video equipment. As the mediums used for video improved, from enhanced analog like Hi-8 to digital like DVDs, better connections were needed. Options for analog connections and cables include: RCA (Composite) Coaxial S-Video...

read more

Tips on Labeling Your CD DVD Discs

DVD/CD Labeling Options We all have discs we haven’t yet labeled. Some of us have just a few; some of us have stacks or mounds or boxes or baskets of them. These collections grow every time we toss a new disc there, after we burn it but before we get around to labeling it. So how do you label a disc anyway? There are some good answers, some bad answers and some gorgeous answers, many of them right here.   Write Here If only you thought of this before! Yes, you can write directly on the disc. And yes, you can ruin the disc and maybe the drive when you do that – here’s how to make it work. Use a Sharpie. Other markers may also work fine, but some may not. Sanford (the makers of Sharpie) tells us that some marker inks can eat into the plastic and may make a disc troublesome, even useless. Sharpie markets a range of markers they offer specifically for use with CD/DVD media, so we’re naming them. Don’t use a ballpoint pen. Don’t use a pencil. Don’t use a crayon. Writing with a ballpoint or pencil can create enough pressure to damage the layer the laser has to scan, making it unreadable. Writing with a crayon can let wax transfer to the drive’s head or mechanism, leaving your disc just fine but your drive useless. The next time you shop for blanks discs (it’s too late for the discs already in that basket), you might want to choose among the Verbatim products with a white area on the label side that makes any printing you do easier to read. For some of us, alas, who can’t read our own writing, writing isn’t much help. As your grade school teacher may have advised (ours did), when you can’t write neatly, print.   Print a Label Overall these days, we find that people who have the gear to burn CDs also tend to have color ink jet printers. (OK, that’s obvious, but please don’t yawn). And certainly there are many products out there that let you print something on your inkjet printer and stick it onto a disc. And of course, of all those products, we like our Verbatim’s own Verbatim Touch-Less Labeling system best. Should you? With our system, you don’t touch the sticky part of the label, you can’t get centering wrong and the label goes down without a wrinkle. That last part is the best part. A wrinkled or off-center label on a disc spinning at high speeds could make it wobble causing playback trouble. But you decide.   Let the Drive Label the Disc HP (in cooperation with Mitsubishi Chemical, Verbatim’s parent company) debuted a neat product early in 2004 (headed for stores by the end of 2004) with a bright way of getting a label to appear from inside the drive that burns the disc. The HP Lightscribe drive cleverly changes the way the burner drives the laser to let it create a silkscreen-quality image on the “flip” (label) side of special, compatible discs. Since Verbatim helped develop the process, you can count on us to offer Lightscribe media for use with those drives.   Print Directly on the Disc Several printer brands – notably Primera, Epson and Casio – offer specialized printers that print right on a disc and don’t use paper. After you are done reading check out the great range of Verbatim printable CD and DVD media for each of these solutions. Primera is best known for its production duplicators (burner plus printer), but they also...

read more