Computer hardware is an ever changing entity. Access to information has gone from what used to be a walk to the library in order to rent a book to knowledge being a mere click away. The compact disc has definitely played a role in the information optimization age. Compact discs, or CDs, were first released in 1982. CDs are plastic discs that hold information that can be read by a laser.
CDs were originally intended as music playback devices, and it was not until later that they became a storage device capable of holding data. Now, CDs are used to store data, music, photos, and even video content. Some CDs will will even allow you to store data after the CD has been used. Typically, a CD will be able to hold up to 80 minutes of music, which ends up being a substantial amount for most listeners. There are CDs that hold either more or less data than a standard CD: for instance, mini CDs can hold half of what a regular CD does and they are smaller in diameter.
CDs replaced records, cassette tapes, floppy discs, and the VHS. They have taken over the music, data, and movie industries almost completely in less than 30 years. Today, CDs are very popular means of storing and transferring data in the technological world. By 2004 close to 30 billion compact discs had been sold around the world, and by 2007 it was up to nearly two-hundred billion since 1982.
CDs have gone from the standard CD-R to CD-RW and DVD-R, holding more data in a more user friendly way. More recently, the sales of CDs have been cut nearly in half. They are now being replaced by other storage devices and the use of piracy to obtain data, music and movies. All this makes the information age something to keep up with.