Review: DirectCD 1.0.2
Published by: Adaptec
Street Price: $70
Check <http://www.adaptec.com/tools/compatibility/dcdmac.html> to make sure your CD-R or CD-RW drive is supported.
With prices now less than $400, CD-Recordable (CD-R) and CD-ReWritable (CD-RW) drives are increasingly affordable--and popular. Dantz's Retrospect is great for backing up to CDs, and Adaptec's Toast is excellent for audio CDs and CD mastering. However, neither makes using recordable CDs as simple as working with other removable media, such as floppies and Zip cartridges.
With Adaptec's DirectCD, all this changes. DirectCD lets you work with CD-R/RW disks right from the Mac desktop. When you insert a blank CD-R/RW into your drive, DirectCD brings up the standard Macintosh dialog asking if you want to initialize the disk. After initializing it in DirectCD format, you can copy files or folders to the CD, just as with any other Macintosh disk. When Toast writes to a CD, it takes over your machine, and when you're through, the added files show up as a separate volume on the desktop. This is because Toast writes in sessions. DirectCD, in contrast, can write in packets. Because DirectCD uses packet writing, it lets you add, move, and modify files on a single logical volume. If you're using Mac OS 8 or Connectix SpeedDoubler, you can copy files to the CD in the background.
DirectCD even lets you delete files from CD-R/RWs. The catch is that since the media is write-once, the file isn't actually deleted, it just becomes unavailable to Mac OS. This also means that deleting a file does not free up disk space, as with normal Mac disks--even if you have a CD-RW. You can, however, completely erase a CD-RW disk to reclaim all the space, but not from within DirectCD.
Any Macintosh or Windows machine with DirectCD and a supported CD-R/RW drive can read and write to DirectCD-formatted disks. To make a disk readable on machines without DirectCD, you use the DirectCD control panel to "close" the disk. Once closed, a disk can no longer be modified, but it can be read by any Mac or PC that can read UDF 1.5 disks. At present, no Macs support this format, but Adaptec has a free UDF 1.5 Volume Access extension on its Web site. Apple will probably include UDF 1.5 support directly in Mac OS 8.5 (be released this fall).
DirectCD is a stable and elegant piece of software that will be useful for anyone with a recordable or rewritable CD drive. I highly recommend it.