An Introduction to Disco

[Disco logo]

The guys that created AppZapper haven’t been resting on their laurels. Creating one simple, clear, concise app wasn’t enough for them. After delivering us the “Uninstaller that Apple forgot”, they have been busy redefining how we burn CDs, and create disk images. The fruits of their labour? Disco.

So, what does it do? Well, as I mentioned, it burns CDs, and creates disk images. Of course, applications like this already exist. For example, there’s Roxio Toast (currently at version 7), which is a snip (ahem) at $80. There is of course built in disk burning facilities in OS X, which is nice to use, but doesn’t let you create disk images, doesn’t write in a selection of formats, and doesn’t smoke.

Smoke? Yep, you read it correctly. When you’re burning a disk image, as a visual indication of what’s happening, the Disco window actually smokes. They’ve actually created a pixel perfect fluid dynamic model of smoke. But the amazement doesn’t even end there, you can interact with the smoke with your mouse, and blowing into the microphone blows the smoke too. These guys just don’t know when to stop!

Shakin’ So, you’re using your laptop, and you’re burning a CD on the go. Wow, trendy you! Problem is, you forgot that moving the laptop whilst burning isn’t a good move. You might end up with a dead disk. Wrong! Disco is clever enough to realise when the laptop is moving too much to potentially interfere with the burning process, and shakes the window to warn you of this. Now that’s the sudden motion sensor being used for something sensible instead of making light saber noises!

So other than smoking, and shaking, what does Disco actually do? Oh, I’ve mentioned that already, it burns CDs and creates disk images (crazily it’s easy to forget that, and focus on the fun stuff). Disco supports a number of disk image types:

and also a number of file formats:

It understands how to span disks, and tells you nicely when to insert a new disk. Everything just works fluidly. When moving from one window to another, content slides from left to right, top to bottom, depending on the context. This probably has to be seen to be understood, but trust me that it’s intuitive.

Disco also has an interesting feature called Discography: “Discography keeps track of every disc you burn and every file on it. You can instantly search through tens of thousands of burned files and find out when it was burned, when it was last edited, and to what disc it was burned.” Now, that feature needs the test of time to see how useful it is, but on paper it sounds pretty cool.

Unfortunately, on the beta I tested there was no Help available. But hey, this is an overly-designed-to-be simple mac app – it shouldn’t need instructions!

So, how do you get hold of this cool, shiny app? Well, unfortunately it’s not available yet, but it is coming soon at an introductory price of $14.95. For the time being, follow the developer’s movements leading up to a major public release here on their blog.

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