I've recently acquired a tiny 60GB USB 2 hard drive, which travels around with me everywhere I go, and it's allowed me to discover the delights of CD copying with Windows Media 9.

Now that hard disk space is so cheap, I've been able to rip my CDs with the new lossless WMA format, which means I'll hopefully never have to go through that tedious CD swapping cycle again even as new formats are introduced. Each CD takes ~300MB to store, which means that this pocket-sized drive can store 200 CDs - pretty much my entire CD collection. Suddenly I can listen to my choice of music wherever I am without having to pick out a selection of CDs in advance. If only I could hook it up to my car somehow...

CDs are clearly the last major format of audio media that will gain broad consumer adoption. I predict that in five years time, many digerati will be purchasing music over the internet and downloading it to a central home server machine running some Longhorn-based Media Center edition of Windows.

Disclaimer - CD copying is only legal for CDs you own etc. etc. I'm not condoning piracy, even though it frustrates the heck out of me that I can't backup one of my favourite CDs using WMP because of lame copy protection mechanisms.