Lightscribe on the Mac

Last modified on October 14th, 2007

One of the pieces of technology I’ve always thought was pretty cool was the new Lightscribe CD burners out there on the market. Prior to Lightscribe technology, the best a home user could really do was to be an ink-jet printer, print out a CD label, and then mess with putting it on in the right place. Some companies tried to make blank CDs with actual, printable surfaces, but those didn’t really work.

But somewhere, after a few beers, some genius came up with the great idea of simply etching the label on the CD using the laser built into the CD burner. And thus, Lightscribe was created.

A sample CD burned using Lightscribe – photo from

A while ago I was in Future Shop and saw a Lightscribe external CD burner for around $50. At that price, I thought, it would be cool to pick up so that when I do wedding DVDs etc from anything I shoot, I could do a really nice custom CD label using a photo from the shoot or something of that nature. I thought it would provide a really custom experience, and make people happy when they got the final DVD.

The only thing stopping me from making a purchase was that Future Shop never had any blank media in stock. The last thing I wanted was to buy a DVD burner, only to get home and not use it. Tonight, however, Future Shop had both DVD+R and CDR blank media available in Lightscribe form, so I picked up a drive and came back to test it out.

Unfortunately, after messing around for hours tonight, it turns out that recent updates to the Mac OS have really messed up USB 2.0 talking to external devices. I have done as many updates as possible, and I still get fatal errors trying to use Lightscribe on the Mac (in all applications). Writing a disc is fine, but attempting to write the CD label always fails with a communications error, and a nice blurb in the syslog about USB time outs.

So, I’m sort of at a loss for what to do. I could always take the drive back I guess, but that obviously sucks since I was excited about using it. Lots of people are pissed off in newsgroups, since the 10.4.8 version of the OS worked fine, and versions after that seemed to have broken many USB 2.0 related things. I’m getting the sense, primarily based on my own experiences (since my OS gets less and less stable with each update), that Apple’s QA isn’t what it used to be. It’s been about six months since people started reporting these issues, and many of them are still unresolved (even though these features once worked with the OS).

I’ve put in a support ticket with the maker of the CD drive, so hopefully they will have a recommendation for me. Tomorrow I plan to maybe get outside and go for a jog or something, and then spend a few hours finishing off the photo retouching from last weekend’s wedding. I had a party to go to tonight, but I’ve been so busy land tired ately that I ended up bailing and just decided to stay home and relax.

3 responses to “Lightscribe on the Mac”

  1. John says:

    Which software are you using on the Mac to ‘etch’ the labels and what brand of drive are you using? I have one and it works perfectly. I bought the drive a couple of boxing day sales ago and it came with some lame PC software. I discovered that you can (and should) just use the Lacie driver and software (regardless of your drive maker) which was updated in September:

  2. Duane Storey says:

    Yeah, I have the Lacie system stuff installed, and have tried using Toast, the Lacie Label maker and the Lightscribe simple one. They all fail the same way. Some guys in the forums have had success uninstalling something like Toast and having things magically start working, but I dunno.

  3. Duane Storey says:


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