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CD problem: hardware or software?

I'm running testing on a PowerPC (a Mac Mini to be precise). I have an 
external CD drive that i am using to rip my CD collection (i'm using an 
external to avoid wear and tear on the more expensive internal drive). 
The problem is that after bootup i can rip CDs for a little while 
(where "a little while" ranges from 1/2 of a disc to 10 discs, usually 
towards the lower end of the range), but then errors start showing up 
in dmesg and on the console. The only way to resume ripping is to 
reboot the computer; detaching the CD drive, power cycling the CD, and 
reconnecting it to the computer doesn't fix the problem. If i reboot 
the computer and power cycle the CD drive, the problem is fixed and i 
can resume ripping right where i left off (which implies to me that the 
problem isn't with the discs i've been ripping).

The external drive has both ieee1394 and USB 2.0 interfaces. I've tried 
connecting it to either one, and the same problem occurs. Any ideas 
whether this is a hardware or a software issue?

Here's what shows up in dmesg when ripping CDs (there are many more 
messages, all identical except sometimes the 30576 number changes). 
These messages show up right away, before any actual problem is 

sg_write: data in/out 30576/30576 bytes for SCSI command 0xbe--guessing 
data in;
   program cdparanoia not setting count and/or reply_len properly
printk: 198 messages suppressed.

Once the problem occurs, this is what gets printed on the terminal. 
Again, there are many copies of this message; this is just a sample:

scsi_read error: sector=313943 length=1 retry=3
                 Sense key: 0 ASC: 0 ASCQ: 0
                 Transport error: Error reading command from device
                 System error: Success

Dan Ramaley
Digital Media Library Specialist
(515) 271-1934
Cowles Library 140, Drake University

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