Glad to hear from a fellow enthusiast that remembers such formats. I'll admit that I was also one to stare at the drives at the back of computer magazines, with them costing about AU$1200 at the time. At the time, CD-ROMs were somewhat widespread, and I remember myself somewhat prophetically proclaiming that "those CD's won't last. You can't even write to them. MO cartridges are the future - almost infinite rewritability and with much better safety for the disc." I laugh now, but sometimes, I feel sad that the technically superior technology didn't quite make it to be adopted by the masses.
I wasn't even aware of PD at the time, as MO really dominated the "Optical Drive" category. Looking back, the name of Optical Drive and Optical Disc Cartridge was very non-descript - it was as if they didn't anticipate any other technologies would come along.
Anyhow, I did participate in the CD, DVD, DVD-RAM, and Blu-Ray era ... which might mark the end of Optical media for consumers in the end.
One of my earliest memories of recordable CDs was handling a Sony 63 minute CD-R that had been recorded by an educational institution as a back-up, which had gold foil and probably some cyanine dye for a really deep, rich, dark green. Sadly, such early "pre-74-minute" era CD-Rs are very rare to see ... just as were 2.6Gb per side DVD-RAM, 3.95Gb DVD-Rs, DVD-R for authoring (using a different laser wavelength), and HD-DVD-R (seen online, but not in the flesh).
Enough rambling though ...