For CD-RWs, what I am talking about is performing a read/write test on the media to look for defects before burning the data on the CD. For CD-Rs, how about attempting to 'read' the blank media and (is it possible?) checking for losses in the return return signal?
A program which does that (if it exists, can someone give me a linky?) would save time when you could just bin a defective CD instead of writing it up and then discovering errors at the verification stage.
Also, is it possible to mark bad regions of the CD-R/RW as one would do after a HDD scan so that data is not written in those areas? I suppose not much can be done to the ToC, but a temporary data file stored on the HDD referencing those bad sectors might be used in tandem with writing software so that it knows which parts of the CD to avoid writing to.
So, apart from saving time, this could potentially save a CD otherwise destined to be under your coffee mug.