I decided to re-rip my CD collection in a lossless format. Happily, my new ripping experience was fast and reliable.
During my last ripping exercise, I used Linux as my OS of choice, and I ripped to MP3. The experience was mostly excellent. But due to a hard disk failure, I decided to re-rip one more time - this time, to a lossless format.
I chose the Apple Lossless format - a well-supported and efficient format. One beauty of a lossless format is that the data can be converted into another lossless format without any loss of quality - just in case audio file formats change in the future. I also considered using FLAC lossless, which I believe would have been another excellent choice.
My hardware: I used my Mac Mini, along with four inexpensive CD-ROM drives attached via IDE-to-USB adapters. This allowed me to rip four discs in parallel, greatly increasing my ripping performance. I suppose I could have hooked up more drives, but I only had four adapters readily available. USB to IDE adapters are very inexpensive, and can be easily found on services like eBay for under $10.
For software, I used "Max", an excellent, well-integrated audio conversion tool. Unlike iTunes, Max can rip several discs in parallel. In contrast, iTunes rips serially - only one disc at a time.
Now, my CDs are going back into the storage room, hopefully to never see the light of day.