MacNN | Jobs would offer DRM-free music in a ‘heartbeat’

MacNN is reporting that Jobs would offer DRM-free music in a ‘heartbeat’. And Jobs’ open letter on seems to suggest the same. This is nice. I hope he gets to prove his word.

Maybe, just maybe, the tide is turning on DRM and we’re actually heading in the right direction away for DRM lock-in hell. Emusic sells DRM-free music, Yahoo is trying the odd song, and Amazon might be giving it a go.

Hmm. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Ender’s Game

I just finished reading Ender’s Game. A classic Sci-Fi book by Orson Scott Card. On the whole the book is excellent. I was quite surprised given the age of the book how well the depictions of video games stood the test of time. It seems that the Ender series is trying to get made into a movie. It seems that progress has been made and it is now “in production“. It appears that Wolfgang Petersen is attached as director. I’ve liked some of Wolfgangs other films, particularly Das Boot and Enemy Mine so perhaps he will do a good job. Though some of his recent stuff hasn’t been fantastic.

iPod/iPhone – the roach motel business model

With my iPod going the way of the Dodo I’m beginning to think maybe I should use a media player that is a little less focused on the roach motel business model.

But then I’d have to re-rip all my CDs again in MP3 (instead of iTunes’ usual AAC) format. And iTunes is actually a very good little (big) app. It’s pretty good at podcasts and managing your audio and has some nice bling. Guess I’m stuck in the roach motel.

Blu-ray Encryption Defeated & Why I’ll Never buy Windows Vista.

It seems the hackers have been at it again and this time profess to have cracked Blu-Ray disc encryption. Yeah for freedom.

A comment on this article notes that this initial cracking of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray encryption is only possible because people are using Windows XP. Microsoft’s new OS, Vista, is going to plug many of these holes. Microsoft did a deal with the likes of the MPAA and RIAA and have specifically engineered Vista to be much more “secure”.

If you look at the DRM technology in Vista, you realise they have implemented a framework there specifically for Content Protection. Stuff like polling the system a number of times per second, revocation of drivers if its a known leak of HD content, and checking for electrical fluctuations against possible tampering for hardware.

Such technologies will have an affect on system performance and stability. (It doesn’t take a genius to realise where there will be scenarios when the monitoring of certain components is too aggressive and causes problems for the user).

For an indepth analysis of the “cost” to users of Microsoft implementing this technology check out this article by fellow Kiwi Peter Gutmann. Also check out the Security Now podcast for other related stuff.

Not only is Vista more restricted, hardware vendors have been sneaking in hardware onto motherboards and such that has up until now remained dormant, but is poised to strike. Remember the whole “Trusted Computing” issue.

MS is basically “encouraging” hardware makers to implement crap like HDCP and in the future, extra chips in relation to sensing possible modifications to hardware. (called “tilt bits”). Hardware makers need MS, as MS controls 90% of the desktop market.

And implementing DRM technology doesn’t benefit the hardware makers. It doesn’t improve performance, provide new features worthy of selling, etc…In fact, hardware makers try not to emphasize it! (Otherwise, people won’t buy the hardware!)

Its interesting that the law makers have basically made the rules up of how a hardware company is supposed to act. That is, they must prove themselves worthy. What annoys me is that some of the technologies used to enforce DRM can also be used for security of the PC. So PR/marketing dept can use the excuse of security for selling the hardware, when the truth is, its to control the end-user.

And of course most countries have bowed to preasure for the US and WIPO/WTO hegemony and implemented stupid new digital copyright laws.

Stuff like DMCA or in Australia, the Copyright Amendment 2006. (America has infected Australia with a version of DMCA as part of the Free Trade Agreement). 😦

So I’m going to stay away from Vista as long as humanly possible and to stick to open formats like CDs for music. As for movies, well the internet is rife with that stuff… Broadband is the future, not this optical media crap.

In the end industry will listen to peoples wallets. Don’t spend your money on products that restrict your freedom. Don’t buy mainstream dross, check out alternatives, use You Tube, etc.

A Dogs Breakfast

David Hewlett plays my favorite character, Rodney McKay, on Stargate Atlantis. It seems he’s a geek in real life as well as on the show. He’s made a little indie movie and used his computer knowledge to make a little website to promote it. And in doing so managed to generate enough buzz with his existing fan base to get the movie picked up by MGM and a TV show spun off in the process. If the following trailer is anything to go by, this could be quite good. 🙂

Grump. My favorite TV shows are getting axed.

Now I know it is just silly irreverent mind candy but I really enjoy watching Stargate SG-1. And now it has been canceled. Grump. I guess 10 years is a pretty good run for a silly Science Fiction show like that. But to add insult to injury they just killed off the Carson Beckett character in Stargate Atlantis. It would be interesting to know why they decided to do that. Carson wasn’t my favorite character in Atlantis but he added something here and there.

At least I still have Battlestar Galactica and Heroes to look forward too…


I watched Crank tonight. I knew very little about this film but what I did know led me to believe that this movie might be a very low rent. And I wasn’t wrong. What I was surprised at however was how funny the movie is, not that it is trying to be a gag fest, and how entertaining it was. The dialogue is not as snappy and well written as a films like Snatch, which also stars Jason Statham, but it is similarly fast paced and stylishly edited. Not that this film has anything to do with Snatch or Guy Richie.

Speaking of Guy Richie and Jason Statham, I saw Revolver recently. Very good but ultimately a little confusing. Worth watching again.