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links for 2008-09-13

Passionato Over 18,000 (classical) recordings in high-quality (320Kbps) DRM-FREE MP3 files. Seems to work out about $15 for an album, so not sure it’s a huge saving (tags: mp3 music download drm classical) Oblique Strategies Edition 3 (1979) Brian Eno’s inspiration pack (tags: strategies creativity brianeno inspiration) Kleptomania Kleptomania lets you select text anywhere on the screen, including areas that you cannot highlight with your mouse, such as columns of data from a word processor or error messages from any Windows program. (tags: windows utility ocr screencapture capture) OnionMap nice tourist maps in SimCity-like 3D (tags: world visualization travel maps)

Foiling EMI

Further to my rant yesterday about digital rights management, my friend Mark tells me that getting around the Coldplay X&Y copy protection is easy — just rip it on a Mac. He’s right, at least for me: Works like a dream, after no joy at all on two ThinkPads. This may not be true with all copies of the CD. I bought mine in Hong Kong in 2005, although it appears to be imported from Europe. A piece on ConsumerAffairs says the “CD’s restrictions also prevent it from being played or copied on Macintosh PCs.” Some folk reported problems playing it on their Macs. HopefullyContinue readingFoiling EMI

The Death of DRM, the Rise of Patrons

Forget being a big old mass music consumer. Become a Patron of the Arts. The IHT’s Victoria Shannon chronicles the last few gasps of life in Digital Rights Management (DRM) for music, saying that “With the falloff in CD sales persisting and even digital revenue growth now faltering in the face of rampant music sharing by consumers, the major record labels appear to be closer than ever to releasing music on the Internet with no copying restrictions.” This has the inevitability of death about it (this morning I tried again to rip my DRM-crippled Coldplay CD of X&Y, unsuccessfully) which makes me wonder: What willContinue readingThe Death of DRM, the Rise of Patrons

Suspected Fraudsters Behind the Sony DRM Virus Arrested

Three men have been arrested in the UK and Finland following an investigation into internet fraud. The three are a motley bunch, according to The Sunday Times: a 63-year-old from England, a 28-year-old from Scotland and a 19-year-old from Finland. Together they are alleged to have formed a gang called M00P. They are accused of being behind a virus known as Ryknos, Breplibot or Stinx-Q, which apparently allowed the gang access to commercial information through a back door. Thousands of computers, most of them in the UK, were infected. Infection here means total control over the computer in question. The virus was first spotted inContinue readingSuspected Fraudsters Behind the Sony DRM Virus Arrested

The End of the Sorry Sony Saga?

Sony to recall copy-protected CDs, according to the BBC: Sony BMG is recalling music CDs that use controversial anti-piracy software. The software was widely criticised because it used virus-like techniques to stop illegal copies being made. Widespread pressure has made the music giant remove CDs bearing the software from stores. It will also swap bought CDs for copies free of the XCP anti-piracy software. Sony is also providing software to make it easy to remove the controversial program from Windows computers. Will Sony ever recover from this? Probably, but it’s not going to be easy. Hopefully they’ll think hard and long about this whole sorryContinue readingThe End of the Sorry Sony Saga?

The Smell of Sterile Burning

There’s a growing noise about Sony’s apparent attempt to install digital rights management software usually associated with bad guys trying to maintain control of a compromised computer: Mark’s Sysinternals Blog: Sony, Rootkits and Digital Rights Management Gone Too Far: The entire experience was frustrating and irritating. Not only had Sony put software on my system that uses techniques commonly used by malware to mask its presence, the software is poorly written and provides no means for uninstall. Worse, most users that stumble across the cloaked files with a RKR scan will cripple their computer if they attempt the obvious step of deleting the cloaked files.Continue readingThe Smell of Sterile Burning

The Future: Software on a Stick

Why isn’t more software sold on sticks these days? F-Secure sent me their latest offeing, F-Secure Internet Security 2006, on a USB dongle. I don’t know if this how you buy it in stores but it makes a lot of sense. Why isn’t all software delivered like this, instead of on CD-Roms? Or is it and I’ve just missed it? Advantages: Coolness: It would be much more fun to have a drawer full of colorful dongles than a boring sleeve-book of CDs. Handing freebies out at expos would be easier too. Piracy. I’m sure it would be crackable, but how about if the key wereContinue readingThe Future: Software on a Stick

More Things To Stuff In Your USB Port

Another visit to the  Hong Kong electronics expo thing. It really is big. I don’t think I’ve covered a third of it and I’m exhausted. Anyway, clearly I had no idea what I was talking about when I listed some gadgets you can plug into your USB port. There’s more. The thing this year seems to be to mix n match a USB dongle. One USB drive, for example, also sports Wi-Fi. Another is also a Bluetooth dongle. Then there are the whacky things that just make the most of being a) powered by the computer and/or b) connected to the computer. Shenzhen-based 6dragon TechnologyContinue readingMore Things To Stuff In Your USB Port

Poor Man’s WiFi

Further to my piece on WiFi for the masses, here’s another way to cut costs: Make your own WiFi dish out of a Chinese cooking vat scoop, poke a USB WiFi dongle through the mesh, and you can pick up signals more than 10 kilometres away. Total cost: about $40 for the USB dongle, NZ$8 for the dish. The guy behind this, Kiwi Stan Swan, has previously developed the Sardine Can Antenna. I love the ideas and think he should be marketing them to those parts of the world where WiFi is turning into a bridge from having no communications at all to having InternetContinue readingPoor Man’s WiFi

Some (Not So) Light Reading

For those of you easing back into work after the holidays, or stuck in the office before the New Year partying begins, here are some suggestions for Internet reading. The future of Microsoft: Is 2004 going to be Redmond’s swansong? Some people think so, including The Inquirer, which says that the company’s flat first quarter earnings are a sign “it is running low on wiggle room, the core customers are negotiating hard, and Microsoft is giving way”. Interesting, if somewhat aggressive, reading. For the usual Slashdot discussion of the topic, go here. Certainly it’s going to be a difficult year for Microsoft, and one wayContinue readingSome (Not So) Light Reading

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