December 29, 2005

DRM sucks!!!

I bought a USB hard drive with the money I got for Christmas (and Best Buy gift cards.) For the past 2 or 3 nights I've been trying to figure out the best way to get music that I want onto this portable drive so that I can play it:
1) On all 4 computers in my house, Win 2000/Linux/XP Home and XP Pro all included
2) In my CAR, which plays MP3's off CD, and regular CDs
3) In all 3 MP3 players owned by various family members.

Boy, what a bunch of bullshit these 2 days have been. The RIAA sucks as far as I'm concerned. And those of you who contribute to their fantasy dreams by buying DRM-protected content can all go to hell too. This is a capitalist society, and you're ENABLING them buy buying their DRM bullshit. STOP DOING IT!

1. You have a choice. You can listen to content on the radio, and you have a right to record the radio to any device capable, for your own private time-shifting use. This includes Internet radio (since they're paying the same fees broadcast radio is paying now!). There's a fairly famous judge's ruling that pretty much validates this right with respect to audio/video recordings (Betamax/VHS ruling.)

2. By enabling them, you're giving your rights away. You're demonstrating both that they have the right to charge you to make copies of what you already have the right to listen to on your own schedule, and you're showing through 'common-practice' that they can do what they're doing.

3. Unbeknownst to you, your DRM content will eventually break down. Don't believe me? I've had several different DRM's break on me in the past year. Does anyone remember downloading movie content from on the Internet? You have the movie file, but you can't play it - why not? Because it can't call home. How about the software product that no longer has a support web page to get its temporarily running license because they went out of business? History teaches us about the future; we have only to listen. DRM will break down when it is no longer supported by the infrastructure. Some DRM has to phone home. Try doing that with your laptop in an airplane at 25,000 feet with no Internet. Some DRM needs software LOADED ON YOUR MACHINE!!!! to run (Hello Napster, you bunch of hucksters!). What happens when you want to listen to your content on an unsupported OS? OOoops, too bad...What, you upgraded to IE 7? Are you SURE that web-based DRM form will continue to work? What, they put in a firewall at work and you can't get your license file any more? Too bad, no refunds forthcoming from Napster, I'll bet...

If there's anything we should have learned from software in the 1980s it's that SOFTWARE PROTECTION DOESN'T WORK. DRM is SOFTWARE PROTECTION. It's broke out of the box.

4. You can buy what you want elsewhere. Legality of sites such as and other Russian-owned sites are still up in the air. Wikipedia articles and web sites argue over and over about whether these sites have the right to continue. AllofMP3 has been running over a year and haven't been shut down by the Russian government yet. Do you have the right to import purchased content from other countries? From what I have read, you have the right to transfer in personal use items, and the onus seems to be on the content owner to restrict you from that right if they choose to reserve it.

5. You can buy what you want HERE, in THIS country. Visited a pawn shop lately? I'll bet that CD of your favorite 80s hair-band is sitting there on a shelf, just waiting for you to buy it for $1 and go home and rip it. Granted, it'll take a bit of know-how, but you can do it..

Reasons 6-10 - DRM blows and is the brainwashing tool of the RIAA. And remember, they suck - don't bow down.

Back to my own experience? NOBODY can give me what I want. The best I could do would be to pay a service like Rhapsody TWICE for my content. Once - a monthly subscription fee to listen to what I want (program my own radio station) and they a SECOND fee to burn the music to a CD so I can take it with me. And if I prefer a different format for convenience? I'll have to rip it myself from the CD I payed them to let me create. How nice of them.....but 90% of what I want to listen to is already in my home library, on either CD, VHS, cassette or DVD. What good are they doing me with the dumb-ass system?

I've about made up my mind that DRM content is EVIL. I will NEVER buy another DRM track. I bought ONE - from Napster - and paid .99 for it. That's the last dollar the DRM-happy folks will see from me, ever. I'm debating maybe paying Rhapsody or Yahoo, or some other service to play the content that I want (on their subscription/playlist option - $3.99 a month?) and then record it for timeshifting later (with windows recorder?). But splitting up the files is going to be a pain in the butt.

What the RIAA and the content folks need to realize is that I am READY and WILLING to pay $.99 a track - but I want a nice MP3 file I can take to any platform, not the crap they're trying to sell me.

December 22, 2005


Why I love my MIMO - My neighbor bought a 2.4Ghz phone last Christmas. Since he hooked it up, my 802.11g network has been cutting in and out, most likely due to interference from his phone (I have a 5.8Ghz phone for this reason). Before he got the phone, I had no problems. The day he hooked it up - my wireless network would drop out at least twice a day. Just last month, I purchased a Netgear Wireless Access Point, a MIMO 802.11g access point. Ever since I hooked that puppy up, I have had no interference problems. The MIMO router has 11 antennas in it, and the router intelligently reconfigures itself on the fly for best possible signal transmission to the cards that it is receiving signals from. I've turned off wireless on my firewall/cable router and am using just the access point. In the past month, it hasn't dropped a connection once.

December 06, 2005

Idiot Kills Himself

Today's DUMB-[CENSORED] award goes to Steven Zorn, also proud winner of the Darwin Award. Holding a loaded, single-chamber weapon to his head, Steven clicked the trigger, thinking that the weapon would not fire because it had not fired two times previously. Not only is Steven now dead, but liberals the world over will now jump on this instance as proof that guns (of whatever form) are dangerous, and should be kept out of the hands of citizens. (Steven was playing with a 'pen-gun', which I'd probably classify as useful as a deringer, but more innocuous.). Quite seriously for Steven's family, I'm very sorry for their loss, but he's really pissed me off.
Gun control lobbyists don't need any more reasons to come after the citizen's right to bear arms, and it's dumb shits like this who apparently don't have adequate brain cells to protect their own lives that fuel the liberal movement. In the past, I've been called a liberal, a left-leaner, and other non-Republican names, but if there's one thing that I don't believe in, it's laws made to protect ourselves from our own stupidity. Kitchen knives are dangerous, but do you see us trying to outlaw them? Why not? Some Brits are... Firecrackers are dangerous enough to cause their outright ban in many states of the union, and we all know what those dangerous drugs are outlawed, right? When are we going to stop babying the people of the United States? We probably spend more money protecting potential Darwin winners than we do on the real problems of this country, such as unemployment and homelessness. You know what? If we had fewer DUMB people, that would help solve the unemployment rate! Jobs wouldn't go away - they'd have to hire replacements. And the homeless could live in the now empty homes of the deceased idiots.
What pisses me off more than the well-meaning lobbyists trying to curb our right to be responsible adults and play with what we want to play with, are the assholes who give them the incidental evidence they need to fuel their fire. This is why Steven has earned today's Dumb [CENSORED] award, because he has contributed to their cause.

December 04, 2005

Why Britney Spears is Rich

Ok, besides the fact that she's had some hit songs, has a really cute face, and is 'da bomb' in the body department, Britney's people must really be looking out for her. I was shopping with my wife today, and we came to a perfume counter at a mall store that smells like the mixture between a greenhouse and a still. The lady behind the counter cornered my wife into trying out a bunch of fragrances, many of which I instantly turned up my nose at. The last one I agreed on with my wife was Blue somethingorother, and it was what I would say is a livable fragrance. After finding out the price tag, I was ready to turn around and walk out of the store, when out of the corner of my eye I saw displayed Britney's new fragrance Fantasy.
I couldn't help myself. I turned to the counter hawker and told her that my curiosity was piqued, and I just had to know 'how bad this smelled'. She said she'd show me just how bad it smelled, mimicking me, as I'd mimicked 90% of the crap cologne she was pushing. I was prepared to make fun of Britney's marketing team, figuring that she'd probably just tacked her name onto something new that they wanted to push, and that it would rank with the rest of the toilet water. You see, I'm a smart-ass consumer, and a smart-ass who laughs when people make fun of Mrs. Spears-Federline, even while harboring not-quite-secret fantasies about her, me and a night or two in Vegas.
Back to reality, I grabbed the sniff card from the salesperson, whiffed and cried out immediately, "Honey!". You see, this is my 'Eureka' voice. When I've found the golden chalice, I call out to my wife. You see, not only didn't Fantasy SUCK as I fully expected, it was fantastic! It smelled like a young woman should. It was innocent, sweet, romantic and sexy as all hell get out. With a strong smell of strawberries, but more than just that, it is one of those perfumes that I just know I can count on to drive me wild. The perfume is one of those that will turn your head when you smell it. If you got a whiff of it, you'd immediately turn to see what hot young thing was passing you by. This perfume BECKONS to a man, the way a perfume is meant to reach out its tendrils and wrap them around your hair in its loving embrace.
So, you see, Britney Spears is rich because no matter how much we prepare to make fun of her (as a 39 year old man I am very ready to do so because she's so pop-icon, yet so redneck-trailer-trash in the news/media), we still find ourselves humming her stupid songs, drooling over her Pepsi commercial(s) and trying to imagine ourselves dancing in her bed [sorry, did I say that out loud?].
So, depending on why you're reading this post, I hope you got the point. I am ashamed to say that I love her perfume, and further ashamed to say that I bought a BIG bottle of it for my wife. This is what women's perfume should STRIVE to be. There are two perfumes I've found in it's class: Red and Exclamation! that I buy for my wife. Almost every other perfume stinks to high heaven, and women wear way too much of it. But there are a very few good ones out there, and Britney has stuck her name on one that will bring her riches for a long time.......DAMN HOW I HATE BEING WRONG.

December 01, 2005

My New (Old) Passion

What have I been doing with myself at nights that I no longer post nude pictures of my cute little shih-tzu? I've been busy helping to ressurect an old bad habit called FoxMUD. Fox is a Multi-User Dungeon based on the Diku Code base (huh?!) and was created back in 1993. Since then, it's seen half a dozen sites, and LOTS of players and wizzes come and go. I've talked about Fox MUD before, and if you're interested, click on the link, and give us a whirl. Worst you'll do is waste 10 minutes looking at it, and saying WTF. Best you'll do is log in, get addicted, play 20 hours a day and get fired from your job, divorced from your family and die from dehydration like those kids in Japan and South Korea.