Archive for the ‘DRM, DMCA, Copy Protection’ Category

Next Mac OS X — 10.6 — at WWDC 2008? another big cat? end of PPC?

Well, it makes sense that 10.6 will be announced soon especially with Steve Jobs’ comments to the New York Times regarding major Mac OS X, but at WWDC 2008? Hard to say.

There is also the naming question brought up at Mac360 as well …some say the only big cat left is Lion. But even a cursory look at wikipedia’s big cat page would indicate that Lion isn’t the only one unless you go with strict ‘big cat’ names. A more expansive list also includes things like Cougar, Snow Leopard, Clouded Leopard and Cheetah (or Puma) (which Apple has been used already and broke the ice for the more expansive Big Cat naming for Mac OS X).

My guess would be Cougar. I would think that would be the most logical choice. Wait to use Lion till they move to an all Intel based Macs and maybe proved their dominance might be a better choice of timing to use “The King” Lion.

And if the RoughlyDrafted magazine/blog article was correct in 2007 about their thoughts on Unraveling the PPC Myth (linked in their Leopard and the History and Future of Mac OS X on PPC article noted above), then it’s not likely going to be with 10.6.

I tend to be leaning toward RoughlyDrafted being right on that score, at least after reading over the history of Apple again in those two articles.

Also, Ars Technica last year also didn’t give any real hope that ZFS would be in 10.5 — maybe have to wait for 10.6, but I don’t think so. Too soon. I think they will wait for the next one, 10.7? or whatever that will be called. Might as well wait to do ZFS when it goes to all Intel Macs makes more sense. Make the major change then.

So, I would say Cougar makes more sense at this time. No Lion King here yet…no MAJOR change to the underpinning….yet.

And really, if the truth be known about Cougars — the Cougars are nothing to sneeze at! And with this description: “This large, solitary cat has the greatest range of any wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere,[3] extending from Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes of South America.”?? Doesn’t that sound like the desire of Apple with their next version of Mac OS X? To be the most broadly used Mac OS/computers?

Which also would indicate (to me) that they would not want to ditch PPC just yet either … like the RoughlyDrafted articles indicated.

I really think that Microsoft made that Mistake with Vista. And I really hope Apple will not make that same mistake. But who knows with the Entertainment Cartels whispering in their ears just like they did with Microsoft…

When the dust settles and if the Entertainment Cartels get their big Win (controlling when and where you can view content on every front from TV (HDTV, computers, etc.), and the Major OS makers have totally pissed off their real paying customers, we shall see what happens then. But I think we’ve already had about enough of that as evidenced by this ExtremeTech article entitled, “How the Hollywood Morons Can Beat the Pirates! (Thanks Adam for the link!!)

EDIT: Well, I guess I had a better opinion of Apple than I should have. Apparently, according to MacRumers, who was reporting on an article from Ars Technica, Apple has decided to turn PPC users away now after all. Oh, and it’s Snow Leopard, not Cougar. More like Nuclear Winter. Very unhappy Mac user here. What a crock!

Advertisements

Ed Bott breaths life back into a $2500 Sony Vaio “brick”

It takes a big hearted computer technician/journalist, Ed Bott to take this ‘$2500 brick’ (as Jeremy Toeman called it – check out the youtube video) back from the dead. (and how many people will have an “Ed Bott as Jeremy also said in the video on the page).

Ed Bott couldn’t even use the restore disks because of all the crapware that Sony put on it! So, basically he had to use a clean install from a Vista Retail version and then call Microsoft to validate it. And he also had to go looking for drivers for most of the hardware. He couldn’t just use the ones that had come with the Vaio because they were flakey!

And it’s not just this one from 11 months ago. Ed got another one direct from Sony. Thankfully it was more stable with Vista SP1 with all the crapware so he could at least get rid of the crapware and then update the drivers but even that experience wasn’t without incident.

Normal average users would not know how to do this! They will need a technician to do this stuff for them! It’s no wonder Jeremy Toeman and others like him were/are so upset with their new OEM computers running Vista!

From Jeremy’s blog posting: “Until a PC company follows any of this advice, Apple will continue to gain market share, and here’s why: Virtually all MacBook users today are happily recommending others to try MacBooks, with a predictable, reliable recommendation. PC users cannot as easily do the same. I had a great Vaio, then a terrible one. I’ve used Toshibas before (great – in the 90s), a Gateway (wasn’t bad), and 3 Dells now (one good, one bad, one ugly). But they are all vastly different.”

But OEM manufacturers weren’t the only problem from day one with Vista. It’s just the latest to surface. Vista had trouble with upgrades as well and that was uglier than the OEMs. And alot of that had to do with drivers — oh, and non-functional software! And don’t forget many gamers programs!

Even Ballmer recently stated that Vista was not done yet, errr, “A work in progress.”
This was much worse than the XP situation when it came out (which was pretty bad in itself). WinXP SP1, actually it was more SP2 that finally corrected things for WinXP. But the problems continue to plague many who try to upgrade to SP1 of Vista. Of course to prevent many of the problems resulting from upgrading to SP1. They are saying it’s best to upgrade FROM a clean install to have the best results.

I sure hope they do a better job with the next one (Windows 7) — but I am not holding my breath.

Flash Away! Youtube, et al, Time to move to Ogg video!

Adobe was bad enough before, now that they own Macromedia (Flash and Dreamweaver, etc.), they aren’t satisfied with owning the most expensive ‘must have’ unfortunately web software — they want more! They want a piece of you and me, and everyone!

Adobe Push DRM for Flash

The immense popularity of sites like YouTube has unexpectedly turned Flash Video (FLV) into one of the de facto standards for Internet video. The proliferation of sites using FLV has been a boon for remix culture, as creators made their own versions of posted videos. And thus far there has been no widespread DRM standard for Flash or Flash Video formats; indeed, most sites that use these formats simply serve standalone, unencrypted files via ordinary web servers.

Now Adobe, which controls Flash and Flash Video, is trying to change that with the introduction of DRM restrictions in version 9 of its Flash Player and version 3 of its Flash Media Server software. Instead of an ordinary web download, these programs can use a proprietary, secret Adobe protocol to talk to each other, encrypting the communication and locking out non-Adobe software players and video tools. We imagine that Adobe has no illusions that this will stop copyright infringement — any more than dozens of other DRM systems have done so — but the introduction of encryption does give Adobe and its customers a powerful new legal weapon against competitors and ordinary users through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Much more in the article!

I say that it’s time for the likes of Youtube.com et al to move to open source Ogg Video!

It’s so sad that when a previously free and open ‘proprietary’ standard gets ‘full of themselves’ that all of a sudden, it’s smash the users and providers till it breaks their backs!

Unfortunately, “Adobe now has an incentive to push the use of DRM: it’s only available to sites that use Flash Media Server 3 software, which starts at over $4,000 (with extra fees depending on the number of simultaneous streams).

As if that isn’t bad enough, “Users may also have to upgrade their Flash Player software (and open source alternatives like Gnash, which has been making rapid progress, may be unable to play the encrypted streams at all). Third-party software that can download Flash Video, like the most recent RealPlayer, will also break.”

There are lots of good reasons why DRM is not viable. And here are just a few of them from the article:

Finally, there’s a classic suite of arguments against DRM that will be as true for online video as they were for music. DRM doesn’t move additional product. DRM is grief for honest end-users. And there’s no reason to imagine that new DRM systems will stop copyright infringement any more effectively than previous systems.

More in the article.

Also, I think it is very deceptive. Allow folks to make use of a format till it’s ubiquitous! THEN!!! Encrypt it and lock it up! People will ‘THINK’ it’s all the same old Flash as always — very friendly as always. They will have no idea what hit them or their computers.

Totally disgusted about this. IF THEY WERE GOING TO START DOING THIS. They should have created a totally NEW DRM’d video delivery product with a new name so we users could avoid it like the plague, and kept Flash as it was. That would have prevented confusion about what this ‘new’ format was all about, as compared to the well-known Flash format, and just kept Flash as it was.

They quietly started this crap with Flash 9.x. But it’s not till some companies start making use of this new $4,000 DRM nightmare that folks will begin to really see the head of this monster.

I think Google‘s Youtube, et al should stop using Flash and go with an open source type of video delivery system. Maybe help the open source Ogg/Theora Video Projects or some of the others that EFF mentioned in their article.

DirectX 10 Hardware Is Now Obsolete

A friend today was telling me about a situation with new video cards, DirectX 10, games like Bioshock that are really frustrating to Gamers.

The copyright holders/developers of Bioshock apparently have an activation revoke tool. And I am sure they are not the only ones!

Most gamers knew that they were waiting for the changes in Vista to make gaming work right in Vista, but I don’t think they expected this!

If you want proof of the abuses of copyright holders and software developers and how they are abusing their place in the world through Vista the Enabler, apparently Bioshock is one to take a peak at.

Say you have a gamer who buys the game. He currently has a GeForce 88xx PCIe video card on a Vista system. He runs Windows Update which in turn installs the new updates for DirectX 10…which apparently shuts off (for no apparent reason) the eye candy the card is fully capable of doing in the game, and had before the update.

Out of frustration, he buys the next version of video card that supports the new updates to DirectX 10 …. for $549!!!

Now he figures he can go back and play Bioshock and really get a great game going! But NO!!!! HE goes back to play Bioshock only to find his activation was revoked for a change in hardware!!!

So after the third time changing hardware, he now has run out of activation credits.

Now he has to purchase the game again.

Then I go to do some searches in Google to see if others are having this type of trouble, and low and behold Slashdot has this: DirectX 0 Hardware is now Obsolete.

DirectX 10 Hardware Is Now Obsolete
Posted by Zonk on Sat Aug 11, 2007 05:41 AM
from the shouldn’t-have-blinked dept.
Windows Graphics Hardware Games
ela_gervaise writes “SIGGRAPH 2007 was the stage where Microsoft dropped the bomb, informing gamers that the currently available DirectX 10 hardware will not support the upcoming DirectX 10.1 in Vista SP1. In essence, all current DX10 hardware is now obsolete. But don’t get too upset just yet: ‘Gamers shouldn’t fret too much – 10.1 adds virtually nothing that they will care about and, more to the point, adds almost nothing that developers are likely to care about. The spec revision basically makes a number of things that are optional in DX10 compulsory under the new standard – such as 32-bit floating point filtering, as opposed to the 16-bit current. 4xAA is a compulsory standard to support in 10.1, whereas graphics vendors can pick and choose their anti-aliasing support currently. We suspect that the spec is likely to be ill-received. Not only does it require brand new hardware, immediately creating a minuscule sub-set of DX10 owners, but it also requires

Lots of very interesting comments at Slashdot on this.

All those folks that said, you don’t know what you are talking about. That I can still do everything on Vista that I could on XP and Win2K … read it and weep.

I kept saying it is not now! It’s later. Vista is the Enabler. The copyright holders and developers will not want to ‘sqeeze’ too hard till they have a decent number of suckers, errrr, users on Vista before ‘squeezing.’

Of course this is really not the first time (see WGA and other DRM issues, etc), but somehow all the other times was some sort of fluke that quietly gets fixed, or oh, that’s just the way it is with Vista. But now things are starting to change for users, eh? How many users will be affected by this do you think?

What say ye, now?

By the way, thumbsup to ID Software and others who create their games for OpenGL so it can be ported easily to other OSes like Mac and Linux/UNIX. And not be hit by this Microsoft operating system centric DirectX lockin crap.

Thanks Charlie for the confirmation so I could go looking for examples of this!

Michael Dell finally gets it about preinstalled Trialware?

Michael Dell apparently said that preinstalled Trialware is costing the company a big hit in the support centers. Duh!

According to the article at ZDNet Blogs: Michael Dell: Anticrapware poster CEO? by Larry Dignan, states;

Dell CEO Michael Dell, speaking in New York City at its Vostro launch, sounded like a man almost ready to rid the world of trialware, which we call crapware. And there’s a good reason for that: Crapware costs Dell money on customer support.

OK, so it’s not exactly that Michael Dell gets it as to why most of us don’t want trialware/crapware on our computers that we buy from Dell, but he does realize it’s having an impact on their customers when an expired piece of ‘crapware’ no longer functions and your images don’t open any longer as they should, or your antivirus won’t update, or you start running out of hard drive space because a huge chunk of it is taken by trialware you never use!?!

Not to mention that much of it phones home, nags you, and some even leave pieces of itself running to monitor your use of their Trialware. And worst of all has taken over default actions for specific file types under the Windows operating system — such as image files. Sometimes those trialware programs take much longer to load a viewer than the standard Windows viewer for images as well…at least till the trial ends and you can’t open your images until you reset the settings for opening specific image file types. Which by the way, most brand new users would not know how to do. So the new users’ images appear to be held hostage by a program that wants their money before they can see their own images/photos again.

Oh, and then when they do a search online for problems opening file, they will likely be taken to another crapware program to install for another round. If they are lucky enough not to end up with some infected malware for their trouble to add insult to injury.

OK … so what you say?

And what about things like gaming centers that install WildTangent and a BUNCH of Internet Online games? Or the AOL or Earthlink or Broadband Offers? Some are just on the system and not installed but are installed the first time you mistakenly click on it.

While we are on the subject of games. Why did BeJeweled become a part of this crap?! And can you still get a copy of BeJeweled that doesn’t include Wild Tangent? Apparently not. Sad! What a great time waster that game was before they moved over to the dark side along with so many other game companies.

And don’t get me started on the monitors HP printers and other devices and image software programs that install Backweb or Backweb Lite. Or the Broadband providers who do the same thing.

The same can be said of so many providers of hardware device drivers/software disk bundled packages for printers, scanners, CDs, sound cards and more. Do they really need to install software to monitor users? Apparently many do. All you have to do is have a firewall that watches for outbound traffic and you’d know that.

Why do these companies think that you want all this CRAPWARE clogging up your brand new PC?

People’s computers are there own. Like any other piece of hardware devices they buy. Companies do not need to be spying on them for any reason. They do not need information on your computer, how many times you played the game.

The surveillance societies — that collectively these types of companies, as well as governments and music and movie companies are trying to create — are not healthy for a human population. As anyone who understands the human mind would tell them. But they don’t ask and don’t care.

Nor do TiVo users, satellite dish receiver owners, and more need to have their remote clicks reported to the mother ship.

But I digress…

Generally speaking, the only people that ‘think’ they want this crap are the brand new computer users who don’t know any better.

And why do the OEMs and other companies do this?

Because it makes them money! And until the CEOs at companies/corporations, like Dell, find that this becomes a customer service center hit for them, they will likely keep doing it.

Because it makes them money they traditionally haven’t listened to their customer base on this. But now it’s affecting them in the pocketbook .. they need larger call centers, or more customer service reps .. it’s costing them money.

The biggest problem is, that even having that crapware on your computer adds registry entries and files you don’t know about or where they are (some in system type folders), that may or may never be removed properly due to poorly done installers/uninstallers. Some make hooks into your operating system itself and are difficult to remove fully.

Nothing like that should ever be installed unless the computer owner specifically wants it on their computer .. and I can’t imagine why anyone would opt-in to have hundreds/thousands of megs of crapware/trialware/crippleware software on their computers that they may not want or need.

If these companies feel the need to make a little money for it to help offset the ‘great’ pricing of the computers, then provide a CD with the shareware/trialware/crippleware on it. Let the people decide whether they want to install them.

AND MOST IMPORTANT, MAKE SURE that the CD notes that these are NOT necessarily paid for full versions – they are to try the program out – that these trial versions may include the ability to phone home, send data over the Internet, track your usage even if anonymously, that they may take over file associations, be difficult to remove, etc., etc.

Let the user decide whether they want that crap on their computers!

What say ye? 😉

Interoperability between OSes

Redhat is trying their level best to talk to Microsoft about interoperability.

Microsoft refuses to meet Redhat there. In eWeek‘s article “Red Hat to MS: Let’s Talk Interoperability,” Microsoft’s Muglia and Redhat’s Cormier have gone back and forth here.

From what I can see, Redhat wants to get interoperability going in a format similar to other hardware and driver standards. Microsoft doesn’t wish to do that at all. They already have a couple feathers in their hat and now it seems as though they think it should be their way or the highway.

For Muglia and Microsoft, it is not that simple. While it is one thing to talk about how open-source technologies could interoperate with Microsoft software, “you have to complete the picture,” he said, adding that Microsoft already supports Red Hat software in its current Virtual Server product.

While Muglia acknowledged that interoperability work could take place without tacking on the IP issue, he is reluctant to do so.

So, thanks again Novell/SuSE and Linspire for nothing. If you all had worked together with each other, to keep the discussion where it should have been, instead of listening to those other voices…interoperability would already be here….you heard it! It would already be here.

As Muglia said, they were reluctant to discuss interoperability without patents coming into play. He acknowledged that interoperability work COULD BE DONE WITHOUT TACKING ON THE IP ISSUE.

Of course it could! And it would have been done by now, if proprietary companies cared even the least little bit for, or respected their customer’s choices! They do not.

It’s never been about ability, it’s always been about proprietary company’s lack of desire to do so.

Sigh…

Single and Multi Color Printer Cartridges and Other Futility

Printer cartridges … don’t get me started!! LOL!

I was reading my WindowsSecrets Newsletter this morning (here’s the complimentary version of the issue to view) … and I was already intrigued by Brian Livingston’s article entitled, “SkipRearm doesn’t work, activation still broken,” then I started reading Scott Dunn’s article entitled, “Epson’s claims of cheaper ink are empty” and this hit a sore spot with me.

Cost per page is a very slippery slope.

Depending upon what type of “picture pages” (credit to Captain Kangaroo on that one) – meaning not the different types of pages, but the various colors that those pictures will include – will determine true cost effectiveness with print cartridges at any given time.

In an ideal world (without massively overstated copyright and patent laws), since the printer companies can make the cartridges for pennies, they should sell them for much less than they currently do, IMHO.

Elsewhere, I was reading about Apple’s iPhone costing twice what it cost to make it. LOL! And this is bad. Yes, it is. But not nearly as bad as the print cartridge percentages!! Some have done costing with printing, but has no one ever REALLY questioned this oppressive problem with printing costs/cost of printer cartridges??

We have an HP Wireless All in One printer, very nice printer in many ways. Since they charge about $10 per color cartridge, and about $18 for a black cartridge, it can be an expensive proposition with 5 or 6 cartridges in a printer. Less so, to some degree, if you replace each color only as needed, since that would be $10 instead of $36-56 or more per cartridge).

On the other hand, replacing an entire color (all colors in one cartridge) cartridge ($36-$56 or more) depending upon the printer, for ONE color that is out is totally ludicrous.

Many times you run out of one color long before the others. If you could have replaced that one color for a fraction of the cost, it is certainly better than throwing away a cartridge with maybe as much as 1/2 of the other colors still in the cartridge, because you happened to print a page or pages that use more of one color than the others consistently. This actually happens quite frequently. Even so, $10 a color is still highway robbery, IMHO. How many actual prints do you get for that $10??

Compare that with the cost of film developing a few years ago? Seeing any correlation?

And God forbid that your ‘intelligent’ printer decides that today it will have a superiority complex, and won’t except your new cartridge this time for some unknown reason, and says it’s still out of ink after putting in a brand new cartridge. Believe me, it does happen! It happened to us a couple months ago.

In our older HP printers, there is no choice but to replace the entire cartridge to the tune of $36 because we ran out of red or blue or yellow, that is until we found a surplus store online that sell them for considerably less.

But there aren’t many options for the newer printers to get them at major discounts like the older printers. You will still pay 6.99-9.99 per color (more for the slightly bigger black cartridge) in the Wireless Photosmart FOR EACH COLOR – and there are about 5/6 cartridges in there. But that’s better than paying the cost of some of the other newer printers with less cartridges and some colors together in one cartridge for the $35-$50 or more range per cartridge.

The problem is not so much whether the printer has one cartridge or many, the problem is that the printer companies are sucking their customers dry. It’s like highway robbery. They hook people in with these very inexpensive printers (sold at a discount so they can make it up later on the cartridges, over and over and over) .. So they nickel and dime ya to death till the printer dies and they try another one from that company or another company that is just as inexpensive.

Throw away printers … that’s gotta be good for the environment, right? With all the electronic boards inside, etc.? I can just see them stacking up in the landfill.

Sometimes it’s almost less expensive in the long run to get a really cheap printer on sale, install the drivers, print till you run out of ink and then go buy another $49 printer … it’s cheaper than replacing the cartridges!!

This is the crazy world we live in. And hardware/electronics companies love it! Particularly printer companies.

Instead of seeing that they have the golden goose and if they would just treat customers fairly they could keep their golden goose happy and healthy, they get the greedy company syndrome, they do the same ‘ole, same ‘ole that other greedy companies seem to get themselves into….burn customers on every purchase and keep them over a barrel. It’s what I like to refer to as the ‘laundromat syndrome.’

Sometimes I think people get so fed up because they really have no choice if they like the printer they have, or maybe they don’t want to have to go through the annoyance of time and frustration installing over 300MB of drivers and software for yet another printer (and of course they all want to do that). Not only that, will they uninstall the old one first … likely not if they are not that savvy of a computer user. What a registry and hard drive and potentially compatibility nightmare over time.

I don’t know; it’s a real quandary. No matter what anyone says, you can’t seem to change the printer companies’ mentality because they are just that greedy! And amazingly enough, it is working for them! Why? Because they are ALL doing it! Every single printer company is price gouging, IMHO…Except maybe this Kodak one that Corrine is talking about in her blog posting…not bad really. Is that only for photo paper or normal pages too?

It’s that “dollar down and a dollar a week” mentality that started with the ‘ole ‘company store’ … “St. Peter don’t you call me, ’cause I can’t go; I owe my soul to the company store!” (credit to Tennessee Ernie Ford and his song Sixteen Tons). Except of course now in today’s society, it’s more like $100 down and a $1 a day or more!!

Every bank/credit card company, music and movie CD/DVD subscription services, magazine and book club, satellite/cable company, as well as printer and other hardware/electronics companies are trying to get you hooked on them for a dollar down and a dollar a week forever.

And why not, it worked for the utility companies and insurance companies, God knows the debt monster is working really well for the banks and credit card companies. Sheesh, it even works for charitable organizations, right? It’s only 50 cents a day, less than a cup of coffee….

But, it’s their golden goose and don’t you mess with their golden goose … they may not treat the goose well, but don’t you try to make life better for the goose by pointing out the futility.

The worst problem with so many of the “dollar down and a dollar a week plans” is that you don’t really own anything for that money. You pay, errr, overpay for the cartridges, then it’s gone. It’s hard to know what to spend all your dollar down and a dollar a week things on. If you are not careful, you will have no money to live on while you pay for everyone else’s livlihood.

Don’t get me wrong, many are very worthwhile, but even then you have to be cautious right? You can’t afford every subscription you think is worthwhile, can you?

But some ‘dollar down and a dollar a week’ things are totally gone before you know it (consumables like printer cartridges, etc.). Sad because then both the item and the money are gone forever.

I am not saying we need to cut out all consumables from our lives. If we did that we couldn’t eat now could we? 😉

I am saying we need to be cautious and we need to point out when things don’t make sense … like the cost of printer cartridges which are probably in the hundreds of percentages of mark up over cost of production … It has been said, that mark up of 45-50% is reasonable over cost. But some companies think that mark ups in the hundreds of percent are reasonable!?! Especially when the ‘consumable’ will be gone VERY quickly and they will have to feed the beast if they want to print.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: