Perfect Example of Why DRM Sucks

Sony Connect

Sony has announced that its Sony Connect Music Store will be closing on March 31, 2008.

Another one bites the dust. And who gets bit the hardest? The legitimate customers who paid to legitimately download music.

What will happen to my library (content I own)? You will continue to be able to play, manage, and transfer the music in your SonicStage library and on your ATRAC player. For music purchased via CONNECT, this means you may continue to enjoy it as usual in your current PC configuration in accordance with our terms of use.

Translation: Your Sony music will work long as you never upgrade your computer or change to a non-Sony music player.

Oh and btw, Sony forbids you from converting your music to another format; doing so is illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Nice, huh?

OpenID and DataPortability

The internet is evolving in a very, very cool way. And this past week, Yahoo! made a huuuuuge step by adopting a thing called OpenID.

What is OpenID?

So what does this mean? This means that if you have a Yahoo! account, you'll be able to sign into thousands of OpenID-enabled sites without having to register. Just log in with your OpenID and you're good to go.

The cool thing is Yahoo! isn't the only big company that's supporting this. Google and Microsoft are on board, and AOL already lets you use your AOL/AIM account as your OpenID login. There's no doubt you'll be seeing more sites that say "login with OpenID" in the future.

Another big announcement in the past couple weeks is Google and Facebook joining the DataPortability project.

What is Data Portability?

So what does this all mean? This means that websites will be easier to join and everything (in theory) will be able to work with each other. Example:

I have a shitload of pictures on my Flickr account. Problem is, many pictures are things that should be kept private (e.g. photos of us drinking back home). So one option I could do is set all of those photos as private and tell you, "hey, if you want to see these private photos, you'll have to register at Flickr and add me as a friend." It sucks having to say that, because I really want to share these photos with you guys but at the same time I want to respect everyone's privacy.

So someday (in theory) I'll be able to say "gimme your OpenID so I can add you as a friend, then log into Flickr with your OpenID" and you'll automagically be able to see my private, friends-only photos.

That's just one example that I can think of off the top of my head. The possibilities are beyond endless. If OpenID and DataPortability really take off, you'll be able to share whatever you want with whoever you want, anywhere and everywhere.

Macworld '08 Predictions

As an Apple Fanboy, this is the most wonderful time of the year, other than Christmas. Even three years before I made the switch to Mac, I paid close attention to Steve Jobs and his zen approach to introducing teh new hotness.

Last year, Stevie introduced the iPhone. That was absolutely huge. It was a five year project that was in the works ever since the launch of the original iPod back in 2002. If you pay close attention to all of the latest cellphones, it's clear everyone is stilling trying to play catch-up by adding multi-touch hotness and true mobile web browsing.

So what is Steve gonna unveil this year? Obviously we won't know until Tuesday morning because Apple is notoriously good at keeping their lips shut, and even more notorious at seeding false information to outsiders. But based on rumblings in the blogging community, their history in product cycles and a little melv-intuition, here is what I predict:

  • iTunes Video Rentals — It's been leaked countless times that Fox, Disney and more studios are on board.
  • Apple TV 2.0 / Mac nano — It's the only logical compliment for the new iTunes Video Rentals service. Added ability to download movies right from your TV.
  • iPhone Updates — Definitely new software features. Possibility of a 12GB model and price cut on existing 8GB model. Definitely no 3G network support yet.
  • MacBook Air — An all-new line of slim pro notebooks. Possibly the rumored sub-notebook, but I don't think so...not just yet.
  • New Cinema Displays — They're overdue for new form factors and screen sizes.
  • No iPod Updates — Too soon. They were just updated before the holiday season.

Those are my more probable predictions. But there's one more ultra crazy pipe-dream prediction:

  • Google Integration with .Mac — With the CEO of Google on Apple's Board of Directors, I think the two companies will try to double team on Microsoft and Microsoft Office. Someday I see a tight integration between Apple iWork and Google Docs. That is, the ability to work on Word documents on your Mac, and have it all save onto your Google account. You'll be able to edit your Word & Excel documents anywhere you want, whether it's on your computer, in your web browser or on your iPhone.

That's all my predictions for this year's expo. Whatever they announce, it should be awesome...just as long as it's not an all-new iPhone. In which case I will have to shoot myself.

// inspired by sherwin at

Digial Music — The Way it Should Be

Business Week:

In a move that would mark the end of a digital music era, Sony BMG Music Entertainment is finalizing plans to sell songs without the copyright protection software that has long restricted the use of music downloaded from the Internet, has learned.

Sweeet! But what does this mean?

This means that you'll be able to buy music from anywhere you want, and it'll play on any music player you want. Guaranteed. Doesn't matter if it's an iPod or a Microsoft Zune or an iRiver or whatever. It'll work.

So what's the big deal? Well maybe you've been downloading music illegally for so long, you haven't even noticed this thing called Digital Rights Management (DRM). If you don't know what DRM is, let me give you a brief history:

Remember the good 'ol days of Napster? You could download any song you could possibly think of, easily and conveniently. Of course it was all very, very illegal. So to protect the revenues of the recording industry, DRM was invented.

The idea behind DRM was this: prevent people from illegally sharing music on the internet. Understandable.

But what really happened? The recording industry forced companies like Apple and Microsoft to lock down all digital music sold. So if you spent a lot of money buying music from Yahoo! Music, or Wal-Mart Online, or the Sony Music Store, and then decide to switch to an iPod...too fucking bad! All of that music was locked by DRM and will only play on Microsoft-sanctioned players. And that's bullshit.

It's similar to how in the U.S. you have cellphones that only work on certain cellphone carriers. But then around the rest of the world, you can buy any cellphone and use it with any service. Awesome. That's the way cellphones should be.

And that's the way music should be too.

(As a sidenote: don't illegally download music from things like Lime Wire or torrents. The last I heard, the going rate for settling a legal case vs. the RIAA is $35,000. Are you ever gonna download that much music in your lifetime? No. Just pay for your music cuz $35,000 is just not worth it.)

(Another sidenote: DRM is on the way out, but watermarking your downloads with your personal info is in. If you download DRM-free music, do NOT share it!)</p>

In closing, I'd like to leave you with a YouTube video.

Television 2.0 with

Last year, my Tivo got the award for my best purchase of the year. But soon, I may get rid of her for someone new. is a site pioneered by NBC Studios, that offers a shitload of free, good quality streaming television shows from its own network and many, many others.

The site is in beta testing and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an invite. And I gotta say, I'm impressed. Here's a sample of shows they have:

  • 24
  • 30 Rock
  • Arrested Development
  • Chuck
  • Doogie Howser
  • Family Guy
  • Heroes
  • Scrubs
  • The Simpsons
  • and a whole lot more...

Here's a couple screenshots:

Yes, all of this for free. The catch? The occassional 30 second advertisement. Still, that beats the current 2:30 minute commercial spots they show on live television. And besides, what are your alternatives?

Tivo? Works great til you find two interesting shows that are playing at the same time. Was awesome til the place was raided by police.

Download from torrent sites? I'm too busy downloading p... I'm too impatient for that.

Buy from iTunes? Hell no. As much as I love Apple, I'm not gonna give them my money for meh-quality, copy protected videos.

So anyways, like I said, is still in beta. But definitely sign up for an invite when you get the chance.

Facebook is Watching You

// i'm gonna try something new. as the resident internet geek here, i'll be sharing some of the latest internet / technology news with you, and more importantly, tell you why it's important to you. to start things off, let's go with Facebook's newest feature...

Beacon is a social form of advertising that shares your purchases or other actions you take on an advertiser's site with all your friends on Facebook through their News Feeds. What has privacy advocates up in arms, and advertisers skittish, about Beacon is the way it seems to be spying on you as you surf the Web and then, on top of that, reporting what you just did to everyone you know.

Basically, Facebook has partnered with over 40 companies, including eBay,, and College Humor. Example:

Mel is on He decides to rent Brokeback Mountain (Extended Version). Within a couple clicks, Brokeback Mountain is on the top of his queue, and will be the next movie mailed out to him. Mel doesn't see the little notification on the lower right of his screen:

Then say Samir logs onto Facebook and sees in his Newsfeed. "Mel has rented Brokeback Mountain from!" Samir tells everyone. Everyone makes fun of Mel. Mel runs away.

Okay, a little over-dramatic. How about this:

Samir is planning to propose to his girlfriend. Sam finds a great deal on an engagement ring from eBay. He buys the ring. Within minutes, all of Samir's friends on Facebook have seen the news that "Samir bought an engagement ring from!"

This is one situation that I've read about. I'm not sure if this really happened, but with Facebook's Beacon project, it certainly can happen. I mean shit, Facebook even confessed that it's tracking the activities of non-facebook users.

Thankfully, a lot of users and companies are putting pressure on Facebook, and it appears that Facebook is caving in. We'll see how it goes. In the meantime, watch out for that little notification before it blasts something to all of your Facebook friends.

"You can't force people to follow directions they deem arbitrary."

You can't force people to follow directions they deem arbitrary.

Dear RIAA: Keep on trying to force DRM-locked music on us. Keep trying to rape us with ridiculous prices for CDs. People will always follow the path of least resistance. The harder you try, the harder you'll fail.

You can't force people to follow directions they deem arbitrary.

New Hotness: OSX Leopard


My favorite features so far:

  • Time Machine -- Backing up has never been so easy and so sexy. This thing has already saved my life as I accidently deleted some priceless files for

  • Spaces -- At the office I'm constantly working on as many as four projects at a time. Finally I'll have a space (virtual desktop) dedicated for each project instead of having a clusterfuck of windows.

  • Screen-Sharing -- Got a problem with your Mac? Just hit me up on iChat and we'll start up a screen-sharing session so I can show you how to fix it.

Hasta la Vista!

More Info: OSX Leopard