andysocial: (Default)

It’s been over a month since my MythTV DVR committed suicide and I replaced it with a Tivo from my cable company. I think I’ve explored the features enough to be able to deliver a decent comparison of the two. Overall, I think I’d be very satisfied with a Tivo if I’d never used MythTV. Let me go into some more detail.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

To complain to Youtube, click here.

Scroll to the very bottom and click on “new issue”

Select “suspended account” from the options and express your opinion.

The mediafire link (to mirror the video) is here.

andysocial: (Tux)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

Remember when the MSN Music Store shut down over a year ago? Remember that Microsoft said that songs you “bought” from the MSN Music Store were going to be yours to keep forever? Guess what, sucker? After August, you can’t upgrade your computer without losing your music.

Yet another in a long series of “DRM Hates Customers” stories. You’d think the computer industry ditching copy protection years ago, coupled with the complete meltdown of DRM in music over the past couple years, would make the movie industry wake up and kill their copy protection plans. You’d be wrong. Not that their DRM will hold up either… Oh, yeah - it didn’t! HAH!

Sep. 21st, 2007 03:56 pm

Ventus

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

Karl Schroeder has released Ventus as a free ebook download.  It’s very good.  If you’re interested in nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, post-apocalyptic fiction (not strictly speaking, but a reversion to more primitive life yada yada), or just good speculative fiction about the future of humanity, give it a read.

Now to add a bunch of Schroeder books to my Amazon wishlist…

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

Ah, the irony.  Ned “Carlos Mencia” Holness has used the power of the DMCA to get the YouTube video of his joke-stealing smackdown removed.  So, um…it’s okay for you to use other people’s material without credit for your own profit, but not for someone else to show that you have been doing so?  Ouch, my head.

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

In the continuing saga of Microsoft punking its customers and partners, they’re killing the MSN Music store. Due to legal requirements, they’ll offer links to the Real PlaysForSure/RDNA music store, as well as the Microsoft Zune Store.

Real is moving away from PlaysForSure to their Rhapsody DNA, paired with the Sansa e200R series. Napster never really got much traction as a legit music store. MyCokeMusic, a UK music download store, is gone. I see a trend here. PlaysForSure, which never really had the market penetration of the iTunes AAC digital restrictions software, is dead and just doesn’t know it.

Anyone who bought music from a DRM-encrusted store is a sucker to begin with, but if you have PlaysForSure music, now might be a good time to stop buying any more of it, and find a copy of the FairUse4WM program and convert those soon-to-not-work tracks into something more lasting.

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

In case you feel that Microsoft doesn’t have enough control over your computing experience, read this little article.

“Validation will fail if the software detects a substantially different hardware configuration,” the spokesperson said. “At that point, the customer is able to use the one reassignment for the new device. If, after using its one reassignment right, a customer again exceeds the tolerance for updated components, the customer can purchase an additional license or seek remediation through Microsoft’s support services.”

Great. So, you can buy an OS and upgrade your hardware, then buy the OS again. Fan-freakin-tastic.

Ubuntu is a very nice alternative. Just sayin’.

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

Creative is removing features from its Zen MicroPhoto and Zen Vision:M players. If you thought that FM recording feature you bought it with is a good thing, then you should never update its firmware. Creative has followed the Sony PSP approach of deleting features upon addition of new features. You can now use Audible files, but your recorder doesn’t record the radio. I’m sure the RIAA had nothing to do with this.

Oct. 3rd, 2006 04:37 pm

TiVoNoGo

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

Everyone who said that they didn’t need to worry about TiVo’s closed architecture, because it did everything they needed, including that nifty TiVoToGo that let you make DVDs on your computer from your TiVo box? Yeah, you got punked.

The new and improved TiVo Series3 boxes, the ones that finally allow you to record HD (something you could do with MythTV for years), have deleted the already-very-limited ability to do what you want with the recording you make on your machine that you pay for. Cheers.

There is no legal reason to do this, by the way. The fair use doctrine and case law (Betamax decision) are on the side of people who want to make personal copies of free over-the-air broadcasts. Aren’t you glad that TiVo is more interested in not offending Hollywood than they are in providing features their customers want?

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

I noticed that the “review” category has not had much activity, so I’ll remedy that.

In March of 2005, I bought a Rio Karma. This MP3 player was fantastic, with 20 gigs of storage space (enough for about 1/6th of my music collection), a fantastic interface, on-the-fly playlisting and all that jazz. It did not have an FM tuner or voice recorder, and it did depend on proprietary protocols to save music, but the ability to rearrange music and choose popular songs and all that were great. Sadly, the Karma is a delicate beast, with its hard drive not being the most durable they could find. Since it broke and Rio is gone, I was quite happy that I had paid for the 24 month warranty from Buy.

In June of this year, I replaced the Karma with the warranty money, getting a Sandisk Sansa e260 4 gig flash player. At the time, it was a 200 dollar player; it’s now routinely available for 150 or less.

With the most current firmware installed, the Sansa is a wonderful music player, although I do miss the Karma’s interface. The Sansa has two protocols: MTP and MSC (sometimes called UMS). In MTP mode, the player works only with Windows XP; in MSC mode it works with anything that recognizes USB removable media. Playlists are transferred only via MTP, although MSC mode is a faster system for simple transfers.

The Sansa also has a cool feature few players do these days: expansion. You can plug in a tiny little memory card, the microSD, to add up to 2 gigs of memory in theory (so far I can only find 1 gig cards at most). The expansion card can’t hold subscription content, and it’s not visible in MTP mode on the computer, but for music you want to keep on the player, or if you use MSC mode anyway, it’s another drive letter in Explorer.

That covers connections, but what about features? It has an FM tuner (and recorder), a voice recorder, and can manage videos (through a converter), photos, and either MP3 or WMA audio files. It supports the PlaysForSure stores, including subscription content, but I’m told does not support Audible files.

Playback is from a rather straight-forward interface, using a wheel and six buttons. Playlists from the computer are visible and usable, as well as one on-the-fly playlist on the player. I can’t tell you how well PlaysForSure works, as I refuse to participate in DRM. Thankfully, I can tell you that it works wonderfully with MediaMonkey in MTP mode. I don’t try to sync in MSC mode, so I’m not sure how well that works with MM; MSC mode is useful for clearing out old content you decide you don’t want to listen to, and it’s mandatory for firmware updates.

Photos are bright and sharp, although there is no zoom and a 1.5 inch screen is not exactly usable for a photo album.

You can play all your music, an artist, an album, a playlist, a genre, or a single track. In any of these, you can have shuffle engaged or not. There are several equalizer settings, and a custom equalizer (with latest firmware). Album art is displayed when you are playing a track, and you can cycle through a fairly useless spectrum analyzer, a larger view of the album art, and the next song in the queue. I rarely can tell what the next song will be before the player switches back to the default view, though. You have about three seconds to see it before it changes away, but it scrolls slowly through artist/album/track so if you have an artist and album with too many characters, you’re out of luck.

So, other things I dislike about the player? You can’t delete content on the player. The voice recorder button can’t be disabled without locking all controls; you will end up recording yourself without meaning to. You can’t edit playlists, except the “Go List” on the player. I really miss the “songs of the 80s” type playlists that the Karma had. Of course, with only 4 gigs of space, some of those modes are less useful than they were with 20. The videos are pretty pointless; not only is the screen only 1.5 inches, the videos are converted to an incredibly inefficient codec to play: the MJPEG format in Quicktime.

My son is able to navigate his playlist without any hassle, the radio works pretty well, and overall it’s a great and reliable player. Highly recommended for anyone who hasn’t already paid too much for DRM-infected files from iTunes Music Store.

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

The FX channel in the UK has decided to start displaying still images for 30 seconds during some of their ad slots. Apparently Sky+ PVRs don’t jump 30 seconds, they play at 12 times the normal speed when you want to skip commercials. ABC recently said they want to disable fast-forward on DVRs, as if that’s remotely possible from the non-hardware side of things.

In case you are unaware, there are PVRs that will let you jump forward, not just go faster. There are PVRs that will automatically mark commercials for skipping them without any interaction from the viewer at all. You just can’t buy these PVRs any longer. The one that was on the market was ReplayTV, which is gone. The good news is that you can still get the functionality, but you need to build it yourself. Look into MythTV – one of your geek friends can build it for ya for about 400 bucks; ABC and FX and everyone else will then have no control over what you can do with your own recorder, and you’ll at least have the same ability with your new machine that we had with VCRs in the 80s.

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

I find it amazing that MS has still not figured out how to avoid punking their customers and partners. The wonderful DRM embedded in earlier versions of Windows Media Player is bad enough. Then came PlaysForSure, which many people say is more like “PlaysForShit.” There are many instances of the PlaysForSure files not transferring, or requiring multiple updates of software on the PC and firmware on the player. Plays For Sure as a slogan implies that your music will Just Work, but that is obviously not the case, based on how many complaints you can find online with mere seconds of research.

So, MS decided that the whole integrated solution thing Apple has going is a good idea. They partnered up with iRiver and MTV to produce the Clix and Urge. The device and service were designed together, to ensure that things actually would Play For Sure.  So far so good, even if it did effectively snub all the previous MS partners who had signed on for the Janus DRM train (anyone think it’s interesting that Janus had two faces?), as well as the hardware partners whose machines hadn’t been tested and certified for the MTV Urge service. They’ll probably work, but if it’s not marketed together, many people will assume incompatibility.

And now the latest change to Microsoft’s music roadmap – Zune. Not only does this get Microsoft involved in the hardware market for media players, effectively telling all the manufacturers who thought they were partners to piss off, it also introduces a new Zune-only store. That’s right, the Janus DRM-encumbered music you thought you owned from Rhapsody or Napster or whereever won’t play on Zune. You’ll have to buy it all again, if you want to play it on that new slick MS-branded player.

Might I suggest never buying any DRM-encumbered media? The result of ever buying any music or video from a service that puts DRM on it is that you don’t control your own property. You may think you own the latest Beyonce album, but if you bought it from Napster or iTunes, you don’t own a damned thing. You have a right to listen to it only on the device you bought it for and any new technology is likely to render your music collection so much junk.

Just for an added stab in the back of their customers, the Zune’s vaunted wifi sharing system will add DRM to any file, including public domain and Creative Commons files. For the public domain files, that’s just evil. For the CC files, that’s actually a violation of the CC license, which states unequivocally that no encryption can be applied to the file by anyone.

To recap, DRM is evil, Microsoft hates their customers, Microsoft can be trusted only to betray their business partners, and DRM is evil.

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

I can’t imagine what one could add to the headline to make this story any more clear. Can you imagine buying one of these drives to play Blu-Ray movies in your new home theater PC and finding out that you can’t? Are they just encouraging piracy now by their total incompetence at this Digital Restrictions Manglement crap?

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

Just to prove what lovely and thoughtful human beings they are, the RIAA has introduced a motion in one of their extortion filesharing cases. The defendent has died, so they’re allowing the family sixty days to grieve before they sue the children. Anyone still think the RIAA is a reasonable group of people?

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

This case illustrates much that is incredibly wrong with the current de facto permanent copyright nonsense. A.A. Milne’s granddaughter is trying to wrest control of her dear grandpa’s “intellectual property” from the House of Mouse.

Clare Milne, who was not born when her grandfather died, sought to use a 1976 copyright law to terminate the prior licensing agreement and recapture ownership of the copyright.

So, exactly how does Clare’s assumption of her grandfather’s copyright in any way create an incentive for dear dead Mr. Milne to create more Pooh stories? Those darned zombie authors sure are busy.

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

The recording industry mafia have gotten a new one – they are suing a family for filesharing when the family doesn’t even own a computer. I believe it is quite difficult to infringe copyrights (not steal any darned thing) the way the RIAA accuses them of without at least some kind of computer to use.

So, the morons have shaken down little old ladies, small children, dead people, families without computers…how many cases has the RIAA won? Not a single one. That’s right; no matter how much they bully people, not a single case has been decided in their favor. Of course, almost no cases have been decided at all. The strongarm tactics and extortion that the cartel has used are effective. People know they have no reasonable chance of fighting the RIAA in court because the RIAA can afford better lawyers, and in the modern judicial system money talks. So, when the mob boss industry lawyer offers people a way out of the multi-million dollar suit, they tend to take it. Unsurprisingly, the amount of money the RIAA settles for varies from case to case – it is generally defined as, “what do you have?” One college student was told to max out his student loans to maximize the industry profit. Think this will encourage that student to buy more CDs next year? Yeah, me neither.

andysocial: (Default)

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

Those silly silly people running the music “industry” (like there are factories and stuff?) just can’t figure out how to not blow themselves up. Napster offered them 200 million dollars per year for the next 5 years, if the RIAA would just not try to destroy Napster, and maybe even try to play nice with them.

The RIAA, being the old greybeards they are, couldn’t bring themselves to approve such a scheme, so they’ll probably end up winning the court battle and shutting Napster down. Of course, since Fanning and Co. have a deal with BMG records, they’ll stick around as the front end for ONE record company’s electronic distribution system.

Meanwhile, the other companies in the RIAA are working on their own systems, which they’ll probably screw up royally. Anyone else remember the awesome Personics systems from the 80s? You could go to a record store kiosk, choose your personal favorite songs from the playlist, and have a cassette created with only music you wanted, with a nice laser-printed jacket and labels. The record companies made royalties, and the consumer got a product they truly wanted. Of course, the industry let that system die from lack of attention, and it was too late anyway, with the CD revolution in full swing.

This past week, the RIAA started going after OpenNap servers, which are equivalent to Napster, but without any company to sue. Next, I’m sure they’ll attempt to sue the users of Gnutella, who are individuals operating out of their own homes. This is basically the music companies suing their own customers. I wonder how they justify that business model.

Really should have made that deal with Napster, RIAA. It was the best chance of getting any money at all without suing your own customers. This should be an entertaining year.

current_music: Everclear – Now That It’s Over

Profile

andysocial: (Default)
andysocial

April 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9101112131415
161718192021 22
23242526272829
30      

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 19th, 2017 01:39 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios