The kindle has been fun to play around with. I’ve enjoyed reading it for an hour or two each night for the past week. Once all the weird technical glitches went away (after a reset and a full recharge of the battery), i haven’t had a single issue.That being said, i don’t want one. And here’s why. Not all books are available for it. The front page of amazon’s website says there are over 230,000 books ready for the Kindle. But you know what? Just at random i picked three series i’m either reading or have recently read, and none of them were available for the kindle. In fact, most likely they aren’t available in electronic form at all. Why is this? Publishers don’t like to publish their really popular books electronically (some paranoia about pirating, which is stupid because most of the books they try to protect are available via pirated avenues before they’re published anyway if you know where to look). And of course there’s the ever present DRM to consider. Kindle uses a propriety format (and i’m sure it’s loaded with DRM) so if i wanted to transfer all of my kindle books to some other reader a few years from now, i couldn’t. That being said, it’s a great device, and it might be great for you. Check one out for yourself if you get a chance and see what you think.
For eight years Spore has been in development, and finally released last week. I don’t play a lot of computer games, but this is one of the few that i’ve looked forward to. I’ve been following it for quite some time.
But once it came out, i was immediately put off because of the DRM that came with the game. You can only install it three times before having to call their tech support and beg them to let you install it again. That’s the bad side. The nice part is that you don’t need the CD in the drive to play.
For the average joe user, they probably don’t know and/or care about the drm. They just buy the game, put in their code, reigster online with EA and then play the game for a few months and that’s that. Good for them. But philosophically i just can’t support DRM like this. EA initially defended their stance saying “the music industry, such as iTunes, does the same thing”. uhm, HELLO – i can’t stand the music DRM either, and don’t support it.
Spore quickly becamse the most pirated game in history. The people who bought the game are stuck with a ‘crippled’ version and the pirates have a nice version that works great and has no restrictions. Well, except that you can’t go online to the sporeipedia to share creations with others. It is a cool feature.
So what’s a guy to do – support the DRM and buy the game, or go the illegal route and pirate the game? Or just not get the game altogether? Fortunately, there has been enough outrage online that EA has taken notice (or maybe they’re looking at the # of pirated copies and realizing they are losing a lot of revenue because of their flubbed drm decision). In any event, they have decided to pull back a bit on the drm and will release a patch that will allow you to ‘deauthorize’ a computer after you install, thus allowing you to install on another computer. This would allow unlimited installs on any number of machines. And still no cd in the drive. Bravo. They have also agreed to put out a patch that will eliminate the drm altogether at some future date when the game is no longer supported by them so that when they take down their spore authentication servers, the game will continue to work (thus i can still play spore in 20 years if i wanted to).
That i can live with. Let the spore begin!
[Analog] Print Is Dead
Long before there was cyberspace, books led us to a magical nether-zone. “Books are all the dreams we would most like to have, and like dreams they have the power to change consciousness,” wrote Victor Nell in a 1988 tome called “Lost in a Book.” Nell coined a name for that trancelike state that heavy readers enter when consuming books for pleasure
Finally, we have some decent movement in the drm-free music arena.First iTunes made a half-hearted effort by offering “iTunes+”, which charges more for the song, and still gives you an AAC file (but it’s not drm’d so you can convert it to mp3 if you like). Not a bad start, except that every time i went looking for a song, it wasn’t available on itunes+. Pity. Then not too long ago Wal Mart began making mp3′s available from their online store. Definitely better since it’s now an mp3 instead of a drm-free AAC. But again, like iTunes+, every time i tried to look up a song, it wasn’t available as an mp3. Now along comes Amazon offering millions of mp3 songs. And yes – all the songs i looked up here WERE available as mp3s. Granted i didn’t look up tons of songs, but i looked up the same songs that i couldn’t find on itunes and walmart, and there they were. Awesome. I know where i’ll be getting my music from now on.
An analogy of DRM, from an interview with the hacker who broke the code:
Recently, Steve Jobs said DRM was having an adverse effect on the number of songs he was able to sell in iTunes. Several other people have begun to see the light that DRM simply can’t work in the long run. Other alternatives are needed. I’ve posted about DRM before here and here.
There is no future in which bits will get harder to copy. Instead of spending billions on technologies that attack paying customers, the studios should be confronting that reality and figuring out how to make a living in a world where copying will get easier and easier. They’re like blacksmiths meeting to figure out how to protect the horseshoe racket by sabotaging railroads.The railroad is coming. The tracks have been laid right through the studio gates. It’s time to get out of the horseshoe business.
You might recall a post I made a while back (link is here)
about how I wouldn’t mind buying legal music if it wasn’t for the DRM
crap that goes along with it. Well, I think I may have stumbled
upon a solution. Enter JHymn.
It’s a program that will take an itunes file and strip out all the DRM
and leave you with a nice MP3 file. I plan to check it out today
and see how it works.
It works! I now have a legal music source (itunes) and with the click of a button I can have the song in my preferred format: mp3.
Previously, I made mention of DRM technology and how stupid I thought the whole thing was.
Well, today I ran across an excellent article that goes into great
detail explaining DRM and why it sucks. The introduction states
five points that it will discuss:
DRM systems don't work
DRM systems are bad for society
DRM systems are bad for business
DRM systems are bad for artists
DRM is a bad business-move for MSFT
I read the article (it’s rather long). The author makes some very good and convincing points. Check it out.
Yesterday I heard a new song on the radio. I liked it.
Previously, this would mean I would write down the artist/title and
come home and download it from KaZaa. However, my wife has
convinced me that I should just pay for songs and download them from a
legit music sites. Fine – it’s not a big deal. I don’t mind
paying a dollar for a good song.
I go online, I find the song, I download it, and walla – it shows up in
my playlist. However, this is where things start to get
Problem 1: The format is WMA, not MP3. HUH, are you kidding?
Problem 2: I copy the song from the desktop to my laptop, which is
where I keep all my personal songs so I can listen to them wherever I
happen to be. Much to my surprise, when I try to play the song up
pops a message that says “You can copy this song to 2 additional
computers, and you must get a licence key, and you must install the ###
player [the same player I used to download the song]. Well excuse
the @#)$* out of me, but i paid for the song, and i’ll do whatever the
$@#() I want to with it, including copying it to every computer I have,
and play it on whatever player i want.
Solution: It only took me a few minutes to figure out how to get around
the DRM protection on the stupid song and convert it to MP3. Now
it’s “mine” and I’ll do whatever I want with it. But the point is
that I shouldn’t have had to do that. The fact that I had to jump
through a bunch of hoops to get my song makes me think that KaZaa isn’t
so bad after all…