Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The True Meaning of DRM

Not to say that I'm particularly smart, but I feel pretty stupid right about now. After reading this article over at Ars Technica's Infinite Loop, I can't believe I never fully realized the point of Digital Rights Management (DRM). It was never about piracy; it was always about control. All those times I griped that it was stupid to try to combat piracy with DRM because it's so easy to circumvent I really had no idea what I was talking about. Of course it's useless, the point was always to minimize your right so they could find more ways to squeeze money out of their content. I should've known when one music label exec claimed that you can easily re-buy your precious CDs should they get stolen. I should've also known when movie studios claimed that distributing movies on iTunes to up to 5 iPods was 4 devices too many. What's disappointing is that they don't see that they could probably make more money if things weren't so complicated. Take Netflix, for example. They've recently been piloting a service to allow you to watch movies on your PC streaming for free with your current subscription (up to 18 hours, that is), and you don't have to worry about time limits for when you can view them or what codec you need to play it or any of that stuff. That kind of system brings more people more interested in movies and more likely to buy these movies than if they had never seen them because of the rip-off movie theater prices (and who's going to buy a DVD for a movie they have no clue about unless it's in the $5 bin?). Maybe I'm just too naive, but I always think there's a better way than trying to restrict technology.

Want me to keep bursting the gigantic iPhone bubble over everyone's head? Alright, here's more bad news: you can't use songs purchased on iTunes as ringtones. I think that means they want to sell ringtones on iTunes, but if it can't at least match the Razr's features then that's kind of lame. Oh, and OS X will be stored on that 4GB or 8GB of memory you purchased with that phone at under half a GB. Now some not-so-bad Apple news: a few new Get a Mac ads have popped up, and two of them are actually humorous. Click to enlargeI know it's a random thing to mention, but watching those ads is a guilty pleasure of mine. Speaking of those ads, John Hodgman was on the Daily Show a while back talking about net neutrality and you may want to check out that awesome clip over here. Not only is it a great (albeit, slightly biased) description of the issue, but it's quite entertaining. Rest assured though that the concepts he's citing are true. If you hear people raving about Photoshop but can't afford the ridiculous amount it costs, maybe you should look into GIMP. There's a pretty solid comparison of the two here, and I agree with him: it's just what you need for home use. Another great application is Paint .NET if you want a slightly cleaner interface and a few less features (meaning faster load times). Lastly, I love this list of things we've learned from 24 and a few other movies (but mostly, 24) about technology. As much as I love 24, I point out these foibles all the time, but have learned to deal with suspended disbelief.

Once again, not much movie news to report. I guess everyone is too busy with Sundance, since it is tomorrow. Anyway, you can see the 30 second version of Borat, as re-enacted by bunnies, over here. It's pretty clever, as are most of their re-enactments. The only other thing is that I just ran into the short films I saw on the plane ride from Seattle to Atlanta over here, and I'd recommend watching "High Maintenance" and "Still Life" if you're getting cabin fever from being iced in for two days straight. I thought the latter was the best of the five, by far. Oh, and the splash image at the top of the page is how our plane looked.

I'm gonna go for an optimistic Ten on Tuesday this week:

10 Things You Do Well
10. Dance
9. Write (essays, short stories, blog entries, what have you)
8. Play guitar
7. Shop (I learned the art of pinching pennies from my mother)
6. Exercise
5. Type
4. Play video games
3. Follow a schedule
2. Program
1. Eat

No comments: