Friday, May 11, 2007

MRT, You Are Pure Evil

That's right. I said what at least simple-minded geeks are thinking. Media Rights Technologies (MRT) is pure, unadulterated, Senator Palpatine-level evil. MRT is suing Apple, Microsoft, and RealNetworks, among others, for "actively avoiding the use" of DRM protection. While it's not likely they're going to win, it's the principle that I despise. They're literally suing these companies for not using MRT's technology, known as X1, which they believe is a foolproof solution to breaking DRM. But wait, what's the problem in the first place? Apparently, because these companies provide media players and can handle streams, they're in violation of DMCA since there's software available to steal these streams, including Windows Sound Recorder, apparently. I've read a lot of stupid lawsuits, but this may take the cake. I really do think so. Mistake number one: software is NEVER flawless. Even if you use formal methods, which no one does, it's exceedingly difficult to prove that a piece of technology does what you want it to do in all circumstances and is unbreakable. So no one can be forced to use X1 for the reason that X1 plugs some digital hole for good, because it doesn't. Secondly, under their argument, everyone must actively do everything to enforce the DMCA, even if the content providers don't care. Hence, if someone finds a flaw with X1, which will happen (see mistake #1), that means that MRT has also broken DMCA and can be taken to a federal court. And lastly, who really cares? There's no way to prove their inane figures about how much money the industry has lost to streaming, and most people won't go through that kind of trouble to steal music using otherwise legal software (like iTunes or RealPlayer), so this is clearly nothing more than a ploy to sell their X1 technology that no one seems to want (and I'm sure no one will ever want after this poor display of business ethics). MRT, I hope you have to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy so that we can all laugh at you even more.

There's an assload of news today, by the way. Let me jump right into Apple news here. MacRumors has the high points from Steve Jobs's meeting with the shareholders, and he seemed to hint at HD content coming to iTunes. Also, he actually admitted what everyone else has been griping about: .Mac sucks and needs a serious overhaul. The other item is that Disney has sold 24 million TV shows through iTunes and over a million films. I'd say that's pretty phenomenal since it was an entirely new form of revenue that was likely previously (at least in small part) lost to piracy. Piracy is still rampant, but I'd say that this helps them sleep a little better at night.

While I don't have a Mac and don't plan on buying one this year, I definitely appreciate how nifty it is when people use Expose, and I definitely think it's more that I like zoomable user interfaces. It works well in Google Maps, it's hella fun in Supreme Commander, and it makes things just feel more intuitive. Like it's another degree of control (kind of like how the idea of the Wiimote just seems to give you a totally different angle of control with the gyroscope it has inside). I just wanted to set down right now that a goal of mine before I die is now to create a piece of software someday that utilizes an intuitive zoom with the UI.

Back to DRM real quick: MySpace has come up with a new system called "Take Down Stay Down" for copyright infringements that will actually remember the digital fingerprint of content that is removed for being illicit to prevent it from ever being uploaded again. In theory, I am not opposed to this idea. They have no obligation to host content that violates the law or their TOS, so that's fine. However, I think that this move is questionable mainly because I'm not convinced of the accuracy of this technology. We've barely scratched the surface of the field of computer vision, who's to say they won't end up with a lot of false positives and keep good, legal content from being posted? If it's accuracy was over 95%, I'd probably approve of it, though.

Meanwhile, over at YouTube, they've now started experimented with putting ads in content, and it looks pretty unobtrusive. Not sure if the little video ad appears if you don't rollover the floating ad text, but if it doesn't then this system is perfect. If not, I just hope these spots aren't longer than 15 seconds. If you have to wait like a minute to watch a 3 minute video, it would be kind of silly.

It looks like there are people out there who have high hopes for Firefox supporting the Open Web and basically becoming a completely open source platform. While I think those ideas are interesting and important to push, because I'm sure many of us remember the horrors of clicking XML links before Firefox 2 rolled around and don't want to have to keep waiting for browsers to play catch-up with new technologies, a browser's main focus is always a rich user experience. Without that, a competitor is just as good, but if you make things easier, faster, and more intuitive, your fanbase will only grow, and I think that's really what Mozilla is going for with Firefox 3. And while I think Open Web is noble, I just don't see things as going in that direction. I think open source always has an uphill battle, and this is just another one. This whole "microformat" idea basically needs its own browser to demonstrate it, as I see it, so why would people flock to it when things work alright (not perfectly, but alright) the way they are now? Just go play with these Firefox tricks instead.

There's a new type of cigarette now called the eCigarette that lets you smoke all you want but just removes the carcinogens from the experience to only give you the nicotine you may be addicted to. It's $200, and while I don't support smoking in the first place, I think I'd much rather see people smoke this than the real thing. Would this really eliminate all the risks associated with smoking though? It doesn't sound like it to me.

In movie news, I'm just going to talk about trailers today. It looks like Dead or Alive, which has been out for a while on video in many regions, is coming to the big screen, and IGN has the trailer. No idea why they waited so long to release it, but from the half of it I saw on Google Video, it looked like just mindless action and gratuitous partial nudity, so take that as you will.

Yahoo Movies has the exclusive trailer, and I like it. It reminds me a lot of Syriana for some reason even though I know it'll probably have much more action. I like the idea of putting Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman together in a movie though, so I hope for the best here.

Lastly, the red-band trailer for Knocked Up is out there, but it's not really all that vulgar to be deserving a strong red-band. It looks mildly funny, but this trailer just doesn't have me quite convinced that I need to see it. Then again, I'm still being scolded for not having seen Hot Fuzz, which I do intend to watch.

Now for Friday's Feast:

Appetizer
Tell about a time when you had to be brave.

I don't know if I'm really fit to define my past actions as brave. The only thing I can think of that I'd consider brave is when I was accused of cheating and had to have a chat with the principal. A friend of mine was involved with this "scandal", but I didn't rat her out. They pressed me on it, but I stayed loyal and played dumb.

Soup
Which upcoming movie are you excited about seeing?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!!!

Salad
Name an item you try to always have on hand.

Chapstick. I hate having cracked lips! I also always have keys and cell phone, without fail.

Main Course
Imagine the most relaxing room you can think of. Now describe it!

School is over, it's a weekend, and I'm enjoying sunset on the beach with a certain someone without a care for what I have to get done or what I'm going to do that day.

Dessert
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being highest), how spiritual or religious are you?

Probably a 6 or 7, I'd estimate. I'm definitely a Christian, and I'm partially a Catholic, but I'm not extremely devout. I'm quite liberal about what I believe in because I don't always like the Church's interpretation of things. I think a number of ideas were propagated to spread political agendas (church politics, that is) when they were created. I believe in God, Jesus Christ, and what I take from the Bible as how He intends for us to live.

1 comment:

Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

"... partially a Catholic." I like that. It is like being a little bit pregnant? :-)

Just having fun with you. I completely abandoned organized religion. I'm a recovering Lutheran.

My feast is served!