Damaged Gears

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Splash Damage: DRM eats drinks(?) Batteries – Proper Procedure

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Going back to the DRM battery life test, this should be very easy to verify. Time consuming, yes. Easy, quite. Note that all of these procedures are required so that you eliminate everything but the DRM files as source of extra battery drain.

1. Reset DAP To initial factory settings. All units should be in equal settings. Furthermore, they should use the same Firmware, as battery life can be affected positively or negatively by firmware enhancements.

2. Encode a select set of tracks and download said tracks from many music stores. Note what settings they are encoded. Rip and re-encode same set of tracks without DRM (ie Copy Protection or Copy Control flag). They should be same songs, ideally from same source, so the resulted encoded tracks would be same, except DRM. Unfortnately, I don’t know how easy this requirements can be met-I highly doubt that those JANUS powered tracks are ripped from consumer copy CDs. But who knows.

2a. TO be really fair about this, you need the following three sets for WMA:
A. Control group – no DRM
B. Normal-DRM group – $.99 track you pay to keep
B-1. DRM’d encoded from your computer using copy control flag (to see if that particular DRM has any adverse effect, optional)
C. Heavy-DRM group – Subscription tracks (we’ll put their claims to the test that subscription DRM adds an extra layer of crap)

Note that Fairplay isn’t available to general public (in that you can’t encode your AAC files with Fairplay DRM from iTunes necessairly), so for iPod testing, one’s at the mercy of Apple’s files, and hope that they use the same AAC routines as the iTunes AAC encoding.
3. Fill a DAP of choice with those tracks from Control Groups A, B, and C. If it is flash based unit, I don’t think you’d have to fill up the unit entirely, as access doesn’t penalize battery life. However, for HD units, you’d certainly have to fill up the unit entirely as physical access does penalize battery life. Ideally, you should be able to have three units of an identical model to make testing easier. Of course, those units must use the same headphone load (pack-ins to make thing easy), or none at all.

4. Play until battery is drained completely. Rinse, lather, repeat. You should do this several times to account for anolomies. Shuffle the units. That is, if DAP no. 1 played normal DRM, then it should now play un-DRMed tracks or Heavy DRMed Tracks. Again, we’re trying to eliminate all the variables save DRM. Same play mode, same play order. If need be, employ a playlist to make sure same files are being played in same sequence.

5. Review the information. You can certainly to all the fancy 5-tap distribution and such (and you should, but it’s been years since I’ve done the stuff), but a simple average battery life from control group compared to DRM group should suffice.

6. Post your conclusion on the web, preferrably on here on Damaged Gears. This, I think we all agree, is the most critical step.

So, would someone like to donate 3 Zen Vision:Ms to me anytime soon?


Written by Damage

03/18/06 at 9:18 am

Posted in Soapbox

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