Damaged Gears

Evolve your Gears

Splash Damage: Diet DrM. HD5, the contender.

with 4 comments

Michael Robertson is something of a celeb/maverick around these here interweb.  He, also in an something of a shocking announcement, is also a diet soda fanatic.  Why does that matter?  In a rather interesting and unique way of looking at DRM, he likens any DRM’d files with Diet Soda.  Diet Sodas full of Aspartame and such tend to go stale much faster than normal Sodas pumped full of Corn Syrup and occasional sugar.

He figures that once the central authority that allows such DRM’d music to be OK for playback goes under (say the brawns behind Napster, for instance) goes under, then what stops them from totally disabling the playback of said tracks in any matter?

If you present this argument anywhere that has an “i” in front of it, you’ll invariably get the general response of: “You can Burn it to a CD!!” and “Re-rip it after you burn it.”

There are few problems with that though.  First, you’re getting a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy.  By the time you rerip and reburn, that poor music file has gone through so much that it doesn’t know when to sing and when to be silent.  As a result, you get something that sounds that was recorded underwater everytime a cymbal hits.  The experts around here call that Transcoding, and most frown upon that for the obvious reason.

Second, and more overlooked part of it, is that it may be illegal.  In the US, there’s this little thing called DMCA.  One part of it is that any discussion of breaking or sidestepping copyright protection measure is illegal.  So, you have a bit of law breaking on your hands here as well.  Not that this stopped anyone before.

However, for argument sakes, that one day, iTunes dials home, and receives a new directive from Apple.com saying that no more burns of iTunes purchased files are allowed as of now.  Well, that brilliant scheme of burning CDs and reripping has gone up in smokes.  It’s happened before (used to be that you could burn 10 copies), whose to say that it won’t happen again?

None of the music stores are really forthright regarding the transfer matters.  For instance, it takes a right click and several tab throughs to see how many transfers are allowed with your ATRAC tracks to varying ATRAC devices and actual Redbook burns (Used to be that it was rather easy to see how many transfers you had left in older SonicStage, something that it did right for one, go figure).  I figure that kind of information won’t be easy to come by in WMP11 or iTunes.

And let’s not get into transferring tracks from one device to another (though if Microsoft has their way about it, they would make that process quite easy though they would be footing the bill).  Along with that comes the invariable issue above, like what happens when the purveyor kicks the bucket.

So, there you have it, you’re paying for photocopies (and crummy one at that), you don’t own said photocopies, and you can only view it on the special copy viewer.  Sounds like a good deal to me, where the hell do I sign up?

Or the moral of the story, I can do without it, thanks.

Modern Era

Finally, I did spring for a multi ten gigs DAP (after all these time, though I did have a brief fling once before), and purchased NW-HD5.  You can read my impressions of it here and a full review elsewhere on the web, hopefully soonish.

Initial impression: this should’ve really been the NW-HD1 in terms of functionality.  Navigation, for the most part, is intuitive.  SQ is the usual Sony (flavored to usual Sony terms), and probably among the best not equipped with HD Digital Amp.  Size is astonishingly small, being slightly bigger than the Rio Carbon, and just about 1/3 inch taller than the Sansa E140.

So with great hardware, why did this fail, like all others before it?  SonicStage ain’t exactly the best tool for the job.  Even with 4.0 it’s still much harder to manage multi-gig jukeboxes compared to other programs.  And, with Connect Player dying a swift and hearty death as it did, who knows what could’ve been?

Ah well.  At least it’s a bargain now if you can track it down.

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Written by Damage

07/6/06 at 3:36 pm

Posted in DAP, Et Cetera, Soapbox

4 Responses

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  1. […] Nicely worded rant on the DRM’d tracks you buy from online music stores: “So, there you have it, you’re paying for photocopies (and crummy one at that), you don’t own said photocopies, and you can only view it on the special copy viewer. Sounds like a good deal to me, where the heck do I sign up?” […]

  2. […] Interstingly enough, Konstantinos Christidis linked to an interesting analogy the other day on his HiFi Blog, a post over on Damaged Gears, describing DRM’d tracks you can buy from online stores thus: “So, there you have it, you’re paying for photocopies (and crummy ones at that), you don’t own said photocopies, and you can only view it on the special copy viewer. Sounds like a good deal to me, where the heck do I sign up?” […]

  3. MP3-Format vor einer Renaissance?…

    Im 9rules Blog(englisch) wird erwähnt, dass bei Damaged Gears(englisch) ein schöner Vergleich zum Thema DRM zu lesen ist:
    So, there you have it, you’re paying for photocopies (and crummy one at that), you don’t own said photocopies, and …

    webmusicbiz.de

    08/7/06 at 3:13 am

  4. “So, there you have it, you’re paying for photocopies (and crummy one at that), you don’t own said photocopies, and you can only view it on the special copy viewer. Sounds like a good deal to me, where the hell do I sign up?”

    Thank you for your articulate statement of the real problem. I’m an emusic junkie and my $19.95 is happily spend.


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