Denki News

July 31, 2006

iTunes Music Store Special Report, Part 5: eMusic — A DRM-less Alternative

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 9:32 am

As I suggested in Part 2 of this series, Apple probably didn’t have any other choice but to use DRM for their downloads when they were setting up the iTunes Music Store. The music industry was paranoid enough about piracy that they would never have let their top artists’ music appear in digital form if it wasn’t somehow tied to the purchaser. But since then at least one major music store that does not use any DRM in their music has appeared — eMusic.com. I tried this site out recently, and here are my impressions. (More after the jump.)

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July 23, 2006

iTunes Music Store Special Report, Part 4: Removing DRM from iTMS Songs

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 4:06 am

Since the introduction of the iTMS, a number of programs (such as Hymn) have appeared that allowed users to remove the FairPlay DRM from purchased songs, producing AAC or MP3 files that have no restrictions with regard to their use. However, aside from the fact that using these programs is a violation of the iTMS user agreement, there is no program that I know of that is capable of removing DRM from tracks downloaded with the latest version of iTunes (version 6.0 and later). Luckily, you can burn every track downloaded from the iTMS to CD, and this makes it possible (if time consuming) to convert the music that you have downloaded to a different format, free of DRM restrictions. (More after the jump.)
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July 16, 2006

iTunes Music Store Special Report, Part 3: Potential Problems

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 9:17 pm

In Part 1 of this series I detailed the rules behind Apple’s FairPlay DRM scheme. I think most people would agree that if you have to have DRM, FairPlay isn’t really that bad. But there are some other issues that anyone wanting to buy from the iTMS should keep in mind. (More after the jump.)

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July 15, 2006

iTunes Music Store Special Report, Part 2: Criticisms of Apple’s FairPlay DRM

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 11:23 pm


A lot of fuss has been made over DRM recently, and ironically Apple has been at the center of much of it. I say ironically because Apple’s FairPlay DRM is probably the best implementation of DRM that I’ve heard of. It’s certainly one of the easiest to understand, and as a regular iTMS customer I’ve rarely felt the DRM rules to be a problem. However, some people are against DRM as a matter of principle and since Apple has some 80% of the online music market, FairPlay has come under fire. The people behind Defective By Design have even gone so far as to stage protests at Apple Stores. (More after the jump.)

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iTunes Music Store Special Report, Part 1: FairPlay DRM Explained

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 9:50 pm

In this multi-part special report I’m going to examine some issues that all users of the iTunes Music Store should be aware of. First of all, I’d like to look at DRM (Digital Rights Management). DRM ties the songs or video that you download to you, making it so that other people can’t use them, and it also usually includes limitations on the ways that you can use the content that you download. DRM serves a couple of different purposes. From the standpoint of the record companies, its main purpose is to prevent people from sharing music over the Internet. For companies like Apple or Microsoft, it also serves to lock the consumer in to their particular service and prevent them from switching to competing services. (More after the jump.)

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July 9, 2006

V@mp C@ndi 512MB flash MP3 player review — is it a decent iPod alternative?

Filed under: iPod & iTunes, Japan, Technology — icruise @ 11:04 am

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m currently visiting Japan, and one of my favorite things to do when I’m here is to make the rounds of the electronics stores. This time I found some cheap little MP3 players on the clearance rack. I had been thinking about buying something similar to use while doing errands (when my full-sized iPod is a little too big or heavy) so I decided to buy one. How does it stack up against the iPod? (More after the jump.) (more…)

May 23, 2006

Why the hate? Behind the iPod backlash

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 9:19 pm

A lot of people (well, a lot of people who post on Internet message boards anyway) seem to be anti-iPod. There are even entire websites devoted to this, such as anythingbutipod.com. As a big fan of the iPod, I find this somewhat perplexing. I've been thinking a lot about this, and I've come up with a few possible reasons. (More after the jump.)

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An open letter from Jason Tomczak, lead plaintiff in the iPod nano scratch lawsuit

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 12:46 pm

As you may know, a class action lawsuit was filed against Apple stating that iPod nanos are so easily scratched that their screens can become unusable in the course of normal use. What you probably didn't know was that the Jason Tomczak, the lead plaintiff in the case, was associated with the case completely against his will and without his knowledge. Or at least that's what he says. He has written an open letter to the Mac community saying that the legal firm in charge of the case essentially hijacked his name. From what he says, he's been through some very difficult and expensive problems because of this. If it's true, it makes the whole lawsuit even stupider than I originally thought, and I feel sorry for him.

(The picture above is taken from the Ars Technica review of the iPod nano, in which they discover that the nano is surprisingly sturdy, if not exactly scratch resistant.)

Open Letter To The Mac Community

May 15, 2006

Creative sues Apple over iPod interface

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 9:58 am


Creative, the company behind products like the Zen Vision digital media player is suing Apple over the iPod’s interface, saying that it infringes on a patent that they hold.

The patent reads, in part:

A method of selecting at least one track from a plurality of tracks stored in a computer-readable medium of a portable media player configured to present sequentially a first, second, and third display screen on the display of the media player, the plurality of tracks accessed according to a hierarchy, the hierarchy having a plurality of categories, subcategories, and items respectively in a first, second, and third level of the hierarchy.

After wading through the patentese, you’ll see that Creative apparently patented the concept of organizing music by category. I’m surprised they didn’t go whole-hog and just patent alphabetical order while they were at it. Seriously, though, is the idea of sorting music by artist, album, and title really something that deserves a patent?

(Via Ars Technica)

May 9, 2006

Does buying videos from the iTunes Music Store make sense?

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 9:07 pm

Apple has been steadily adding videos to its download library, but how does buying videos compare to buying songs in terms of price and quality? (More after the jump.)

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