May 29, 2007
So like a lot of people, I'm always keeping an eye out on the job opportunity market, and when one I think would rock far more than my current gig comes up, I'll try for it.
Now, I understand that there is a reason why "applicant" and "supplicant" are similar words. Really. I get it. However, there are times when, well, at some point during the application process, something happens that makes you think "You know what, I don't think I'd want to work there even if you asked."
Take for example, the University of Central Florida. They had, recently, some openings that not only appealed to me, but matched my skill set rather nicely. So, I go through the process of uploading my resume, (Yes, that's actually it, if you're curious. Yes, I really am 40. Yes, my objective sucks, just like every objective sucks, because they're lies, unless they say "To get a job that is better than the one I (don't) have now"). I then go through the tedious process, (I'm guessing UCF uses Peoplesoft, it has a certain flavor to it. The flavor is "make this process as agonizingly painful as possible". Tastes a bit like soap.) of filling out the online application. Now, while I understand that my lack of a bachelor's degree is not a plus, I'm not new. I'm also not willing to lie. It's a thing I have, about being honest with people about who I am.
So I get done, and hit "submit", and not twenty seconds later, I see my status:
What the hell? I don't even get a chance to be rejected by a human? I have over twenty years of electronics and computer experience, some of the best formal and informal management/leadership training available, but because I don't have a bachelor's degree, I don't even make it to the human screener?
I certainly hope UCF is kinder to their students and faculty than they are to potential employees, because to put it bluntly, that sucks. It doesn't make UCF even remotely resemble a place I'd want to work. It makes them look like a cold, autocratic, elitest, narrow-minded collection of jerks, and if that's the impression they want to give, then quite frankly, they're welcome to it.
But that's what looking for a job in the tech industry when you aren't 22-26 and a college grad with a juicy degree from a well-known college. You're not recruited, you're not sought after, you're not even treated with a modicum of dignity or decency. Your experience, your abilities, your skills, your willingness to learn and try new things, none of that matters. You failed to correctly fill a checkbox, bang, you're garbage, and out you go. You may get it in the keister ala UCF, you may get ignored, you may even, if you are "lucky" get a letter telling you of your unsuitability in suit-proof language. But make no mistake, you're still garbage.
Yet people wonder why I'm so cynical.
I can only hope that everyone at UCF who implemented, supports, or agrees with such a system gets to be on the receiving end of such treatment. Were I as mean as many think, I'd add the hope it happens when they're unemployed, so that as they live and die with every resume they send out, they can fully appreciate the kidney punch that such treatment delivers. But having been desperate for a job in hard times before, (October to December 2001 were not kind to me), I'll not wish that on anyone, because that really comes close to shattering you, especially when it happens over and over again.
But I will say that I'm no longer going to recommend my son go to UCF. If they cannot be bothered to treat people nicely when they don't have to, I've little faith in their sincerity in other conditions.
Technorati Tags: Looking for work sucks| Comments ()
May 25, 2007
So with some of the posts I've seen from Le Scoble and Shelley Powers, an idea has been bouncing around my head: for a book about the downsides of working in the tech industry from the POV of well, my generation. By "my generation" I mean the people who got into the tech field when it was still really new. For example, I graduated High School in 1984. The Mac was barely six months old, Windows didn't exist, and my first computer courses were Fortran and Basic on a Univac that took up most of the fifth floor of Primera Casa at FIU's Tamiami Campus.
There were no real degree requirements for being a sysadmin, because no one knew wtf that was. A lot of people wandered into it from other fields. I always had a thing for fixing stuff, which is what drew me to it. Well, it drew me to "computers". What we were using for "networks" were lots of serial and/or parallel cables. I don't think a lot of kids graduating college today have spent much time building ethernet cables, much less serial cables, and learning the joys of pin crimpers, or why you were so happy when you were able to use Zmodem regularly for file transfers.
The tech field was this wide open place where really, anyone who wanted to put forth the time and had a bit of a knack for it could be incredibly successful. There were no job requirements as long as your arm. Hell, I think Novell had the only real certification program at the time, and even that was waiveable if you could show you knew your stuff. Self-taught? No problem, everyone else was too. Most companies hired you expecting that they'd have to train you for a few months before you were truly useful, and that was okay. On the other hand, it was expected that you'd figure out some bizarre way to get things done that no one had thought of yet, because there was no concept that anyone "knew it all", because we didn't even know what "all" there was to know.
But like everything it's changed, and in a lot of ways, for the worse. It's become a place only for people with the right college degrees and initials after their initials. If you can't walk in knowing almost everything, you don't even get in the door. HR roundfiles resumes and applicants because they don't fit the right checkboxes. Finding a new gig without knowing people inside is damned hard if you're too far over 30, and god help you if you're over 40. At that point, they just give you some hemlock and a comfy chair on an ice floe. Businesses summarily reject thousands of people who can do the job, then whine to Congress they need more H-1B's.
Of course, that's because for what they want, people from my generation are poison. We've been around long enough to know at the start when a project's deadlines are so much fairy dust and cloud farts. We're going to have lives outside of work. We're willing to work long hours when needed, but "when needed" is not "every damned day of the year". We recognize that a company willing to pay for tons of services on site is also saying "we never want you to go home". We also aren't going to kill ourselves for a crap salary and promises of benefits. Let's see...canny, experienced workforce, or disposable, cheap foreign workers that you can send back home when you don't need them, and who daren't piss you off, because you control their ability to stay in this country. Gee, I wonder why Bill Gates keeps begging Congress for more H-1Bs instead of training existing people here?
At some point, the tech industry stopped being an unlimited opportunity, and became what it is today: a place that only wants you young, ignorant, and desperate for approval.
Obviously, I think it's crap. Yes, college is important, but in a field that as it stands today, is not even a half-century old, the stratification, and unbending degree/certification requirements we're seeing is just bullshit, and I don't think it's just a few people who think that.
So here's the deal. I think this could make a good book, but I don't want it to just be me doing the writing. If you're in the same relative generation I am, (since we have to pick a number, let's just say, if you were born around 1972 or earlier), and you're really not liking where the tech industry is going, and if you've had to deal with the bullshit of it that a lot of us have, then comment here. Let me know what you think, and if you'd be willing to send in your stories, even anonymously. If it looks like there's some real interest in this, then I'll see about the next steps.
It doesn't just have to be stories about trying to get hired either. Give me what you've got, anything from "our" POV, as the generation that really saw networks and computers go from oddity to ubiquity, and how you've seen things change from then to now. Tech is not just a young person's game, and it's not just for people who have never done anything else but computers. One of the best network administrators I've ever known went to college for graphic design. The only degree I ever ended up completing was an A.S. in Avionics Tech. My first post-military boss barely went to college at all, yet was one of the best tutors I had in this business. Yet today, they'd be thought of as fit for naught but working out of a strip mall computer store.
So, let me get opinions on this, and we'll see what happens next. (Oh, the title that popped into my head on this was "Working in the Tech Industry: How doing what you love can eat your soul" I'm open to better suggestions.)
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May 24, 2007
April NPD Game Console Sales figures
I knew there was something I was forgetting: my monthly look at game console sales. Here we are, almost into June, and I haven't looked at April yet. Well, let's fix that.
According to NPD, the sales for game consoles in April were:
PlayStation 2: 194,000
Xbox 360: 174,000
PlayStation 3: 82,000
When we compare these to March's numbers we get:
Wii: Up 39% from March
PS2: Down 31% from March
Xbox 360: Down 23% from March
PS3: Down 39% from March
For the Wii, April was Nintendo's second best month of 2007, beaten only by January. (Disclaimer: I helped!) While Robbie Bach may disagree, I think that April reinforced the brilliance of the Wii, both in design and pricing. Looks like selling to the set of "people who aren't gamers but like to play games" continues to be a winning strategy for Nintendo. While I'm not going to call a single month a trend, I'm pretty sure that no one at Nintendo is crying too much. Another month like this, and they'll be the only console manufacturer to have an overall increase in sales for 2007.
i have to say it: You just know there's shouts of "WIIIIIIII" all throughout Nintendo these days. ;-)
Alas for poor Robbie Bach, the Xbox 360 continues its steady ~20% per month decline, and while the fans may disagree, I don't think that Halo 3 is going to reverse that until the pre-orders for that game exceed the total number of Xbox 360s that have been sold in the U.S. If all you do is sell to existing 360 owners, it will have a zero effect on console sales. They need something, as another month like this, and the Xbox sales will have dropped by half from January, the last month they were close to the PS2.
The PS3's drop is, if you look at the first quarter for 2007, in line with every month but March, which had a wee increase in sales. However, the fact that the PS3 only lost a "normal" amount of sales is cold comfort. The fact is, the difference in Wii sales between March and April is greater than the total number of PS 3 sales for April. Selling only 82,000 consoles sucks, no matter how you look at it, and the PS2's curve is getting steeper every month, and not in a good direction. At this rate, Sony only has a quarter, maybe two of enough PS2 sales to make the continued manufacture of that console worthwhile. Unless the PS 3 can start posting better numbers, and fairly soon, it is going to be a poor successor to the PSX line.
Overall, the Wii is clubbing its competitors like they were baby seals. Looking at VG Chartz' info, showing the 360/PS3/Wii sales since the launch for all three, and the Xbox 360's year lead doesn't seem to be doing it much good. (Note: only US and Japan sales are included in this). Looking at those numbers, at the launch of the Wii, the 360 had sold around 4,000,000 units. It only took Nintendo around three months to equal that. Microsoft and Robbie Bach can natter on about technological penis size all they want, but the numbers are not backing them up.
May's sales should be fun indeed.
I hate computers
I was going back through some of my old entries, and as June is rapidly approaching, bringing with it the first anniversary of Michael Bartosh's death, I decided to re-read the article I had written about that, and more importantly, the comments.
As a bit of backstory, not long ago, I had some rather severe corruption in the BDB files that MovableType was using, and decided to move it all to MySQL. I lost a lot of comments.
Including every comment in the article on Michael's death.
I have not adequate profanity for what I am feeling about this. The problem is, every backup I had of the site had this corruption, because a) it was rather subtle at first, and by the time i realized what was up the damage had been done, and b) at best, I only keep a 30-60day backup of the site. A year - old archive? No way.
There's an irony in this, several, especially considering the timing between Michael's death and this year's WWDC keynote. But that doesn't make the comments come back, and out of every article I've written on this site, (416 including this one, if you're counting), this was the only one with comments that I should have done more to preserve.
To everyone who had left such wonderful comments, I'm so sorry. There's little else I can say.
Technorati Tags: Michael Bartosh| Comments ()
May 23, 2007
On the greatness of unlimited third-party development on phones
If it's so great, then why am I gradually removing every third party application from my PPC-6601 Pocket PC phone in an attempt to find out which one is causing my phone to lose its mind when a call drops. When this happens, (and it's pretty damned regular), the ONLY way to make another call is to reset the phone, or bounce the radio stack. Doing the latter actually results in the call going through just long enough for the person to answer and then the stack shuts down.
Then there's my ex's Razr that likes to reset if she uses the AIM client that comes with the phone.
If Razrs, Treos, and Windows Mobile devices are examples of how cool and great unlimited third party development is, then my message to Steve regarding his stance of being extremely restrictive towards allowing third party applications on the iPhone is:
Stay strong brother, I got your back
May 18, 2007
Made the honeymoon reservations
So, the honeymoon plans have been made, (and along with them, most of my wedding responsibilities are fulfilled. I LOVE being male.)
It's a week-long cruise on the S.V. Yankee Clipper, sailing out of Grenada. It's a Windjammer Cruise, so instead of a behemoth of a floating hotel/casino like you normally get, it's a smaller sailing ship, that doesn't put you ten stories over the ocean.
Why take a cruise if you can barely tell you're on the water unless someone tells you? Besides, a ship this size and style == fewer people. I like that already.
Oh, and just because someone would think otherwise, no, I will not be bringing my laptop. There is no way in hell i'll be doing anything on my honeymoon that needs a computer.
May 17, 2007
"On Time" is not the new "Delayed"
Okay, so I'm beginning to think the entire "blogosphere" needs to be smacked.
The latest bit of stupid? Well, let me quote from Mary Jo Foley, (who should know better):
Ironically, Microsoft’s latest move in its Open XML-ODF chess game comes the same week that Microsoft admitted that it is delaying the delivery of converters needed by existing Mac Office users to read Microsoft’s Open XML formats that are baked into Office 2007.
Who was Mary Jo's source? Why that bastion of Mac News Accuracy, C|Net:
Microsoft now says a plug-in that will allow Office 2004 to fully work with the new formats won't be ready until six to eight weeks after the Office 2008 for Mac software suite ships, sometime in the second half of this year. Instead, the company is offering a separate downloadable converter program, starting Tuesday, designed to enable Office for Mac users to convert Word 2007's .docx files to the Rich Text Format, or RTF, which can be read by all Mac OS X versions of Office.
In the next paragraph, they give their reason for saying it's "now", (as of 15 March) delayed:
The Redmond, Wash., software giant said it hopes to have similar conversion tools for Excel and PowerPoint by the summer. This is not the first time Microsoft has pushed out its plans for Mac support for the new Office file formats. In December, Microsoft said a conversion tool for the formats, originally expected around the time of the product's January mainstream launch, wouldn't come until March or April.
This is based on a Mac Mojo posting which said:
So now that Office for Windows has been released, we are working on completing compatibility with the released formats, while also completing other major work such as moving our codebase to the Intel platform, which we have discussed at some length on this very blog and elsewhere. We are running on target and expect to release a free public beta version of the file format converters in Spring 2007, with final converters available six to eight weeks after we launch our next version of Office for Mac (which, as previously reported, will be available 6-8 months after general availability of Win Office.)
But wait...that's um...well, that's what they always said. In fact, here's the quote from Roz Ho on it:
PressPass: Since Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac will be released after the 2007 Office system, how will customers be able to access the new XML files in the 2007 Office system now to ensure compatibility?
Ho: We’re building file-format converters that will allow Mac users to access Office Open XML Format following the general availability of the 2007 Office system at the end of January. We will release a public beta version of the converters in the spring of 2007, and final versions of the converters will ship six to eight weeks after Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac is available. For now, we recommend that Mac users advise their friends and colleagues using the 2007 Office system to save their documents as a “Word/Excel/PowerPoint 97-2003 Document” (.doc, .xls, .ppt) to ensure the documents can be easily shared across platforms.
Note that the C|Net story was released in Dec. 2006, and the above interview with Roz was released in January of 2007. I'm not seeing a delay here.
What C|Net seems to be focusing on is this line from the Mac Mojo post:
There will be a delta between general availability of Win Office (January) and converters from MacBU (expected late March/early April.)
However, that's in the same post where they said they're going to have a public beta in Spring of 2007, and the final release after Office 2008 is out. So let's see. Conflicting information, but one is reiterated by the head of the Mac BU, and one is not. Which one do you believe? Why, this is C|Net after all, reporting on the issue 5-6 months later, when there's more facts than in December. Of course they go with whatever one creates the most dramaaaaaa.
By the way, on the same day as the Roz Ho interview, Microsoft announced that Office 2008 will be available in the second half of 2007.
Now, face it, C|Net is a dingaling collective when it comes to Mac news, so blaming them for being wrong is like blaming a dog for farting. It stinks, but what can you do? However, Mary Jo Foley? Her I expect to check a statement, and not just be part of the echo chamber that is the blogosphere. But since she didn't, here's a clue:
"As Scheduled" and "Delayed" are not in fact the same things. That would be why they have different meanings and spelling.
Christ, is the entire "blogosphere" coming down with Scobleosis?
Wow, Bloggers really ARE journalists
Oh wait, no, they aren't.
Engadget can't even admit that they got what looked juicy, and instead of taking the steps to verify it, or even QUESTION it, they published it. Great fact checking folks. Hearst would be proud. I love this bit of justification that makes this a non-apology:
Here's the story. A trustworthy source supplied us with an actual internal Apple email that went out to thousands of Apple employees earlier today (published after the break). The fact that this was an email sent within Apple's internal email system to its employees is not in question. Let us reiterate: this was an ACTUAL email distributed within Apple's internal email system to Apple employees.
Somehow, I doubt Engadget's ever going to publicize their rigorous verification methods that proved the legitimacy of a fakeout beyond doubt. In fact, I'd love to know how they can prove without doubt where any email originates from, without chance of fakery. If they have such a system, they're about to become very, very, rich.
May 11, 2007
Sometimes, "Huh?" is all you got
Normally, I tend to ignore lawsuits against Apple, because well, they're lawsuits. I mean, they happen, it's a fact of life, especially for a company like Apple. As well, outside of ones that fall into areas I at least understand, most lawsuits are pretty Byzantine, and I'm not anything close to a lawyer.
But every once in a while you see something that when you read it, makes you actively doubt your sanity. And your sight. Because as you're reading it, you're thinking "I cannot be reading this. I have gone insane, and I am off in Wonderland. Any moment, I shall see an semi-invisible cat." Because that's the only explanation. You're nuts. It's either that or the people making the words you're reading are just...either insane or so clueless as to appear insane. It's Clarkian, in a way.
Take for example, the lawsuit filed by Media Rights Technology, (MRT) against Apple, Adobe, Real, and Microsoft. Now, I've read the press release from MRT's CEO, Hank Risan on this. It's almost incoherent. It starts with a rambling history of the MRT executive's association with the Museum of Musical Instruments, and how they almost got sued by RIAA because a Microsoft update had created a hole in their copy protection. Now, why it was MOMI's fault, (The MOMI web site appears to be defunct, so no point in providing a link) I have no idea. I really cannot see how RIAA would think that MOMI's DRM being circumventable was their fault. But I imagine, that like a lot of people, they realized they didn't have the resources to fight RIAA, so they caved. They then created MRT, a company devoted to solving the Stream Ripping Problem. (First of all, this is a problem? Most of the streams out there have all the quality of Weird Al's first recording studio. Who the hell is spending tons of time saving this stuff?)
Their solution was their X1 Secure Recording Control, prototyped at MRT's Bluebeat.com web site, their slogan, "Digital Radio Done Right". THe release then rambles on about how cool they are, and how evil stream ripping is. No, really, here's a sample:
Soon after, Bianca and I formed Media Rights Technologies (MRT) and assembled a talented team of hardware and software engineers, as well as experts on intellectual property. Our goal was to solve the core Stream Ripping problem in digital media and to limit the copyright infringement liability of content distributors and educational institutions. In 2004, we launched BlueBeat.com, which allowed the Recording Industry to test our X1 Secure Recording Control prototype. By 2006, BlueBeat was granted the first global webcasting license, which included an anti-Stream Ripping provision, from the Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) in London, so that BlueBeat could further test secure webcasting, even in China. We also launched a popular Mark Twain MySpace profile (http://www.myspace.com/69088237) which demonstrates how media can be enjoyed and traded in a fully DMCA-compliant manner.
In 2001, Cary Sherman, President of the RIAA, shared with me his prediction that the Stream Ripping of performance-based content would significantly impact digital entertainment revenues. Cary was right: according to recent MRT studies, Stream Rippers are growing at the rate of well over 15 million units per month, with over 250 million user downloads in the last few years, costing the entertainment industry $20 to $50 billion annually. The problem has now eclipsed P2P file sharing as the #1 form of digital piracy.
Yes. That's right. Internet Radio Stream Ripping is now the number one form of digital piracy. Who says? Why MRT. Based on real studies. Who did the studies? Why MRT, who else? Here we go 'round the Mulberry Bush, while dropping a lot of aaaac-id
Then we get into stream rippers. First, Hank goes after Microsoft, who, according to him, provide a stream ripper, aka Sound Recorder. In trying to make a case for just how bad Sound Recorder in Vista is, he posts this bit of scatological spew:
Microsoft has even built into the Vista OS a native ripper, called Sound Recorder, which will deaggregate performance-based streams of unlimited duration and convert them into unprotected WMA downloads, easily uploaded onto Zune players. This year, Microsoft's Q1 profit surged 65 percent to $4.93 billion, boosted by sales of Vista, while the Recording Industry's profits have plummeted.
That's right. MICROSOFT and VISTA are to blame for the financial woes of the recording industry. Not bad music, not suckling at the teat of derivative acts like it was manna, not hanging onto a business model that no one agrees with, not foisting no - talent hacks off on the music - buying public. No. Sound Recorder. Are you feeling a bit off yet? Maybe the old mental baseline getting a little wobbly?
yes, i know, some of you have gone to Bluebeat's web site already and are dying to point out a bit of an issue, but i already know. have patience dear readers, all things at their proper time.
So now, MRT is, according to them, the bestest thing EVAR. Even RIAA agrees, well sort of:
The MRT X1 Recording Control solution has been proven by the RIAA and IFPI to be effective against Stream Ripping, and has been designed for rapid deployment on a RAND basis. RIAA executive Vice President and General Counsel Steven Marks comments, "We do see stream ripping as harmful to the music industry. It's an issue we've brought to the attention of Webcasters, but so far, nothing has been done about it, even though there are technical solutions that do exist. We've encouraged Internet radio companies to speak with MRT because, from what we've seen, it certainly looks like a technical solution."
Now, to me, this is reminiscent of the Crest tagline: "4 out of 5 dentists recommend a toothpaste with fluoride". Of course, the implication is "...just like Crest". To me, this looks like RIAA is saying "Hey, this anti-stream stuff that MRT has is cool, and a solution to the problem, you should think about using it." That's not exactly "OMGWTFKHAAAAAN!!!111, MRT IS TEH B0MBZ0R, U MUST USE THEM!!!11"
But then again, I'm not Hallucinatin' Hank, so, I imagine my foul embrace of logic and lucidity are working against me here.
But then we get to the real crux:
If the Internet Radio Equality Act is to pass, it must include an anti-Stream Ripping provision.
On March 1, 2007, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) issued rates for Internet broadcasting covering a period from 2006 to 2010. The CRB rates represent a 30 percent increase per year in royalties retroactive to 2006. The "per performance" rates also include a $500 minimum fee per channel. The basis for the rate hikes was primarily a result of the webcasting community failing to adopt content control technology that would maintain the integrity of the streamed performance. Currently every webcaster, except for BlueBeat.com, allows consumers to Stream Rip entire webcasts, enabling the deaggregation copyrighted content, turning every performance into an acquisition.
Okay, sense is restoring itself. Hank wants money. However, with the current backlash against DRM, spawned in different ways by Sony, Apple, EMI and others, well, I imagine he's not getting a lot of takers. However, if you make it illegal to stream un-DRM'd music, well, then all of a sudden Hank has a different future, and it's spelled $$$$$. This explains why he's such a fan of the PERFORM Act. I mean, after all, why wouldn't he be. Getting the government to force the use of a technology you market is every technology seller's dream. I bet just saying "PERFORM" gives Hank a woody.
But he can't just rag on un-DRM'd streams. Because if all he does is rag on unprotected streams, then he gets the whole we already HAVE DRM, stupid. So he has to deal with that, right? Of course, and he does so by saying "Existing DRM is imperfect, so therefore it is enabling DMCA violations". No, really:
SoundExchange and the Recording Industry argued correctly that their content was vulnerable to copying and redistribution by consumers. This is because webcasters like Clear Channel and Yahoo have failed to provide adequate protection for their copyrighted content, instead using unprotected media solutions created by Adobe, Microsoft, Real Networks and Apple.
This is like saying that because your home security system is imperfect, you encouraged someone to burgle your home.
Ow, my head just went 'splody.
Again, just to be clear, Hank is arguing that imperfect DRM, which from what I can tell, is all DRM that isn't MRT's, enables and encourages copyright violation. Of course, he has to argue that, because if he doesn't, then his lawsuit goes down the toilet. Hank is saying that circumventable DRM, which is, by definition, all of it, is the same thing as encouraging people to violate copyright. So, in Hank's eyes, Apple and everyone who isn't an MRT licensee is actively encouraging and enabling copyright violation. Time for the DMCA C&D letters to go out.
Because it's not just that they aren't adequately protecting streams. No, it's more that they aren't sending large checks to MRT:
MRT and BlueBeat have developed a technological measure which effectively controls access to copyrighted material. That product, the X1 SeCure Recording Control, has been tested by the industry's standards bodies, the RIAA and IFPI, and has been proven effective against stream ripping, while protecting privacy and limiting infringement liability for users, distributors and academic institutions. It has been designed for rapid deployment on a reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) basis.
Therefore, Media Rights Technologies (MRT) and BlueBeat.com have issued cease and desist letters to Microsoft, Adobe, Real Networks and Apple with respect to the production or sale of such products as the Vista OS, Adobe Flash Player, Real Player, Apple iTunes and iPod.
MRT asserts Apple, Microsoft, Real and Adobe have produced billions of these products without regard for the DMCA or the rights of American Intellectual Property owners, actively avoiding the use of MRT's technologies. Failure to comply with this demand could result in a federal court injunction to any of the above named parties to cease production or sale of their products and/or the imposition of statutory damages of at least $200 to $2500 for each product distributed or sold.
That's the insane part. It's not that they are pissed that Apple, Microsoft and the rest aren't using "effective" DRM. It's that they aren't MRT customers!
This has nothing to do with "protecting artists" or "preserving intellectual property" or any of the other blowhard verbiage that Hank and the rest are wrapping this in. This is about greed. Hank came up with a product that he figured would be not only a shoo-in, but damned near required by law, and everyone ignored it because it's stupid. This isn't a story about a small company crusading against evil giants, it's about greed on a scale that makes Cortez and Pizarro look like ascetics. The amount of ego and delusion it takes to say "If you aren't using our product you're encouraging theft" beggars the imagination.
Hank Risan and MRT are nothing more than wannabe Robber Barons, and they're so worried that they missed the golden age of DRM that they're trying to create another situation a la AT&T during their halcyon days when the US Government made it illegal to use a different phone system.
There's two really sad points here. First, I can bypass Hank's bullshit DRM with a 1/8" stereo plug on a cable plugged into the sound input on my MacBook Pro. That's right. His entire bullshit is bypassed by fifty cents worth of cheap audio gear. If I spend more money, say five bucks, I can get a really good cable. Will it be a perfect reproduction? No. But it'll be close enough, at least the quality of a cassette recording. Yeah, that analog transition's a bitch, ain't it Hank. (Watch, he'll push to outlaw all analog audio equipment.)
The other sad point is one I alluded to earlier. Hank's big demo site? Bluebeat.com? "Digital Radio Done Right"? Hank's big example of how MRT's X1 SeCure Recording Control can easily be used and rapidly deployed on a reasonable and non-discriminatory basis?
It doesn't work on Macs yet. No, I'm not making it up. From Bluebeat's Hardware and Software Requirements page:
Supported Operating Sytems
Windows 98 SE
Coming soon for Mac OS X!
I kid you not. It's so easy to use and deploy that the people who make it can't put out a Mac version. "Well, maybe X1 doesn't yet work on Macs" you might say. Well, from MRT's products page:
SeCure X1 Recording Control
Our SeCure X1 recording suppression technology effectively prevents and manages the unauthorized transcoding and redistribution of copyrighted works, providing a comprehensive industry-wide solution that works in tandem with existing technologies. X1 SeCure:
Manages digital recording of computer-based audio playback.
Promotes audio content distribution on the Internet.
Operates on physical media. streaming, or download delivery systems.
Supports Microsoft Windows 98 SE, ME, 2000, XP, and Mac OS 10.3.9 and newer.
So they make it, it runs on Mac OS X, yet they somehow can't manage to get a functional Mac OS X product out on the sight they're using to show how their idea is "Digital Radio Done Right"??? (Yes, I did notice the gaping hole in their supported platforms. Evidently in Hank's fantasy land, Linux doesn't exist, or won't be allowed to listen to streams at all. CRAP!!! I just got a cramp from rolling my eyes too much. OW!
What is this, "South Park" and the Chewbacca Defense?
Ladies and Gentleman of the jury, Apple and Microsoft do not use our technology to protect content they don't create or distribute, therefore, they are stealing that continent. Let me say this again, anyone not using our product is a thief. Any other conclusion does not make sense.
I mean, it's almost working, I know my head's about to explode.
But the clincher is the final paragraph in Hallucinatin' Hank's diatribe of dumb:
"Together these four companies are responsible for 98 percent of the media players in the marketplace; CNN, NPR, Clear Channel, MySpace Yahoo and YouTube all use these infringing devices to distribute copyrighted works," states MRT CEO Hank Risan. "We will hold the responsible parties accountable. The time of suing John Doe is over."
No Hank, what is over is the time of small-minded, greedy bullies like you attempting to dictate policy and technology to the world solely to line your pockets. The only thing this lawsuit should generate is a large lump on Hank's skull, from where the judge whacks him with the gavel.
May 10, 2007
You got THAT right...
the odds are good, but the goods are odd
May 9, 2007
Because I don't want BusyMom to feel like the only one..
9 truths and a lie
- I've never been able to touch my toes without a two-hour warmup and pain
- I would sell my mother for an unlimited supply of Peter Pan Creamy peanut butter
- I can tell you what high-energy RF streaming through your 'nads feels like
- I have a concrete grip on what a billion dollars will buy you
- In forty years of life, I've only lived in a house I or my family owned once, for about 2 and a half years
- My first concert was a P-Funk show in 1978 or so. It was my first exposure to a lot of things. P-Funk changes you.
- I can curse fluently in German, Spanish, and a bit of Yiddish
- I once stayed up for something like 8 days on Cuban Coffee. I beat my coke dealer friend by a day. Yes, it was a contest
- I have, either as a pedestrian or on a bicycle been hit by cars six times between the ages of 5 and 18 and only gotten scrapes
- With the exception of my nose when I was two, I didn't break a bone untile I was 23. Between 23 and 28, I had 9 breaks, fractures, and one extreme compound fracture that required 6 hours of surgery, and a pin
There you go BusyMom, 9 truths and a lie. See, you aren't the only one who ignores 99% of all memes.
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May 8, 2007
Dingaling Du Jour
Today, it's Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division, for the following comment on the Wii in this interview on eWeek.com:
The challenge they have is that third parties aren't going to make much money on this platform because Nintendo is going to make all that money, and their ability to compete with something like a Halo or produce an experience like Madden on their system is going to be tough. They don't have the graphics horsepower that even Xbox 1 had. So it makes sort of the comparison set a little bit difficult.
For fighting games, it's a little weak, but Mortal Kombat Armageddon ain't Stick Figures on graph paper either. And I'm pretty sure that Rayman Raving Rabbids on the Wii pwns the Xbox 360 version. Ooh, throw a cow by moving a control on an Xbox controller. Whee. Damn. I simply must experience that. So that I can play Rayman like every other game plays on the Xbox 360. Wow.
Sure, the Xbox has games the Wii doesn't. Guitar Hero springs to mind. But then again, there's no Zelda or Metroid on the 360. So it all works out.
Once again, you have someone from Microsoft running a major division of that company who's either too lazy to actually be up on the competition, or too arrogant to think that anyone actually checks a fact anymore. Yo Robbie, stop assuming that all writers are as lazy as Le Scoble. Nincompoop.
It's not that they're bullshitting people
It's that they think people are too stupid to catch it.
Read this article about the latest BBC hire in the Beeb's IPlayer division.
Now, by itself, not really a big deal. Hiring someone for that post with that kind of experience makes sense. Microsoft as the source is no better or worse than Apple or Google. However, now read these three paragraphs:
A central area of potential co-operation is the BBC iPlayer project, for which the BBC Trust last week gave final approval following an open consultation. The proposition will use Microsoft Windows Media digital rights management to restrict playback of programming to within a specific time window from first transmission.
In its consultation, the BBC Trust received responses from thousands of members of the public. Over 80% of them said they thought it was very important that the catch-up service was not simply limited to users of Microsoft software. The BBC Trust will require the corporation to achieve platform neutrality within a reasonable timeframe but it has not specified a timeframe.
Microsoft recently announced a new initiative, Silverlight, which will enable playback of media protected with Windows Media digital rights management on Apple OS X computers, which goes some way to providing cross-platform compatibility.
Now, I know I'm a cynic, but somehow, I'm seeing the only !MS platform support being done via Silverlight, and when Linux users who pay taxes for the Beeb get left out in the cold the Beeb will throw up its hands and say "We have to protect our IP, and Microsoft hasn't released a Linux plugin. Whattya gonna do?" When the Windows version of Silverlight gets features that "alas, require Windows", (This is speculation, based on Microsoft's rich history of fucking over the !MS OS user base with regard to Windows Media. WiMP 10/11 Mac anyone? WiMP anything Linux? Right.), the Beeb's going to say "Well, gotta have the DRM, sorry guys, go yell at Redmond."
The BBC should at least try to hide the degree to which they're fellating BallmerGates.
May 3, 2007
What really happened in the desert
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net
Damn but I love these guys.
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May 1, 2007
Fix out for the QuickTime Java hole
Hmm...hole discovered on 20 April 2007.
Apple releases a fix on 1 May 2007.
Total time between vulnerability discovery and fix release: eleven days.
Two things I take from this:
- Apple is in fact, capable of fixing security holes in a damned hurry when they need to
- When you behave like a responsible adult, i.e. you aren't David Maynor, you seem to get results faster.
Wow, who knew? Comments ()