news of 2003-11-24

About that "iTunes DRM hack"...

Late last week, TheRegister broke the news that someone had found a way to save running (encrypted) AAC tracks - bought from iTMS - into a decrypted raw AAC stream file.
All around the web people are now saying that Apple's "DRM was cracked", which isn't true at all. There's still no way you can get your hands on someone's (bought) music files from iTMS and decrypt them on your Mac or Windows box. The only thing possible with this software (which patches QuickTime 6.4, btw.) is to save your own bought music into a decrypted AAC stream without file headers. Not only can't you play this file anyway (I'm sure some tool will appear that makes them playable in iTunes/QuickTime again, though), it's also still on the owner's computer. So he/she would have to share the resulting file illegally. Much the same as when the user burns a CD and reimports as AAC, which also returns unencrypted AAC files, although with a slight quality loss.
Fact is: Apple's DRM has not been cracked at all. Someone just found a way of eavesdropping the track right when QuickTime has decrypted it. Not that that's a good thing for Apple, but most headlines on the web about it are just false information.

[ written by fryke™ on 2003-11-24 at 16:41 CET ]
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ThinkSecret also mentions Mac OS X 10.3.2 7D15 seed and...

... adds a phrase from the seed notes we seem to have overlooked: "Please report any issues you may encounter in a timely manner - within a week of this seed would be very much appreciated." Such a pressing kind of note hints at a release within the next two weeks, of course, but Apple probably won't rush it, anyway. If you want to guess when Apple will release it, the build points you to this knowledge base article, which isn't in place yet, of course, as we're speaking.
We're expecting another build of 10.3.2 at the end of this week.

[ written by fryke™ on 2003-11-24 at 15:34 CET ]
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Your "un-favourite": Web ads... and free information

Today, c|net posts an article about the Windows version of Internet Explorer getting a popup-blocker in its next iteration. This made me think about advertising on websites a little...

First, there was the web. Okay, not first really, but for this article, let's start there. The web was hypertext. No images at all. Not many users, either. Then came Mosaic, the first graphical webbrowser. And with it, JPEGs and GIFs. Then came GIF89a, which introduced 'animation' to those graphics. Soon, many webpages used them in many ways. And then came the first banner ads and link exchange facilities. This wasn't very annoying, apart from the fact that our (very limited) bandwidth was wasted for stuff we didn't really want to see. But it also brought a boom. More and more interesting stuff (and even more not-so-interesting stuff) came about. The business got kinda big.
But soon enough advertisers started to notice that people didn't actually click those banners. And they didn't click them, even if they were blinking in bright colours and playing sounds, too, as Flash came along. That was a problem. Not for the users, but for the advertisers. They thought they needed 'more oomph', instead of accepting that one of the basic thoughts about the internet was that this was the place of actual freedom of information (both free and free). That's when pop-up ads were invented. Highly annoying they were. And are. But we don't have to see them any longer. Whether you're on Mac OS X (probably), Mac OS 9 (what?!), Windows or Linux: There are browsers and/or browser add-ons that prevent those nasty pop-up and (gasp!) pop-under ads. Even the 'Google Bar' for Windows' IE sports a pop-up ad filter. Microsoft will now (well, with Longhorn in a few years) bring pop-up filters to the unwashed masses. This basically means that the market shows the advertisers what not to do.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not against advertising at all. It's one way of making information (and goods) free, and it certainly helped the growth of information on the internet (and we are also keen to get your clicks on our sponsored links, as we ourselves are trying to bring you free information...).
But maybe IE's pop-up ad filter will bring an end to the thought that in-your-face advertising is actually useful. While it might bring a few more clicks than a simple text ad or graphics banner, it pisses even more users off and rather damages the image of the product advertised. Let's hope for a bright future...

[ written by fryke™ on 2003-11-24 at 14:07 CET ]
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NewsForge reviews the PowerMac G5

A bit late to the game, but an interesting source, as NewsForge is 'the online newspaper for linux and open source'. "Apple's new 64-bit PowerMacintosh G5 is aptly named: it has power to burn. Mac and *NIX users who can afford these machines will find them to be much faster than the Power Mac G4s they replace and at least as fast as any PC you can buy or build today."
And another quote. Sounds like humour, but I guess they're really trying out such things: "Interestingly, when you remove the clear air baffle with the power on, a red light comes on in the G5's case and all of the fans throttle up to full -- and sound a lot more like an Intel or AMD machine."
Their final verdict: "This is a very fast, well-engineered, and well-built machine. Mac and *NIX users [...] won't be disappointed with the speed or craftsmanship of this fine machine. Apple, often the innovation leader, is now a performance leader as well."

[ written by fryke™ on 2003-11-24 at 13:30 CET ]
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Mac.Ars takes on Apple's growth prospects

The link of the article, and a quote of the intro: "It can be argued that things are going very well for Apple right now. They are competitive on the desktop with the G5, laptop market share is growing, and they've got a smash hit with the iPod. Where do they go from here?"

[ written by fryke™ on 2003-11-24 at 11:59 CET ]
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