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Hymn - a program to defeat iTunes DRM

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-05-11 14:19

I agree that DRM and fair use are under attack. I am not sure that this is the correct response.

From hymn -- Hear Your Music aNywhere:


The purpose of hymn is to allow you to exercise your fair-use rights under copyright law. It allows you to free your iTunes Music Store purchases from their DRM restrictions with no sound quality loss. These songs can then be played outside of the iTunes environment, even on operating systems not supported by iTunes. It works on Mac OS X, many unix(-ish) variants and on Windows.

The Mac OS X version includes a drag-'n'-drop graphical user interface (GUI). The other platforms have only a command-line interface (CLI) at this time. Prebuilt binaries are available for both Mac OS X and Windows, and the source code is available for all platforms.

This program is protected by the GNU General Public License.

"The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but [t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." "To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work. This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate. It is the means by which copyright advances the progress of science and art."
-- US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

Despite what Justice O'Connor has said, DRM exists. The purpose of DRM is to circumvent traditional copyright law. The result of DRM combined with laws that outlaw circumvention of DRM (such as the DMCA is that there is no longer protection for fair use.


Ken Rockwell - buy a digital SLR not an expensive Point and Shoot

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-05-10 23:50

OK, now I want a digital SLR and a camera phone. I think I will wait a couple of years though for a digital SLR.

(Via Tim Bray's excellent On Digicams - I want Tim's ideal digicam - pocket sized, indestructible, 5 megapixels, wide angle, extreme telephoto, instant on, no shutter lag and ISO 1600. Well I can dream, can't I? ) - From Classes of Digital Cameras © 2004


Yes, of course I'm opinionated and of course this page contains generalizations.

For a small snapshot camera get a $300 point-and-shoot. I have one, love it, and take it everywhere.

If you want to spend a grand for serious digital photography forget the expensive p/s cameras and go straight to any DSLR. Since you can get a far superior DSLR for what you used to have to pay for just a p/s as of 2004 I see no need for the expensive p/s digital cameras.

The reason we still have expensive p/s cameras today is because camera companies still have two sets of development and marketing teams, one for each class of camera, so there are still people at these companies pushing the expensive p/s cameras even though the DSLRs made by the same company are better for the same price. Other companies, like Sony, don't make any real DSLRs and of course they will promote their p/s cameras.

Don't waste $1,000 on a point and shoot unless you really want to trade off ease of use, speed and image quality for a little size and weight.


Vodafone introduces first camera phone with optical zoom

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-05-10 22:59

I want one of these now! But I'll "settle" for a 1 Megapixel non zoom for now!

From Reiter's Camera Phone Report: Vodafone Japan debuts camera phone with optical zoom, "facial motion":


Vodafone K.K. today announced it was introducing a two megapixel camera phone with an optical zoom -- the world's first commercially available optical zoom in a camera phone. The press release about the V602SH camera phone doesn't provide any specifics about the zoom, so I don't know whether it's 2x (probably) or better.

The press release says the handset uses a swivel design that allows the handset to be reverse 180 degrees.

(Update: The optical zoom is 2x and the digital zoom is up to 40x. The handset also includes an SD card slot. The LCD is 2.4 inches (320 x 240) and can display a maximum of 260,000 colors.)


IBM Workplace - Jack of all Offices master of none!

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-05-10 22:33

Interesting to see if the actual software lives up to the hype. I hope so. It would be great to have some competition for Microsoft Office.

From - IBM Unveils Workplace Client Technology:


Big Blue has announced software that allows companies to deliver Web applications from a server to desktops, notebooks, and PDAs.

Workplace Client Technology, part of IBM's Lotus Workplace strategy, is seen as a competitive offering to Microsoft's Office suite, which runs only on Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

IBM software head Steve Mills outlined at a press event in New York Monday how the Workplace platform can be used as a hub to deliver to end users a variety of applications that are centrally managed on servers, including applications from Microsoft's Office suite.

Using this technology, users can access e-mail, word processing, spreadsheet, and database products on a server even though those programs are not installed on their own computer. Running the Lotus Workplace applications from a server, and not on the desktop, gives workers access to their personal suite of applications and data no matter where or what device they access it from.


Flickr Notes based on Greg Elin's Fotonotes

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-05-10 22:06

Fotonotes rocks! Glad to see that Flickr is using it rather than re-inventing the wheel. I hope other apps start using it!
From Stewart's comment on Flickr Notes - visually annotate your photos:


Thanks Roland! Hopefully it will be everywhere: we're committed to helping to develop and supporting a standard for annotation, based on Greg Elin's Fotonotes stuff. Once there is something to be compatible with, Flickr will be 100% 'Fotonotes R/W' (read/write) compatible.


David Pollard's blog vision

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-05-10 21:42

Right on! Something to strive for. Share anything (from original thoughts to remixes/riffs on things you are interested in found automagically by tomorrow's information aggregators), anywhere, anytime with whomever you choose!



I would even anticipate that by 2010 we will have one easy-to-use, integrated personal content management and social networking tool that will encompass e-mail, blogging, videoconferencing, browsing, and the publishing of and subscription to multimedia content of all types, from movies and music and TV programming to the customized daily paper and your favourite greatly-enhanced blogs. It will make personal electronic information management as easy and intuitive as the management of paper documents it supercedes. And much more powerful.


Samsung want to push to 5 Mega pixel camera phones

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-05-10 20:55

Great tidbits from the recent camera phone conference!

From Reiter's Camera Phone Report: EE Times looks critically at development of camera phone marketplace:


*Samsung wants to push quickly to five megapixel camera phones and make digital cameras devices for professionals only.

* Cellular networks might not be able to keep up with the large files generated by two megapixel camera phones early next year and three to four megapixel camera phones less than a year later, according to Juha Putkiranta, senior vice president of the mobile multimedia and imaging group at Nokia Mobile Phones.

(I also spoke with Putkiranta during the conference and noted that one of the big challenges for network operators will be the ability to transfer large files. I asked about compression and other techniques. He said there simply is no substitute for upgrading cellular networks. That's the solution -- faster networks with new, expensive infrastructure -- for dealing with large files, he told me.)


Inside Dave Shea's Zen Garden

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-05-10 20:44

Very cool insights behind the garden.

From mezzoblue  §  One Year:


Since I just about missed it (I could have sworn it was May 8th, 2003, but my archives don’t lie) I don’t have anything much planned to mark the occasion. So lacking that, I’ll take you through some of my design process when I was building ‘Tranquille’, the default template.


Blogware 1.0 released

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-05-10 12:46

Go Blogware Go! Congrats to Ross, Tom, Joey and the rest of the Tucows crew for shipping Blogware. Even if I wasn't a Blogware reseller, I'd be recommending it. It's cheaper (my friend we have got a special inexpensive price just for you :-) ) and better (in terms of storage, and photo features) than TypePad, but both are great. Let the true competition begin!

From Blogware :: Blogware: Officially Released!:


After putting in over a year's worth of work -- research, designing, programming, testing and collecting feedback -- we are proud to announce the official release of Blogware version 1.0!

Blogware is our dream weblogging tool, the answer to a question we asked ourselves: "If we could make our ideal weblog software, what would it be like?" The end result is a tool that we not only build, but use every day in both our professional capacities and for personal blogging.

Blogware has many features, including:


Flickr Notes - visually annotate your photos

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-05-10 12:32

Awesome. Go Flickr go! I want this everywhere. Like on Blogware for example!

From Flickr: News:


We've released the intitial versions of two cool new features, tags — which allow you to sort your photos for easy finding — and notes — which allow you to annotate regions of photos, pointing out the people, places and things which make up the story.


Proogle = Google + Page Rank

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2004-05-09 23:06

Awesome hack! It's, unfortunately, only a matter of time before Google shuts this guy down. Google, do the right thing and have an option to display Page Rank on your search pages.

From John Battelle's Searchblog: Neat PageRank Hack:


A fellow by the name of Stephen Morrison has hacked up "Proogle," a Google skin that returns Google's results but adds in PageRank scores. The site is linked to what I presume is Stephen's home site, Webmaster Brain" (no contact info on his site, but a number of neat tools are there, including a link popularity tester).

I'm told Proogle has gotten quite popular among the webmaster community, as a result, I'll wager won't be up for long - it more likely than not generates more than 1000 searches a day, a violation of Google's terms of service. (The site even implores: "Google, Please Don't Sue!") This is yet another example of interesting hacks built on top of Google that, in the end, will probably end up on the dustbin due to popularity. Another recent example is Social Grid. I did hear back from the fellow behind that site, who admits he has yet to "ask permission" to build on top of Google. His credo: Code now, ask for forgiveness later.


Blogger Relaunch - still free, now supports sFTP, photos are still not free

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2004-05-09 20:13

(Via Urban Vancouver) - Awesome, still no photos with the free service (free or not I doubt Blogger can keep up with Blogware's photo features - obligatory disclaimer - my company is a Blogware reseller). But awesome new templates and sFTP support. Congrats!

From Blogger Knowledge:


In 1999, Blogger was launched as a side project to help make it easy for a few Web geeks to update their homepages. That side project soon became the real deal and Google acquired us in 2003. Our new world is fantastic. Even the food here is amazing. In fact, it may have been Chef Charlie's kitchen creations that kickstarted our thinking and put this pivotal idea in our heads: You Power Blogger. The features of a better, easier, and totally free Blogger have started landing. Climb aboard and let us show you around.


RSS ads better than email ads according to NetHawk Interactive's study with Sun

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2004-05-09 19:29


From Pheedo - Maximizing the Value of Weblog Advertising:


Nethawk Interactive reports that by integrating online advertising into an RSS feed, a new online advertising technique, it has achieved measurably better results than e-mail for its client Suntone, a division of Sun Microsystems.

The online campaign for a free IT evaluation was conducted through specialist publication InfoWorld, which could offer direct access to IT professionals.

The marketer said the six-week effort outperformed the best click through rate in email by over 26% as compared to the industry average of 8.7% CTR reported in DoubleClick’s Q4 2003 Email Trend Report. Furthermore, they were able to lower the effective CPM by three times of that over email, saving Suntone’s thousands of dollars


RSS + proprietary Q channel format = Qikonnex

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2004-05-09 19:26

Looks to be a good service to replace/supplement email newsletters with RSS feeds for those without blogs. I don't "get" the need for a proprietary Q channel format. Sorry, but I figure it's easier just to add a blog component to your web presence rather than using a proprietary Q channel.

From Quikonnex | Channel & Communication Service Provider:


Subscribing to a Q channel is safe and easy. Need a Viewer? Click the button above to see a comparison of our favorites: QuikView, our Channel Viewer & Bookmark Server and Awasu, a full-featured PC-only Channel Viewer. Quikonnex channels are viewable in all full-media viewers. We do encourage you to become a Quikonnex Member. It's free, provides you with your personal QMTP Messaging System, as well as many other benefits. Membership is optional and not required to subscribe to any Quikonnex channel.


Our kids won't know what wireline phones are

Submitted by Roland on Sat, 2004-05-08 23:46

Read the whole thing to learn about how kids look at technology. Talk about thinking differently!

From Red Herring Blog: Children's tribe:


Phones are cellular, and wires are stupid. I can't get my two-year-old to talk on a landline, and I can't keep him away from my cell phone. Partly it's because of the superior design values of telephones, but it's also because they do cooler stuff (No. 2 above). His big sister was three before she really understood that some phones had cords. Her response: "That's dumb, Daddy."

Note to telcos: prepare exit strategy from landline business.

So young kids interact differently with technologies than even their older brothers and sisters. But they also think differently about media.


Nokia 7610 looks like a good 1 Megapixel camera phone

Submitted by Roland on Sat, 2004-05-08 23:34

This looks good, I wonder when it will be available in Canada!

From Nokia 7610 Gallery (MobileBurn):


I've had a week to play around with a Nokia 7610, thanks to the folks at the Texas office.

While I am certainly not going to review the device, since it is a pre-production model, I can tell you a bit about the new camera and toss in a screen shot. Nothing too earth-shattering, but you'll get the idea.

And of course I have a ton of photos of the phone itself, too.

For those of you that have been living under a rock, the 7610 is Nokia's latest Series 60 Symbian OS handset. The 7610 is Nokia's first megapixel camera equipped handset, too. It is quite a bit smaller than the current top of the line S60 handset, the 6600, and comes equipped with a pop-port connector on the bottom - just like the new 6620 does.

The keypad is sure to be a point of contention for some folks, with its far from traditional layout. I think most people will fairly quickly get used to it, though. It is not so drastic a change as we saw with the 3650, and while it is a bit confusing visually at first, I managed to get the hang of it. And we all know that I'm none too clever or tolerant when it comes to keypads.


Go Al, go!

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2004-05-07 23:15

Al Vermeulen was one of my systems design engineering classmates at the University of Waterloo!

From SEATTLE - Things to know about Al Vermeulen, chief technology officer of 


He works in Seattle and lives in Corvallis - Oregon. To bridge the distance, he learned to fly. 

He co-wrote a book about Java (the computer language, not the drink). At one point, it afforded him some "serious geek cachet." 

He knows how to harvest tobacco by hand. 

To his first job interview he wore a wedding suit. He was 34. 

"I just came in and talked to folks," Vermeulen says of the interview, which led to a job at Corvallis-based Rogue Wave. "They gave me an offer that night at dinner. I think I pushed back a little bit because I heard you're supposed to negotiate these things." 

Vermeulen, who oversees Amazon's huge technology operations, is something of a linguist. In the mid-1980s, as a doctoral candidate at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, he helped pioneer C++, a widely used computer language. 

That expertise fit in nicely with Rogue Wave, which sold some of the first reusable building blocks for C++. (Think of Rogue Wave as a seller of ready-made foundations to software builders.) 



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