Category Archives: Computers and Internet

My take on DRM

I found this article penned by Steve Jobs  discussing Digital Rights Management (DRM) and electronic media. 

Jobs makes a rather compelling argument that DRM is not necessary, and may even be detrimental to the content owners. 

In 2006, under 2 billion DRM-protected songs were sold worldwide by online stores, while over 20 billion songs were sold completely DRM-free  and unprotected on CDs by the music companies themselves. The music companies sell the vast majority of their music DRM-free, and show no signs of changing this behavior, since the overwhelming majority of their revenues depend on selling CDs which must play in CD players that support no DRM system.

Meanwhile Microsoft’s next generation OS, Vista, is being absolutely pummelled in the press and blogosphere for it’s overly aggressive piracy controls and DRM.  Microsoft will soon realize that the public won’t stand for it.  Hackers will continue the cat and mouse game, costing millions in development and patching costs.  Home-Theater hobbyists will eschew Vista for open source options.  Enterprises will spurn Vista for fear MS might inadvertantly disable functionality with it’s tilt-bit ‘feature.’

It doesn’t have to be that way!  What if Microsoft decided to grow a spine? Even more radical, what if Microsoft, Apple, and the OEMs jointly pushed back on the RIAA an MPAA and said “We won’t support DRM from this day on.  If you want your content to see the light of day in the new digital era, this is simply the way it’s going to be.” 

Today’s bold statements by Jobs, combined with the inevitable trainwreck Microsoft faces with Vista’s handling of DRM, lead me to belive this rebellion against the RIAA and MPAA may be in our future.  If it happened this way, we might actually have a shot at seeing a DRM free world.

We can only hope.

<post moved from my old tech blog>

Windows Vista. Ignore the press and get it.


I have been running Windows Vista for a month or so as my main OS. I have to say that overall I truly like it.

The computer press has been down-talking Vista lately because it doesn’t have dramatically new functionality. I generally agree with that sentiment, but it’s not that black and white for me.

As someone who spends 10+ hours a day at my PC, I find that Vista just ‘feels’ nicer. The Aero interface provides subtle but effective feedback on what is going on. The high-res icons are more scalable and legible for my sad middle-aged eyes. If XP was like wearing sneakers, Vista is like wearing slippers. (For further comparison, Windows 98 was like wearing lead shoes.)

I am running the “Released To Manufacturing” or RTM version. I subscribed to Microsoft TechNet Direct in order to get it, along with test licenses for most other MS products, including Office, Windows Server, SQL Server, and Exchange Server. You get ten license keys for most products as long as you agree to use them ‘for evaluation purposes.’ This is an incredible value if you tinker with MS products at all. The software is not time-bombed or crippled in any way and is certified as “Windows Genuine” so it can get full security patches.

Certainly compatibility is an issue. MS has a tool to evaluate your machine to see if you can benefit from Vista. Make sure to use it.

If your PC and apps can handle it and you can afford the license, I think you will be happy running Vista.