nullstream weblog - May 2006

Sorry state of music DRM


May 30, 2006 09:16 AM PST

I hate DRM.
There are a lot of good reasons to hate it. For one, when it just doesnít work. I bought a single for my daughter over the weekend. The purchase went through easy enough, at least they had NO problem billing my credit card, but the song will not play. It gives me some cryptic license error. Of course when I click on the link for more information it sends me to another error page. This page says it canít find any info about the other error.
I tried to restore my license, but it gives me a different error. I tried to play my previously purchased DRM music (I have not tried this for over 1 year) Ė nope another error. I boot up my older machine, the one that I used to purchase those albums, (so it was known to at least work at some point in time) - same error. Ok, what is a consumer supposed to do at this point? Since it is Microsoft DRM and the songs were purchased from different music stores I donít have a single point of contact. This kind of thing just doesnít happen with CDís, or MP3s for that matter.
Why should we put up with it? Your entire CD collection doesnít just decide one day to say; ďWell Iím not really sure you paid for me anymore Ė because I either canít connect to my network masters, or I lost your license, or I corrupted it or something. So Iím just not going to play your music just to be safe. How about a nice game of solitare instead?Ē

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New Pocket Player

Mobile Tech

May 21, 2006 12:16 PM PST

ppc_normal.pngOne side effect of completly draining your Pocket PC's battery is that you 'get' to re-install all of your 3d-party software. I have spent most of the last week building a list of what I lost, digging around for registration codes and downloading updated copies of all my favorite mobile apps. When I went looking for the latest version of Pocket Player I was surprised by by the new look.

Continue reading "New Pocket Player"...

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John tanks MS Stock Price


May 16, 2006 11:10 PM PST


As some of you already know I left Microsoft a few weeks ago after working on Vista for the last couple of years. I knew that some people might not understand this decision, but I could not have predicted how strongly Wall Street would react to this news. The day after my departure the stock fell sharply and still has not recovered.

I would like to take this time to publicly respond to the recent rumors floating around the web, and allay any unnecessary fears regarding the future stability of Microsoft Corporation. Regardless of what you may have heard, Steve and I did not get into a fight over Vistaís internal architecture. I categorically deny any allegations of name calling, chair throwing and keyboard kicking. These things simply are not true. Furthermore I would like to state for the record that I left Vista in good and capable hands. They will be fine without me, honest. And finally I want to make it clear that I still believe in Vista, and have no doubt that it will be rock solid and delivered on time.

So please everyone, just calm down, buy more MSFT stock and be happy.

-Move along people, thereís nothing to see here.

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Google Notebook


May 16, 2006 10:24 PM PST

google_notebook.gifSo far I think Google Notebook is pretty cool and I really like the integration with Firefox. But I'm now even more miffed at the disconnect in Google's bookmarking strategy. They have a bookmark system on your personalized search page. This one behaves much like delicious, with tags and what not, and a clever bookmarklet. But it is not connected to the bookmarks content on your personalized homepage??!? That one is completly separate somehow.
Now here comes notebook, which is much slicker, but is separate from the rest and doesn't support tagging
at all (or RSS from what I can see). Instead it has a more traditional folder style system. That is so not like gmail, where folders are bad.
So in conclusion I think this is a good first (or, hmm, 3rd) attempt but it still falls short of the uber online bookmarking system I've been waiting for. I'm sure they will get it right in the next rev.

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New Macbooks

Cool Tech

May 16, 2006 11:46 AM PST


Comments on the new (non-pro) Macbooks? On first glance, I'm very happy that they all include DVI and Core Duo. And the magnetic power is a nice touch. The screen res and graphics card could be better, but pretty normal for notebooks in this range. Bezel seems large, and keyboard "buttons" will need to be examined in person. My main concern is the weight at 5.4 lbs seems a little high. I was hoping for the smallest macs to be more portable. I think there's still room in the lineup for an ultraportable Pro machine and a Core Solo education laptop under $1K.

All in all, I think these compare nicely to PC notebooks, and with the added value of multi-boot and virtualization, these could be very successful machines.
(Read: I could see buying a Rev B.)

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