Friday, October 10, 2003

Want to defeat the record comapnies? Just hit "Shift" . . .

This is a follow-up from an earlier post entitled "Music Industry . . . again." I have located the source document for the workaround to the copy protection features on the BMG CD's I referred to in that earlier post. The whole document can be found here. Essentially a generally intelligent person was able to defeat what is supposed to be a sophisticated copy protection scheme. Would a non-computer-savvy person have figured out this workaround? Probably not, although eventually someone would have. The thing that record companies and, to be fair, many companies forget is how globally connected information sharing is because of the Internet. The Internet: you know, record companies, that thing that enables people to steal your music and distribute it via peer-to-peer networks? Ironic that the copy protection was effectively defeated the the same backbone that enables exactly what the copy protection was supposed to protect against.

The manufacturer of the copy protection, SunnComm, initially was going to sue the gentleman that wrote the paper on the workaround. In fact, SunnComm was noted to say that, the paper was ". . . duplicitous and, at worst, a felony." Today, the SunnComm President has decided not to file litigation, as to why, no reason was given . . .

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Cool . . .

A company called Cooligy has created a closed cooling system for microprocessors. Is this a big deal? Yup. As computer chips get more and more powerful and people want to be more and more mobile, and advanced cooling system like Cooligy's will be necessary to get the fastest processors out of the office and onto people's laps.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003


Tom Peters' new book, Reimagine! is now out. I encourage you to pick up a copy from Tom's website. I've ordered my copy, but haven't yet received it because I'm waiting for Tom to sign it. Does Tom know me? Nope. Love to meet him sometime. Does the autograph mean anything? Probably not, but I'm a big fan of his, so it means a little bit to me.

Even having not yet seen the book, I am able to download a chapter of it to look at and you can to by clicking here. What's cool about this book? In a word: Everything. Note that lots of stuff is in color. Is that just for the web version? Don't think so. Color's cheap these days -- sort of makes you wonder why more people don't print books in color. Seems very effective to me. Ever seen a black and white Powerpoint presentation? Bet you haven't or if you have, I bet it wasn't really good.

There's all kinds of stuff in the margins, there's all kinds of pictures and charts in the middle of the page. There are big fonts and exclamation points in the middle of paragraphs. What's going on here? Scared? Does it not look like how a book is supposed to look? All I can say is that it looks like a good business book after I'm done with it. I write quotes and things right along the margins. I staple articles that apply right into pages. I make it so a business book is my business book -- want to borrow one I think is good? Go buy your own.
Music Industry . . . again

I've said before that this year is the year of the end of the music industry as we know it. Between the RIAA hitting the prime purchasing audience of CD's with Tens of Thousands of dollars worth of lawsuits, to information about the record labels buying information regarding downloading volumes of artists, the record companies just aren't looking that good.

Recently, record companies have been producing CD's with different digital rights management (DRM) solutions to control and/or prevent extrication of audio tracks from CD's. BMG recently roled out a DRM product that can be defeated by holding the "Shift" key on your computer as the CD loads. Give me a break. You can read the whole story here. If you want to skip the whole story and get the main point of the article, here's the comment from BMG regarding this published "hack:"

"This is something we were aware of," BMG spokesman Nathaniel Brown said. "Copy management is intended as a speed bump, intended to thwart the casual listener from mass burning and uploading. We made a conscious decision to err on the side of playability and flexibility."

Record Companies! Hello, are you out there? Build your own Apple Music Stores or go buy one from MusicMatch, BuyMusic, Apple, etc. Bear in mind that you do control the music libraries . . . wouldn't be easier to get ALL THE PROFIT from a download? No? It's not worth the investment? Really, well, ok, now how much does a CD factory cost . . .?

Friday, October 03, 2003

Occam's Razor

Ever hear this in conversation? Ever agreed with it and had no idea what it meant? Here's a simple explanation:

Occam's razor asserts, all things being equal, that the simplest explanation is the best.

Seems to easy, doesn't it? Think about it. It's pretty intuitive. Draw 2 points on a piece of paper. What's the simplest thing to draw to connect the points? A straight line. Could you draw a squigly, curvy line between the 2 points? Sure. The point is that it "proves" Occam's Razor. Understand that Occam's Razor is very convenient (read necessary) for mathematical, scientific, or philosophical models because many high-order models involve unlimited complexity. If you use Occam's Razor, you are "allowed" to get rid of most of the complexity. Understand, too, that Occam's Razor is very necessary for very abstract arguments where there is no way to provide concrete proof (i.e., tests or observations).
Chaos Theory

Here is the best description of chaos theory that is understable by a reasonably intelligent, non-scientific person. Enough said.

It amazes me how few people either know about the 80/20 Principle (sometimes called the Pareto Principle or 80/20 Rule) or how few people will apply the prinicple to their daily lives. Here's a quick explanation:

The 80/20 Principle/Rule/Mindset states that a minority of effort will usually lead to a majority of results. Seems pretty easy, right? I mean, just be reading the sentence you probably thought of instance of when the rule is true. If you sat back from the screen, you could probably think of many cases in which the rule is true.

Does it always have to be 80 and 20? No. But 80 and 20 are good illustrators of the ideas of small inputs providing huge results. Does this scare you? Maybe it should -- obviously you don't think this way about everything. For you I suggest reading "The 80/20 Principle" by Richard Koch, you can get it here at Amazon. Look at that! By spending a small amount of time on my very small site, you get to save yourself all the work of finding this book because I've done it for you. That small input of my site into your browser yield the majority of rewards!

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Update your contact information . . .

That was a message I received this morning from a business associate. I thought, "Hey, what a great idea, I should do this for all my contacts." I read through the e-mail I received to find that I was going to be updating my contact information for this person through a service called Plaxo. Using the Plaxo web interface, I updated my contact information and then dug into the Plaxo service. It's really cool, I just downloaded it and I suggest you check it out yourself. Does it cost anything? Not yet, but it probably will. Would it be worth some sort of mothly fee? Absolutely.