Time Warner Expanding Their Business Model

Which is really all they are doing in their latest move, they are experimenting with tiered broadband pricing, or, another way around Net Neutrality. They are testing it first in Beaumont, Texas, a town with a population of over 100,000, their website says half a million in the Beaumont area, so this is probably a good spot for Time Warner to test this. If they get through this without many complaints, and unless Beaumont is a hotbed of P2P action, they probably will, look for them to roll it out to everyone.

Time Warner said on Wednesday that it was going to start testing a new rate plan in Beaumont that would limit the amount of bandwidth each customer can use each month before additional fees kick in. Alexander Dudley, a Time Warner spokesman, said that the exact terms had not been set, but that packages would probably offer between 5 gigabytes and 40 gigabytes a month. The top plan would cost roughly the same as the company’s highest-speed service, which typically runs between $50 and $60 a month. Source: Time Warner: Download Too Much and You Might Pay $30 a Movie

The NY Times article gives an example using the Apple TV, and say you want to download a high-definition movie, if you are over your limit already, downloading that thing could cost you $30 bucks! Talk about inflation. Well, the average HD movie on iTunes is between 1 and 2 gigabytes each, so, that will limit you to downloading two or three movies a month on their lowest plan, 20 to 30 on the highest plan. Not to mention, Xbox Live, regular internet surfing, photo sharing, etc, this is total crap.

But, if they roll it out now, MOST people won’t notice because they aren’t doing that, YET. This won’t hit most people until every ISP is doing it and they start getting those Internet connected TV’s and realize the movies look better streaming from the net than they do over the normal cable system. EVERYONE who gets slapped with a service like this needs to go to another provider, if they can and complain loudly. This is just the way the cable companies are going to use to get a piece of the bigger pie that Google and other big portals have been enjoying for years. The Telco’s, cable companies, and other ISP’s think they are the Internet when they are just your connection to it, they don’t deserve to be paid multiple times for the same product. Think about it, Google already pays for their bandwidth, same as us, so, every bit is being paid for at least twice, and now they want more.

Mr. Dudley said that Time Warner wants to test bandwidth limits to crack down on a minority of customers who are heavy downloaders. Indeed, only five percent of customers use half of its total bandwidth, he said.

“This is not targeted at people who download movies from Apple,” he said. “This is aimed at people who use peer-to-peer networks and download terabytes.”

Then why don’t they raise the caps to a terabyte, or a few hundred gigs before they start charging? Because then it would only affect 5% of their customers, and that wouldn’t be a very big increase financially at all as those 5% will move to another provider, guaranteed. They oversell their bandwidth to start with, meaning, if a POP can support 10 gigs of sustained traffic, they will sell 20 gigs, because not everyone uses it at the same time and they usually don’t have to worry about it. Bell Canada is already doing this and charges almost $7.50 per gig of overage, how much does that gig cost them? I would bet the article is close to being correct when it says it costs the ISP about 10 cents a gig.

This is all about making more money off of the Internet, but, if people quit using it because it costs them too much, then they, the cable companies and Telco’s, will end up shooting the golden goose themselves.

This is crap, it needs to be treated like crap, everyone needs to complain loudly and switch to a competitor, if they can. Search your area, there may be more broadband providers than you think.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - January 18, 2008 at 8:07 pm

Categories: Broadband, Piracy   Tags:

Microsoft Slashes Windows Vista Prices, in China

Microsoft has cut the price of Windows Vista in China by more than half in an effort to curb software piracy. Does this mean if we quit paying for it in the states, they will drop the prices here too? You know there is only one way to find out, and that is to do it, hehe, although I’m not condoning piracy at all, it just seems to me they could drop the price here some too, to make sure we don’t feel like we took one in the rear end after shelling out all of the money we did to buy it.

The Home Basic edition dropped from $201 (1,521 yuan) to $66, and the Home Premium package dropped from $238 to $118. The move was effective as of Wednesday.

The price cut is the company’s latest effort to tackle the rampant software piracy in China, according to The Wall Street Journal. The theory is that if legitimate software costs less, people will be less likely to turn to pirated versions. Source: Microsoft slashes Vista price in China

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - August 3, 2007 at 6:48 pm

Categories: Piracy, Windows Vista   Tags:

Todays Tech 5/31/2007

Hitting some of the technology highlights.

Data Recovery Using Linux Recovering data from a Windows system using Linux tools.

Well we really screwed this one up? In trying to remove some Live Journals that were violating their terms, specifically pedophile journals and communities, they deleted some that should not have been deleted and are trying to explain what happened and what they are doing to get them back. Related article from News.com here.

Can you say du huh. Studies: music industry overstating threat of P2P piracy Unauthorized sharing of digital music remains a huge issue for the global music business, but is most of that sharing taking place on peer-to-peer networks? For years, peer-to-peer was the bogeyman, the red Communist music monster than was going to devour the industry’s revenues. But new research suggests that sneakernets may be as big a problem as darknets.

EMI Music, Google and YouTube strike milestone partnership Soon, you will be watching videos and recordings from EMI Music artists, through a deal between EMI and Google.

Mahalo Is Hawaiian for Useless Unbiased review of Mahalo, the hand made search engine from Jason Calacanis. Michael Arrington writes a puff piece here.

BBC to broadcast in ‘Second Life’ In the Second Life economy, more than $600,000 changes hands every day. Now the virtual world is about to play host to a BBC show about that economy and how people have made real money from it.

A picture’s worth a thousand clicks Google has bought Panoramio, a community photos website that enables digital photographers to geo-locate, store and organize their photographs — and to view those photographs in Google Earth. Big surprise huh?

Google brings developers offline with ?Gears?; new offline Reader ?Google Gears,? an open source project that will bring offline capabilities to Web Applications ? aimed at developers. From the Gears API Blog Gears is a browser extension that we hope — with time and plenty of input and collaboration from outside of Google — can make not just our applications but everyone’s applications work offline. From Read/Write Web And guess who is most at risk with this announcement? Yes, Microsoft. Google after all has many of the top ‘best of breed’ web apps now, and Mozilla wants more market share against Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. Adobe and Microsoft are also engaged in an ongoing battle for Rich Internet App supremacy, which probably explains why Adobe is involved in Gears. And of course, this will have major implications for the Web Office – where Google Apps is directly competing against Microsoft Office (whether Google admits it or not!).

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - May 31, 2007 at 4:59 pm

Categories: Computer Forensics, Google, Piracy, Second Life, Tech News, YouTube   Tags:

WinDVD Patch Already a Waste of Time

Looks like what we said was going to happen has already happened, someone has already figured out how to play any HD DVD on an Xbox 360 HD DVD drive. Hackers have exposed the Volume ID and even those that have been revoked are playable on the Xbox 360. So, wonder what they will come up with next to protect their AACS [tag]DRM[/tag]. More from Engadget.

The DRM “protecting” HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc films — AACS — continues to unravel at the seams. In parallel efforts, hackers in both the Xboxhacker and Doom9 forums have exposed the “Volume ID” for discs played on XBOX 360 HD DVD drives. Any inserted disc will play without first authenticating with AACS, even those with Volume IDs which have already been revoked by the AACS LA due to previous hacking efforts. Add the exposed processing keys and you can decrypt and backup your discs for playback on any device of your choosing. So yeah, it looks like last week’s WinDVD update has been quickly and definitively made useless just as we expected it would be. Well, for XBOX 360 HD DVD drive owners anyway but you can see where this is heading, right? Now go ahead AACS LA, revoke the Toshiba-built XBOX 360 HD DVD player… we double-dog dare ya. Source: AACS hacked to expose Volume ID: WinDVD patch irrelevant

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - April 10, 2007 at 6:57 pm

Categories: Piracy   Tags: , , ,

Corel’s Late April Fools Joke

Seriously, they have to be kidding. Corel has released an “important” update to InterVideo WinDVD because of the hacking of the AACS DRM recently using the license keys. You have to update the WinDVD software and patch your player or you will no longer be able to watch your HD DVD and BD discs! And their press release at the end actually says, “Your continued enjoyment of our software is Corel’s primary concern.” What a joke, if they want me to even buy their crap, they need to pull out all of the DRM bullshit and let me use them anyway that I want, I bought and paid for it, I should have full control of it, not them.

WinDVD customers who are currently using either HD DVD or BD playback will need to download the free security update from your PC or Drive manufacturer’s websites.

This update includes security enhancements as well as updated licensing keys that will be required to view both newly purchased HD DVD/BD titles and those in your existing HD DVD/BD collections. By downloading Corel’s free update, you will be able to continue to enjoy the latest HD DVD/BD content, while ensuring that copyrighted materials are properly protected.

Please be aware that failure to apply the update will result in AACS-protected HD DVD and BD playback being disabled. Source: Corel Releases Important Update for InterVideo WinDVD

Engdaget has it correct when they say Mr. assumed criminal.

That means no more hi-def movies for you, Mr. assumed criminal. Thing is, this is no ordinary patch since WinDVD exposed the hardware specific device key to video pirates. So not only are you required to update their janky WinDVD software, you also have to track down and install the particular AACS patch for the HD DVD or BD player you own. Of course this only patches one flaw in the massively compromised DRM boondoggle. And just think, you can repeat the whole process again after hackers circumvent this latest attempt at “content protection.” Isn’t DRM nice? Source: AACS patch for WinDVD, HD DVD and BD players: update or never watch movies again

Message to Corel and all the other DRM lovers. I will not buy your products; will not “upgrade” all of my DVD’s to any of the HD versions, or anything else you “require” people to do. Take a hint from your CUSTOMERS and ditch all of the DRM, it doesn’t do anything but give people a target, something else to crack and thumb their noses at you. It will always be cracked, just as this patch will be, and where does that put your users? Do you think most of these people will even know what the problem with the player is, let alone know to patch the software and the player? No, they won’t, and I guarantee you anyone who finds out that you all disabled their ability to play the movies they paid for, they will be pissed.

Take a clue from EMI and ditch the DRM, I bet their sales are already increasing on iTunes and will increase more once Microsoft cuts the deal with them for their player.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - April 6, 2007 at 8:01 pm

Categories: Piracy   Tags: , , , ,

RIAA In the News

The popular gadget site Gizmodo has declared March Boycott the RIAA month, saying the very reasons people download music is because of things like the RIAA and DRM. These things keep people from being able to play the music they buy on whatever device they choose to, you have to have an iPod to play tunes from iTunes, a Zune to play music from the Zune Marketplace, etc, and they are right, this is a bunch of crap. Used to be, when you bought your music tapes you could record them on other devices, listen to them however you want but nowadays, that is not the case when you buy music online. If I buy a song from a musician, I should be able to play it wherever I like on whatever device I have, but DRM prevents that, and causes people to download unprotected music online.

Beyond the harassment, extortion, and privacy invasion that the RIAA commits under the guise of lawsuits, they also stifle innovation by treating any open Internet source as a potential way for people to violate their copyrights. Recently, they filed a “motion for reconsideration” in a suit claiming that anything downloaded via an Internet connection is the responsibility of the owner of said connection. While the RIAA is trying to make it easier for them to get money out of the parents of kids they sue, the precedent that it would set would make it difficult, if not impossible, for open WiFi hotspots to exist. That means that the RIAA would make it impossible for you to connect to the web for free while out in a city that provides Internet access merely because you might use it to download music.

In effect, the RIAA’s insistence on strict DRM takes value away from legally purchased music. People have a choice: they can either pirate unrestricted MP3 files that will let them use them however they’d like, or they can pay for files that won’t allow them the freedom to listen where and how they choose. It only makes sense that many tech-savvy people choose to download MP3s rather than pay for crippled files. The RIAA wants people to pay for restrictions and like it. Source: Gizmodo’s Anti-RIAA Manifesto

This is exactly true, Steve Jobs recently called for digital media companies to get rid of the DRM, but that is an easy thing to do when you have nothing to loose, what he should’ve done would be to demand that they drop DRM and let people play their music anywhere, they way it is supposed to be.

In other RIAA news, apparently they don’t like a new bill submitted by Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat, and John Doolittle, a California Republican, that would allow consumers to circumvent digital copy restrictions in six limited areas when the copyright owners’ business models are not threatened. This so-called fair use doctrine would allow customers of copyright works to make a limited number of copies, either for reviews, news reporting, teaching and research. The RIAA said this would legalize “hacking”, something else they don’t sound too bright on, look it up fellas.

“The fair use doctrine is threatened today as never before,” Boucher said in a statement. “Historically, the nation’s copyright laws have reflected a carefully calibrated balanced between the rights of copyright owners and the rights of the users of copyrighted material. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act dramatically tilted the copyright balance toward complete copyright protection at the expense of the public’s right to fair use.”

But the RIAA said the bill would effectively repeal the DMCA. The bill would “allow electronics companies to induce others to break the law for their own profit,” it said in a statement. Advances such digital music sales, online games, on-demand movies and e-books can be traced to DMCA protects, the RIAA said. Source: RIAA opposes new fair use bill

Screw the RIAA, these people are going away and they know it, it is easier and easier for artists to create and distribute their own music and other media, it’s just too bad most of it sucks, but, most of the music coming out of those music companies sucks as well. This bill would also limit the statutory damages against individuals and firms who may be found to have engaged in contributory infringement, inducement of infringement, or other indirect infringement.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - February 28, 2007 at 11:12 pm

Categories: Piracy   Tags: , , ,

Top 25 Universities in Piracy

Using new software tools the RIAA has released a new top 25 list for Universities around the nation, the top 25 in Piracy. According to the RIAA, they have sent out over 14,500 infringement notices during the 2006-2007 school year, nearly triple the number sent during the previous year. But, this could be because of the better tools, and not because three times as many people are downloading music. Now, this list is just notices sent, they aren’t measuring exactly how many songs are being downloaded, etc, just the total number of infringement notices they have sent to the Universities.

Purdue, on the other hand (my not-so-proud alma mater for today), seems to be taking the “don’t worry, be happy” approach to sitting pretty at the number two spot. The school almost never even notifies the students of copyright infringement, or much of anything, in my experience. Purdue spokesman Steve Tally told the Associated Press, “In a sense, the (complaint) letter is asking us to pursue an investigation and as the service provider we don’t see that as our role.” This attitude expresses either extreme pompousness on Purdue’s part or extreme ignorance. Is that not the whole reason why the RIAA cannot pursue potential infringers individually? The students are currently allowed to hide behind the ISP in this case, the university with the understanding that the ISP will investigate infringement accusations. If Purdue and any other schools who express this attitude don’t feel the need to investigate, then they put themselves at risk of being sued by the RIAA.

Without further ado, the list:

Ohio University – 1,287
Purdue University – 1,068
University of Nebraska at Lincoln – 1,002
University of Tennessee at Knoxville – 959
University of South Carolina – 914
University of Massachusetts at Amherst – 897
Michigan State University – 753
Howard University – 572
North Carolina State University – 550
University of Wisconsin at Madison – 513
University of South Florida – 490
Syracuse University – 488
Northern Illinois University – 487
University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire – 473
Boston University – 470
Northern Michigan University – 457
Kent State University – 424
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor – 400
University of Texas at Austin – 371
North Dakota State University – 360
Indiana University – 353
Western Kentucky University – 353
Seton Hall University – 338
Arizona State University – 336
Marshall University – 331 Source: Forget party schools: The RIAA lists the top piracy schools in the US

It’s good to see one of our local universities in the top 25 again, but this is the wrong list to be on. If ANY of these Universities would like to talk about hardware that can easily detect and block file sharing programs, email me at webmaster at tipsdr.com and I can put you in contact with a vendor who will let you try one of their devices out. This device will stop it without any latency because it does not go inline with your routers, it just needs to see all of the traffic through a span port on your switch to be able to block it.

Under federal law, universities that receive complaints about students illegally distributing copyrighted songs generally must act to stop repeat offenders or else the schools can be sued. The entertainment industry typically can identify a student only by his or her numerical Internet address and must rely on the school to correlate that information with its own records to trace a person’s identity. Source: Music industry cracks down on colleges

This makes Purdue’s stand seem ill advised, as they do not normally notify offenders that have received a complaint from the RIAA, they say it is too much trouble to find them. They also say, our students aren’t repeat offenders, I wonder how they know that, but they don’t know which users are doing it. Curious. Maybe all of the students there just know better after their first download and stop doing it, but, wouldn’t that mean they would stop receiving complaints as well? I would like to hear more from them on how it is too much trouble to track, but they know their students are not repeat offenders.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - February 23, 2007 at 4:19 pm

Categories: Piracy   Tags: ,

HD, Blueray Processing Key Found

Looks like someone has found the master key to unlock ALL HD DVD and Blueray titles, this will allow you to unlock, decrypt and backup every title that is out, and one assumes the ones coming out for a bit, at least until they change the key or come up with some other way to encrypt them using this or another DRM.

There were just two major problems left: how do you detect the Processing Key and if it?s not in memory how do you find it at all? Well since I now knew how things worked I knew the Processing Key had to be combined with a C-value to produce the Media Key. The problem was there are 513 C-values in the MKB! Searching the memory (several megabytes) for a Processing Key and assuming just one C-value would take minutes (if not hours depending on the size of the dump). So doing them all would take very long. And that while I didn’t even know for sure there was a Processing Key in memory to begin with. I made a proggy that did this but using my favorite “corrupt” memdump I didn’t find any Processing Key in the first megabyte (not for any C-value). It didn’t look good.

There was a trickle of titles hitting the torrents, now you can expect a huge flood, and cries of foul from the movie companies.

4 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - February 13, 2007 at 10:02 pm

Categories: Piracy   Tags: , ,

Microsoft “Helping Us Out” Yet Again

If you are like me, you like to a reinstall of your systems whenever they start to slow down or develop problems, or just to try something new, but it looks like Microsoft will be blocking that to. While most people will use an upgrade license to just upgrade their system, lots of us like to do a fresh install on an upgrade, and in the past this has been possible because you could just supply your “qualifying CD”, the install CD for the previous OS, and away you go. Not sure if this is to prevent users from getting a really cheap copy to install on a different machine, since most manufacturers will send you and upgrade disk if you purchased your pc in the past couple months. I have an upgrade copy coming for my laptop, so I will be seeing for myself really soon I hope.

Microsoft’s quest to closely control the way Windows Vista can be used on PCs has taken a turn for the worse as new information indicates that the company is breaking tradition when it comes to Windows Vista upgrades. With Windows Vista, users will not be able to use upgrade keys to initiate completely new installations. It is a change that will affect few users, but enthusiasts will certainly be amongst those pinched.

One again, Microsoft appears to have made licensing decisions without considering how people actually use their products. Last fall the company trotted out changes to its retail licensing that would have punished users who frequently upgrade their PC hardware had the company not relented. Now Microsoft seeks to complicate our ability to start a crisp, new install with an upgrade version. Why? Source: Ars Technica

This will “probably” prevent users from getting a free copy of Vista for a different machine, but will surely cause them some more bad press from enthusiasts, much the same way they did when they tried to change the licensing terms, which would’ve prevented some users from upgrading their machines more than once. Luckily they relented after many users, of which some were beta testers, complained about the new terms. This time, I doubt there is anything they will do.

From the KB article;

You purchase an upgrade key for Windows Vista. Then, you try to use the upgrade key to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista by starting from a Windows Vista DVD. However, Windows Vista does not let you perform a clean installation by using the upgrade key, and you cannot upgrade to Windows Vista.
Back to the top

This problem occurs because Windows Vista does not check upgrade compliance. Therefore, you cannot use an upgrade key to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista.

To resolve this problem, use one of the following methods.

Method 1
Upgrade to Windows Vista from an earlier, supported version of Windows that is already installed on the computer.

Method 2
Purchase a license that lets you perform a clean installation of Windows Vista.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - January 29, 2007 at 8:43 pm

Categories: Piracy, Windows Vista   Tags:

Backup Your Blu-ray DVDs with BackupBluray

Well, maybe not just yet, as the BackupBluray utility is just in Alpha stage, it will only decrypt Blu-ray discs whose CPS unit key known, but one user, at least, has confirmed he has successfully ripped an entire movie, or has posted that he has, I didn’t see any proof, but I haven’t finished reading the whole thread yet. Muslix64, the same guy who created BackupHDDVD to allow people to backup their HD DVD’s, has once again developed a program to copy the supposedly unbreakable DRM, this time on Blu-ray DVD’s, BackupBluray is it’s name, and while it can only copy discs whose key’s are known, he said full decryption will be added soon.

A new utility has just been released in a very early Alpha stage, aptly dubbed “BackupBluray”. This BackupBluray tool is designed to help backup Blu-ray (BD-ROM) movies. The early version of this utility only supports the decryption of Blu-ray discs whose CPS unit key is known. Support for decryption via a Volume Unique key will most likely be added in the near future as development continues. At this point, a stable version of the tool is not yet available for mass distribution. The initial tool has already proven successful though, as there has already been one confirmed report of a successful Blu-ray Disc backup. If the BackupHDDVD tool history is any indication as to where BackupBluray will end up, we can expect to see the source code released to the public along with a SourceForge.net project opened. Source: BackupBluray rip utility released

So, the supposedly unbreakable DRM’s used on both of the new standards have been bypassed by the same guy, they are not technically being cracked, what he is doing is grabbing the encryption keys from a disc and decrypting the movies. He has been using a “powerful crypto attack” to analyze a memory dump from a Blu-ray disc. The movie companies spent a lot of money on these DRM’s, well, I should probably say, consumers are going to spend a lot of money on these discs because of the money it cost them to develop these standards.

After spending a bunch of money on my current collection of DVD’s, I’ll be dammed if I will upgrade to either of these standards and replace my entire collection again. Devices are already available that will show your current DVD’s in high definition, and I am sure there will be more solutions available, I will buy one of those players and keep purchasing the regular DVD’s, if none of us buy these players and discs, then the movie companies will be stuck with them, and I can tell them where they can stick them.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - January 24, 2007 at 4:32 am

Categories: Piracy, Software   Tags: , , , , ,

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