Posts Tagged ‘iTunes’

Technology News for November 9, 2007

Block Facebook Beacon So here I am, burning some brain cells and taking some time to relax playing a game on Kongregate, when a little window pops up in the corner of my screen and says “Kongregate is sending this to your Facebook profile: Nate played Desktop Tower Defense 1.5 at Kongregate.” Which immediately elicited a “Hellll no” from my mouth.

Review: The Sweet Agony That Is Nokia N81 It has been nearly 65 days since I went without a phone set change, leading to snide remarks from my co-workers about my fidelity to Apple’s iPhone. Despite getting frustrated with frustrations with iPhone’s Email application (I carry a Blackberry to get some serenity), and poky Edge connections, I avoided the hassle of switching to another phone.

Are Facebook’s Social Ads Illegal? Mark Zuckerberg promised no less than a revolution with his idea that ads you see on Facebook will be attached to the names and photos of your friends who like the products being advertised. There is at least one problem with this idea: It may be illegal under a 100-year-old New York privacy law.

Prosecutor Announces Charges Against The Pirate Bay Prosecutor Håkan Roswall announced that he plans to press charges against 5 people involved with The Pirate Bay before January 31, 2008. The 5 are suspected of facilitating copyright infringement.

The World’s Biggest Botnets You know about the Storm Trojan, which is spread by the world’s largest botnet. But what you may not know is there’s now a new peer-to-peer based botnet emerging that could blow Storm away.

“We’re investigating a new peer-to-peer botnet that may wind up rivaling Storm in size and sophistication,” says Tripp Cox, vice president of engineering for startup Damballa, which tracks botnet command and control infrastructures. “We can’t say much more about it, but we can tell it’s distinct from Storm.”

OMG!!! The end of online stupidity? Internet veterans have long complained about the steady erosion of civility — and worse, intelligence — in online discourse. Initially the phenomenon seemed to be a seasonal disorder. It occurred every September when freshmen showed up for college and went online. Tasting for the first time the freedom and power of the Internet, the newbies would behave like a bunch of drunken fraternity pledges, filling electronic bulletin boards with puerile remarks until the upperclassmen could whip them into shape.

Things took a dramatic turn for the worse in 1993, when AOL (Charts, Fortune 500) loosed its tens of thousands — and then millions — of users onto the Net. The event came to be known as the Endless September, and true to its name, it continues to this day.

IE Automatic Component Activation (Changes to IE ActiveX Update) Back in April 2006, we made a change to how Internet Explorer handled embedded controls used on some webpages. Some sites required users to “click to activate” before they could interact with the control. Microsoft has now licensed the technologies from Eolas, removing the “click to activate” requirement in Internet Explorer. Because of this, we’re removing the “click to activate” behavior from Internet Explorer!

Radiohead: comScore totally inaccurate A New Music Express piece on Radiohead brings with it a rather large knee to the goolies for comScore, which came out with some numbers on downloads of the band’s “pay what you want” album In Rainbows (I wrote about comScore’s results here). ComScore said that its survey showed less than 40 per cent paid for the album, and most paid less than $4. There was quite a bit of skepticism about the results, however, since — as Ethan Kaplan of blackrimglasses.com pointed out — it was based on just a few hundred people.

Radiohead Deny Reports That 60 Percent Of Fans Paid Nothing For In Rainbows The physical version of Radiohead’s In Rainbows won’t be ready for your holiday stocking, but it will be released this year.

Radiohead announced Thursday (November 8) that the vinyl and CD version of their much-vaunted new album will be released internationally December 31. No information was given on whether the physical release will differ from the 10-track download released last month.

Live Search gets gimmicky: taps prizes to lure search engine users, data How do you win in the search engine wars? Two approaches suggest themselves: 1) build a better search engine or 2) bribe users. Microsoft is trying option two in hopes of gathering enough data to make option one a reality.

Video Rentals Coming Soon to iTunes? Before installing any iTunes upgrade, I dump the strings from the old iTunes binary. Once the new version has installed, I diff the new version’s strings against the old’s, to see what shows up.

Sony CEO sees ‘stalemate’ in disc fight The head of Sony Corp., Howard Stringer, said Thursday that the Blu-ray disc format the company has developed as the successor to the DVD is in a “stalemate” with the competing HD DVD format, chiefly backed by Toshiba Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

Nigeria favors Linux vendor Mandriva over Microsoft once more Microsoft may not have beaten French Linux vendor Mandriva in a large deal to supply Nigerian elementary schools with laptop computers and software after all.

Mandriva had closed a deal in mid-August to provide a customized Linux operating system and support for 17,000 Intel Classmate PCs intended for Nigerian schools, but found out last week that the company deploying the computers for the government, Technology Support Center (TSC), planned to wipe the computers’ disks and install Windows XP instead.

DivX and Xbox 360: A Potential Win-Win For Everyone DivX (DIVX) followed up Tuesday night’s earnings report with a presentation at the JP Morgan SmMid cap conference. After having just undergone their quarterly confessional, I didn’t expect to hear any new information, but wanted to tune in anyway.

Attack of the Splogs—One Of Our Posts Copied 152 Times Without Attribution Here at TechCrunch, there is nothing we love more than when one of our posts gets linked to and talked about. And like the majority of other blogs out there, we try to be good citizens by linking back to any source from which we excerpt. But there is a growing minority of spam blogs, or splogs, that indiscriminately take entire posts from other blogs and present them as their own.

Windows Live Translator For Your Website Last week, the Translation team blog posted about an add-in for your website or blog that uses the Windows Live Translator. In their post they show you exactly how to use this add-in.

Microsoft’s Surface taking a while to, you know, surface While the tech demos are always sure to draw a crowd, Microsoft’s Surface is still having trouble making it past the prototype stage. Originally slated to show up in a few commercial venues this year, applications of the tech have been pushed back to next spring at the earliest.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - November 9, 2007 at 8:08 pm

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Apple iTunes DRM Free Tracks Contain User Data

It’s great that Apple is starting to sell DRM free music, right? Well, you might want to think again, because, apparently, the tracks contain data embedded data that contains the full name and account information, including e-mail address, of who bought them. That’s right, full name and account information of who bought them. This data has always been there, but before, no one could share the DRM tunes, now they can share the tunes with anyone, and that data could be tracked back to the person, or persons, who bought it, and, it could also be spoofed by someone on the internet. Your data could be embedded in a music file and dropped on a peer to peer network for the whole world to share, and for the suit happy music labels to see. Playlistmag.com referred to it as Watermarked iTunes files.

The big question, of course, is what might Apple do with this information? Because it can be spoofed, it’s not exactly the best way to determine who is sharing music, and in any case, tracing a link back such as this would leave a copyright holder in a gray area. Embedded data or not, the mere presence of the data in a file found on a share is not an unassailable indicator of copyright infringement.

That said, it would be trivial for iTunes to report back to Apple, indicating that “Joe User” has M4As on this hard drive belonging to “Jane Userette,” or even “two other users.” This is not to say that Apple is going to get into the copyright enforcement business. What Apple and indeed the record labels want to watch closely is: will one user buy music for his five close friends? The entertainment industry is obsessed with the idea of “casual piracy,” or the occasional sharing of content between friends. I wouldn’t be surprised if some data was being analyzed in aggregate, although Apple’s current privacy policy does not appear to allow for this. As with the dust-up over the mini-store, Apple should clarify what this embedded data is used for. Source: Apple hides account info in DRM-free music, too

While I don’t think iTunes users would buy music from the iTunes store to share on P2P networks, someone could, and that someone could change the data to anyone they wanted to. I bet there are files with Steve Jobs email address in them online right now. I also bet there will be cleaners created soon to clean the data, but, this does make you wonder what Apple will and could do with it.

In other Apple news, it was reported that iTunes version 7.2 had broken the ability to play Mp3′s that had been ripped from music purchased from the iTunes store. Most users had figured out that you could buy songs from the iTunes store, burn them to CD and then rip them to MP3 to get rid of the Fairplay DRM. The EFF had reported that the upgrade to version 7.2 of iTunes had broken this, but now, according to a post on Playlistmag.com, it appears it is merely a bug and you can bypass it by recreating your iTunes music library.

Yesterday, I noted that iTunes 7.2 had trouble syncing certain MP3 files to an iPod. It appears that this is a bug.

Specifically, if you burn a playlist of iTunes? protected music to a CD in iTunes 7.2 and then rip that CD in the MP3 format (a trick people often use to remove the tracks? copy protection), those MP3 tracks won?t copy to an [tag]iPod[/tag]. Try, and you?ll be told that the tracks are incompatible with the iPod.

The bug appears to take the form of some problem with the iTunes music library, causing these specific tracks to be deemed incompatible with the iPod. You can put things right by recreating your iTunes library. Source: More on iTunes 7.2 and MP3s

This knowledge base article from Apple will walk you through recreating your iTunes library, and this one, iTunes: How to backup and restore playlists, will show you how to backup and restore your playlists.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - June 1, 2007 at 6:56 pm

Categories: Apple   Tags: , ,

Microsoft and Universal Strike a Deal, Who is Next?

Microsoft and Universal have signed an agreement that says Universal gets over $1 per Zune sold in exchange for licensing its recordings to Microsoft’s new digital music service. This is huge. Apple has no deals with recording companies like this, Apple only pays them for songs sold through iTunes. This will definitely affect any future deals they have with these companies, companies like Universal had no idea that billions would be made from the iPod when they signed their deals with Apple, so they will want a cut of anything going forward, and I can’t imagine Apple not having to pony some more money up, if they loose tracks in iTunes, they may loose customers to Microsoft and their Zune player.

Universal Music, a unit of Vivendi, will receive a royalty on the Zune player in exchange for licensing its recordings for Microsoft?s new digital music service, the companies said.

Universal, which releases recordings from acts like U2 and Jay-Z, said it would pay half of what it receives on the device to its artists. The company is expected to receive more than $1 for each $250 device, according to executives who were briefed on the pact. Source: NY Times

“It’s a major change for the industry,” said David Geffen. “Each of these devices is used to store unpaid-for material. This way, on top of the material people do pay for, the record companies are getting paid on the devices storing the copied music.”

Sounds like he is saying we are all pirates and they deserve a cut. I say, lots of us pay for the cd’s and expect to be able to do with them what we want, they are our property after all. If the music companies didn’t point as many fingers as they did and sue as many people as they did, maybe everyone would feel a little different about them. I don’t remember recording songs from radio stations being frowned upon, but it is a lot easier nowadays for one song or album to make its way around the world.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - November 9, 2006 at 7:36 pm

Categories: Apple, Microsoft News, Piracy   Tags: , , , ,

Make an iPod Screensaver

Here is a quick and easy way to change what your iPod video displays while it is charging. From web.mac.com, they have some good screenshots there as well.

Create a folder named Demo Mode.
In iTunes, rename the video you want the iPod to play.
After the iPod is on the charger two minutes, the video will start playing.
This only works on fifth generation Video iPods.
The iPod must be on pause and charging.
You must have enable disk use enabled.
the iPod video must have up to date firmware.

You could probably do this without updating the firmware, if that sort of stuff scares you. Try it first, if it works, why update it?

Apple Store

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - October 9, 2006 at 2:05 am

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Windows Live Messenger for Mac 6.0

[tag]Messenger[/tag] 6.0 is now available for the Mac, download it here. It still does not support A/V, but they say it is coming in a future release.

By now, some of you have heard the news. Today we launched Messenger for Mac 6.0, our first Universal application! It includes some exciting things, like federation with Yahoo, the ability to show what I’m listening to on my iTunes and a spell checker (yea!) as well as features that have been long standing requests like support for animated and custom emoticons. However, I know a number of you are bound to ask: Where is A/V in Messenger for Mac!?!?

I said in my first blog entry that I’d try to shed light on how feature decisions get made, give you some examples, and address why A/V isn’t in this release. Source: Messenger: haves and hA/Ve nots

Messenger 6.0 allows you to interact with Yahoo! Messenger, it can display the “What I’m Listening To” from iTunes, has a spell checker and support for animated and custom icons. They said WLM and LCS, Live Communication Services, are not in sync, so instead of trying to A/V using two different sets of code, they are waiting until they sync up and move to a shared protocol in upcoming releases.

And so the blog entry of theirs announcing the release actually goes into detail on why audio/video isn’t there yet; they’ll be moving to a new protocol for both Windows Live Messenger and Live Communications Server, and they’d rather nto waste time implementing both the old any the new one. Now, that explanation makes sense now, but it didn’t for, oh, the past several years, when this very same request kept coming up. Perhaps they didn’t have the resources to do it, and now they finally do; that’s great. But still: if Yahoo! and Skype can pull it off, why can’t Microsoft, who are certainly five orders of a magnitude bigger than Skype? Source: MacBU stuff today.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - September 28, 2006 at 11:18 am

Categories: Apple, Microsoft News   Tags: ,

How to Backup the Music on Your iPod

Apple has added some new and very welcome features in iTunes version 7, one at least they didn’t allow before. Previously they would not let you sync your iPod with more than one computer, sure I know it was possible, my 12 year old did it with several of his friends, but it wasn’t supported. Now, you can reverse sync and they are pushing it as a feature. Say you have a home pc and your iPod already synced, now you can take it to your work pc and sync it up with your iPod, but it only works with music and videos purchased from iTunes.

Here is the new big feature:
You can now backup the music from your iPod straight to CD or DVD.

iTunes 7 has really breathed some new life into that venerable jukebox software. One of the most useful new features is ‘Back Up to Disc,’ which is located under the ‘File’ menu of iTunes. This feature allows you to back up all your tracks to either CD or DVD.

Sounds great, right? But is it easy? Yes, yes it is. Read on for a detailed step by step tutorial.

Once you click the ‘Back up to disk..’ option you get this window:

Visit The Unofficial Apple Weblog for the complete set of instructions.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - September 13, 2006 at 5:42 pm

Categories: Apple, Backup, How To   Tags: ,

Xbox 360 and your iPod

Coming to a big screen near you. The Xbox 360, when it debuts, will have the ability to stream music files from just about any MP3 player, including, gasp, Apple’s iPod. And during the preview of the Xbox 350 in San Francisco last month, Microsoft execs were really excited to be able to play music from the apple iPod, and talked up the functionality quite a bit.

“When you plug your iPod in,” Xbox digital-entertainment executive producer Jeff Henshaw told CNET News.com, “the Xbox 360 automatically detects that it’s there. You can browse by artist or album or genre or by custom playlist.”

And, although it can stream the music from your iPod into games like Project Gotham Racing 3, replacing the game sound track with your own tunes, this was done without Apple’s support.

“We do not have an official relationship with Apple for the iPod connectivity,” said Scott Henson, product unit manager in Microsoft’s advanced technology group. He maintains that “Xbox 360 leverages standard protocols such as USB mass storage to enable iPod support.”

Henshaw said Microsoft tried to “engage” Apple in a partnership that would have officially made the iPod interoperable with Xbox, but Apple rejected the overture.

“So we went in and built all of the support we could,” Henshaw said. Microsoft plans to release the new Xbox in North America on Nov. 22.

Henshaw said the Xbox 360 would be able to stream any standard MP3 file or AAC file from an iPod, but not protected songs purchased through the iTunes Music Store. Those songs, he said, will appear grayed out in menus on the Xbox.

Microsoft would not comment as to wether they had to reverse engineer anything, but industry folks assume they did, since the iPod actually scatters the songs accross directories and renames them, which makes them really hard to find.

iPods have a database that cross-references the location of music files and their names so users can select them through the device’s menu. Microsoft would have had to include simple software in order to engage that database, he said.

“They have to read that database to get a list of songs on the iPod and present that to the user,” Benson said. “Once a user has selected what song to play, then you use the database to find the song and play it.”

So, it sounds like they would have to figure out how to find them first by talking to their database. I would say Apple isn’t going to like this very much, and will probably be ready to counter the ability with an iTunes update of some kind, like they did when RealNetwork’s made it possible to copy songs from their online offerings with the iPod.

“It would be unfortunate if that happened, because people are enjoying the flexibility,” said Henshaw. “It would be unfortunate to see Apple inhibit people’s ability to enjoy their own music.”

Hehe. That’s their line and they are sticking to it. This article quoted the News.com article, and they said Apple did not have a comment at this time. I’m sure there will be one when the system ships near the end of the month.

Here’s a post on Microsoft blog on SeattlePI.com, where a journalist actually got to try it out with an iPod Nano and his own iPod, and he said it worked just fine, even has a pic with it connected.

Bink.nu has an article about it posted here, and it has some quotes from J Allard and he says,

“I’m pro consumer on this one to the end. Anybody in my company who thought this was a bad idea to plug in Sony or Apple devices into this thing, I ended that conversation pretty quickly. This is the right thing to do for consumers. Once they invest $500 in their digital media library, you can’t ask them to go buy a 360 music player and a 360 digital camera, and a 360… NO! They got their stuff. They’re going to want to plug it in. We’re going to be open here, guys. And if anything, I wish we could be more cooperative with the other companies that are doing those things. And if Sony or Apple were to call me up and say, “hey, we want to [do] some special things with the 360,” i’m on it. I think it would not be in anybody’s interest to say, we’re not going to work with 360. It’s good for them, it’s good for us, and it’s good for consumers.”

Sounds good to me. ;)

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - November 4, 2005 at 2:00 pm

Categories: Gaming News, Microsoft News, Tech News   Tags: , , , , ,

Apple FINALLY Releases Video iPod

Apple has finally had the news conference where they annouce the new video iPod. They also announced a partnership with ABC where they will sell episodes of hit tv shows, such as Desperate Housewives or Lost, the day after they are broadcast. They will sell them in the iTunes online store for $1.99 an episode, “It’s never been done before, where you could buy hit TV shows and buy them online the day after they’re shown,” said Jobs. From Yahoo.com,

Videos will now be sold alongside songs on Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

The iTunes store will sell episodes of hit shows “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” for $1.99 each online, making them available the day after they air on television, in a deal with ABC.

The new video iPod, available in black or white, will be able to play video and podcasts. A 30-gigabyte version will sell for $299 and a 60-gigabyte, $399. Extra features on both versions include a clock, a calendar that Jobs said never looked better, a stop watch and a screen lock.

With support for up to 150 hours of video and a 2.5-inch color display, the new iPod lets you take music videos and TV shows on the road.

Not sure if it is because they are busy, or something wrong on my end, but www.apple.com was not reachable when I typed this up. The iTunes website came up for me, but it was very slow. They are already advertising the fact that they will be selling the tv shows online, and have a nice big graphic for the new iPod on the front page. They would wait until after I bought my first iPod, dangit. Note: The apple.com site was flying by the time I finished typing this up.

The new video iPod

From News.com,

All that speculation that Apple Computer would unveil a video iPod at a press event Wednesday was right.

The company also rolled out a new iMac and a new version of iTunes, iTunes 6, just five weeks after the debut of iTunes 5.

The iPod has “been a huge hit for us, so it’s time to replace it,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said as he showed off the new video-capable product at the San Jose, Calif, event. “Yes, it does video.”

Click here to get yours from the Apple store before they sell out.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - October 12, 2005 at 1:43 pm

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