Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Mimsy Were the Technocrats: As long as we keep talking about it, it’s technology.

42 Astoundingly Useful Scripts and Automations for the Macintosh

Work faster and more reliably. Add actions to the services menu and the menu bar, create drag-and-drop apps to make your Macintosh play music, roll dice, and talk. Create ASCII art from photos. There’s a script for that in 42 Astounding Scripts for the Macintosh.

iPod repeating same mistakes as Macintosh?

Jerry Stratton, August 19, 2004

John Gruber writes a detailed and insightful analysis of why, somewhat surprisingly, Real’s call for “open-ness” on Apple’s part vis-a-vis Real’s Harmony is falling on flat ears among consumers and even open technology advocates. The obvious point is that Real’s format is completely non-open, whereas Apple’s iPod fully supports open formats.

Real is trying to focus the attention onto the iTunes Music Store, but the iPod is about a lot more than the iTMS. Personally, I'd like to see the iTunes Music Store sell restriction-less music, but it hasn’t bothered me because I know I don’t have to buy from the iTMS--I continue to buy CDs and even vinyl and rip it restrictionless to my iTunes collection.

Gruber writes:

When RealNetworks whines about choice, they’re only talking about choice between rival DRM platforms. And it’s true that Apple denies iPod owners this choice. But what Apple provides is a larger and more important choice: the choice not to use DRM protected audio at all.

One argument is that Harmony appeals to people who are concerned about DRM lock-in. I.e., if you spend your money on music at the iTMS, what happens if in a year or two you decide to buy a music player from another company? Holy shit, you’re locked-in!

This is so fallacious, it’s hard to see how anyone is falling for it. DRM lock-in is indeed a serious issue--but the people who are concerned about lock-in aren’t going to trust RealNetworks (or Microsoft) any more than they trust Apple. They’re going to buy non-DRM music, which the iPod already embraces.

Plus, Apple allows you to burn your iTMS songs to good old-fashioned unprotected CDs--which you can then import for use on non-Apple music players. A pain in the ass? A bit. But a far cry from fascist lock-in.

As I wrote earlier, I am on both sides on the open-ness of Apple’s music store DRM. On the one hand, music purchased from the iTMS has the most consumer-friendly digital restriction management of any mainstream music store, especially at the time it came out. But I hope that its success with somewhat consumer-friendly formats convinces the rest of the industry that making their product even more consumer-friendly is the way to go. Real is not about that.

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