Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Obligatory Lurch Content Du Semaine and Other Musings

Born on the bayou, my butt.

I guess one can expect this sort of thing from our icons of our younger days. And it's worth it to see Lurch making an ass of himself (he is plugged in, but who knows where the other end of the cord is; hopefully the FOH sound guy had that fader way, way down if it was indeed plugged into an amp, or worse, direct in or through a POD). There's a great bit in this Weekly Standard story about Lurch's musical inclinations about him wussing out when getting to the most notorious line in "Walk On The Wild Side". Show some cojones, man.

As far as Mr. Fogerty is concerned, one thing that any sentient person has realized over the years is that most people whose full-time gig is in the performing arts are a bit off-center, and the best course of action is to ignore their idiocies. Since they thrive on attention, even the act of commenting on their stupidity gives them some validation and encourages them.

Here's an interesting corollary to the above observation. Pete Townsend actually refused permission for Farenheit 9/11's producers to use "Won't Get Fooled Again", because
I have never hidden the fact that at the beginning of the war in Iraq I was a supporter. But now, like millions of others, I am less sure we did the right thing.
OK perhaps not a ringing endorsement, but at least the sign of a thinking man. Townsend's diary entry on the matter is most interesting, detailing the bullying tactics of Moore and his henchmen, including Harvey Weinstein. I seem to remember a quote somewhere in "Before I Get Old", a great history of The Who, that hippie-dom was actually loathed or ignored by most of the group; I'll have to dig that one out.

For the gamers among you, there's the latest in copy protection or "do something that uses undocumented low-level functions that louses up your customers' systems". As if the copy protection industry hasn't learned yet, apparently this quote unquote solution has been silently installing devices into your Wintel boxes along with the game, but not uninstalling them when you've tired of the game and wish to rid your system of it. There have been reports of system instability and huge resource consumption associated with this variant of copy protection, and of course a lot of the games have been cracked or are in the process of being cracked.

There are non-intrusive ways of protecting high value content. Consider for example the way a market data vendor does it, with a permissioning system that allows users only to access content that they're paying for (i.e. an equities trader doesn't necessarily need to look at bond pricing pages, to use the simplest of examples), and in the case of lower-value (at least determined by the retail price) content, surely a DRM-based solution would be adequate, along with a limited number of "grace" plays in the event of an interruption of communications. The game loads, phones home via web services (so as not to need holes punched in a firewall), the game receives a go/no go from the server. This way, no need for copy protection, and in fact the game could be freely copied. The licensing server would treat a game copy, to use Borland's metaphor, as if it were a book, with only one copy getting an authorization to play at any one time. Encrypt the executables or data of the game if you wish, and deliver a one-time key with the response from the authorization server.

And just to make us DSL types feel really, I mean really rotten, check out the speeds being offered in Japan. The equivalent of a DS3 for downloading? 100 megabit fiber coming (realistically, instead of Real Soon Now)? Jack Valenti and Cary Sherman would absolutely have kittens. And I presume they haven't checked out those shops near Akihabara that sell all the pirated stuff. That's the sort of thing that bugs the hell out of me. These pompous asses should be screaming in Tokyo, Brasilia and Beijing about the piracy going on in those countries instead of suing teenagers.


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