Support DRM Free Music

In a departure from my normal stance on the subject, I think it is time people put a little money where their beliefs were and supported Amazon in its foray to DRM-free music downloads.

Amazon is selling MP3 music, free of any digital rights management crap, for as little as 59p a track. Now, for those of you who are used to music being free per track this might seem expensive, but it is cheaper than most of the services like iTunes – and more importantly this sells you the music in the right way… you are allowed to play it on your iPod, your Laptop, your old mp3 player etc. One of the things that used to constantly infuriate me (and ensure I would never actually pay for music there) on iTunes was the problem with how portable the music was.

I have an iPod, I have a phone that plays MP3s, I have a laptop, I have a car MP3 player, a windows PC, a linux PC and an MP3-enabled music station. If I buy a peice of music I am the person who chooses which device can play it, not Apple. When I had various CD or tape players, it was down to me as to which device was going to play the music. I didnt have to contact EMI for a new licence every time I bought a new cassette player so why should I start now?

None of this is meant to suggest the only reason people pirate MP3 tracks is to have more portability, but it is an element. It is important that companies like Amazon show iTunes et al., that giving the users choice can be a profitable business model. Is the brand name of iTunes really worth an extra 20p a track when you can only play the track on your iPod?

If you like the idea of DRM free music and if you think that 59p is close to a reasonable sum of money to pay for music you like, then please go to Amazon and download a track or two. It doesn’t have to be many! Unless people make the effort to purchase DRM-free music over DRM’d music, the industry will never change.

By the way – I am sure Amazon is not the only source of DRM free music at a reasonable price. Please feel free to advertise any other sources here. springs to mind, where are the others? Find one you like, and buy some music. Then tell your friends to buy some.

Footnote: I gain nothing by you buying things from Amazon. There is no affiliate-ID in the link. This is actually something I think is a good idea to support.

Rise of the Machines

It is official. I hate all forms of technology. However, all of them hate me a LOT more. Truly the rise of the machines is inevitable and I will have to accept the day when my computer overlords stop toying with me and REALLY begin to punish me.

Over the last few weeks I have spent many, many hours of my life trying to reason with my computer overlord to try and get it to do simple tasks like connect to the internet or actually connect to the network it things has a maximum strength signal. You know, really challenging things like that. I have come to accept that Vista is actually the Devil Incarnate (don’t think Linux is any better…) but now I am learning where the acolytes hide.

I have an iPod nano and an iPod shuffle. I have had them for ages (both were presents, I am too tight fisted to buy things like that) and they used to work fine. However, since the Rise of the Machines has begun, they now make my life hell.

Over the last three weeks, both have intermittently ceased to work and forced me to reinstall their software from scratch several times. This is not normal behaviour for them – I’ve had the nano with no problems at all for two years… This was annoying but I could live with it.

Also in the last month, my Nikon Picture Project software (I use it to download images from my camera to the pc) has decided to stop noticing when the camera is attached. This forces me to use explorer to go into the camera (it is treated as a drive) and copy the files. The problem with this, is I now have to rename and batch process in separate stages. Time consuming but not life threatening, I suppose.

After a week of working fine, every time I attach my phone to the PC to update calendar / contacts, I get a slew of error messages saying some unknown driver hasn’t installed properly. Again, annoying but I can live with this.

The spell checker in Firefox (which I use to write this, so I am pretty dependent on it..) has decided to only work 1 time in 10. This is not one of those times so I will apologise for all typos now…

Today’s FINALSTRAW©™® is iTunes. When I got my new computer I backed up all my old music to an external HDD and copied it to the new machine. For some reason iTunes decided that meant it needed to have three entries for every song – giving me over 3600 entries. I spent what felt like 10 years deleting the spurious entries and everything worked fine. Tonight I have opened iTunes and they are all back. All of them. For good measure, there are even more entries this time. It seems that all my podcasts have now been duplicated. I am sure it is doing this to see if it can push me to a nervous break down. It is close…

I am about to search google to see if I can find an automated way to delete the spurious entries (as they dont actually point anywhere), if my internet connection dies as I try to find the solution it will be the final proof my PC is now sentient and is waging a guerilla war against me.