I had a sarcastic rant bubbling in my head all day. But frankly, sarcasm takes energy and I’m just too dammed tired and in too much pain this morning, so this will probably come out as a rambling diatribe rather than the humorous bit I had planned. Also there is a cat sitting in my lap (the Grey One, AKA the Fat One, AKA Kenai) who occasional likes to help with the typing (he has some kind of fascination with the touchpad, who understands cats?). You pays your money and you takes your chances, you’ve been warned.
The whole DRM thing stems from my attempts to download Metisse’s albums My Fault and Nomah’s Land. I’ve had a Rhapsody account for some time, but I haven’t used it in a long while. The few times did I use it, it worked like a charm. So anyway, last night I logged into my Rhapsody account and attempted to download the aforementioned albums. No dice. I got a message saying that I needed to install a new updated Rhapsody client. Bah. But I really wanted the albums, and you can’t buy the dammed CDs here in the states, so… The update package downloaded fine, the install went fine, the Rhapsody client started fine, then things went to hell. Rhapsody wanted some kind of security update, which would not download. I even went so far as to disable my firewall and security packages (not something I do lightly) – nada. I got tired of screwing around, so I brought up Urge which is semi-integrated into WMP v11. Again I downloaded the client portion, and again it wants a “security update,” which would not work – until I downloaded WMP v11 again and reinstalled it again. Then and only then would Urge install correctly and allow me to download the albums. Finally, after 4 hours of screwing around, I got the music. Hallelujah.
Now we need to take a little detour here: I should mention that there are anywhere from six to ten computers running in my network at any one time (I’m a geek, sue me) – including the monster HP server in the den where I store data, music, pictures, home movies, etc. This machine is my life, the data there goes back to 1978 (through endless data transfers and upgrades of course), there is well over a terabyte of information stored on its drives. Several months ago I began to notice a slowdown in processing; this is significant because the machine is a dual Pentium 4 with gigs of RAM, its processing power approaches that of an Alpha Station. And the drives were running continuously. Hmmm, classic virus behavior. Yikes! But I run very good scanners and my security software is custom designed, defense in depth, running active and aggressive all the time - and indeed a full scan detected no virus, no worms, no trojans. Long story short, a custom process scanner finally uncovered the culprit: iTunes. iTunes was inventorying the data on my server, and more than that, it was communicating with somebody on the internet, uploading a significant amount of packets. This is extremely weird because, see, I never installed iTunes on my server. Detailed examination of the system logs, including router logs, showed what happened: somewhere Quicktime updated itself automatically(despite the fact that I specifically disable any automatic updates on this machine) – and installed iTunes without asking. When the server rebooted following a power-outage, iTunes started as a hidden process. Then iTunes decided to poke around my system and see what was what - and it was telling somebody about it. The IP address traced to Mountain View (Sunnyvale), Ca, you do the math. Like I said, classic virus behavior. It took hours to eradicate this piece of insidious sneaking shit from my machine – along with QuickTime. Then I updated the firewall and scanners to make Goddammed sure that it is never, never, allowed back into the house. I am no Microsoft fan, but I purely loath Apple. After I become Emperor the Universe, everybody responsible is going to be enjoying winter on Pluto. Trust me on this. So, anyway, for this reason, and a couple of others, I am very careful about what goes on the data server. However, this is where I store music files, and it's the machine I use to sync my ZEN.
Back to the original story: So, I transferred the albums from my laptop to the music library on the server via the network so I could update my ZEN. And everything goes to hell, again. I use WMP v11 because it is the only software package that can handle the size of my library (over 100k music files), everything else just chokes and dies. Also WMP works very well with the ZEN. However, WMP tells me I am not authorized to play the albums on this computer without a security update and I have to purchase the music again. Arrgh! The recording industry can kiss my fuzzy white ass. Eventually I burned the albums to CD using the laptop, and then ripped them onto the server, stripping off the DRM encoding. Then sync’d the ZEN so I can listen to Matisse in the shop. So, happy ending, but Jeebus H. Christmas it shouldn’t be this hard. I paid for the music, it’s mine, and I’ll damn well listen to it whenever and wherever and on whatever machine I friggin’ feel like.
Look, I'm all about protecting the intellectual property of the artist, but this is bullshit. I'm an artist myself, but I don't tell people who purchase my woodwork what they can do with it. Once they've paid me, they can do what they want with my stuff. They can sell it to others, hell, they give it away. I don't care, I got paid. Not exactly the same thing as copying and distributing music files, sure, but you get where I'm coming from here, right?
Attention Recording Industry: Up yours, Jackasses. DRM is not about protecting the artist, it’s not about protecting intellectual property, what it is about is protecting recording industry CEOs’ incomes. It’s about making my life difficult. It’s one more layer of aggravation. And it pisses me off – and you know what that means. Pluto. Here’s how it’s going to go down, after I crown myself Ultimate Emperor of the Universe you assholes are going to be laboring in the phlebotinum mines right alongside the anti-tamper seal idiots, see here for details, except your spacesuits will be specially modified to take only certain oxygen bottles. That’s right, you’ll have to pay for each bottle, every time, and each bottle can only be used on a specific suit – no refills, no sharing. How you like me now? Dickheads.
My goodness. That business of iTunes installing on your main server is a bit disturbing, I have to admit. Even more disturbing is the whole "let me just poke around and report back to the Borg Queen" behavior. Hmm. I will begin research of my own.ReplyDelete
On a lighter note, as our civilian authority, feel free to order your Fleet Commander to institute whatever military action is required to bring the offenders to task for their impudent behavior. To use the motto of my last sea command, we're "Ready, Willing and Able."
Janiece, yes, very disturbing. Hypocrisy of the highest order for a company that was founded by hippies and claims to be of the people, by the people, an for the people. Microsoft is a power-mad corporate monster - but they admit it, they're a company, they are in business to make money. Apple sings Bob Dillon songs out one side of their mouths, and does the Microsoft fast shuffle out the other side.ReplyDelete
Bring up your Windows Task Manager, using the process viewer, see if iTunes is active and grabbing process cycles when it shouldn't be. The only reason I noticed it was because my library is so large that it was taking a lot of processing power for itunes to execute the indexing routines. Maybe it was innocuous, maybe not, I don't know. What it was, was unauthorized - and because it was done under the radar using a hidden process I suspect that they were up to no good.
Also, I have no idea what data was going to Mountain View, I had the router packet sniffer disabled at that time, because it slows down the router throughput and I'm already at the far end of the grid here. That has since been corrected and I live with a little smaller bandwidth. At this point I consider it a worthwhile sacrifice.ReplyDelete
You need a quad-core processor; that c-l-e-a-r-l-y is your problem. As a matter of fact, that could quite possibly solve the world's problems.ReplyDelete
Hm. iTunes is always up and running on my machine, since I work from home. I listen to my tunes all day long on my home machine, and work on my laptop.ReplyDelete
Melissa, you trying to sell me something? Now, if you're offering an employee, sister-in-law type discount I am all ears.ReplyDelete
I take it you're working from home today?
Not that Becky will let me buy another computer...ReplyDelete
And by the way, Melissa, just as I read your comment the sun broke through the clouds and the sky turned blue. Your humor has made my day, thanks.ReplyDelete
Janiece, I don't know if the iTunes software that supports the iPod is the same as what installs with QuickTime, I suspect that it is not. You may not have the same issue I did. My wife has an iPod and uses iTunes on her laptop. So far I have not detected suspicious packets emanating from her machine through the router, but I'm keeping a beady eye on it.ReplyDelete
I am working from home today, yes. Was in cubeland yesterday only to discover the sole living thing in my cube has died. Too many road trips to HQ and shuttles to Oregon are not the friend of a little green plant. Let us take a moment.....ReplyDelete
And I'll be damned if i didn't hear angels singing from down here in sunny California when those clouds parted. Just make sure whatever you get is blue, not green, and I'm a happy girl.
P.S. I'll keep an eye out for those rogue packets of data as I drive through Sunnyvale. (That is hysterically funny to non-technical folks. Not wet-your-pants funny, but a little funny.)
Melissa, I'll hoist a beer tonight in memory of your deceased cubemate.ReplyDelete
And I did wet my pants, a little, I think. Or it might be cat drool, or dog slobber, it's kind of hard to tell.
Two words for you:ReplyDelete
Adult undergarments - it may be time to embrace the concept
I prefer Astronaut Diapers, sounds cooler.ReplyDelete
There cannot possibly be something called Astronaut diapers. Wait, that's how Velcro® was started...whoa think of the possibilities...industrial diapers that would hold the liquid equivalent of 10+ bottles of Tang! You're on to something here.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the suggestion, Jim. If I get really ambitious, I'm frog a sniffer onto the router and take some snapshots when my home PC is the only one active on the network.ReplyDelete
Janiece, I'd be interested in what your sniffer turns up.ReplyDelete
Only a couple of months into retirement and the adult diaper jokes have started. Not a good sign, Jim.ReplyDelete
Well, I use iTunes on all my macs and I've never had it do that. When I initially launched it, I had a dialog box about, "Do you want me to find all the music on your hard drive and load it?" I said no and it hasn't bothered me since. My guess the pings to cupertino would be to check for an upgrade (and I really hate automatically updated programs and turn those things off as much as possible). But yeah, if downloading the quicktime also then downloaded itunes, which auto launched and then went all wonkey, yeah, bad software. Bad.
Interestingly enough, this post ended up on Technorati. Coolness.ReplyDelete
Steve, I first suspected that iTunes was checking for an upgrade, but the number of times and duration seems excessive. And it's the principle of the thing - how installing unauthorized software, staring the program without notice as a process hidden from the user, indexing my data without my express permission, and talking to another machine off site isn't trespassing I don't know. At the very least, it is unethical behavior for a company that prides itself on being smugly superior to the rest of the industry.
Steve, oh and by the by, Melissa has made fun of me for years. Retirement has nothing to do with it. But I'm laughing right back at her, see the joke's on her - she's married to my brother.ReplyDelete
(I'm kidding, Mike, you know I love ya)
Wow, I haven’t even posted here yet and I am getting diss’t, what’s up with that? By the way you must be special, for some reason she hasn’t even told me that I need a quad core yet, I think I need one.ReplyDelete
Maybe she already bought you one.ReplyDelete
That you, Mike?
It’s me. Maybe she did, hey look a pig just flew by my window.ReplyDelete