Archive for the ‘Downloads’ Category

Jessica Simpson track is NOT DRM free

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006


While the blogging world is falling all over itself in praise of Yahoo!’s release of the so-called “DRM-free” Jessica Simpson track (I won’t even comment on the fact that the track is from Jessica Simpson, oy), I think that the music industry is indicating how desperate they are to break from the iTunes hegemony that they have created and how they aren’t really willing to get rid of DRM any time soon.

First, let me address the DRM issue. The downloadable Jessica Simpson track is available as a personalized track. If your name is Jason, Jennifer, or Jared, you are in luck and pay $1.99 for a personalized track from Jessica Simpson, which if you think about it, is a pretty cool idea. But if you continue to think about it, unless your entire social circle has your name, most of your friends won’t really want to copy your song. File trading networks probably won’t have a comprehensive version of this song, so while the Jason’s of the world could probably find their version of the song on BitTorrent, I’m betting the Jordi’s of the world are probably out of luck.

You see, the Jessica Simpson track is only available as a personalized track and therefore, the DRM is social.

Second, even if I’ve overplayed the impact of personalization (I haven’t heard the song), this still signals what the music industry really wants to do, and that is to raise prices on music downloads. The music industry has created a monster and that monster is more concerned about the user experience than about making a quick buck.

Despite all of this, I wonder if the music industry is starting to realize the truth, DRM-free music is the easiest way to break iTunes’ dominance on music downloads. The music industry loves price fixing, but not so much if someone else is doing it. DRM-free music removes most of the advantages that iTunes currently enjoys and allows any number of resellers to distribute music for any price that they (or the labels) want.

So, come on, music labels… let’s hop to it. I’m a huge fan of Apple, but DRM sucks and we all know it.

Monday Links

Monday, July 17th, 2006

Movielink to allow movies transferred to DVD
Didn’t they already do that? Maybe it was the other guys.

Build your own iPod HiFi
Two in wall speakers, $200. Two dead Mac Classics, $25. Retro iPod HiFi, priceless.

Yahoo! to the 9’s
Daily video feature of the top 9 videos from the web. No podcast, so you gotta watch it on Yahoo! And just as an aside, apparently Yahoo! finally figured out how to do video that works with a Mac. Maybe one day Launch will actually work outside of IE6 on Windows.
[via CNET]

Thursday Links

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

CinemaNow gets more funding
$20mm should help… I thought bandwidth was free?

GUBA inks deal with Sony
These guys are on a roll.

Efax: How not to treat your customers
I had a free account cancelled for overuse. Apparently, their customer service isn’t so great, either. [via Daring Fireball]

Looking back at Hotwired
Hotwired rejoins Wired so what better time than now to look back it’s interesting history. [via Daring Fireball]

TEDTalks Video Podcasts

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

tedtalks_splash.jpgThe TED Conference (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is held every year in Monterey and attracts bigwigs from the various industries they represent. Occasionally, you’ll hear about what these luminaries talk about and present, but by and large, what’s talked about in Monterey, stays in Monterey.

Until now, that is. TEDTalks is a series of presentations from this year’s conference including Al Gore, David Pogue and (shudder) Tony Robbins. TEDTalks will be releasing a new video each week.

I’ve watched the Al Gore video this morning at the gym and it is amazing how Gore can connect with the audience on both an emotional and intellectual level. Where the hell was this guy in the 2000 election?

TED Website

iTunes Link

GUBA goes legit

Monday, June 26th, 2006

guba.jpgUsenet and illegal video fans should be weeping today, GUBA has signed a deal with Warner Movies to distribute Warner’s videos day and date as the DVD releases. Rentals are available for $1.99 and purchases are 9.99 for catalog titles and 19.99 for new releases(that sounds really familiar). You gotta have a Windows XP or 2000 box and Windows Media Player. No Macs need apply.

I haven’t been a customer of GUBA in the past, but originally, the site made its money selling subscriptions to Usenet groups that had illegal videos and porn. I’m assuming that all illegal video has been removed (and if you look around you are hard pressed to find Usenet at all) as a result of this deal.

GUBA, in their former life, even transcoded video from Usenet groups into an iPod compatible format. That appears to be gone as well.

I suspect that with it’s new “official” catalog, GUBA will lose more customers than it gains. Although, it might not get sued out of existence.

Read [via iPodNN]

Plaxo for the Mac – Loves yummy addresses

Monday, June 26th, 2006

The short version – DO NOT USE PLAXO ON YOUR MAC!

The long version – Ok, I know that Plaxo is evil, but I really wanted another way than .Mac (which isn’t evil, merely incompetent) to backup my address book online.

I had never tried Plaxo when I was in the Windows world (like I needed one more thing to slow that lovely ThinkPad down) as I had heard the tales of spam that Plaxo had generated. It seemed that Plaxo had mended their evil ways and were not going to spam people any more. Apparently, now they just eat your data.

This morning I woke up to 99% of my entire address book gone.

Obliterated. Kaput. Tot. Dead.

This wasn’t the first time that there was a little problem with my address book and syncing, but I didn’t know the culprit before. I’m one of those neurotic folks that likes to have his data in many places, so the thought of something like Plaxo (or .Mac) backing up my data is very enticing, but after today I’m going to shut Plaxo down and cancel my account.

I’ve sent Plaxo two emails in the last month and even paid for the upgraded service to make sure that I would get help if I needed it. This morning, I chatted with a CSR from Plaxo and they informed me that my data would return within one hour.

Well, folks, it’s been a 3 hours… and I still have just 3 addresses in my address book.

[UPDATE: Looks like my post did some good. My address book is back (albeit with dupes, but hey, it’s back). Thanks Mark Jen and for Plaxo customer support for fixing this.

The D: All Things Digital

Monday, June 19th, 2006

d.jpgThe Wall Street Journal released their report from the Walt Mossberg’s CEO love-in from a few weeks back.

(FYI – “The D” is a small conference for executives from large companies and essentially is a series of discussions and interviews conducted by the Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.)

Interviews include Bill Gates, “who showed off a dramatic new version of the dominant Office software, took shots at search rival Google, and declared the network-TV business dead,” Robert Iger (Walt Disney CEO), “who didn’t agree with him,” Sir Howard Stringer (Sony CEO), who was indicted by Martha Stewart for cluttering her life with wires, and Barry Sonnenfeld, (Movie Director) who thinks the movie to DVD release window is too short.

Much of this year’s conference was devoted to the changing media landscape and the disruption that technology is creating for old business models.

If you have a WSJ subscription, the D conference report is essential reading. I’ll provide some highlights in subsequent postings.


Movie downloads compete with DVD

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

brokeback.jpgMovielink and CinemaNow announced today that they will have day and date releases with their DVD counterparts reports the Wall Street Journal this morning. Starting tomorrow with Brokeback Mountain, both companies will give users the ability to buy movies the same day they arrive on DVD.

Both seem to limit what people can do with the movies. Movielink will allow users to burn the movies to DVD, but those DVDs will only be playable on PCs. For the privilege, Movielink will be charging between $20-30 per movie for new films, on par with DVD’s MSRP, but not the actual street price. CinemaNow will be charging between $10-20 per movie, but users won’t be able to burn the movies to DVD.

More details at (paid subscription) and Yahoo!


Moviebeam relaunches

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006


A number of stories this morning regarding the relaunch of Disney’s Moviebeam service in 29 markets this year. In a nutshell, Moviebeam is a hard drive based set top box that receives movies over unused television spectrum. The box ships with a 100 movies on the hard drive and about 10 movies are swapped out each week for new ones. Movies then can be rented for $1.99 to $3.99 (catalog versus new releases) with HD movies costing $1 more.

While the service is interesting, the biggest problem that I see is that the set top box is $250 before rebates, which is a huge barrier to entry for many folks. Not to mention it is another piece of hardware to hook up to a television. I have a sense that if this service were being a promoted by someone like Apple it could be hugely successful, but with backers such as Cisco and Disney, the future of Moviebeam is fuzzy at best.


(Via Zatz Not Funny)

What is Apple smoking?

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006

weeds.jpgIt’s Tuesday morning, so what’s new for our pals at the iTunes Video Store? Looks like they bagged a big one – Showtime. It seems that premium cable didn’t want to be left out of the iTMS fun.

This morning, Weeds, Fat Actress, and Sleeper Cell launched on iTMS with their first seasons available to download. Nice thing here, they may be premium cable, but they are not premium prices. Same as before, $1.99.

So, with Showtime down, should we expect other premium cable shows to show up? There’s a certain mobster show that is due to start up in a few weeks that I’m sure would sell faster than fresh cannoli. Also, what about corporate parent, CBS? Maybe Survivor will make iTMS soon…

Fat Actress
Sleeper Cell

CBS selling Survivor on

Sunday, February 5th, 2006


CBS going it alone will be selling new episodes of Survivor on Episodes will be $1.99 just like someone else we know, but they will expire after 24 hours after you download it. They’re using Windows Media 9.0, but not the version that is Mac compatible.

While this is interesting, I do wonder how well CBS will fare on its own. Given that iTMS is an end to end solution and it isn’t a rental, folks may be a little less inclined to pony up that 1.99.


(Via eHomeUpgrade.)


Beavis vs. Cartman on iTMS

Thursday, January 26th, 2006


The announcements keep coming from our friends over at iTunes. Here’s a short list of everything added to iTMS:

  • MTV – Beavis and Butthead, Jackass, Punk’d, Gauntlet 2, and more
  • Nickelodeon – Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, Zoey 101
  • Comedy Central – South Park, Drawn Together, Best of Standup

Looks like Apple must have signed a deal with Viacom. Should we expect VH1, Spike, and BET to follow? And what about Comedy Central’s “news” shows, The Daily Show and Colbert Report? Looks like the encoding monkeys in Cupertino have their work cut out for them.

Oh, and one more thing…

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006


Man, no sooner did this deal get done and an Disney’s newest large stockholder is already making some improvements on his investment. Wanna download some Disney shorts for your iPod? 10 new Disney shorts popped on iTMS this afternoon (maybe I should rename this blog iTMSWatch, I spend waaaay too much time there).

Gotta hand it to Stevie for having all his mice… err, ducks in a row.


Ebert and Roeper, Munsters join iTunes

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006


Not the most exciting new additions to iTMS, but Apple is furthering their offerings this morning with “Ebert and Roeper” and “The Munsters”. What is interesting here is pricing. While the episodes remain at the oh-so-simple $1.99, the first season of “The Munsters” (38 episodes) will cost you a whopping $54.99 yet the last 20 episodes of E&R is priced at $9.99. So, Apple is placing a premium on less timely or “evergreen” content than on content that will most likely be viewed only once. Makes sense, but I wonder how Ebert and Roeper feel about it? Two thumbs up?

Ebert and Roeper

The Munsters

Apple mea culpa?

Thursday, January 19th, 2006


Looks like the Postal Service video that everyone has been talking about went up on iTMS today. An apology from Apple and the video’s directors for blatantly ripping off the band? Only Apple knows for sure.

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View Mac Intel Inside Ad

Battlestar Galactica Free on iTMS

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005


Well, at least a summary of the first season and a half, but as far as I know, this is the first free video that Apple has posted. Seems like this might be a way to get folks hooked on BG and/or the concept of video downloads.

So, if you wanna catch up on Battlestar or just want some free content to show off your shiny new iPod, check it out.

Download page