All posts filed under “Audio

Spiked: When did ‘hanging around’ become a social problem?

A playground somewhere near the Barbican, London. Note the sinister 'D37IL' nameplate on the engine

Josie Appleton, at the always-interesting Spiked, takes a look at the increasing systemic hostility towards ‘young people in public places’ in the UK: ‘When did ‘hanging around’ become a social problem?’

As well as the Mosquito, much covered on this site (all posts; try out high frequency sounds for yourself), the article mentions the use of certain music publicly broadcast for the same ‘dispersal’ purpose:
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Use of RFID in DRM

A CD with its functionality destroyed using GHz-range radio frequencies

Via Dave Farber’s Interesting People, a brief New Scientist article outlines Sony’s continuing obsession with restricting and controlling its customers (the last one didn’t go too well):

“A patent filed by Sony last week suggests it may once again be considering preventing consumers making “too many” back-up copies of its CDs…

Sony’s latest idea is to place a piece of monitoring hardware inside the CD. Its patent suggests embedding a radio-frequency ID chip that could be interrogated wirelessly by a PC or CD player. The chip would record the number of times the disc was copied and prevent further recordings once it reached the limit. The device could also be fitted to DVDs. Whether Sony will turn the patent idea into reality remains to be seen.”

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‘Labels on digital content should spell out how easy it is to move from gadget to gadget’

A DRM warning label mockup.
A warning label mockup*

The BBC is reporting that the All Party Internet Group (APIG), a cross-party group of MPs, has made some intelligent – and interesting – recommendations about explaining DRM more fully to consumers:

“The MPs’ report made several recommendations and called on the Office of Fair Trading hasten the introduction of labelling regulations that would let people know what they can do with music and movies they buy online or offline.

This would ensure that it was “crystal clear” to consumers what freedom they have to use the content they are purchasing and what would happen if they do something outlawed by the protection system.

The same labelling systems would also spell out what happened in the event of a maker of DRM technology going bust, if a protection system became obsolete or if gadgets to play the content are replaced.

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High frequency wave files back up again

They’re back up (well, the wave files anyway), thanks to the Internet Archive.

ZDNet: DRM train wrecks

ZDNet’s David Berlind has started to compile a list of examples of ‘DRM train wrecks’, i.e. situations where the use of DRM has a distasteful corollary for consumers unaware of what they’re getting themselves into.

“Most people don’t realize how much they’re giving up when they consciously or sub-consciously use solutions that depend on [DRM]. I get a lot of email that accuses me of being a Chicken Little that overblows the situation by saying the sky is falling. Well, the sky is falling and if those folks want to live in denial, that’s their problem.”

Some of the examples are more straightforward cases of sloppily designed DRM implementations leading to security problems, such as the Sony Rootkit case; examples of ‘DRM switcheroo’ (what I’ve previously called feature deletion or external control on this blog) also abound.

Real-life anecdotes of users who have lost all their (legally acquired) music due to DRM errors or licensing changes – as I discussed in ‘Consumers’ reactions to DRM‘ – are perhaps one of the best ways of driving the message home to consumers (for example the examples discussed here).

The ‘DRM train wreck’ tag is a great initiative. I guess in time it would be good if DRM’d content acquired a stigma from consumers’ point of view, clearly seen as undesirable and worse than second-best, a format to avoid.

High frequency ringtone download

High frequencies being tested in the urban badlands: see, no teenagers here!
High frequencies being tested in the urban badlands: see, no teenagers here!

A lot of people find this site through searching for something along the lines of ‘Mosquito high frequency anti-teenager ringtone’, and are presumably disappointed when they find that there is no such ringtone to download, even if just because they’d like to test it on friends and family. (More on the Mosquito device) There’s also the more possibility of course of using the ringtone as a kind of ‘secret ringtone’ that, supposedly, only younger people can hear, so you can receive text messages, etc, e.g. while in class, without adults noticing, though I’d have thought that was partially the point of the vibrate mode.

Anyway, I thought I might as well give those searching what they’re looking for, sort of.
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