Mac news for Mac people

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Top Stories

PowerBook Batteries Recalled

Some 28,000 rechargeable batteries used in 15-inch Apple PowerBook G4 computers are being recalled voluntarily by Apple, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. An internal short in the batteries made by LG Chem Ltd., of South Korea, can cause the battery cells to overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

iPod Music Player Winning Over Japan Fans

The iPod is proving a colossal hit on the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant Sony's own turf. The tiny white machine is catching on as a fashion statement and turning into a cultural icon in Japan, much the same way it won a fanatic following in the United States. Although Apple doesn't release regional sales figures, six of the top eight selling music players in Japan are iPod models, according to a market research company.


iTMS In Oz, Apple Needs Unwired?

Australian ISP Unwired has hinted at an alliance with Apple that could see the two partner on a music service within a month, local reports claim.

Free Freeverse For .Mac Nuts

Apple is making two new games available to subscribers to its .Mac suite of Internet services.

PocketMac Blackberry Edition Announced

Information Appliance Associates today announces the first tool to sync Mac users' data with RIM BlackBerry handhelds.

iBoom Turns iPod, iPod Mini Into A Boombox

Apple Credit Account Program Launched

"Apple has made financing so easy that within minutes you can own the Mac system of your dreams."

The Other RoadTrip

What happens when two companies come out with an FM transmitter for the car called "RoadTrip" in the same week?


Who Is Real Actually Helping: Us, Themselves, Or Apple?

Real, through this promotion, may have shot itself in the foot... and in the long term helped Apple.

OS 9 Had One Thing Over OS X: Disk Copying Ability

My Huge Mistake About The Mini

Well, the mini is not a flop. In fact, it's a hit. I can't deny it. So, here's my apology, Steve. The mini is no Cube. I was wrong, and you were right.


Built For Active People

With its small stature, impeccable build-quality, understated styling and wonderful user interface, the iPod mini is one of the most likeable and portable MP3 players around.

Still Leading The Pack

What can I say about the iPod except that I love it so much that the folks at Apple will have to pry it out of my cold hands if they want it back.

OS X In A Windows World

Your chances of running a Mac officially in the workplace, unless your job description warrants it, are pretty close to zero. That doesn't mean it can't be done. A little sleuthing, a little know-how, and your colleagues will be asking why your computer is so much cooler and easier to use than theirs.


Real's Hijack Of FairPlay? No Big Deal To Apple, Real, And Their Customers

As I like to remind my dear readers, here in Singapore, we don't even have photo prints and photo books in iPhoto yet, so, naturally, we can't participate in the grand shopping experience of either iTunes Music Store nor Real's Rhapsody store. I don't even own an iPod or any MP3 players (except my computers, of course). So, obviously, the latest issues surrounding Real's reverse engineering of FairPlay doesn't concern me. :-)

No, seriously. I believe it's not a big deal as many has made out to be.

Let's do one pretend exercise. Let's pretend that, instead of selling DRM-protected music files, Real is selling unprotected, no-DRM, plain old MP3 files.

Now, in this pretend world, of course Real's customer can purchase Real music files, and upload them to the iPod for their listening pleasure. (In fact, there are already such stores out there, just that they are not from Real.) Would Apple fans then be protesting against Real reverse-ennginnering FairPlay to allow their music to be uploaded to the iPod? Obviously not.

Now, of course, Real is not selling plain old MP3s. If, in our pretend world, Real is selling non-protected music files, while Apple is being forced to sell DRM-protected music files, wouldn't that place iTMS in a disadvantaged position? Music fans will flock to Real in huge numbers, wouldn't they?

Well, not really. Because Apple is selling non-protected plain old AAC files too.

After all, it is well-documented (by everybody except Apple, that is) that you can simply burn your iTMS files onto audio CDs, and the DRM is automatically removed.

Even if Apple removed this functionality due to pressure from third-parties, somebody will immediately crack whatever DRM system Apple is imposing on its customers. After all, it is well known (well, at least to the Slashdot community :-) that all DRM can be broken. That's what you get when you place the encryption algorithm and all the encryption keys together in the same customer's hands.

But let's pretend some more. Even if Apple invented a perfect DRM system that cannot be broken, the channel between the speakers and your brain will still be unprotected, so I wouldn't worry too much. Until someday where the iTMS requirements include a trip to your local Apple Store to get a decryption chip implanted into your brain, we can safely pretend that Apple is selling non-protected no-DRM plain old AAC files.

So, in our pretend world, everyone is selling non-DRMed files, that can be freely uploaded to any MP3 players out there. So, you see, it's really no big deal.

Now, when viewed in this light, wouldn't you say that the fact that Real reversed engineered FairPlay to be, well, a non-issue?

P.S. Sony will be the ultimate loser in this pretend world, as their player does not play plain old MP3s.

P.P.S. The whole "freedom of choice" advertisement campaign by Real is entirely tasteless and stupid, but that's another story.


Pros Point To Flaws In Windows Security Update

Security researchers say they're starting to find flaws in Microsoft's latest major update for Windows XP.

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