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  1. #1
    Forum Regular MindGoneHaywire's Avatar
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    Windows...Autorun..."Rootkits"...Sony DRM Copy-protection

    Like probably most of you reading this, I don't listen to a lot of the stuff that you find copy-protection on, which is to say that I've mostly seen it on pop stuff, stuff that sells a lot. Not usually the indie-type rock favored by many people here, or indie prog, or even classic rock. I've seen it mostly on a lot of the contemporary-style Country releases &, again, pop stuff, r&b, rap, stuff like that.

    So I don't know how much any of this is going to matter, but this is very odd. Saw a link to it on another board I frequent. If you can get by 10 minutes of programmer jargon, a very ugly picture begins to emerge. I don't think I've put anything in my drive that this would apply to, as I've never seen the player show in the graphic, but there IS a player that managed to load itself on my computer even though I've had Autorun disabled for awhile, ever since I started using ITunes.

    This is just a blog, so it could be total nonsense, but I'm not sure why anyone would to to this much trouble. Hyfi, you probably know a thing or two about this sort of thing...anyone else?

    http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/200...al-rights.html

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  2. #2
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    Interesting article

    First of all, I really don't use my computer for music much. I do have a drive with 100 GB of MP3s that someone duped for me, but listen to it rarely. One of the things I did not see mentioned was "Driver Signing". If set to Block, it will not install drivers that are not digitally signed or approved by Microsoft. If set to Warn, it will let you decide after you look at who signed the driver.

    I only load the software on my PCs that I will be using. Some people (and thier children) download and install anything that looks neat.

    Unlike most folks, I create a Ghost Image of my drive after a fresh install so I can always re-ghost if things go wacky. Also I create a Restore point before and after anything major. I do believe that by choosing an earlier Restore point, you will return your registry back to settings before the problems.

    My advice is to get a decent audio system to listen to music and use your computer for computing. Be careful of what you download and install and don't trust anyone!

    Thanks for the article, J.

    Hyfi

  3. #3
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    Like Hyfi,

    I do not use my computer for music except sometimes I play a cd on it at work at very low levels.

    I have a Pioneer cdr machine in my stereo system that makes excellent cdr's, even encodes them in HDCD.

    It burns at 1:1 speed and I can copy lp's and cassettes if I so desire, relatively easy.

    It will copy any audio cd as far as I know.

    But you have to have special "music" cdr's...

    Dave

  4. #4
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Yeah, but you have to know that it's installing something in order to backup first. Do you do a ghost backup every time you put a music CD in? I don't think so...

    That's it, I'm boycotting Sony.
    Eschew fascism.
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    you guys are crackheads.
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    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  5. #5
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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  6. #6
    Close 'n PlayŽ user Troy's Avatar
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    Buy a Mac.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular MindGoneHaywire's Avatar
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    Macs are being targeted by this stuff now, although to less of an extent given that it's more difficult, of course. But these DRM software companies seem to have a clear mandate from Sony/BMG: we want people to buy our MP3 players, not iPods, so we won't allow customers to legally copy their music files to another manufacturer's device...unless, of course, Apple relents on their price points for ITunes.

    That's what this is all about. Does anybody actually believe that Sony/BMG is concerned about a loss in sales because of widespread piracy on titles by people like Gerry Mulligan, Horace Silver, and Dexter Gordon? This is a Sony/Apple war, and I think there's going to be more of this sort of thing found, since now all the programmers & hackers are looking for it. Sony's opened up a can of worms that is going to leave them open to lawsuits from several different directions--customers, artists whose CDs are not going to do as well given this development, and perhaps even Microsoft, since its proprietary technology is being altered in a way they would never have agreed to. Whether or not we'll see the last two is pure speculation, although both would seem to have a case. And if these spyware programs do anything to Apple? You KNOW Jobs will go after Sony with everything he's got.

    This has gotten very interesting. The worst blow to the record industry that I can think of since the recording ban during WWII more than 60 years ago. But this one is self-inflicted. Sony gave too much power to a company that wasn't really qualified to write programs like this, is what I've gotten from everything I've read about this over the past week. In spite of what one of their top-level execs said--he pointed out that most people don't know what a rootkit is, so why would anyone care? Nice, huh? Another made a pointed comment about Apple giving in on the ITunes issue...if Sony had known exactly what the potential ramifications of this were, is there anyone that believes they would've actually gone ahead with it?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11...y_bmg_mac_drm/

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  8. #8
    Close 'n PlayŽ user Troy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MindGoneHaywire
    Macs are being targeted by this stuff now, although to less of an extent given that it's more difficult, of course.
    Everything I've read has said that the install of the buggy software is a purely Windows based problem. It has no effect on the Mac OS or UNIX etc.

    Apple is being targeted, yes. But only as a marketing angle as you already outlined.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi
    My advice is to get a decent audio system to listen to music and use your computer for computing.
    Please don't take this personally, but IMHO this is terrible advice!

    Computer-based music listening is f*cking awesome. I presently have about 6,000 songs on my hard drive (with 99.9% of them in a CD-quality format), and it is absolutely the best way to listen to music I could possibly set up.

    I can access anyone of my songs instantly without getting out of my chair. Our I can build playlists, randomize them, sort songs by band/genre/whatever, search through my collection, you name it. It is incredibly flexible, powerful, and convenient. There's no other way to do something like this without using a computer.

    The possibility for hi fidelity sound is also superior. I do all the digital-to-audio conversion outside the computer. You can get killer DACs these days for next to nothing. I use a Squeezebox2 with a fairly decent DAC, and it sounds better than my CD player did. If you want to spend a few bucks, you can get a used Benchmark DAC1 for $800 or so that will give you great hi fidelity sound. As DACs drop in price (along with hard drive space), the computer-based approach will only get better and cheaper.

    The other thing you get with a computer is Internet radio, which *kicks ass*. There are thousands and thousands of internet radio stations out there, and a lot of them sound really good. I don't care how obscure your musical tastes are, you can find multiple stations that play stuff you want to hear, without commercials.

    With my computer, I'm listening to more music than I ever did before, and I'm discovering stuff I never would have known about before. It's abolutely the medium of the future; the longer you resist it, the more you are punishing yourself.
    There's an audiophile born every minute. Congratulations; you're right on time.

    FREE RADICAL RADIO: Hours of free, radical MP3s!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Anderson
    Please don't take this personally, but IMHO this is terrible advice!


    The possibility for hi fidelity sound is also superior. I do all the digital-to-audio conversion outside the computer. You can get killer DACs these days for next to nothing. I use a Squeezebox2 with a fairly decent DAC, and it sounds better than my CD player did. If you want to spend a few bucks, you can get a used Benchmark DAC1 for $800 or so that will give you great hi fidelity sound. As DACs drop in price (along with hard drive space), the computer-based approach will only get better and cheaper.
    For those who can't hear the diference between MP3 and a regular CD, or don't care, go for it. I think anyone who spends $800 on a dac to play stripped down MP3s is wasting thier money. If your MP3s are sounding better than your CD player sounded then I would assume your player sucked or maybe another component in your playback system.

    I am certainly not in the normal group when it comes to this issue, I use PCs as a productivity tool and not for my music. I didn't build a $10K music system to listen to crappy MP3s. I do have 100GB of MP3s that someone gave me but I rarely play any of it. I will agree that Internet Radio is cool for the veriety and diversity.

  11. #11
    Dubgazer -Jar-'s Avatar
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    I would think one would be able to build a great sounding audio-only system for way less than a comprable sounding computer-based system.

    If you have anything other than 6000 WAV files on your hard drive (I can't imagine that) then you're not listening to "cd quality"

    -jar
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  12. #12
    Indifferentist Slosh's Avatar
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    I have a stand alone CD burner plus a soundcard with digital inputs. I assume the rootkit code would not be part of the music data so a bit-for-bit transfer to a CD-R on the stand alone should be safe but maybe not? Running a CD player directly into my soundcard's digital input may be safer.

    I don't own any of these CDs but any new Sony CDs I buy in the future I will record on the stand alone via its analog inputs just to be safe. Whatta PITA
    Originally Posted by Troy: She has that same kind of cleft-pallet, slightly retarded way of singing that so many other people find endearing.


  13. #13
    very clever with maracas Davey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi
    For those who can't hear the diference between MP3 and a regular CD, or don't care, go for it. I think anyone who spends $800 on a dac to play stripped down MP3s is wasting thier money. If your MP3s are sounding better than your CD player sounded then I would assume your player sucked or maybe another component in your playback system.

    I am certainly not in the normal group when it comes to this issue, I use PCs as a productivity tool and not for my music. I didn't build a $10K music system to listen to crappy MP3s. I do have 100GB of MP3s that someone gave me but I rarely play any of it. I will agree that Internet Radio is cool for the veriety and diversity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jar
    I would think one would be able to build a great sounding audio-only system for way less than a comprable sounding computer-based system.

    If you have anything other than 6000 WAV files on your hard drive (I can't imagine that) then you're not listening to "cd quality"

    -jar
    Wow, I think you guys are missing Mike's point. Many people rip their CDs to the hard drive using either no compession or lossless compression like flac, not only for the convenience of having a great music jukebox literally at their fingertip, but also for better sound quality. Nothing to do with MP3. Each CD takes less than 500 MB with compression and hard drives art dirt cheap these days. Playing the files from hard drive and going USB or ethernet to a good quality DAC can result in better sound than a comparable system playing optical discs in real time, with the nagging problems of pit jitter that even the high end transports don't seem willing or able to solve, and little in the way of error recovery since the data can't be re-read. USB isn't a perfect bus to stream data across, but it's better than SPDIF by a long shot. And ethernet can be near perfect, and has the capability to connect all your audio systems throughout the house to one wireless server. I added a USB port to my DAC about a year or so ago and it's fun to sometimes use my laptop as a music server. I don't store much on my computer yet, but it does have a ton of potential.



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  14. #14
    Forum Regular Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi
    For those who can't hear the diference between MP3 and a regular CD, or don't care, go for it. I think anyone who spends $800 on a dac to play stripped down MP3s is wasting thier money. If your MP3s are sounding better than your CD player sounded then I would assume your player sucked or maybe another component in your playback system.
    As the above poster pointed out, using a computer does NOT necessarily mean using MP3s. I ripped all my CDs in FLAC, which is lossless compression. You get files that are about 50%-60% as large as the original WAVS.

    Hard drive space is cheap. Get yourself a 100-200GB hard drive, and you're good to go. All my music so far fits in 160 GB (and a long of my "songs" are actually 30-45 minute radio pieces). If space is really a concern, you can rip at 320 kbps or so; for the vast majority of people and situations, that's indistinguishable from CD quality.

    If you guys are still thinking crappy old MP3s, you're behind the times, and you need to update yourself about the changing technology in this area.

    I am certainly not in the normal group when it comes to this issue, I use PCs as a productivity tool and not for my music.
    Why do you assume these two are mutually exclusive? I use my PC as a productivity tool too. The music server takes a negligible chunk of memory ro run.
    There's an audiophile born every minute. Congratulations; you're right on time.

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  15. #15
    Dubgazer -Jar-'s Avatar
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    I ripped all my CDs in FLAC, which is lossless compression. You get files that are about 50%-60% as large as the original WAVS.


    Ugh, I feel like an old man sometimes.. how does this work?

    -jar
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  16. #16
    Forum Regular Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    I'm not an expert on this stuff, but here's the main website for all things FLAC:

    http://flac.sourceforge.net/faq.html

    Unfortunately these discussions tend to be loaded with jargon, and assume the reader knows a lot more than the average layperson.
    There's an audiophile born every minute. Congratulations; you're right on time.

    FREE RADICAL RADIO: Hours of free, radical MP3s!

  17. #17
    Forum Regular Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    And for anyone who's interested in pursuing this option, I highly recommend this product, the Squeezebox:

    http://www.slimdevices.com/index.html

    This thing sits between your computer and your stereo setup (or a wireless connection if you like). The encoded music goes to this box, which decodes it, converts the digital to analog, and outputs to your stereo. (It can also output in digital if you want to use an offboard DAC, but the box's own DAC is pretty good - a Burr-Brown 24 bit DAC). The software for it goes on your computer, and it builds a database of all your music, has an interface to the device, and so on.

    Once you've set up your computer, you don't have to touch it if you don't want to. You can operate the box with a remote control. It lets you search/browse through your music, create playlists, etc. etc. It can also connect to Internet radio stations directly.

    It is really, really awesome! It's changed the way I listen to music. Before, I had a 200-disc CD player that was slow and clunky. This thing is about a thousand times more convenient. It keeps track of your albuums, song titles, and any other metadata you want to attach. It can handle an unlimited amount of music, and sounds much, much better!

    The other thing is that the code for the Squeezebox software (Slimserver) is open source; there's a whole community of people who have sprung up to write neat little software applications for it. Check it out:

    http://forums.slimdevices.com/

    If you're a serious audiophile, just get yourself a Benchmark DAC1 and run the digital out of the box. Jitter will be practically nonexistent.

    In a few years, DACs like the Benchmark will cost a pittance. So will 500 GB hard drives. CD players will be for dinosaurs who are too unhip to the convenience and power of all this.
    There's an audiophile born every minute. Congratulations; you're right on time.

    FREE RADICAL RADIO: Hours of free, radical MP3s!

  18. #18
    Forum Regular MindGoneHaywire's Avatar
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    Troy--did you not read the article I linked? It was pretty clear that if you allow these CDs to install their software, that you won't be able to rip a CD to an Apple computer.

    Yeah, I know. That means you have to allow it. But some people don't always know when other household members are using their machines, don't always have the chance to password-protect, and sometimes just end up clicking in the wrong place because they didn't get the mouse where they intended it to be. I know that's happened to me, both on my PCs & also on Macs that I've used. Especially when I was first getting used to the difference between a PC mouse & a Mac mouse. One slip, and...does anyone even know yet what those extensions will do on a Mac? They're immune to spyware--great, but if you inadvertently allow it on yr machine, do you suppose it might communicate with those Sony servers?

    But now it's moved beyond this to another level: Sony has yanked their entire catalog from ITunes in Japan & Australia. I think it had been available for the Australian ITunes, which I believe opened recently, though I'm not sure. In any case, no Sony music is available there now. I guess Apple's terms are unacceptable, although most of the rest of the world has no problem with them selling their music (the Beatles excepted, natch). There are people who still seem to think that XCP is all about preventing illegal copying. I wonder if they'll realize it's a much larger issue if they know about the revenue stream that Sony has chosen to forego.

    I don't like others.

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