Tech schlock shock
- Go Slow? Not for Skype
- Dance to the Vista DRM beat
Kvetchy choral et M’sieu Hulot
The editor found this Fenno-Teutonic stroke of utter brilliance. Click on the videos link (QuickTime), or the downloads one.
But let’s lower that tone a bit.
(Yes, I know it should be “Le Corbusier”… and thanks to Daniel for picking up on the incorrect gender of “L’Ancien” last week.)
Go Slow? Not for Skype
Lenska Papich from Telecom Xtra wrote in after last week’s FryUp to say that:
“You state the Go Large plan ‘rate-limits peer-to-peer traffic at all times — this includes Skype’.
This is incorrect, on the Go Large plan traffic management is applied to some peer to peer applications - mostly during peak times. Traffic management is NOT applied to Skype.”
FryUp’s excuse here is that Skype and many VoIP applications is peer-to-peer and Xtra customers are complaining about the slow performance using said programs on Go Large. Telecom’s put up what it calls an “indicative list” of P2P apps that are being shaped, and not a definitive one — who knows for sure what’ll go on it?
More on this next week though.
Dance to the Vista DRM beat
One Vista feature that Microsoft is keeping rather quiet about is the new Digital Rights Management built into the operating system.
There are several new DRM components coming up, both within Vista and through Intel’s Trusted Platform hardware technology. Together, these provide unprecedented control over your software and computer. More correctly perhaps, control over what you can do, watch and listen to on your computer.
Before anyone flames Microsoft and Intel for this, I do actually believe both when they say it’s by and large pushed on them by the entertainment industry. I spoke to Intel’s veep Louis “Prescott” Burns in Taiwan about this a couple of years ago, and he bemoaned the blinkered vision of the movie studios that basically made it difficult for customers to enjoy material they’ve paid for while not actually doing that much to cut down on piracy.
Nevertheless, the reasoning now seems to be to remove control from users and put it into the hands of the entertainment industry instead, and that’s a regrettable development. I’m sure it’ll backfire too, once something along the lines of the Sony rootkit happens again.
Although Microsoft seems pliant like putty in the movie and music moguls’ hands, I don’t get the feeling that it likes being a pawn in the DRM game. Let’s say Microsoft pays Music Company X amount of money to distribute songs with DRM, and the outfit in question decides to change the terms so that people can only play the tunes three times. It’s not going to be immediately obvious to end-users what has happened, and who will cop the flak for the music no longer working? Microsoft, of course.
Instead of battling the recalcitrant and increasingly unpopular studios, Microsoft may instead join the content production business for real. It’s not as fanciful as it seems, and I believe the film version of the Halo computer game is in effect a dry run for this (and it’s interesting to see that the film studios have spiked it for the time being). With content coming from its own studios, Microsoft can decide how to license it to end users, and not have to tug forelock at the studios. The studios in turn can’t do the same and enter Microsoft’s market however.
Then again, Microsoft’s sending out some really mixed signals here. Take The Brown Media Player for instance, Zune. Journalists around the world are scratching their heads over Microsoft’s rather baffling design decisions on Zune — that is, after they’ve stopped cringing at the incredibly lame attempts at being hip.
Audiophile journalist Richard Betts is wondering why Zune doesn’t use Microsoft’s own Windows Media Player software, but instead comes with its own rather buggy variant. Why indeed? Also, Zune doesn’t work with MSN Music Store, Microsoft’s Urge service or for the time being, Vista.
Maybe the confusion’s caused by veterans like Steve Ballmer having too much say on Zune? Ballmer’s working hard on making Zune as uncool as possible, with statements like:
“I want to squirt you a picture of my kids. You want to squirt me back a video of your vacation. That's a software experience.”
Yuck. That’s matched by Apple’s Steve Jobs slagging off Zune by telling people to stick it in girls’ ears instead:
“I've seen the demonstrations on the internet about how you can find another person using a Zune and give them a song they can play three times. It takes forever. By the time you've gone through all that, the girl's got up and left! You're much better off to take one of your earbuds out and put it in her ear. Then you're connected with about two feet of headphone cable.”
Ewwwcch. Try that, and the girl will strangle you with about two feet of headphone cable.