NEW PRODUCT OVERLOAD

The post-holiday lull has ended, Vista is out the door, so we’re back to a nonstop barrage of new products and services. Here’s what stood out in the last week.

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BLU-RAY & HD-DVD SECURITY BROKEN

High definition DVDs have always had two, and only two, purposes: to impose significant new barriers to your free use of the content on them by adding new layers of DRM; and to try to create an incentive for you to replace your DVDs.

The entertainment industry absolutely adored selling us the same content a second time as we converted our collections from LPs to CDs, and from videotapes to DVDs. […] continued

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VIDEO MAY OVERWHELM INTERNET

Google is running more than 450,000 servers around the world. It’s building “Project 02,” which will be one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, to be housed at a data center in Oregon the size of two football fields, with four-story high cooling towers. As the owner of YouTube, Google is in a good position to evaluate the burden that video places on the infrastructure of the Internet. […] continued

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WALMART, APPLE & DRM

WalMart announced a movie download service with the obligatory noncritical media coverage, focused on how darned exciting it is that all of the major studios have signed up to supply a few titles. The details were glossed over – namely that the downloads are DRM-laden Windows Media files that won’t play on iPods, PSPs, Zunes, or computers running Mac or Linux. […] continued

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FIRST STEP INTO VIDEO – WINDOWS MOVIE MAKER

Many people are staring at their digital camcorders, wondering how to get video off the camera for a DVD or some other project.

Adobe Premiere Elements is the software of choice for the long run. It’s the best designed software on the market, relatively easy to get started but capable of complex tasks as you grow into it. […] continued

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TRACKING SHOT

Tracking Shot is a free online service that deserves a look. There’s no easier way to build videos and slideshows from your photos, movies and music. Here’s a glowing review of Tracking Shot from CNet.

There’s no shortage of sites for sharing photos, with interfaces that are frequently cumbersome even for the simple tasks of uploading photos and sharing them with friends and family. […] continued

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ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 5 & PREMIERE ELEMENTS 3

Adobe has now released upgrades to its consumer photo organizer and editor, Photoshop Elements, and consumer video editor, Premiere Elements.

Photoshop Elements 5 is a minor upgrade from version 4. (If you have an earlier version, upgrade immediately – the improvements are dramatic.) It continues to be the richest photo organizer available, as well as having unparalleled editing tools – if you don’t mind a learning curve and some initial confusion. […] continued

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COPYRIGHT POLICE AND AMAZON MOVIE DOWNLOADS

Cory Doctorow has closely read the license agreement that accompanies Amazon’s movie download service and he doesn’t like it.

“I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon. A lot. I won’t ever be buying one of these movies. Amazon has a great and well-deserved reputation for amazing customer service.

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MICROSOFT ZUNE WON’T PLAY PROTECTED WINDOWS MEDIA

The Electronic Frontier Foundation was the first to report on a remarkable example of how copyright abuse can harm consumers.

Microsoft’s Zune will not play protected Windows Media Audio and Video purchased or “rented” from Napster 2.0, Rhapsody, Yahoo! Unlimited, Movielink, Cinemanow, or any other online media service. As the EFF points out, “That’s right — the media that Microsoft promised would Play For Sure doesn’t even play on Microsoft’s own device.” […] continued

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ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 5.0 & ADOBE PREMIERE 3.0

Postpone your shopping for photo and video editing software for a few weeks. Later this month, Adobe is shipping upgrades to Adobe Photoshop Elements 5 and Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0. With luck there will be more progress on integrating the programs with each other – and integrating the photo organizer more deeply with the editing tools. […] continued

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UNSTABLE UPGRADES

I’m seeing more and more half-baked, unstable products from hardware and software vendors. Here’s two anecdotes to show you what I mean.

PAPERPORT

Paperport goes back years and years, and at one time was given away as the software accompanying many, many scanners. It was always buggy and used a proprietary format and the support from the company was nonexistent, so it had trouble getting much traction, but there was also never anything better. […] continued

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CORY DOCTOROW ON DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT

Cory Doctorow, one of the chief contributors to popular web site BoingBoing.net, has written a compelling article about digital rights management for Information Week. It’s a nice overview of the effects of DRM on consumers. There’s a compelling argument that DRM is bad business – bad for the music and video industries, bad for consumers. […] continued

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DRM HISTORY AND HACKING

Content creators and publishers are engaged in nonstop efforts to lock down the products you purchase from them. This is a fascinating article about the history of digital rights management and what to expect in the future.

Most restrictions have been cracked so far, whether on CDs, DVDs, E-Books, or downloadable audio. […] continued

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QUICKTIME 7

Over the years, QuickTime has been one of the most frustrating bits of software available. Conflicting versions would wind up installed simultaneously, banner ads for paid upgrades would appear every single time a movie was launched, and why, oh why, is it impossible to make a Quicktime clip run fullscreen?

Now Apple has taken a lesson from RealPlayer by hiding the link for the new version 7 of the free QuickTime Player – just the player, not the bundle with iTunes, not the “Pro” version, just the QuickTime player so I can watch stupid movies online. […] continued

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NETFLIX AND THE FUTURE OF MOVIES

It’s easy to imagine movies on demand, streamed to your television over the Internet. Unfortunately, there’s also reason to think that it will be many years before that becomes real. Not only are there significant technical barriers, but movie studios make a lot of money from their long-term deals with channels like HBO. […] continued

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