Smut, trademarks and Orville's lament

And just quis custardies Destiny Welles?

Letters Last week, Microsoft confused us all by announcing it had no incompatibilities in its shiny new OS, except the ones it put there itself, that weren't there at all, but were still a grave threat to us all. Still with us? No? Not surprising. Was it all about content? Oh we give up. Over to you:

The thing that continues to frustrate me with all this talk of content protection, degradation of content over component or analogue audio is the refusal of anyone, and I mean anyone, to talk about DVI.

DVI gives as good a picture as HDMI (albeit with no audio - but HDMI audio is pointless because no receivers support it, therefore no HD surround, so unless they take away optical inputs as well - you might as well stick with those), but of course it lacks the copy protection hardware, and of course it's going to be affected in the exact same way as HD over component.

And of course there are no HDMI computer monitors whatsoever. In fact HDMI only became mainstream on TVs in the very recent past.

Of course if computer monitors had TV inputs no one would spend twice as much on LCD TVs, which answers the question as to why there are none, but this can't continue.

I've even seen articles referring to how wonderful the VGA inputs on TVs are, and how great watching HD movies on an XBOX 360 is using this port.

Bullshit. Most HDTVs have terrible VGA implementation, and only the best computer monitors produce the same quality image under VGA as they do under DVI.

Sure I can buy a DVI to HDMI cable for $80 - but it won't help, because the video card or the PS3 or the TV (whichever end has the DVI port) won't have the necessary hardware.

So why not offer HD movie compatibility as a patch - but not until movies are produced that require it? Downgrade the performance of your computer, but have HD compatibility with new movies; or stick with the regular performance and only play your existing Blu-ray or HD-DVD content. Its simple, it offers choice. I know Hollywood is making all kinds of threats, but they probably can't carry them out, they have too much to risk by further alienating the public from these new formats.

Personally I won't be buying Vista until I have no choice, and it seems to me that this has made using a PC as a media center far too complicated. Certainly it's too complicated for Average Joe, who will simply go out and buy a console instead.

Sony haven't restricted the component outputs of their PS3, even using my old PS2 component cable blu-ray movies look and sound significantly better than HD TV from my cable provider - which is delivered via DVI. They have no problem allowing hard disk driven HD content, they have no tilt factors, no performance issues and no one has told them they're not allowed to do it.

So if Sony can implement HD content without all the fuss and bother, why can't Microsoft? Sony needs the rest of the studios to support their PS3, so having their own content doesn't answer this question. My guess is Microsoft is over playing the legal aspects of HD content, providing for a situation which will probably never exist, certainly not anytime soon, and certainly not until Hollywood has broad support from the public.


Keith Harris wants copyright protection extended. Bird feed ain't cheap y'know. What do you mean not that Keith Harris?

You had to know you were going to get this question. If Keith Harris reckons that, "...the poorest people in music, musicians, will be the losers if the EU fails to extend copyright..." what does Orville have to say on the subject. Personally I'd be happy to see copyright extended for all eternity if meant the chances of me ever hearing 'I Wish I Could Fly' again were significantly lessened.



Interesting that you mention Peter Blake:

"Peter Blake did the cover of the [Beatles] Sgt. Pepper's album, but the only reason that cover is famous is because it was the cover of Sgt.Pepper's. When Sgt.Pepper's goes out of copyright in a few years, all the people who played on that, the composers, their rights stop. Peter Blake's don't."

I just read an article in some paper (forget which one) in which he complains that all he ever received for that was about £200. How many millions did the Beatles get for it? And are still getting?

Peter Blake did a job and got paid for it, the Beatles did a similar job and are still receiving payments for it 40 years later. Why?

What makes musicians so special? If they want to be paid for their music that's fine - they can perform - but to expect to get paid over and over again for a recording of a performance is ridiculous.

Regards Jon

"I think people will pay for music, I don't know technical protection is the way to do it."

Nice to see someone talking sense.

I pay for music, but at the moment I go out and buy CDs and rip them to go on my portable player - OK it might not be technically legal but it's fair use. I get to listen to the music, the artists get paid, the CD sits at home in a box and I can re-rip it if I want better quality. I listen to no more music than when I used to cart around the old Diskman and one or two disks selected daily.

What I won't do is pay the same (or even more in some cases) to buy something that I can't re-rip if I want better quality, can play on MY choice of player, and can't guarantee access to it for as long as I wish. That's why I've never bought a single track online, and won't do until the industry gives me a deal that's fair to me as well as to them AND treats me like the adult I am.


Moving on: the Scottish Borders police have come over all iterative and are planning to install CCTV cameras to watch their speed cameras...

Our local rag (Wells journal) ran a story about a similar system in place in Pylle this week.

An unusually thick 50MPH + Camera logo sign was erected just in front of the speed camera with a tiny lens in the back if it. A cable loops from the thick sign into the post and an odd blue street cabinet appeared at the same time.

Naturally, the local authority has denied all knowledge.


The obvious question is, therefore, will they install cameras to watch the cameras watching the cameras? And cameras to watch those cameras? And so on ad infinitum? WHERE WILL IT END!?


A Wally famous for wearing a stripey jumper and hiding in crowds is plotting to take over the search business. Or at least, the search business for kids. Which is where filtering comes in, of course:

It's interesting to see that "porn" and "smut" are indeed blocked by Zoo; while "rampant rabbit" in all its glory is allowed through the filter of doom.

They clearly need to buy more hamsters, to make their auto-smut-sensing-AI-driven-by-hamster-wheels run a little better.

Great article :) -- Alex

If the subject lines in my spam-box are any indication, just searching for "zoo" could turn up some decidely non-kid-appropriate sites. 'nuff said?


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