Filesharing Corporation Evil – Kazaa Logging all user downloads

Kazaa tracking, logging, spying on users, then denying it all, secret documents reveal. In other news, sky blue, Pope Catholic, bears shit in woods.

Shocked users learn not to trust corporations trying to turn filesharing into a profitmaking venture, and flee to truly anonymous, non-corporate, decentralized networks like MUTE, GNUNet, Freenet Project.

No, not really. People never seem to learn.

Spiny Forums :: An Open Letter to Web Cartoonists

Spiny Forums :: View topic – An Open Letter to Web Cartoonists

here’s this webcomics viewing app for OS X called “Comictastic.” (There are actually a bunch of them; Comictastic is one which has gotten a lot of press.)

It existed for a couple years without anyone noticing, then it got some press, and then a bunch of people within the “Webcomics Community” got really angry about it. (And some of its users got stridently defensive of it.)

Through the course of this messageboard thread, the authors of the software try to open a dialogue with webcomics people. A bunch of angry people call them “bandwidth thieves” and “copyright violators” for making what is essentially a specialized web browser. The angriest voices seem to come either from righteous folk who are not actually webcomics creators, or webcomics creators who are not actually paying for their own bandwidth or profiting from their own ad sales (that is, they get free hosting on Keenspot, which pushes its ads on people to pay for it). (UPDATE: Actually I may be displaying my ignorance there: I read something subsequently that suggested Keenspotters do get ad revenue.)

I dunno. My limited experience hosting a web site and paying for it myself suggests you’d have to be insanely, INSANELY popular before bandwidth costs bit you in the ass (or else you’d have to be really foolish in your choice of hosting providers). I pay $20/month and use only a minute, tiny fraction of the bandwidth I receive for that. Definitely less than 5%, probably less than 1%. (Yeah, I know, I’m paying too much for my needs, but Dreamhost are cool and let you compile your own software and stuff.) If you’re so popular you’re hurting for bandwidth, then you probably could find ways more efficient than banner ads to parlay that popularity into cash (i.e., merchandising or the like) pretty easily. And that’s what the most popular webcomics all do. I don’t imagine apps like this would make a giant difference one way or another in how many people buy T-shirts. (And either way, the authors of the app want to work with people to allow them to deliver ads and merchandise links via RSS.)

Anyway… The funny part is that one of the best known, most popular webcomic artists on the net, Jeff Rowland (creator of Magical Adventures In Space, the latest in a series of spiffy and whimsical comics), has been participating.

As far as I can tell, he’s the only “A-list” comic artist that’s there. Certainly the only one I’ve ever heard of.

Anyway, at least as far as I’ve read in the discussion, Rowland started out mildly skeptical of Comictastic but not that worried about it, and as the discussion went on he got more and more tired of the righteously indignant protestors and finally declared himself “pro-Comictastic” and happy with the programmers’ efforts.

It’s a super long thread and gets repetitive after a while, so I’m posting about it without even having read the whole thing. Interesting stuff.

UPDATE: the thread ends with a few pages of comment spam. Sad.


JHymn Goes Behind Atoms and Apple To Bring DRM-Free Music

As DRM schemes go, Apple’s is, I must say, one of the best for end users. But that’s like saying “the handcuffs are mighty comfortable handcuffs.”

This is via, like, BoingBoing or something.

Last time I looked at Hymn, it operated from the command line and it only worked if you owned an iPod.

Now it’s a gorgeous GUI application and works for everyone.

I just bought a copy of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and de-DRMed it, and it plays great.


I can attest to a legitimate need for this tool, speaking as someone who’s upgraded computers twice and never remembered to de-auth his computer for the iTunes Music Store before wiping the old one’s hard drive to sell it. Thanks to Why didn’t I think of that? Because I think of my computer as a computer that I own, and my data as data that I own, not as a things that I rent from Apple that I have to get their permission to do anything with. I don’t think I want to have to learn to think differently, and if I have to break the iTMS DRM to do that, that’s fine with me. (Of course, I don’t use iTMS that much anyway. But still.)

First Ghost Rider Takes Manhattan

O glorious filesharing networks

I am a good law abiding citizen and would never patronize thee

but if I did so

and found a huge ‘rar’ archive full of REM B-Sides

including ones I heard back in the Days of Vinyl and never thought I’d hear again,

like “Ghost Rider, Motorcycle Hero,” and Syd Barrett’s “Dark Globe,”

as well as ones new to me like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and covers of Leonard Cohen’s “First We Take Manhattan,” and Richard Thompson’s “Wall of Death,”

I would say, “O Filesharing Networks, to thee I am truly grateful, for letting me roll about in musical nostalgia like a pig in manure.

Daring Fireball: Plugging Leaks

Daring Fireball: Plugging Leaks: “You may disagree with Apple’s vigorous pursuit of leakers, but this is not a case of big bad Apple putting the screws to a little guy.”

Well, yes, it is. This is the kind of crap which reminds me that Apple is a big evil corporation like the rest, and which makes me appreciate Linux despite its blemishes and frustrations.

If you’ve been in the Linux world for a while and come to the Mac world, it’s nice to have all these things that Just Work, but the obsequious squealing with glee at the glorious secrets Steve is about to reveal to us all gets kind of nauseating. I don’t know who I can stand less, slavering Apple-haters, or spineless Apple-suckups.

(Via mph.)