Northern Voice

I’m headed for Vancouver, BC this weekend for the Northern Voice blogging conference. If you live in the area or close enough to drive, you should consider signing up (I think there are still spaces open). Registration is a mere $30 Canadian for a day of conversation, presentation and learning from a group of super smart people. Tim Bray, co-inventor of XML, speaks on the recipe for blogging. Robert Scoble helps us understand his blogging addiction. Stowe Boyd of Corante is part of a panel discussing citizen journalism. Marc Canter, co-founder of Macromedia, and Tod Maffin of the CBC are both on a panel discussing audio and video content for Web publishing. I’ll be an attendee, armed with my Edirol R-1, recording interviews with all the smart people in the room in between sessions.

If you’ve got nothing but spare time on your hands, there’s an easy way to make the most of the Napster-To-Go 14-day trial. With three computers, several hundred CDs, Winamp and a two week supply of No Doze, 252 albums worth of songs can be yours without needing to ever pay for the service. How does this work exactly? It’s similar to the so-called analog hole allowing you to record any of the audio that passes through one of the audio output jacks on your sound card. The sound card must render the audio; therefore it can be recorded as it plays in real time. The concept is very similar to what’s described in the free tutorial I just did on converting the soundtrack from a DVD to a CD. Napster responded with surprisingly lucid candor to the news.

In other news of media company insecurity a new Macrovision protection will be introduced for DVD media which claims to plug the digital hole. The Macrovision site reads like a high-tech comedy aimed at helping consumers improve their ripping experience. For instance, the front page of the site currently reads, “DVD Rip Control that is THX Verified to give consumers every bit of the original audio/video experience.” Glad to see Macrovision finally sees the light. This is one consumer that would love to guarantee a ripped DVD would contain every bit of the original experience. And then of course they key in on the real problem when drilling down to the page with more detail. The RipGuard DVD product will, “Plug the digital hole, reduce ripping, prevent cannibalization of DVD retail (rip, rent, return)…” Even Macrovision realizes we want to play by the rules, pointing out anyone who rips a DVD will later rent and subsequently return the DVD to the store. Now I’m sure they have no intention of making the customer experience better but how long can it possibly take for someone to figure out a way to circumvent this copy-protection the same way previous protection schemes were broken.