Lessons from the Sony CD DRM Episode

Lessons from the Sony CD DRM Episode, (PDF, 154KB, 27 pages) [schneier].

Abstract: In the fall of 2005, problems discovered in two Sony-BMG compact disc copy protection systems, XCP and MediaMax, triggered a public uproar that ultimately led to class-action litigation and the recall of millions of discs. We present an in-depth analysis of these technologies, including their design, implementation, and deployment. The systems are surprisingly complex and suffer from a diverse array of flaws that weaken their content protection and expose users to serious security and privacy risks. Their complexity, and their failure, makes them an interesting case study of digital rights management that carries valuable lessons for content companies, DRM vendors, policymakers, end users, and the security community.

That’s “Sony” DRM technology actually brought to you by a company with offices near here, who came to the department and did a presentation at an event organised by IT Wales las year. They certainly did seem very impressive, and IIRC their CTO spoke highly of his programmers’ abilities. Only goes to show, I guess. (Some retrospectively amusing quotes in this article, I thought.)

New perspectives on food.

Awesome [simon]. I particularly like the sheep.

Gimboland is five years old

I Am Five!

Five years ago today Gimboland began. Actually, it began some time before then, but that’s when I switched to Blogger and previous hand-crafted posts are, apparently, lost.

I’d hoped to get a bit retrospective, including links to the longest post, the shortest, the busiest month, the quietest, etc. I’d also hoped to unveil a new (hopefully cleaner and certainly much less black) design I’ve been quietly working on. Unfortunately work and life in general have been horribly hectic and stressful lately and so it didn’t happen. The things we hope will happen rarely turn into the things that do happen, it seems. Anyway, woo.

Also, yes: unlike Defective Yeti, I can count! :-)

Bottled water not just ‘no better’, it’s also unethical

Most bottled water is no better than tap water, and all of it is unethical, according to this article.

More than 50 Indian villages have complained of water shortages after bottlers began extracting water for sale under Coca-Cola Co.’s Dasani label, EPI said.

According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. Incinerating used bottles produces toxic byproducts such as chlorine gas and ash containing heavy metals tied to a host of human and animal health problems. Buried water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.

Defence really is much more expensive than education

USA spending 100,000 dollars every minute on Iraq – enough to pay for a 4-year college degree every 30 seconds.

Lowri Turner: “the electorate hates fags, and rightly so”

TV presenter Lowri Turner made some “interesting” remarks lately, asserting in a Western Mail column that sexual orientation has an actual effect on ability and thus, in her mind, right, to participate in government – and that in particular, gay men should not govern. She also tells us bisexuality doesn’t exist, and other little nuggets of wisdom. Lots of people blogging on this, btw. eg, this one‘s quite good/coherent.

Wow. I can of course tolerate people who are small-minded, closed-minded, bigoted and generally unpleasant to their fellow humans, so long as they’re not in government, anyway. Turner is, however (worse!) all over the shop with her logic.

To summarise, we have her telling us that sexual orientation is fixed, that bisexuals are fooling themselves (oh, that old chestnut!), and that if you’re gay you shouldn’t be running the country because, um, you’re not capable. For some reason.

She defends this last point in time-honoured fashion:

Before I am accused of prejudice, I should say that not only are some of my best friends gay, but probably most of them are. I work in the media, for goodness sake. It is precisely because I know such a lot of gay men that I can say that I don’t think many of them are capable of representing the interests of the vast majority of people. Their lifestyles are too divorced from the norm. They are not better or worse, but they are different.

Does she really believe she can speak authoritatively of all gay men just because she works in the media? Furthermore, I’d assert, with tongue only slightly in cheek, that the reason their lifestyles are “divorced from the norm” isn’t that they’re gay – it’s that they work in the media. (Just kidding Bash.)

Anyway, she then contradicts her assertion that “they are not better or worse, but they are different”, by explaining how “they” are, in fact, worse:

“Gay men face challenges of their own, but they do not face those associated with having children which is the way most of us live. … My gay friends have not sat in accident and emergency with a small child. They have not had to make the decision over whether to give them MMR. They have not struggled to get their child statemented or gone through the schools’ appeals process.”

No Lowri, gay men (and women) never have children in their life. You’re absolutely right. They never do. They never adopt, for example. And when they do they make an even bigger mess of it than straights, even straights with jobs in the media. By the way, I’m being sarcastic at this point.

There’s more of the same, and she does seem obsessed with the parental experience. Saying that gay men don’t have the experience of sitting in casualty with a small child is crazy – gross and patently untrue overgeneralisation. I will grant that you’d probably find it happens less than with straight parents (purely on numbers, I mean), but that doesn’t validate the point. Further, if your next statement is “thus all gay men know nothing of children”, and the one after that is “thus, this particular gay man should not govern”, you clearly haven’t grasped the idea of rational thinking yet. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what she does. It’s also a deeply flawed argument in that it would apply equally well (if it worked) to straight people who happen to be childless.

Anyway, has she never heard of the Conservative Party? ;-)

Keeping it Welsh (The Western Mail is published from Cardiff), I wonder what Adam Price MP (Plaid Cymru, Carmarthen East & Dinefwr), gay and in parliament, thinks about all this, by the way…

Next step in the oil wars

The USA must forcibly annex Khuzestan in the next couple of months to prevent the catastrophic collapse of the dollar?