Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Yet another lossy way to remove iTunes DRM...

DRM Dumpster automates the process of burning your protected iTunes songs to a CD-RW and re-ripping them into your preferred format. Once it fills the rewritable CD, DRM Dumpster erases it and keeps on burning and ripping. It even calculates a recommended tips based on how many songs it decoded.

Assuming DRM Dumpster keeps the originals high quality copies around, it may just cut the mustard for my MP3 CD project.

Flickr introduced guest passes!

Update: Keith pointed out in the comments that Picasa Web added this feature awhile ago. Thanks for the tip, Keith.

I too often brood over whether to make my Flickr photos public or private. If I make photos public, I risk random creeps ogling pictures of my wife or even worse my kid. If I make the photos private, I force non-net savvy family members to sign up for a Flickr account, which they probably won't do, which means they'll never see the photos.

According to Lifehacker, I don't have to trade privacy for convenience anymore. Flickr has added the ability to share private sets via email, and they don't require the recipient to sign up!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I just blocked an iTunes ad.

Using AdSense's competitive ad filter. I can't support DRM.

802.11n on OS X? Not yet.

With dreams of streaming HD video flowing through my head, I spent a good part of the day trying to get my Macs on a draft 802.11n network.

See, I want the fastest connection possible between my laptop connected to my TV and my desktop so I can copy video back and forth. Running Ethernet cable isn't an option, and the Ethernet over power line adapters aren't fast enough. That leaves me with 802.11n.

After discovering none of the USB or PCI 802.11n adapters have OS X drivers, I thought I'd be clever and use a second router in place of the adapter:

Wireless Bridge

In theory, the router on the right would connect as a client using WDS to the router next to the TV and route traffic to the desktop computer over Gigabit Ethernet, no special drivers necessary.

Out of Netgear, Linksys, Buffalo, D-Link, and Belkin, only Buffalo's router supports WDS. To my dismay, Buffalo doesn't offer Gigabit Ethernet.

Outside of routing traffic through a Windows machine (or virtual machine) instead of the second router, I'm out of ideas. I guess I'll just have to wait a little longer.

I have to admit I'm a little surprised. Wasn't Apple an early adopter of 802.11b and g?

How fast is 802.11n?

Netgear WN121T

The Wikipedia says up to 540Mb/s, but most of the router boxes at the store today said up to 300mb/s. eWEEK says 130Mb/s, "Netgear's products proved to be the unrivaled speed champs at close distances—topping 130M bps of real throughput—but performance started to lag considerably as the client moved away from the router."

Distance concerns aside, 130Mb/s doesn't sound very fast. Then again, I'll bet my 802.11g setup gets no where near 54Mb/s.

Netgear it is. I hope OS X supports Netgear's USB adapter. Clubmac.com says it does, but Google doesn't turn up much evidence beyond that. I guess I'll find out.

Update: NetGear's USB 802.11n adapter does not seem to work with OS X. :(

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Monkey on your back?

I just tried emusic.com...

But barely recognized any of the artists.

Damn you, iTunes and your loathsome DRM!

I knew this was coming, but I couldn't resist the convenience of the iTunes Music Store.

I'd love to load up my car's CD changer for those times when I don't have an iPod handy. Unfortunately, it seems I can't burn any of the more than 500 songs I've bought from the iTMS to an MP3 CD.

From the iTunes documentation, "if your playlist includes songs in formats other than MP3, such as songs purchased from the iTunes Store, they aren't burned to the CD." I love how they try to make it sound like a format rather than a DRM issue.

As of iTunes 7, Apple has blocked out hymn et al. That leaves QTFairUse6.

QTFairUse6 requires me to install Windows (see what you made me do, Apple?), and I think it converts in real time (i.e. at the same rate as a song plays). I guess it's worth it to rid my music collection of DRM. You could call it my penance for ignoring the EFF.

Any recommendation for where to shop from now on? I'd hate to go back to buying CDs. Is allofmp3.com technically legal? I know they don't pay labels, but do they pay artists? If so, I could get behind that.

My American accent...

This quiz really works!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Found via Duke Listens!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Automatically reload pages in Firefox.

The ReloadEvery add-on enables you to automatically reload a page at a given interval. Just the thing for following a Woot-off.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Dave is trying out Belkin's Pre-N wireless router. I would love to set up an 802.11n draft network at home. With speeds up to more than half a gigabit, 10X faster than 802.11g, I wouldn't have to tote my laptop or a network cable between my TV and desktop computer (where I download TV shows) anymore. The only question in my mind is, what are the chances today's 802.11n hardware will work with Apple's upcoming iTV?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rumsfeld will step down.

Robert Gates is taking over.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

American Airlines doesn't do refunds.

I bought plane tickets from American Airlines. I changed my mind shortly thereafter and decided to fly a different airline, but AA won't give me a refund. They'll give me a discounted voucher but no refund. It doesn't matter that I bought the tickets directly through them, the departure date is more than a month and half away, and I only bought the tickets a couple days ago.

I'm sure they spell this all out in the fine print on their site, but somehow it still doesn't feel right.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

If you can't access the rest of the internet when connected to a VPN under OS X...

I found this tip in the comments on a VPN article:
Your default gateway is determined by the order of your network interfaces in the Network pane of System Preferences. Whichever interface is at the top of the list will be the default gateway. If that interface isn't availble, the next in the list will be the default gateway, and so forth. What you want to do is be sure that the interface used for your Internet connection is above the one for PPTP.

To change the order, select "Network Port Configurations" from the Show drop down menu. This will display a screen which allows you to drag and drop your interfaces into the desired order.

It worked for me. What a relief.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Are the Democrats and Republicans fighting to lose the mid term?

Nan makes a compelling argument, "despite frantic fumbling by individual candidates to win their own seats, for the political parties as wholes, winning this midterm is the ultimate nightmare. And some very savvy upper echelon pols are skating deftly to make sure they are not left last on the ice."

If she's right, and I think she is, plan on our current crop of problems festering two more years.

Mobile email like it outta be...

Google just released a Java-based Gmail client for your mobile phone.

Compared to accessing your Gmail via POP, the new client:

  • keeps read and starred status in sync between your phone and the web-based UI
  • features infinite scrolling (you'll find no "click here for next 10 conversations" link)
  • groups emails in conversations just like the web UI
  • enables viewing attachments
  • and much more.

Compared to accessing the web-based version of Gmail from your phone, the rich client feels a lot snappier because it preloads emails in the background, and it looks a lot prettier (no offense to the mobile web-based version--you can only do so much with a mobile web browser).

I can't begin to tell you what a joy it is to scroll through my Gmail using the scroll wheel on my Blackberry Pearl.