CD Copy protection sucks

Yes thats right it sucks. Why do I say this because I want to distribute copies of the music to anyone who can connect to a peer to peer network? Actually no, I’ve never had Kazaa, Gnutella, Morpheus or anything similar installed on my PC, ever. The CD in question is my recently purchased copy of Alicia Keys “songs in A minor”, with accompanying remixes. the main CD can be copied to my hard disk without a problem, the remix CD however is copyprotected and requires a windows PC to run some propietary software, so if your not on a windows PC… Anyway I’m running Windows XP on a 1.6GhZ Intel P4 so it didn’t bother me too much, apart from not being able to listen too it at the same time as my other (legally obtained) tracks on my hard disk. You may be wondering why I don’t just play it on a handy CD player, well the fact is my handy CD player is sitting in the drive of my PC.

Giving in would have been so easy to do. Thats right I would not have put up much of a fight to copy the tracks if the playback on my machine was of reasonable quality, the fact was though it wasn’t. To listen to the tracks without introducing my own remixing in the process actually touching the PC during playback wasn’t allowed, mainly due to the fact that the scroll bar of any active window seemed to at like my very own scratch deck. Obviously not a state of affairs I was happy with. My determination was set, copy the songs on to my hard disk at a reasonably good quality for trouble free playback, something that I feel is my right. So how to defeat the copy protection? Cue the first clue

3.0 build 12a

This little snippet found in a version.txt on the CD indicated that this was protected using Cactus Data Shield copy protection. The brochure for the copy protection scheme used can found on the website of the authoring company. Overall the technology looks quite interesting and seems to work quite well from all accounts. Anyway thats enough of my moaning, have a Good Christmas!

Brief Report on Pie Menus

I’ve been busy working on my fourth year project, it is a proof of concept device based around some of the Philips Nexperia technolgy, As part of the process I wrote a small report examining Pie Menus and comparing them with traditional linear menus, listing both the advantages and disadvantages of Pie Menus. The report focuses on the use of Pie Menus as part of the interface to a digital set top box. Pie Menus are something I’ve been interested in for a while so getting the chance to implement them in a proper application is something I am looking forward too.