Copy Protected CDs not Supported by Apple

Remember the Celine Dion CD that not only wouldn’t play on a Mac, but wouldn’t eject and could even damage your Mac? Well there are others, and Apple has published a Knowledge Base article about the problem.

The gist is that these CDs are known not to work:

  • Shakira: “Laundry Service”


  • Jennifer Lopez: “J To Tha L-O!”


  • Celine Dion: “A New Day Has Come”


Apple adds “The audio discs are technically and legally not Compact Discs (CD format), and the CD logo has been removed from the disc. In the logo’s former place is the printed message:

‘Will not play on PC/Mac'”.

The article offers a few suggestions about methods of ejecting the disc, but you may have to send the Mac in for repair. Apple makes it very clear that this repair is not covered by warrantees or AppleCare.

Obviously, some people do violate copyright. However, they are in the minority, and copy protection schemes don’t work, and some damage hardware. Sony’s scheme has already been cracked—via a magic marker, or a post it note. The method is explained here as well. They have deliberately violated the CD Audio specifications by not starting the data at the specified location, and storing data where it isn’t supposed to be stored. Because such CDs do not follow the specifications co-created by Sony and Philips, Philips, like Apple, says such copy protected CDs are not Audio CDs, and will not allow their cases to display the Compact Disc logo.

Apple’s OS X Address Book

Dave Winer writes regarding the “Jaguar” release of the Mac OS X address book:

There’s some concern that Apple is not allowing the chat client vendors to access the system address book. If so, this is a repeat of the Sidhu mistake. It will end badly for the developers, but it will also end badly for Apple.

I think there’s no need to worry and that Apple wants to provide access to the revised Address Book. I notice that at the just-concluded WWDC apple had a session on Friday May 10 at 2:30 on the “Address Book Framework.” The description of the session reads:

012 – Address Book Framework
This session provides an overview of the Mac OS X Address Book APIs and details how to take advantage of them to handle contacts for your application. Learn how to leverage this framework within your application to save substantial development effort and time and deliver a more consistent user experience across Mac OS X.

That sounds to me like there are just the sorts of APIs that Dave is talking about.

WWDC 2002 Keynote

I thought I’d be able to report on at least the keynote, but Steve Jobs opened the WWDC 2002 keynote by saying everything we were seeing and hearing was non-disclosure stuff. Now, some of the folk here think he was being disingenuous, but whether or not he was, I take NDAs seriously. I notice that Apple has released several press releases so I can at least talk about those. Then there’s always the coverage by MacCentral.

The keynote featured, as Apple had announced, Jaguar, the next “big” release of OS X. The two things that I found most interesting are in the latter half of the press release—Rendezvous, and Ink. Rendezvous, also known as ZeroConf, or Zero Configuration Networking, is based on an open standard that relies on IP networking. What Apple has created for OS X 10.2 that’s noteworthy is an interface for IP networking that doesn’t require a user to lookup an IP address in a Preference panel and enter it in another Preference Panel—they’ve created a “smart” application in Rendezvous. Devices (not just computers!) with IPs can be “seen” by the Rendezvous application, and presumably, other third party applications that make use of the prorocol, and their users, who choose the device to share from a list that Rendezvous automatically lists. The release describes two users on separate computers in a home “sharing” their respective iTunes libraries. Notice that’s “sharing.” Not copying. It’s a nice idea. And yeah, the RIAA will be all over it, and I bet they’ll claim it’s “broadcasting.”

Ink, the built in handwriting recognition, has me salivating. There’s lots of potential for this—I hope it supports Japanese, Korean, Chinese and other double byte languages soon, if it doesn’t in the formal release. Think about teaching students to write Japanese using a graphics tablet and pen. Their awkward scrawls will be turned into Apple’s gorgeous Japanese fonts. Now, you still want students to learn writing the “old fashioned way” but there’s an inducement to write when you can start sending email to native speakers, who write back—and maybe even use iChat to send you iPhoto images, or short audio files.

The Universal Access support is long needed, and I’m very glad to see it (remember StickyKeys and CloseView? They’re baaack, and much better). Being able to Zoom in on a screen until it’s large enough for vision impaired users to really see, or to have the Mac read aloud text you point to, is very helpful, especially when it’s built in to the OS. I hope developers will take advantage of the opportunities Apple is creating for incorporating universal access. If these OS X apps work like the previous equivalents, then developers don’t have to do much beyond following Apple’s guidelines and the apps will just work.

I’m really pleased about QuickTime 6, and hope to see it soon. I already explained why I’m excited about QuickTime 6here, but you might want to pay particular attention to Broadcast, the free streaming server for “live” streaming.

The new features and apps in Jaguar that Apple is touting include the “iChat” AIM-derived instant message client, the revamped Address Book, and Sherlock III. iChat is a nice idea, and I like the fact that AOL/AIM and names work with it. It’s good that the Address Book is integrated with iChat and Mail in that you can “see” when a “Buddy” (I really hate the AOL jargon) of yours who sent you mail is online (yeah, AOL does that), and the way Sherlock will fetch a map for an address is way cool (by the way, anyone else notice how much Sherlock III is like Watson?). That’s not so cool, imitation and flattery references aside, it seems . . . odd.

One thing that struck me about all three of these apps (Rendeavous, iChat, Sherlock III) is that they are engaging in the sorts of information exchanging and fetching that Dave Winer at Userland keeps writing about. This sort of information finding and fetching is part of what I think is cool about Radio—and it’s called Web Services. Web services are a core part of Radio. Webservices rely on protocols like SOAP, and RSS, as well as XML, allowing a user (and I mean the ordinary user like you, or me or my mom) to gather the public information or news we want in a way that suits us, from a variety of sources, automatically. Once the information is gathered, nicely tagged and formatted because of XML, we can then “do stuff” with it. It’s Web services that makes things like the Google APIs Dave wrote about or the neat way you can get a Radio “feed” from the New York Times be displayed on your blog, web page, or web services savvy news reader.

I noticed a few weeks ago that Apple had quietly posted some really interesting Web Service AppleScripts, and have been meaning to get back to them. It looks now like those scripts were an indication of serious interest in web services on Apple’s part, and an interest in making things like Soap and XML easy for users and developers alike to use. The support in AppleScript is particularly exciting because it makes web services available for non-programmers.

Another thing that struck me is that there’s another level to the “Mac as digital hub” strategy that Apple has been promoting, a level that I, as a long term Mac user, have pretty much taken for granted.

Mac applications communicate with each other. They allow us to almost seamlessly swap data between applications—and we expect them to behave this way. I assume that if I copy some text from one application, or even the Finder (pre-OS X) that I can paste it in, with formatting, into pretty much any application. I expect that I can open a QuickTime Movie in my browser, email, or word processor. I assume that the images in iPhoto can be dragged and dropped into AppleWorks or MSWord. I just expect it to work. These new OS X/Jaguar applications and features, as the press release makes clear, are swapping data. iChat and share data, for instance. Address Book, via BlueTooth, (or SMS—Short Message Service) can communicate with other devices. That means that it’s easy for users to swap data too, data in the context of particular applications, even.

It strikes me that Apple’s underlying agenda, beyond that of the Mac as the digital hub, is “your data, where you want it, when you want it.” The basic functionality and ease of use of iPhoto (just plug in your digital camera, and it mounts on your desktop and your images are magically imported into iPhoto) or iMovie (pretty much the same experience for a Fire Wire enabled video camera) or iTunes and iPod certainly support the idea that Apple wants users to have control over their data. I’m not sure (yet) that Apple is also thinking about “your data, how you want it,” but I suspect they are.

Aside from the obvious problems for instruction—students IMing each other wildly, for instance—I’m not quite sure, yet, what all of this means for instruction.

On Ripping CDs

Yes, you can buy a CD and “rip” or copy the files quite easily. Apple’s iTunes, bundled with every Mac, and available for free downloading, is designed to make ripping and burning easy—and it does. There are similar applications for just about any personal computer operating system.Yes, people do that”rip” files all the time. Yes, some people put those files on the Internet and others download them.

The operative word there is “some.” I’ve never posted an illegal mp3 file on the ‘net. I do have an iPod though, and it contains MP3s of about 60 CDs that I purchased. Given that there are other real world models for this activity in that you can photocopy a book you own for personal use—it’s the distribution of that copy that’s a problem—it’s pretty daft to argue that users shouldn’t be able to make digital copies for personal use of cds they own—just as they can make casettes of vinyl albums (remember records?) or other personal use copies.

During Napster’s thriving period CD sales went up. It’s possible that Napster actually drove CD sales. Sales have dropped—for both concert tickets and CDs—post Napster. People downloaded a song they liked, often discovering new artists, then bought the CD. Humans are acquisitive by nature. We like bright shiny objects, and want to own them in a physical form. Moroever, by enhancing the data with an attractive cover and liner notes, not to mention the benefits of enhanced CDs, CD producers are giving the physical object added value—making us want them even more. If they had a clue, the RIAA could drive sales by making it easy to legally obtain MP3 files—and pay the artists involved.

Given how many hours I spend working in front of computers, I darn well want to be able to either listen to MP3’s on my iPod or play a cd in my CD-ROM drive—both things the RIAA doesn’t want me to do. And, at the same time Eisner and others are complaining to Senator Hollings about consumers “stealing” from them, the RIAA is not paying the artists. I think Tim O’Reilly was being too polite when he described them as being disingenuous. It’s worth reading the thoughts of Andy Grove, someone who understands profit and technology, as well as the need for innovation. If publishers want to sell more, maybe they should find out what consumers want.