Music to screw up your computers by

Got an e-mail from our techie at work, Mark (portions irrelevant to the general public removed), usually a pretty reliable sort:

Recently, Sony has been caught using some pretty underhanded, quite invasive methods to keep people from copying CDs released from certain artists. I’ve not discussed this with everyone until now, because Sony would not release the list of those titles that are affected by this “XCP” copy protection.

There are already at least four ways of using this “XCP” software for nefarious purposes.

Please note, this is about removing some nasty software that makes your PC vulnerable to many different attacks, not about bypassing legitimate software protection (which this is NOT).

Here is the list of CURRENTLY KNOWN artists/titles (more may come out of the woodwork):

Trey Anastasio – Shine
Celine Dion – On ne Change Pas
Neil Diamond – 12 Songs
Our Lady Peace – Healthy in Paranoid Times
Chris Botti – To Love Again
Van Zant – Get Right with the Man
Switchfoot – Nothing is Sound
The Coral – The Invisible Invasion
Acceptance – Phantoms
Susie Suh – Susie Suh
Amerie – Touch
Life of Agony – Broken Valley
Horace Silver Quintet – Silver’s Blue
Gerry Mulligan – Jeru
Dexter Gordon – Manhattan Symphonie
The Bad Plus – Suspicious Activity
The Dead 60s – The Dead 60s
Dion – The Essential Dion
Natasha Bedingfield – Unwritten
Ricky Martin – Life

I would suspect ANY SONY or BMG disc released during 2005. Some of you may note that I’m not calling these Audio CD’s or CD’s – they are in fact NOT true Audio CD’s. Many of these non-audio CD titles will cause damage to stereos (car and home) that do not know how to deal with the non-audio portion of the disc.

Anyone out there heard any more on this?

Addendum: I just came across this article.
The Boing Boing website has further info on this topic.

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Tobacco road

As a sensitive, new age guy, I recognize that the smoker has become an oppressed minority, a marginalized and ostricized member of society, treated like a leper, forced to smoke 10 feet from building entrances in the middle of winter while engaging in a legal behavior.

I don’t care. I feel no pity.

When I was a kid, I used to go to O’Leary’s market at the corner and buy cigarettes for my father. (You used to be able to do such things, back in the bad old days.) Winstons, they were.
Some point after the Surgeon General’s warning about the risks of lung disease from cigarettes, my father developed emphysema. He quit, but when the symptoms went away, he went back to smoking. I thought this was the dumbest thing he had ever done, and I (gingerly) made that known to him. Eventually, I started stealing his cigarettes, first a few at a time, and then whole packs. (He bought them by the carton.) I figured if they became expensive enough, he’d have to quit. Packs were already up to 35 or 40 cents. Soon, my father tired of my behavior and said, “Roger, give me back my cigarettes,” and I did.
Eventually, my father quit smoking. He’d argue otherwise, though. He’d say that he never quit, he just stopped for a day, then another day, until it became over 25 years of another day without tobacco.

Back in 1972, I was in an elevator at college when a guy was coming onto the elevator and about to light up. I pleaded with him not to. He said, “Why? Do you have asthma?” I lied, “Yes!” and he didn’t light up. I have a very good nose, and I’ve sussed out a smoker at 30 feet. I don’t know if I’m peculiarly sensitive to smoke, but I do know that physically it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to be around smoking, or heavy smokers, or even where smoking has taken place recently and/or heavily.

I’m not as nice about this issue as I used to be, especially since I’ve had a child. I suppose I can live with people offing themselves, but I draw the line when they’re slowly killing me and those I love. I really suffer when smokers smoke in open air stadia. It may be pouring rain, but I’ll leave a bus kiosk before standing next to smoking.

Tomorrow is the Great American Smoke-Out where people are supposed to try to quit tobacco. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths both among men and among women. One cannot nag someone to quit: see Steve Gerber on August 10. (Mark Evanier had some interesting observations about this back on August 9.) Good luck to those who desire to quit.

My bottom line on smoking: my right to life and my liberty from smoke is more important than someone else’s pursuit of happiness from tobacco.