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March 28, 2008

Software show and tell

Here in the staff room of the Bleeding Edge School of Computer Hard Knocks, we've been looking for ways to relieve the grind of the academic year. Even the teachers can find the sheer complexity of the curriculum demanding, which is why we've decided to introduce the occasional piece of classroom entertainment, with the odd game a game of Show and Tell.
We got the idea from the PC Helpdesk forum on thebox.bz, the UK TV and radio torrent source we wrote about last week. We recommend Web user forums like whirlpool.net.au, or the free Bleeding Edge forum [oh, you're already here, aren't you?] as a way of solving problems and improving the utility of hardware and software.
The question that got us thinking about Show and Tell was the following: "Apart from the operating system, browser, word processor, spreadsheet, torrent client etc, what are your favourite three applications?"
Although we were already using many of the programs mentioned in the responses, there were a few that we hadn't come across. We suspect that the collective knowledge of the Bleeding Edge School of Computer Hard Knocks will produce many more worthwhile programs, so we're inviting you to submit your favourite three applications, utilities or resources (which can dramatically increase the power of applications) to us by email.
In the meantime, we'll get the ball rolling with some of our own.

VLC Media Player, for instance, has our vote as the best audio and video player on Windows, Mac, and Linux (and for that matter BeOS and BSD). Aside from supporting standard audio and video formats including MP3, Ogg Vorbis, MPEG, DivX and AVI, it also handles proprietary formats such as RealVideo, WMA, WMV and QuickTime without touting for premium content sales, or plaguing you with irritating prompts to allow it to annexe all media types. Born from a student project at the Ecole Centrale in Paris, it ships with its own DVD decoder, which gives you full control of DVD content.
ImgBurn, the creation of "Lightning UK!" – author of the controversial DVD back-up tool DVD Decrypter – is a free lightweight CD/DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray burning application that does many of the things you'd have to pay for if you bought Nero. You can find it, and a vast selection of other worthwhile programs and resources for digital media, at doom9.net.
Terry Lane wrote last week about another of our personal favourites, IrfanView 4.10. Named for its Bosnian author, Irfan Skiljan, and pronounced "EarfanView", it's a great freeware image viewer and converter which includes some basic editing functions and effects. But users should also investigate its powerful plug-ins that can be downloaded separately from the site. It's also worth checking out the "Nice WWW links" section on the site, because it's Irfan's own show and tell.
One program we picked up from the PC Helpdesk discussion is the shareware multitrack recording and audio editing program Reaper. Given its features – which you can get some perspective on from a professional's review – it represents astonishing value at $US50 for non-commercial use. It comes in versions for Windows and Mac.
SnagIt 8.2 isn't just the best way of taking a snapshot of anything on your screen – from a particular window, including error messages, to an entire Web page, even if it happens to be scrolling – it also includes an image editor which allows you to add arrows and highlights etc. You can also direct the screen capture to several popular blog-editing programs including TypePad, Movable Type, Live Journal and WordPress.
Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder v2.0 is a freeware utility that retrieves the product keys used to install Microsoft Windows, Micorosoft Office and some other popular applications, and save them to a text file or print out for safekeeping, just in case you lose the original discs – a happenstance which Bleeding Edge has become quite expert at. We firmly believe every Windows users should run this program, and possibly laminate the print copy.
MediaMonkey does a better job than iTunes of managing large music libraries, and synching them with your portable player.
We've grown particularly fond of the iGoogle home page, which you can try at iGoogle.com. It allows you to add various content "gadgets", including local weather, The Age News Headlines, Google Calendar, ABC news, your horoscope, a quote of the day from Albert Einstein, a PacMan game perhaps to your browser entry point. To arrange it all, you could also try the Compound gadget.
Unfortunately, we couldn't find a gadget that can run a Show and Tell session, but no doubt some reader, somewhere, has one.

Posted by cw at 11:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

How copyright produces crap

My recent columns on BitTorrent have offended at least one reader, "hello", who's accusing yours truly of being irresponsible in bringing people's attention to various sites that could allow them to download copyrighted material, while not alerting them to the possibility of unpleasant consequences. You can see the exchange here.

His latest contribution to the debate spurs me to explore my position further, particularly his remarks on my example of the lengths to which viewers might have gone in order to watch the end of the BBC series Lark Rise to Candleford. According to "hello", these people would have been acting "just to satisfy one's pure greed and need to have everything now instead of waiting for the DVD to be available" ... or for the ABC to pick up the series.

It's interesting the way these exchanges expose underlying prejudices. That use of the word "greed", for instance indicates that "hello" has a very strong moral position on this issue, and that he regards breach of copyright as, what, the eighth deadly sin?

I don't believe that the scheduling of local TV networks, including the ABC, represents some divine will that God-fearing folk must follow at the risk of losing their immortal souls. Frankly, I think this position is quaint, but it's hard to imagine that it doesn't also inform the views of our legislators.

Unlike them, I can't separate the issue of copyright control of this material from the declining standards of television "entertainment", culminating in the ubiquity of those nasty, spiteful, voyeuristic "reality" shows that in my view are the inevitable consequences of the current system: : a non-critical audience consuming cheap stuff that makes all those commercials seem positively irresistible by comparison.

The issues of copyright extend far beyond the question of what the viewer/listener/reader pays or doesn't pay for information and entertainment; when and where they consume this material; and the rights of politicians, bureaucrats and the commercial establishment to police and exploit them.

More than 30 years ago, when I was The Australian's television critic, every commercial network banned me from their previews because I continually criticised their programs. Sam Chisholm, that paragon of virtue, called in the lawyers when I wrote that the executives of commercial TV in this country were "criminally irresponsible" for the constant diet of violence and anti-social behaviour that they were churning out in pursuit of profit.

While I am now much more judicious about applying the label "criminal" to this conduct, three decades later, while we agonise over binge drinking and public violence on our streets - and fail to agonise, as we should, over the replacement of our distinctly Australian language and culture by the language and culture of the US - the results of their policies are increasingly obvious.

The institution of Hollywood, the so-called free-to-air television system,and the conversion of the mass media at every level into a massive international celebrity engine discourages genuine creativity and fosters the widespread breakdown of social values. There's too little worthwhile entertainment available, and far too much base materialism and shallow values wrapped around it. Meanwhile, our legislators continue to prop up, and indeed extend, the copyright system.

I'd like to see some innovative solutions to the problems of adequate rewarding of content creators, in the same way the Grameen Bank has tackled Third World poverty.

We've already solved the questions of production, distribution and consumption of this material. We ought to be on the side of those who are tackling the other issues.

Digital technology and the Internet have provided us with the means to abandon the old, exploitative models.

For the record, my personal position is that I do not participate in the downloading of DVD movies. Nor do I pirate music tracks. But I don't judge those who do. I think the music and movie industries in particular have behaved abominably and - given the opportunity they might have exploited had THEY not been greedy - rather stupidly. They therefore deserve all they get, in my view.

It's long past time copyright holders made their programs available universally at reasonable prices, rather than using their money and influence to persuade governments to allow them routinely to exploit the public. If "hello" had read those links I posted, he'd have a better understanding of the real purpose of copyright, and - who knows? - be less eager to make holier-than-thou comments.

Posted by cw at 10:59 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

March 23, 2008

Cenzic - Top 10 Vulnerabilities Q4 2007

This for obvious reasons caught my eye this morning in my RSS reader via Dave Northey so I jumped over to look at the entire Cenzic - Top 10 Vulnerabilities of Q4, 2007 (PDF) report . The details contained in the report show that  web browsers only made up 5% of the total for web technology vulnerabilities with web servers and web applications making up the balance at 10% & 85% respectively and the report does state 'Unlike previous quarters, less vulnerabilities were reported in Internet Explorer than in Opera, Firefox or Safari'.

Cenzic - Application Security Trends Report Q4 2007

The overall 'Q4 2007 Top 10 Vulnerabilities'.

  1. OpenSSL (Execute Arbitrary Code)
  2. Java (Remote Read/Write File Access)
  3. Adobe Acrobat (Execute Arbitrary Code)
  4. IBM Lotus Notes (Execute Arbitrary Code)
  5. RealPlayer (Execute Arbitrary Code)
  6. IBM WebSphere (Cross-Site Scripting)
  7. IBM WebSphere  (Script Injection)
  8. PHP (Elevated Privileges)
  9. Apache (Cross-Site Scripting)
  10. Adobe Flash (Cross-Site Scripting)

The 'Top 5 Vulnerability Trends for 2007'

  1. Javascript Trickery: Hiding, Anti-Pinning and Mutating
  2. Universal Cross-Site Scripting in Adobe Acrobat Reader
  3. Mass-SQL Injection Worm
  4. Google Gadgets and Gmail Hacks
  5. Google Orkut Cross-Site Scripting Worm

With 67% of attacks reported 'for the purpose of financial gain' the days are long gone when people just did it for '15 minutes of fame'. These days it is big business and you can even pick up some extra cash 'Breaking Google Capchas' and you need to ensure that you don't become complacent with your online privacy either.

Whatever operating system and software combinations you use ensure that you regularly check that you have the latest security updates and  patches and take care when giving out personal data.

Posted by Stephen at 01:54 PM | TrackBack

March 19, 2008

ABC Internet TV Beta Trial

Over in the forums Extulit made a quick post on forthcoming ABC Playback no doubt building on the success of ABC Now. It is at first glance from what I can read about it no BBC iPlayer though it is a big step closer.

ABC Playback is an internet broadcasting service which lets you catch up with a selection of recently-aired shows and archived programming from the ABC. It offers high fidelity, full-screen video for high speed internet users (ADSL2/1.1Mbps connection speeds).

You can also read more at Crickey with an interview with ABC Managing Director Mark Scott.

Posted by Stephen at 11:16 PM | TrackBack

The Sun King becomes the Spam King?

You would have thought, wouldn't you, that the Murdoch press in Australia - what with having published the IT News section of The Australian years before most people had even heard of IT - would want to avoid being identified as a generator of comment spam, but no, they've just hit this blog with a self-serving puff for a piece on the Asus Eee PC. I imagine we'll be receiving regular visits from their software agents in future, which we'll almost certainly block, but this one we let through. As evidence.

Posted by cw at 03:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 13, 2008

The MacBook Air: when cool becomes [ouch!] Hot!

When Apple gives it customers a guided tour of "the world's thinnest notebook" the MacBook Air, they completely neglect to mention the fact that some of the innovative new features apparently also make it the world's hottest notebook. That might explain that odd smirk on the face of the presenter.

Owners are complaining that in addition to those cool trackpad gestures, which are supposed to allow them to navigate the interface with a pinch or a swipe or a rotate, they also have to learn how to fan ... briskly, on account of the fact that the CPU shuts down intermittently from overheating.

And in a move that calls to mind its often-cavalier attitude to such issues, Apple seems to be blaming the problem on the fact that some countries experience hot weather. As if it never gets warm in, say, southern California. Or Texas. Or Florida. Louisiana. Georgia. Alabama. Nevada. Etc.

Apple has just released a software upgrade to fix the overheating. It's supposed to fine-tune the speed and operation of the internal fan. Unfortunately, users are reporting that it doesn't solve the problem ... possibly because in many cases, the fix was already installed when the Airs shipped. [Isn't it cute that that information emerges well down in a story that's headed "Apple solves MacBook Air Overheating Problem", suggesting that (a) Apple hasn't really solved the problem at all, and (b) a lot of journalists/bloggers who write about Apple products tend also to suffer from overheating problems? Can someone come up with a patch to fine-tune their cooling fans too?]

And doesn't it also suggest that Apple is taking an innovative approach to so-called "fixes"? Might it not prompt the question, "Umm, if the fix didn't work the first time, Mr Jobs, shouldn't you fix the fix before releasing it again?" And while you're at it, Mr Jobs. Can you do something about those combusting iPod nanos? How about a new fix for those other Mac notebooks? You know, the ones that explode? How about a Rush job?

Posted by cw at 10:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Paradox of Digital Entertainment

Here at the Bleeding Edge Academy of Computer Sociology, our researchers are currently fascinated by a phenomenon we call the Paradox of Digital Entertainment, arising from the new-found ability, using computers and the internet, to escape the hold of the broadcasting networks.
The logical contradiction identified by our observations is this: the more opportunities we have to create entertainment - selecting our own sources and schedules for television, radio, music, etc. - the less time we have to enjoy it.
Time-shifting – either using a personal video recorder (PVR) or media centre to record broadcast television shows and play them back without commercials at one's convenience or by downloading podcasts of radio shows - together with the ability to download overseas TV shows before their local release through the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file-sharing technology, impose an unappreciated overhead on users.
It's gratifying, for example, to be able to watch the second series of Life on Mars, or its sequel, Ashes to Ashes, currently screening in Britain, or perhaps the delightful BBC dramatisation of Flora Thompson's memoir Lark Rise to Candleford. One can download them with BitTorrent clients like uTorrent or Azureus. But it takes more thought and effort than you might expect.

After the initial fiddling with forwarding router or firewall ports to maximise downloading speeds – portforward.com is a great resource for that - then carefully monitoring your downloads so you don't exceed your ISP's download limit and suddenly have your bandwidth dramatically slashed, or, in the case of Big Pond or some Optus plans, pay excess data charges, you have to find a reliable source of torrents.
The best services for British TV torrents are uknova.com, thepeerhub.com, and torrentzilla.org. [UPDATE: Even better is The Box.] They provide high-speed downloads, discussion forums and other information which keep members informed of worthy programs.
Unfortunately, while they're free, they require you to register, and because they permit only 30,000 or so active members each, and the drop-out rate is relatively slow, it demands considerable perseverance to find a vacancy.
That doesn't necessarily end the search. UKNova is particularly strict about not permitting torrents of programs that are, or about to be available as DVD releases. When news that Lark Rise to Candleford broke that Lark Rise to Candleford would be published to DVD, the show's torrents abruptly disappeared after four episodes.
Viewers who were by then captivated by the story and characters, were forced to scavenge around to collect the remaining six shows.
Mininova.org is a good source for tracking down torrents, but none were as fast as those on UKNova. A single torrent which might have taken an hour or so to download from UKNova, instead trickled down over a couple of days to download.
It also meant juggling upload/download ratios, which is an essential requirement for maintaining membership of torrent sites. Depending on your monthly allowance from your ISP, keeping a reasonable ratio could put you in constant danger of being "shaped", i.e. having your bandwidth throttled back.
A client like uTorrent allows you to schedule your downloads for off-peak periods. As we've mentioned previously, one useful but less than obvious feature of the uTorrent scheduler is the ability to upload during peak periods when you’re not downloading. You access that by holding down the shift key while you click on the schedule time slots.
While podcasts involve considerably smaller files that are much more easily accessed through iTunes, or programs like Juice it does require considerable homework to download and delete them, particularly if your MP3 player's capacity isn't particularly large.
It gets even more tricky if – like Bleeding Edge – you get addicted to zany videoblogs like Rocketboom (rocketboom.com) or Zadi Diaz's EpicFu. While iTunes will also manage them, FireAnt is an impressive alternative, at getfireant.com. The fact that FireAnt had 26,885 channels and more than 1.5 million episodes the last time we checked, indicates the addictive potential of, say, learning how to make nut milk in an episode of Daryl Hannah's Love Life.
All this free content has been making us wonder about whether we should keep up our paid subscription to audible.com. Our entertainment/maintenance schedule has meant we haven't had time to skim the selections and download the two titles per month to which our subscription entitles us. And really, when your ears are so busy assimilating video and podcasts, shouldn't books be a visual treat, rather than an auditory one?
Here at the Bleeding Edge Academy of Computer Sociology, this may be an interesting topic for future research.

Posted by cw at 10:40 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Fun with the Firefox 3 Beta 4

We've been playing with the Firefox 3 Beta 4 release since it came out a few days ago, and we're seriously impressed. While Mozilla recommends only developers or testers download it, we've found it impressively stable, and it co-exists (on the Windows platform, but not in Linux or the Mac) with version 2.

The interface is cleaner, the old Firefox memory problems have been ironed out, security has been vastly improved and tests indicate it's much faster (three times faster on some tasks than Firefox 2, and five times faster than Windows Explorer).

And there's an impressive list of new features among the 900 enhancements since the last beta.

Anyone else tried it?

Posted by cw at 09:08 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 11, 2008

Begging ... the BitTorrent culture

Most of the increasing number of people who download BitTorrent files of television shows seem to use aggregators like ISOHunt (which is currently displaying an impressive graph tracking the growth to 1 million torrents). But if you're really addicted, and you want faster downloads and a good selection, to say nothing of better protection against malware, it's infinitely better to join a dedicated site that specialises in a particular geographical area, or possibly a genre.

In our next column, for instance, we've mentioned UKNova and a couple of others (although we've just discovered TheBox.bz, which seems to be by far the best source for British TV).

These sites don't allow just anybody to use their trackers. You have to be a member, and you have to observe certain rules, including maintaing a decent upload/download ratio. They maintain strict membership quotas to manage their resources, and often it's difficult to join. You have to wait until somebody leaves or gets kicked out, and the attrition rate for the really good sites tends to be disappointingly small.

There are classes of members, which enjoy different privileges, and over a couple of years now, we've managed to maintain PowerUser status on our preferred sites, which means we've uploaded far more than we've downloaded. We've also tried to contribute to the online forums etc. It requires quite a commitment, and not everybody is prepared to do it.

If you are prepared to put in the effort, however, you can obtain the occasional invitation which you can distribute to friends. Here's the difficult part. If your friend turns out to be a "leech", and doesn't take his or her responsibilities seriously, your recommendation can cause you problems ... even losing your own membership.

That's why the increasing posts to various forums begging for invitations to one site or another constitute a growing irritation. If you don't know the person making the request, it seems irresponsible to give them what amounts to a character reference. Unfortunately we don't have well-defined rules of etiquette in these matters, or the equivalent of those signs that used to hang in many businesses before the days of credit cards, declaring "Please do not ask us to cash a cheque, because refusal may offend".

If you don't have any way of demonstrating your bona fides, it's better not to ask. And if you do have an invitation to share, you'd better take care to spell out to whoever you might be thinking of giving it to, precisely what will be required.

Having made that perfectly clear [grin] we'd love somebody to send us an invitation to Diwana and/or AussieTorrents.

Posted by cw at 09:40 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 07, 2008

March Workhorse PC

Bleeding Edge's quarterly excursions into the components for what we call a workhorse PC are a constant reminder of the frequent opportunities the computer industry presents to us of buying older technology, sometimes for more than the newer, more powerful version.
As we wrote this column, for instance, the online catalogue of one of the most popular computer retail chains was offering the following Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs: the E6550 ($204), the E6750 ($228), and the E6850 ($325).
What they didn't mention was that in January, Intel had released a new generation of these mainstream CPUs with the model numbers E8200, E8400 and E8500.
The retailer had run out of stock of these so-called Wolfdale CPUs, which offer significant advantages over the advertised chips, and simply omitted them from the catalogue, which a lot of people use as a guide when assembling PCs. Who knows how many people bought them, thinking they had the latest release?

The E8000 series has a 6MB L2cache, which is 50 per cent more than the E6000 series, and a new instruction set called SSE (Streaming SIMD Extensions), to accelerate the creation and processing of digital content, including images, video and audio - an increasingly common task for the modern PC.
While the average user probably wouldn't have been able to detect the average 6 per cent performance improvement at each level, the improved power management and cooler operating temperatures might have saved on operating costs, and given him a quieter PC.
We're going to specify the slowest of the trio - the 2.66GHz E8200, which we sourced at Computer Parts Land for $239 – for this quarter's workhorse PC, although at $255, the 3GHz E8400 is very tempting indeed.
We're sticking with our recent preference for Gigabyte motherboards, with the P35DS3 getting our vote at $135, although the DS3P model offers some additional features which could be worth the additional $30.
We recommend a 2GB kit of RAM, and you can pick up a branded version from Kingston for $65.
Another area where technology advertisements skip important details is hard drives. Retailers tend to neglect to mention the model numbers, and the size of the cache, which can boost performance.
Although they're mostly regarded as a commodity item, a little more research could give many users the benefits of recent advances in storage technology.
We've been recommending Western Digital drives for some time now, because we've found them particularly robust and innovative, and because the local distributor, Westan, provides good service, and a good deal of information through its Web site.
The Green Power technology in Western Digital's enterprise-level RE2 drives, which reduces power consumption by about 40 per cent, has recently been extended to some of their desktop models, which carry the GP designation, rather than the KS (16MB cache) and JS (8MB) versions of the SATA (Serial ATA) models which high-volume retailers tend to stock.
Its AV drives are designed to withstand the higher temperatures generated by always-on streaming digital audio/video environments such as media centres, PVRs (Personal Video Recorders) and DVRs (Digital Video Recorders).
If you're looking for that particular combination of Green Power with an AV drive in a 16MB cache/500GB configuration, you need to specify the model number WD5000AVCS. Precision is essential, because the WD5000AVJS, for example, doesn't have Green Power, and only has an 8MB cache.
We'll stick with a 320GB Western Digital SATA drive (16MB cache) at $95 for our workhorse, but depending on your usage, you might choose a different version, and you're likely to have to source it through Westan.
We've been a little more generous than usual with the graphics card, this time choosing the 512MB version of the NVIDIA 8600GT card from Gigabyte, which uses "Silent Pipe" cooling technology, for $119.
You can pay a lot more to get better video performance for gaming, but the PC is rapidly losing its appeal as a gaming platform, so you might be better off putting the extra into a good console.
An Asus SATA DVD-RW drive for $39, Logitech mouse/keyboard for $75 and a 20-inch Philips 200WS8FB LCD screen for $249 looks like good value, completes the package, with the exception of a case and power supply.
This quarter we've decided to specify a more rugged power supply in the Cooler Master Extreme ($69), and the same company's case at $109, which brings the total to $942. If you add the screen, it's $1191.

Posted by cw at 12:46 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 05, 2008

MonaRonaDona virus: in league with tricky devils

We've probably all speculated at times about whether there might be an unholy alliance between the people who write malware, and those who make their living writing the code that identifies and removes it. It seems that we were right ... at least in the case of the MonaRonaDona virus.

It stands out as a weirdly unique extrovert among the furtive fraternity of software that delivers its malevolent payload by stealth. Once it gains entry, MonaRonaDona sends up flares and balloons, greeting its unwitting host with a pop-up message that declares:

"Hi, My name is MonaRonaDona. I'm a virus and I am here to Wreck Your PC. If you observe strange behaviour with your PC, like program windows disappearing etc., it's me who is doing all this. I was created as a protest against the Human Rights Violation that is being observed throughout the world & the very purpose of my existence is to remind & stress the world to respect humanity."
Sure enough, once you see the message, your computer does seem to exhibit strange behaviour, such as programs closing. In fact, it appears the very purpose of MonaRonaDona is to sell an anti-virus package called UniGray Antivirus that seems curiously tailored to cope with this one particular virus, once you hand over your $US39.90.

Rather than rewarding these scammers, this thread on the DSL Reports security forum includes a comparatively simple fix.

The Kaspersky Labs Viruslist blog has a fascinating analysis of the scam, which attempts to cash in on the likelihood that victims will immediately enter "MonaRonaDona" into a Google search box, and come up with sites like this, which point them to UniGray AntiVirus.

Posted by cw at 09:33 AM | TrackBack

March 04, 2008

The Universe & The Human Body

Following on from my last post with more innovative internet applications that will be great in the classroom yet alone our own curiousity to explore both the universe and the human body.

The 'WorldWide Telescope' from Microsoft Research Labs.

The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a rich visualization environment that functions as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space telescopes in the world for a seamless, guided exploration of the universe.

The 'Visible Body' from Argosy Publications.

Argosy's Visible Body is the most comprehensive human anatomy visualization tool available today. This entirely Web-delivered application offers an unparalleled understanding of human anatomy. The Visible Body includes 3D models of over 1,700 anatomical structures, including all major organs and systems of the human body.

More video on the background of the WorldWide Telescope can be found at Scoble's FastCompany.tv

Some background on the 'Visible Body' over at ReadWriteWeb

Posted by Stephen at 08:47 PM | TrackBack

Artists driving the digital age

'The Cultural Ministers Council' comprising ministers from Australia and New Zealand met last Friday and concluded that artists and not computer engineers and IT specialists will drive internet growth in the future.

An example of this has just surfaced today from the band 'Nine Inch Nails' whose latest album has just been released on the internet with the premise that hard-core NIN fans will pay money for the music that they love. The 'Ghosts I-IV', 4 volume instrumental release is available in a myriad of formats. The first 9 track volume is available for free and DRM-FREE direct from the website or via an official BitTorrent Download. $5 will get you all 36 tracks at 300kbps MP3, FLAC Lossless or Apple Lossless formats. $10 gets you the physical CD's and instant download of the entire album whilst you wait for the postie. Then there are the special $75 and $300 editions with great value added extras if you are the ultimate NIN fan. You can get the complete low-down on the release and what comes with each price point you are prepared to pay over at the 'last100'.

I have never been a big fan of  NIN though I will grab the torrent and have a listen to this instrumental album and I might just enjoy it enough to send some cash to them for the remaining 27 tracks.

Update: All 2,500 copies of the $300 offering have been sold. Via: Ars Technica

Posted by Stephen at 07:54 PM | TrackBack

March 03, 2008

Whirlpool 2007 Survey Now Online

Whirlpool's annual 'Australian Broadband Survey' results have now been published online here.

Something of interest in the demographic breakdown of the 17,881 survey respondents is that 12.3% were students and then the  next four are from people who work in IT totaling 32.8%.

So out to the wider demographic of the Bleeding Edge audience, how did your ISP compare from your own experiences compared to that of the results shown in the survey?

Posted by Stephen at 10:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack