Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

A Quick Word About Torrents & DRM-free Music

I received a note from a reader that got me a bit hot under the collar for a moment. It was in regards to a comment I made in yesterday’s Internet radio article (see, Music Radio For Your Phone (or Blackberry)(or PC)) .. specifically, “no, I do not purchase tunes“.

The writer presumed that indicated that I am like everyone else in the free world (apparently) and used a “file sharing” program (commonly called “Torrents”) and they inquired as to which one I liked best and recommend… uTorrent? eDonkey? LimeWire?

My first thought was, clearly they are new to the site. My second was a realization that I have not mentioned this in some time now. Perhaps the time is right to say it again.

  • I cannot tell you the exact number of times, but I can tell you the percentage is quite high, that when I am called in to remove a “virus”, I will find a “file sharing program” installed on that machine. Cyber criminals like to plant trojans in files, and then “seed” the torrent sites with them. And they lose no sleep.. as you are trying to get something for nothing yourself.
  • “File sharing” is (in my mind, anyway) synonymous with “stealing”. I don’t steal.

So there you have it: it’s risky and “quasi-legal” (at best). I don’t do it. And anyone who asks me about torrents will get a copy of this article. (Can you guess? I do not recommend it?)

So where do I get my songs? (aka “today’s free download:”) Well, I “digitized” my records and tapes using a “Y” cable (to my stereo)($3) and the editing program Audacity (free).

“Audacity is an open source audio editor that is available for several platforms (including Windows, Mac, and Linux/Unix). It is one of the most popular free audio editors in use today mainly due to its excellent set of tools. As well being compatible with MP3, WAV, AIFF, and OGG file formats you can use Audacity to record live audio, and convert analog audio such as tapes.”

But if I had it to do over again, I would get a USB turntable.

Alternatively, I would use a legal music service. And, I would buy the DRM-free versions of the songs. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I will point you to an article, titled: Buy Music Unfettered by Digital Rights Management

Competition is now wide open for these interoperable music files. Besides iTunes, millions of DRM-free files are available from Amazon, Rhapsody, Napster, Zune, eMusic, and others. But each store has its own benefits and limitations: price, file quality, selection, and other quirks. Here’s how they all stack up in the DRM-free download world.”  Read more..

I know. 99% of you are LMAO-ing. What?! Buy music???!!!


Pay for it if you want it. The fact that “everyone is doing it” (torrents/file “sharing”) does not make it right.

Related: How To Digitize Your Old (Analog) Movies, Music, and Photos

Today’s quote:Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught. ~ J.C. Watts

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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July 27, 2011 Posted by | computers, cyber crime, digital music, Internet | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Boss Calls You At Disneyland– with an "urgent" task …

HAL is watching It started with pagers. Beep beep beep. It’s your boss calling.

Now we have cellular phones, satellite phones, e-mail, PDA’s, notebooks, and access to the corporate network via VPN.
And iPhones.

We are now “empowered” to accomplish work where ever we are, and at any time of the day or night. We’re “road warriors” and “telecommuters”.
“But sir, it’s Saturday!” doesn’t cut you any slack any more.

Apparently, neither does, “But sir, the family and I are on our approved vacation. We’re on the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride right now.. can’t you hear the singing?”
(Your GPS-enabled phone will back up your claim; you really are at Disneyland.)

In a 2005 study, the Families and Work Institute found that one in every three people had performed job duties outside of regularly scheduled work hours. My guess is that if you did that survey today, you get 66% answering yes (IT types would be at 100%–IMHO).

And we got spy cameras watching us now, too– with more and more cities proudly boasting of “100% camera-coverage”. The Chinese are becoming remarkably adept at designing streetlights, mailboxes, fencepost’s, clocks, etc. that really are nothing more than camera concealer’s, and they’re exporting them as fast as they can make them.
We’re onboard Arthur C. Clark’s Discovery, and HAL is watching us. I ain’t joking with you. Some of those “security” cameras have HAL’s facial recognition ability, and some of them read lips (if not now, soon), see in the dark, and look into windows.
Like the man said, if you’re not doing anything wrong, this shouldn’t bother you.

GPS tracking. Security cameras. Can’t escape from work… Hmmm…

Open the pod bay doors, HAL… I wanna get off.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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July 21, 2008 Posted by | computers, privacy, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments