Archives for: January 2004

Wed, 21 January 2004

Permalink 10:12:50 pm

This Is Why People Download Music Illegally

Are the people working for the record industry born stupid or do they put them through some kind of training course? Whilst the Record Industry Association of America is busy suing people who download music using file-sharing programs, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) have managed to go one better - by forcing retailers to raise their prices.

Read about it here (BBC) and here (The Register).

Sun, 18 January 2004

Permalink 11:32:18 pm

Not So Intelligent Finance

When is a security code not secure? When it's only 1% as effective as it should be.

I recently applied for an account with Intelligent Finance, the online arm of Halifax, and because of some problems at their end I ended up having to ring them a number of times. To verify your identity they ask you for your full name and address, both publicly available, and two random digits of a 4 digit security code.

Except they don't. Every time I've rung them (6 times in 2 weeks) it is always the 1st & 3rd digits; if you've got an account with them try it and see. So from a possible 10000 combinations it is down to 100, which doesn't exactly fill me with confidence - it's like having a 2 digit pin number for your cash card. Perhaps I've been exceedingly (un)lucky, but if that's the case then I'm going to start playing the lottery again. More likely they figure that as it's an Internet-based account you're unlikely to ring them that often so no-one would cotton on.

Mon, 12 January 2004

Permalink 09:04:55 pm

PayPal Security Concern

I first signed up with PayPal over a year ago, and just left the account dormant - I didn't bother it, and it didn't bother me. Over the last week I bought and sold a couple of items on Ebay, which involved me upgrading to a 'Premier' account. Two minutes after I upgraded I received my first bit of PayPal related spam, trying to trick me into entering my details on a spoof site.

The email address that I signed up to PayPal with, and received the spam to, I rarely use and receives no spam - I have a few disposable ones that I generally use. The only people that have this one are the two people I bought from and sold to and PayPal. So either one of them added me to some kind of mailing list, or my details were somehow 'leaked' from PayPal. Coincidence? It could be, but a very big one.

Sun, 11 January 2004

Permalink 01:29:24 am

BMG Copy Control CD Protection

Could someone please explain the point of this please? My girlfriend was given Will Young's new CD Friday's Child as a Christmas present and found it wouldn't play in her car cd player. I took a look and it has a tiny 'Copy Control' logo on the front of the case, and on the back a box showing that the compatibility is <100% on devices other than 'CD Audio Home Player'.

When I tried it in my PC, Windows Explorer is unable to read the tracks and you have to install a proprietary player to play highly compressed versions. However, when I opened it with Media Jukebox, cdex or Extract Audio Copy (EAC) I was able to play and rip the tracks without a problem. So BMG's copy protection prevented the one thing that they can't complain about, namely playing the CD, and completely failed to prevent me ripping the CD.

I'm now in posession of MP3s of the whole album and am toying with sharing them on Kazaa and WinMX to serve them right for making me spend half an hour re-recording the CD. Well done BMG.

Sat, 03 January 2004

Permalink 12:35:24 pm

Adult Christmas Decorations

Originally posted by Big Ian at b3ta, but in case you missed it it's is definitely worth reposting. This is the original innocent decoration:

Innocent Christmas Decoration

and this is the same decoration 'when combined with a twisted mind' as Big Ian puts it:

Not So Innocent Christmas Decoration

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