Bill C32 and digital locks

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In Michael Geist’s recent post about digital locks, he talked about who was actually impacted by the restrictions on circumventing digital locks for non-infringing purposes.

I personally agree that Bill C32 as it currently stands is far to restrictive to provide a practical, enforceable and fair implementation of digital locks.  Mr. Geist’s logic is sound in the article, but I do believe it does not go far enough in finding the reality of digital locks in technology and how they impact consumers.

In the real world, every significant digital lock that has been implemented to “protect” content has been broken.  And to heap insult on to injury, it hasn’t even taken much effort to do so.  Most of the people breaking the digital locks are single users working in isolation.  Image if any significant group of computer scientists were to put effort in to breaking digital locks…

Bill C32’s digital lock restrictions is based on a fallacy, that digital locks actually work.  They don’t and it’s not news to anyone who has done even the most basic of searches on the Internet on jailbreaking, dvd decrypting or cracks of just about any kind.

Bill C32 will not stop this behaviour, just as the DCMA has not in the US.  There will always be individuals who will circumvent digital locks for nothing more than the challenge of it.

Digital locks need to be treated much more like real locks.  When I buy a house, with locks on it, I am allowed to circumvent those locks when I need to.  Imagine buying a house, losing your keys and being unable to call a locksmith to circumvent the locks because it was illegal to pick them.

The content industry may argue that in fact you don’t buy the content, but instead just rent/lease it, like an apartment.  However that argument falls flat very quickly, once you have “bought” your Bluray, you never again interact with the company, no ongoing fee’s, no limited time use, etc (yes, the most obtrusive of DRM can inflict these kinds of things, but that’s not what most people get and it’s only purpose is to restrict your use of the content, not produce an ongoing relationship between the consumer and vendor).

Once I’ve bought my Bluray, I expect it to work today, tomorrow and in 10 years without having to “buy” it again because someone else decided I shouldn’t be able to watch it anymore.

Digital locks are not the answer to the content industries concerns over copyright infringement.  The best example of this is the music industry itself, which went from music formats with DRM to DRM free MP3’s.  Did sales of digital songs suddenly crash because the DRM was removed?  No, digital music downloads continue to grow and will eventually be the only way to get music due to its convenience and speed.

When infringement happens, there are laws to deal with it.  Creating new laws that simply define everyone as an infringer do nothing to stop infringement and only create more problems for everyone.

The WP7 Calendar

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Having used the WP7 calendar now for a while, one item that kind of jumped out at me was how it interacted with multiple accounts. Currently on my WP7 phone I have three accounts setup, My Exchange server, Windows Live and Facebook.

When I first set up these accounts I left the default names in place, so they were called Outlook, Windows Live  and Facebook.  However I didn’t like “Windows Live”, so I changed it to just “Live”.

I don’t actually use my Live account at all, it doesn’t even have a mailbox, it uses my Exchange account as the login id.  This works well as I really don’t want yet another mailbox to work with.  However there is no way in WP7 to disable Calendar and Contact sync with a Live account, once you have setup a Live account, you get sync’d with everything.

So having nothing in my Live calendar I went in to the WP7 calendar options and turned the Live calendar off.

One would expect that turning the calendar off would disable all functionality in the calendar app, but really it just turns off the display of calendar items.  Which I guess is ok, but seems a little counter intuitive.

Shortly after all of this, I created my first calendar item on the phone and this is where it got interesting.  When creating a new appointment, WP7 picks the first account with a calendar in alphabetical order, weather  it is turned on or off.  So in my case, since I’d renamed the Live account, I had to select my “Outlook” account each time I created a new appointment.

It was an easy “fix”, I just renamed the Live account back to Windows Live, but really there are three questions I have for Microsoft:

  1. Why can’t I disable calendar sync on my Windows Live account?
  2. Why doesn’t turning off a calendar disable all of its functionality?
  3. Why is there not way to set the default calendar to use for new items?

Perhaps on of the updates this year will answer one of these questions, but until then the workaround is pretty straight forward.

P.S. A fourth question might be why the default name for an Exchange account is Outlook, but that kind of answers itself as most people think of Outlook as their mail server, not Exchange, because that’s what they see on the client 🙁

More thoughts on my HD7…

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So a week on from my first post on my new HD7 and I thought I’d give an update to a few things.

The case I bought with the phone is now in the trash bin, it was truly the worst case I have ever had for a phone.  Over the weekend I went around to several stores to try and phone a better case as well as a holster, no luck on the holster but I did find an Otter Box for the HD7 at TBooth.  I have to say I love this case, it makes the phone feel very solid and doesn’t block any of the ports.  It would be nice to find a holster as well, but it’s still early days for accessories for the HD7 in Canada.  I’m headed to the US shortly and will take a look to see what’s available when I’m there.

I mentioned in my original post that sometimes selecting items seems to “miss”, this is still an issue, but not as much as at first.  Some of my original “misses” seem to actually have been the need to hold the button for a second or so, like to delete a message.  I assume this is a “feature”.  It’s not a big issue and it looks like over time I’ll get over it.

Likewise, my tendency to swipe down and hit the search button seams to have cleared itself up quite nicely 🙂

I’m adding to the “not WP7’s fault but it would still be nice” list the lack of task sync as well.

Finally, I didn’t mention anything about the office hub in my original post and that was due to the fact I don’t use it, however I’m setting up a SharePoint server to poke around with it so I’ll do a future update on what I find.

That’s it for now.

The first WP7 Update

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Yesterday Microsoft pushed out the first update to Windows Phone 7 and I guess I’m one of the lucky ones to have received it in the first “wave”.

The update is nothing special, just an update to the update software, presumably to get us ready for the next “copy and paste” update coming in March.

Installation required a sync with my PC and an update to the Zune desktop software.  I only ran in to a single problem, after downloading and updating the new version of the desktop software it tried to “restart” the Zune desktop, however it failed with an error message.

Re-launching the Zune software however picked right back up and continued to deploy the patch.

The longest part of the update was the complete backup of the phone, which seems like it was  good thing as there is some chatter around the net that some phones needed a hard reset after the update.

Remember, backups are your friend 😉

The first 10 free applications on my WP7 phone

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I’ve had my Windows Phone 7 for just a little while, but I thought I’d give a quick summary of the app’s I’ve installed (and kept) and my thoughts on them (in alphabetical order).

Adobe Reader

So, I haven’t actually read a PDF on my phone, it seems likely I eventually will.  So Reader gets to stay.

Facebook

While the integration in to the core OS is great, having the standalone app makes sense as some things are easier in the app.  Thinks like seeing your upcoming events.

Flixster

There are a couple of movie apps in the marketplace, but Flixter seems the easiest to use.  Some of the other apps try and bury the movie listings several layers down showing instead what they want you to see instead of what you want to know.

IMDb

How else are you supposed to find out about that 80’s move your watching right now and can’t remember the actor’s name?  This slick app will get you your celebrity fix lickity split.

Netflix

I have a Netflix account, which I use regularly, but I’m not convinced I’ll use it on my phone.  It’s here, but it may never get used.  We’ll see.

Opera Link for WP7

Opera is my main desktop browser, so this is a no brainer.  All my speeddial links and bookmarks right on my phone. Sweet!

WeatherBug

Live tile integration, forecasts, multiple locations and radar maps, what more can you want from a weather app.  The best of the best as far as I can tell.

Wikipedia

If IMDb gets you your celebrity fix, then Wikipedia get your “everything” else fix.

WordPress

This is another one of those apps I’m not sure I’ll use, but since I pretty much installed WordPress on this site to try out the apps, I guess it will stay for a while.

Yellow Pages Canada

I expect Microsoft and other phone makers to eventually include this kind of functionality directly in to the phone.  Reverse lookups, personal and business searches, it looks like the kind of app that will eventually be useful.

So that’s what’s on my phone so far, only two of the apps have made it my home tiles, WeatherBug and Opera Link.