Burning through Virgin Digital's collection (The DRM saga Part 4)

First time visitor? Catch up (don't worry they're short): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

This time I got a little unexpected help from one of my favorite pieces of software, VMware. Because of this, the method outlined here will:
- Take up a bit more hard drive space than previous methods
- Run from any operating system that runs VMware, like Linux!

If you would like to reformat your hard drive and install a fresh copy of Windows XP, you can skip to step 3 and also skip step 8.

1. Download and install VMware

2. Inside of VMware, install a fresh copy of Windows XP. The following steps take place inside of the VMware Windows XP installation.

3. Find an old Virtuosa 5.0 on your favorite P2P network and install that.
MD5 Hash of my installer: 6D11D11A80894B56BEBF84A8AA9844C5

4. If you want to convert to MP3, download the latest version of the LAME encoder to make the files encode much faster. Put the "lame_enc.dll" in your Virtuosa\Plugins\MpgL3 folder replacing the one that is already there. When I posted this, the latest version was lame3.97, and that is what I used.

5. Download and install Virgin Digital. Sign up for the 14 day trial and stay on for only $7.99/month. Please support this great service!

6. Load downloaded Virgin Digital protected WMAs into Virtuosa

7. Select all of your files in the "Music and Movie Database" and go to "File>Convert To"

-In the "File Format Conversion" window:
a. Choose an output format (MP3/WAV)
b. Choose an output directory
c. Click the check mark

8. If you're running VMware from Windows, use VMware's drag and drop features to drag your files out of VMware and onto your normal installation. If you're running it from Linux, get the files off of your virtual machine in one of hundreds of geekilicous ways. Then set a Snapshot of your virtual machine with Virgin Digital and Virtuosa all set up for each future conversions.

9. Enjoy your MP3s anywhere or burn WAVs to a CD!

[Update: March 25th, This method no longer works.]

22 Mar 05 | +Permalink+ | Comments (585) | TrackBack (1)

PyMusique: iTunes Music Store minus DRM

Now that the bit-level ripping of Napster files has officially ended, lets take a look back at iTunes. The infamous DVD Jon and friends have released PyMusique- an interface to the iTunes Music Store that allows you to buy music completely DRM free. That is, it gets the music before the DRM is even placed on it and delivers that to you.

This not only gives Windows users the ability to get DRM free music from iTMS; it allows Linux users to use the iTunes Music Store for the first time.

But hey, we all know that the reason people don't use the iTunes Music Store isn't really the DRM- it's the prices! $1.00 a song!? Better start hitting those recycle bins.

[Update: On March 22, 2005, Apple broke PyMusique. That same day, a new version of PyMusique was released that worked again, only this time without a Windows version. Then on March 31, SharpMusique, a windows compatible port of PyMusique, was released.]

18 Mar 05 | +Permalink+ | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Unlimited movie downloads for 14 days, no tricks

Like movies? Like the napster all-you-can-eat subscription model? This is not a "hack".

STARZ! Ticket on Real Movies

RealNetworks has teamed up with the STARZ! movie channel to bring us the best internet movie delivery service to date. STARZ! Ticket is a subscription based movie service that gives you unlimited access to all of the movies in their library. Watch them as many times as you want, watch as many as you want, for the length of your subscription. Find a movie you want to watch, click "Download Now", and in less than a minute, it will have downloaded enough of your movie for you to start watching it as it downloads.

When I saw this, I figured there was no way movies delivered this fast with so few restrictions could be very high quality. I've tried this service out for about a week and the quality blows me away! It easily beats DiVX in my book, but you can decide for yourself with the 14 day trial.

This service is not for you if you're not on a broadband connection, or if you have a problem with watching movies on your computer screen and you can't hook your computer to your TV.

The videos you get from the service are protected by Helix DRM, Real's digital rights management technology that has yet to be circumvented. But with the amount of rights they give you with their movies, that's hardly worth whining over. Check it out!

16 Mar 05 | +Permalink+ | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Operation iTunes Cap Harvest

Instead of an application vulnerability, this little "hack" only requires some free time and residence in a large building that recycles. Now that iTunes is running their Pepsi cap promotion again, and this time with a free iPod mini per hour sweepstakes(!), lets use this time around to do better than tilting bottles to see if they are winners. How about never paying a cent!

My targets: College dorms with 1000+ people each

Extra things that you will need:

- The location of any small *open topped* recycle bins for plastics (rummaging through those big recycling cans full of bottles isn't the best idea...)

- The time that each floor/area's recycle bins are collected/emptied (you would obviously want to hit them right before this time)

- An iTunes account, duh

I suggest using this opportunity to get your hands on some of the many "iTunes Exclusive" songs. Then you could just run them through JHymn if you want them DRM free.

For those of you who think this takes too much time, let me just tell you it took me more time to write this entry than it did to find the 4 winning caps I found on my first run. ;) If you decide to take this on yourself, tell us about it in the comments.

9 Mar 05 | +Permalink+ | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

AllOfMp3.com safe for "a couple more years"

Update on the AllOfMp3 investigation situation:

"AllofMP3.com cannot be charged for piracy, prosecutors ruled, under the current criminal law. Which does not prevent musicians and labels from launching civil lawsuits for cases where AllofMP3.com sold copyrighted music and did not pay back the copyright holders. This is the most likely development for label lawsuits in the future, but they will be quite difficult to win if AllofMP3.com can prove it made all the necessary payments to ROMS. Another way, of couse, would be to change the current criminal law to introduce DMCA-like clauses that specifically relate digital distribution and distribution of physical goods."

Such changes in Russian law are said to take at least a couple more years.

[Moskalyuk Via Gizmodo]

6 Mar 05 | +Permalink+ | Comments (2) | TrackBack (2)