Monthly Archives: February 2007

Chocolate Mousse

Note: Bumped this old post for all of you chocolate lovers out there!

Happy ValentineIngredients
4 dl cream
4 eggs
100 g sugar
300 g dark (70%) chocolate
100 g butter
cognac

Directions
1. Melt the chocolate and butter together.
2. Whip the cream until stiff. Put it in the fridge.
3. Whip the egg whites until stiff, adding half the sugar slowly at the end of the process. Put it in the fridge.
4. Whisk the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar. Add cognac.
5. Mix in the melted chocolate.
6. Mix in the whipped cream.
7. Mix in the egg whites.

Leave in the fridge for 3 hours.

DAAP Licensing

DAAP (Digital Audio Access Protocol) is a protocol defined by Apple and used for iTunes streaming. Apple has licensed the DAAP protocol to at least one company: Roku. Their SoundBridge product is a networked music player that streams music from your computer. Thanks to Bonjour and DAAP the SoundBridge can stream music from an iTunes library without any configuration necessary.

The first version of DAAP was reverse engineered. In response, Apple added hashing of secret values to the next version of DAAP to block non-iTunes clients from connecting to the new version of iTunes. The new version of DAAP was also reverse engineered.

When Apple released iTunes 7 last September, they changed the secret hashing. You would think they would have informed their DAAP licensees of this in advance and provided them with updated DAAP documentation (they wouldn’t need to reveal the release date of the new iTunes version).

Not so.

According to this forum post by Roku’s Mike Kobb they were not given advance notice, let alone any updated documentation. It appears that it took Apple several weeks to supply Roku with updated DAAP documentation.

In light of this, it is not surprising that Steve Jobs is claiming that licensing FairPlay is not feasible and using bogus arguments to support his claim. Licensing FairPlay is quite feasible, it’s just that Steve doesn’t want to do so. Of course, from a business perspective I don’t mind ;)

I knew last year that Apple had licensed DAAP to Roku, but I didn’t learn until today that Apple had stabbed Roku in the back. Thanks to snorp (developer of ipod-sharp and other cool code) for pointing this out to me.

Steve on licensing FairPlay

This is the 3rd and last post about Steve’s “Thoughts on Music:)

However, a key provision of our agreements with the music companies is that if our DRM system is compromised and their music becomes playable on unauthorized devices, we have only a small number of weeks to fix the problem or they can withdraw their entire music catalog from our iTunes store.

The most serious problem is that licensing a DRM involves disclosing some of its secrets to many people in many companies, and history tells us that inevitably these secrets will leak.

Apple has concluded that if it licenses FairPlay to others, it can no longer guarantee to protect the music it licenses from the big four music companies. Perhaps this same conclusion contributed to Microsoft’s recent decision to switch their emphasis from an “open” model of licensing their DRM to others to a “closed” model of offering a proprietary music store, proprietary jukebox software and proprietary players.

Let’s look at the real world outside the Reality Distortion Field:

  • Microsoft’s Windows Media DRM 10 (marketing name PlaysForSure) has not had more security breaches than FairPlay despite the fact that it has been licensed to dozens of companies.
  • Microsoft’s decision to make the Zune DRM a closed system was a business decision and had nothing to do with DRM security. PlaysForSure is still in the market place and will be for the foreseeable future. Content owners are still authorizing content to be sold with PlaysForSure. In fact, WalMart launched a new movie download store (don’t click the link if you’re using Firefox unless you’re into abstract art) using PlaysForSure today.
  • Steve’s misleading statistics

    In his article “Thoughts on Music” Steve Jobs argues that people are not really locked into the iPod.

    Through the end of 2006, customers purchased a total of 90 million iPods and 2 billion songs from the iTunes store. On average, that’s 22 songs purchased from the iTunes store for each iPod ever sold.

    Its hard to believe that just 3% of the music on the average iPod is enough to lock users into buying only iPods in the future. And since 97% of the music on the average iPod was not purchased from the iTunes store, iPod users are clearly not locked into the iTunes store to acquire their music.

    Yes, hard to believe, until you realize that Steve is using misleading statistics. There may be 90 million iPods sold, but not all of them are currently in use. Furthermore, it’s the number of iTunes Store customers and average sales per customer that’s relevant, and Apple has never disclosed these figures.

    Many iPod owners have never bought anything from the iTunes Store. Some have bought hundreds of songs. Some have bought thousands. At the 2004 Macworld Expo, Steve revealed that one customer had bought $29,500 worth of music.

    If you’ve only bought 10 songs, the lock-in is obviously not very strong. However, if you’ve bought 100 songs ($99), 10 TV-shows ($19.90) and 5 movies ($49.95), you’ll think twice about upgrading to a non-Apple portable player or set-top box. In effect, it’s the customers who would be the most valuable to an Apple competitor that get locked in. The kind of customers who would spend $300 on a set-top box.

    Steve’s Thoughts on Music

    Steve Jobs has written an article titled “Thoughts on Music” in which he blames DRM entirely on the labels. Steve claims Apple wants to sell DRM-free music but the labels won’t let them. This of course flies in the face of reality. From an article in the NYTimes last month:

    Among the artists who can be found at eMusic are Barenaked Ladies, Sarah McLachlan and Avril Lavigne, who are represented by Nettwerk Music Group, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. All Nettwerk releases are available at eMusic without copy protection.

    But when the same tracks are sold by the iTunes Music Store, Apple insists on attaching FairPlay copy protection that limits their use to only one portable player, the iPod. Terry McBride, Nettwerk’s chief executive, said that the artists initially required Apple to use copy protection, but that this was no longer the case. At this point, he said, copy protection serves only Apple’s interests .

    Josh Bernoff, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, agreed, saying copy protection “just locks people into Apple.” He said he had recently asked Apple when the company would remove copy protection and was told, “We see no need to do so.”

    Apple’s statement is a detailed treatise on the subject, compared with what I received when I asked the company last week whether it would offer tracks without copy protection if the publisher did not insist on it: the Apple spokesman took my query and never got back to me.

    It should not take Apple’s iTunes team more than 2-3 days to implement a solution for not wrapping content with FairPlay when the content owner does not mandate DRM. This could be done in a completely transparent way and would not be confusing to the users.

    Actions speak louder than words, Steve.