Monday, March 05, 2007

Inappropriate Bragging

When I bought my most recent mobile phone, it came with an industry-standard mini-SD card. The card had some stuff on it, including a ring tone that I rather like. Unfortunately, the capacity of the card is only 64Mb, which isn't a lot to play with if you want to have the device double up as a sometime MP3 player. So, I bought myself a nice 1Gb card. Swell. Holds a decent amount of music, and in such a tiny little bit of plastic.

Thing is, I can't transfer the bits I like from my original card, because SD stands for "Secure Digital", meaning that the people who sell you the card can put content on it that is "secure". Nothing to do with enhancing my security, it's all about ensuring that the seller's content cannot be moved or copied. From my point of view, this is a terrible restriction, because it means I can't use the ringtone I like even though I paid for the bloody thing.

This made me pause to think how odd it is that the name of the thing, in this case Secure Digital Media, actually brags about something that is a benefit to the seller but a significant restriction for the buyer. Why not come up with one called Huge Markup Media?

From the buyer's point of view, a more accurate name might be "Restricted Content Media". In other words, even if you pay for the thing, don't expect to be able to use it freely.

Similarly, I have a lot of sympathy for the thinking that DRM, the orthodox translation of which is "Digital Rights Management", could more accurately translated as "Digital Restrictions Management", since from the point of view of the consumer, DRM takes away my ability to do some things, and so it seems more accurate to use the word "restrictions" (which the technology imposes) rather than "rights" (which the technology removes).

It anyone could point me to a bit of software that would allow me to crack the security on my SD card and therefore use the ringtone that I like, I'd be delighted.


Nick said...

DRM is one of the two reasons why I won't upgrade to Vista. I'll hang on to XP as long as possible, and if DRM hasn't altered by then, I shall change to either Linux, or I'll live the American Dream and get a Mac instead.

Tickersoid said...

I felt the same way about Catalytic converters when they came out. Why would you brag that your car has a device which, has a minimal effect on the environment, whilst stunting developement of lean burn technowlogy and will reduce my power output, risk total loss by fire if I park over grass after a long run and will cost £400 to replace should I drive through a big puddle or hit a bad bump or have the ECU throw an epi'.

Qenny said...

nick: I'm in no rush to go to Vista. I've recently been playing around with OpenOffice as a precursor to moving to Linux one day. Macs are great, although I'm leery of their iTunes DRM.

tickersoid: And they make a really bad fart smell.

Al said...

Gnnnnnn, it's MB and GB (or to be more pedantic, MiB and GiB), unless you really do mean your new card is only 128 MegaBytes!

I'd have thought a techy would at least get that right!

Sorry, rant over, if there's one thing that annoys me more than misuse of the apostrophe, it's people who don't know their bits from their bytes!

Tickersoid said...

DvD player. Cheeper they are the more they'll play.

Reluctant Nomad said...

No comment.

Suzanne said...

I just followed the link from Brian Sibley's blog to discover yours. Looks good - I'll be back for a closer look soon.
Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I'm just content to have a mobile that I can use as a phone! I hate earplugs and if I want to listen to music, I like to listen big time!

The Fifth Floor said...

Qenny - so much to catch up on - the Lamb has come in from the cold... Glad you are still here!

The Fifth Floor said...

It is rather puzzling why things are sold that are so locked down we can't use their full functionality. Why invent the damned thing if you can't use all of it? I've got a nice simple cell phone that looks good but if people only knew ... it does nothing more than allow me to make and receive calls. Wait, wasn't that what it was supposed to do? :)

Inexplicable DeVice said...

How about a rock?

Or a stiletto heel?