DRM: The Music Industry's Dirty Secret

December 5, 2007

To anyone that stays current with the latest technology news, DRM is nothing new. It's hated by everyone except the record labels, and certain countries even have strict laws preventing people from circumventing it. It's a constant battle between fair use and preventing piracy, but the battle seems to be swaying far, far away from fair use. Sometimes being so close to the technology industry obscures how good a job the music industry has done at keeping DRM a secret. Ask anyone in I.T. what DRM is and they'll shake their fist at it. Ask anyone else and you might just get a blank stare. My parents, for example, are not computer savvy people and have no clue what DRM is. All they know about DRM is that if they buy their music online they can never buy another brand of MP3 player or use a different music program. After I released iTunes Sync I was given a glimpse into just how secret DRM really is. Here is an actual email that I received from someone quite recently.

I have a Samsung Sansa e260R that was given to me to replace an iPod Shuffle that broke. I used your software to sync my iTunes which included both songs copied from my CDs and songs purchased via iTunes. Your software worked great, except it would not copy purchased songs. It said it was copying all the files and that all files were copied, but when I look in my mp3 player, only those tunes that I did not purchase appear. Is there anything I can do to use these song I paid for? Thank you for your work! Sherry

Sherry has no idea what is going on with her music, and no idea why she can't listen to her music on her new MP3 player. She thinks that she is doing something wrong. Apple never warned her that her music was forever locked to iTunes and her iPod, so now she is out of luck. Here's another email.

Dear Sir, I'm trying to move my iTunes library to my new AT&T Samsung Sync phone. It has a microSD card, I need help moving this. I'm not a good computer person, but I know that I should be able to put my music I paid for on what I want. Thanks, Joe

Joe has just discovered the wonderful world of DRM for the first time, and only now he realizes how badly he has been scammed by Apple and the music industry as a whole. What can we do to prevent these emails in the future? Eliminating DRM would be nice, and some pioneering record labels are experimenting with this, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. What we really need is less-restrictive legislation when it comes to circumventing or removing the DRM. The DMCA in the United States gives far too much power to the record labels and no power to the people. Unfortunately the Canadian government has been under pressure lately to implement something similar. How can we stop laws like this from robbing people of their right to fair use? We need to spread the word. Tell your mom. Tell your aunt that is thinking about buying an MP3 player. Tell your cousin who just installed iTunes for the first time. Everyone needs to know this dirty secret, not just the tech crowd.

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DisplayFusion v1.5.0 Released

December 5, 2007

Hot on the heels of being featured in the latest issue of CHIP Magazine, I am pleased to announce the release of DisplayFusion v1.5.0! This is a significant release, as it addresses (hopefully) many of the Active Desktop issues that appeared in previous versions. These Active Desktop issues include everything from wallpaper being shifted incorrectly to wallpaper not appearing on 1 or more monitors. I have done a lot of reading regarding Active Desktop and have completely re-written all the code that interfaces with it. This new version also introduces a new feature called wallpaper shifting. Now you can "shift" your wallpaper on a per monitor basis, to ensure that spanned wallpaper lines up correctly, or just so you can tweak what parts of fitted wallpaper get trimmed. Here is an abbreviated list of changes that are included in this release:

  • Wallpaper shifting for each monitor
  • Significant memory usage improvements
  • Now detects a change with Active Desktop and prompts to adjust your wallpaper (if you have the wallpaper check enabled)
  • Added an "Apply" button to the Desktop Wallpaper window

I have also updated the online help and screenshots (which weren't updated since v1.1) so it should reflect the current feature set. If you have any questions about usage, or just want to see what it looks like before you try it out, head over to the DisplayFusion page. As usual, if you are running a version prior to v1.5.0, DisplayFusion will prompt you to upgrade next time it starts up (if you have update checking enabled). If you don't have update checking enabled, head over to the DisplayFusion page right now to grab the new version. A big thanks to everyone who submitted feature requests, bug reports and helped with testing. I wouldn't be able to release these improved versions without everyone's help. Thanks!

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DisplayFusion Bundled with CHIP Magazine

December 5, 2007

For those of you that speak German I invite you to pickup the latest issue of CHIP Magazine. DisplayFusion has found a home amongst it's pages, and comes bundled on the DVD as well. As an added bonus, CHIP Magazine has titled DisplayFusion as the "Tool des Monats", or in English, "Tool of the Month". I couldn't believe it when I first saw it, thank you CHIP! This is my second time being included with CHIP Magazine, so I think it's time I learned German so I can figure out whether it's a good review or not.

CHIP Magazine DisplayFusion December 2007
CHIP Magazine DisplayFusion December 2007  CHIP Magazine DisplayFusion December 2007
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DisplayFusion v1.4.2 Released

November 11, 2007

I am very happy to announce the latest release of DisplayFusion! This new version fixes a number of very important issues, including images appearing on the wrong monitors. With help from Keith and Erik Lammers I was able to trace the problem to Active Desktop. I was unaware that selecting the option "Hide Desktop Icons" enables Active Desktop, which causes the wallpaper offsets to change and mess everything up. Well, with this new version all of this is now fixed and working like a champ. Here is a quick rundown on some of the changes in this version:

  • Fixed wallpaper getting applied in reverse order when Active Desktop is enabled
  • The error "DisplayFusion is already running" doesn't happen anymore when using multiple sessions
  • Bolded the default system tray menu item, "Desktop Wallpaper"
  • Increased the proxy settings fields to 1000 characters

Some of these changes and fixes were reported many, many times, especially the wallpaper appearing on the wrong monitor. The proxy characters issue was an oversight on my part and is now corrected, so anyone with long server names or usernames make sure to grab this update.

You can download the latest version on the DisplayFusion page, which I would advise everyone to do. As always, if you have any issues please visit the Online Support page and I'll do my best to help you out. Thanks again to everyone who submitted feedback and to everyone who helped to test this new version.

Thanks!

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DisplayFusion: Still Ticking

October 16, 2007

3 weeks ago I announced that DisplayFusion had passed 10,000 downloads. Well, in less than 3 weeks it has added on another 10,000 downloads to pass a total of 20,000 downloads in just 7 weeks since it's release at the end of August.

It's cool to see something that started out as a pet project blossom into my most popular application. What started out as a great way to learn part of the Win32 API has turned into something useful. A couple of weeks ago Lifehacker ran a "System Tray Show and Tell" article, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that DisplayFusion appeared in more than a few of the screenshots.

Thanks everyone!

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DisplayFusion Quick Fix Version Released (v1.4.1)

September 29, 2007

I have released a quick fix version of DisplayFusion to clear up a few small issues. Here are the biggest changes:

  • Re-applying wallpaper is now smarter, to allow for people that frequently go from 2 monitors to 1
  • "Move windows to next monitor and size proportionally" HotKey is now working again

As always, you can find the complete list of changes in the DisplayFusion Change Log. To download this new version just head over to the DisplayFusion page.

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DisplayFusion Party Time: BYOB

September 24, 2007

That's right, let's party! You provide the beer, I'll provide the party. Yesterday DisplayFusion passed 10,000 downloads, less than 1 month since it's release in late August. Hurray! Thanks to everyone who helped with testing, and to everyone who has submitted feedback. You've all helped shape DisplayFusion into what it is today.

On that happy note, I'm pleased to announce the latest version, 1.4. This new version fixes some important bugs that have popped up and adds some new features. Here is an abbreviated list of list of changes:

  • Now stores the last used wallpaper folder, for easier access
  • Added option to not prompt when the wallpaper changes and just fix it automatically
  • Added option to disable the HotKeys
  • Fixed a rounding error that caused windows to move up/left 1 pixel each time they are moved between monitors
  • Corrected an issue where some windows wouldn't drag if you tried to drag them from the very top while they are maximized

To download this new version head over to the DisplayFusion page. To view the complete list of changes check out the Change Log.

Thanks everyone!

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iTunes Sync included with CHIP Magazine

September 21, 2007

A couple of months ago I was approached by someone at CHIP magazine in Germany, wondering if they can include iTunes Sync in their October 2007 issue. Of course I said yes. Well, the magazine is out, and sure enough, it's right there on the DVD included with the magazine!

CHIP Magazine October 2007 iTunes Sync (Cover)  CHIP Magazine October 2007 iTunes Sync (Article)

iTunes Sync has been linked to many times, but this is the first time I have seen it in writing... and I've got to say, it feels pretty good. Apparently CHIP magazine has 1.4 million subscribers as well, so what a great feeling this is. Thanks to everyone who helped test iTunes Sync, and to everyone who submitted bugs and feature requests. And an especially big thanks to my team of translators who localized iTunes Sync into German and Spanish. Even though the localized version (v1.5) wasn't included with the magazine, anyone that installs the copy from the magazine will be prompted to update to the version that includes localization.

Also, I'd like to thank CHIP magazine for sending me a copy of this months issue. I can't make out what the write-up about iTunes Sync says exactly, but I ran it through Google Translate and it seems to be positive.

Thanks Everyone!

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DisplayFusion v1.3 Released

September 17, 2007

I have built and released the latest version of DisplayFusion, version 1.3. This updated release contains a few quick fixes, and adds some extra functionality:

  • Added: New hotkey to centre the window and size it to 100% (basically maximized without actually maximizing it)
  • Added: Option to watch if any other programs (or computer policies) change your wallpaper, then prompt you to restore it
  • Added: Option to search Flickr images by Group name/description as well, not just by a Person's name
  • Changed: Moved the folder that web images get saved to from AppData to the "My Pictures" folder for easier access
  • Changed: Changed the default filenames of web images from random IDs to the image's title for easier access

For the complete list change of changes take a look at the Change Log.

Check out DisplayFusion today!

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iTunes Sync v1.5 Released

September 12, 2007

iTunes Sync v1.5 has just been released onto that wild party known as the internet... and it's the biggest release to date. It includes a whole heap of changes, including some exciting new additions. Let's jump right in and starting chatting about the biggest change of all: localization. With some fantastic help from 6 fearless volunteers we have localized iTunes Sync into these 3 languages:

  • Deutsch: Georg Madler, Jurgen Hardt, Philipp Klingler, Thiemo Scherle
  • English
  • Espanol: Hugo Gomez Mac Gregor, Nicolas Pierri

Also included in the Change Log are these exciting additions:

  • 3 new File Extensions: wma, wmv and asf
  • 4 new Folder Structures that include the Playlist name as a prefix
  • Proxy settings for connecting to the internet (auto-updating)
  • Reduced the memory usage
  • Better handling of duplicate playlists - it now shows you which playlist names are duplicated

This is only about half of all the changes, fixes and additions. If you want to see everything that has changed please check out the complete Change Log.

iTunes Sync

Check out the latest version of iTunes Sync today!

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