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Blackmail DRM - Stolen Thoughts

2012 Feb 13, 4:00

Most existing DRM attempts to only allow the user to access the DRM'ed content with particular applications or with particular credentials so that if the file is shared it won't be useful to others. A better solution is to encode any of the user's horrible secrets into unique versions of the DRM'ed content so that the user won't want to share it. Entangle the users and the content provider's secrets together in one document and accordingly their interests. I call this Blackmail DRM. For an implementation it is important to point out that the user's horrible secret doesn't need to be verified as accurate, but merely verified as believable.

Apparently I need to get these blog posts written faster because only recently I read about Social DRM which is a light weight version of my idea but with a misleading name. Instead of horrible secrets, they say they'll use personal information like the user's name in the DRM'ed content. More of my thoughts stolen and before I even had a chance to think of it first!

PermalinkCommentsdrm blackmail blackmail-drm technical humor social-drm

Blog Layout and Implementation Improvements

2009 Jul 19, 11:44

Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, Charlottesville, Va. (LOC) from Flickr CommonsI've redone my blog's layout to remind myself how terrible CSS is -- err I mean to play with the more advanced features of CSS 2.1 which are all now available in IE8. As part of the new layout I've included my Delicious links by default but at a smaller size and I've replaced the navigation list options with Technical, Personal and Everything as I've heard from folks that that would actually be useful. Besides the layout I've also updated the back-end, switching from my handmade PHP+XSLT+RSS/Atom monster to a slightly less horrible PHP+DB solution. As a result everything should be much much faster including search which, incidentally, is so much easier to implement outside of XSLT.

PermalinkCommentsblog database redisgn xslt mysql homepage

Dr. Horrible Link Roundup

2008 Aug 10, 3:33

Doctor Horrible's Sing Along Blog is an Internet only show you may have already watched and heard everything about. If you missed this somehow, its a musical by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) staring Neil Patrick Harris as an aspiring super villian who can't get up the courage to talk to his laundromat crush. Its very funny, fairly geeky, and on the Internet so of course I've enjoyed it thoroughly and have some links to share. It surprised me how many blogs that I don't usually see posting the same things telling me about it: first on Eric's blog, then The Old New Thing, and even Penny-Arcade.

Dr. Horrible's again available online via Hulu with commercial interruption.

Check out the official fan site. They link to such things as the owner of Dr. Horrible's house. He had appeared on Monster House, a reality show about remaking people's homes like Monster Car or Pimp My Ride is about remaking folk's cars, and had his house turned into a evil scientist's lab. Consequently its a perfect fit for Dr. Horrible and in return the owner appears in one of the final scenes and in the credits as the 'Purple Pimp'. Apparently the purple suit is his. Also on his blog you can find out what's happened on that big chair that appears in the show. All I'll say about that is, good thing Neil Patrick Harris wears a lab coat while sitting on it.

At the recent Comic Con some attendees took video of the Dr. Horrible Comic Con panel (video clips contain spoilers) some of which I've grouped together. Besides the videos containing the creators and stars of the musical who are all hilarious (see Felicia Day's comment on twittering) there's also some excellent bits about a possible second installment and information on the impending DVD. To finish off this series of Dr. Horrible links check out this Venn Diagram of Felicia Day's work.

PermalinkCommentsdr. horrible doctor horrible humor link roundup

Dr. Horrible

2008 Jul 15, 3:50This is 'Dr. Horrible' (Neil Patrick Harris) a man in love, and also a super villain fighting Nathan Fillion. This is all Joss Whedon's Internet only awesome thing. Its free if you watch now but eventually it will go away unless you pay for it.PermalinkCommentshumor geek super-hero internet media video tv joss-whedon neil-patrick-harris nathan-fillion via:ericlaw

Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

2008 Jul 15, 3:47Lots of meta info on 'Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog', Joss Whedon's Internet only hilarious and awesome project.PermalinkCommentshumor geek super-hero internet media video tv joss-whedon neil-patrick-harris nathan-fillion

Feed Folder Deprecated; Use Internet Explorer 8

2008 Mar 7, 7:20

Internet Explorer 8 has made my plugin Feed Folder obselete in functionality and implementation -- which is good!

IE8's Feed Folder feature screen shot.IE7 Feed Folder plugin screen shot.

I made Feed Folder for IE7 because I wanted the Live Bookmarking feature from FireFox. The Feed Folder plugin for IE7 would allow you to display your feeds as virtual folders in your Links Bar. When your feed is updated the virtual folder is updated as well with the new feed items. I use del.icio.us to store all my links so I could add virtual folders of my daily links, my friends blogs links, quick reference links, etc. etc.

My plugin relied on shell folders to implement the virtual folders I described above, but IE8 doesn't support shell folders in the Favorites Bar. But I'm OK with Feed Folder not working in IE8 since there's a much better implementation already there. IE8 does better than my plugin on a number of points: First, there isn't the horrible perf. issue that my plugin had on Vista. Second, when a feed is updated the virtual folder flashes to note the change in status. Third, unread items are bolded and the bolding bubbles up from feeds contained in subfolders. And lastly, the middle click button is supported to open items in a new tab.

Accordingly, I don't plan to work on Feed Folder anymore unless someone comes up with a good reason. Instead I mark Feed Folder deprecated and suggest you use Internet Explorer 8 instead.

To use this feature in IE8 simply drag a feed from your feed list in your Favorites Center onto your Favorites Bar. Or, when viewing a feed, click on the 'Add to Favorites' Star Plus icon thing in the upper left, and select 'Monitor on Favorites Bar'. A .url Internet Shortcut file is produced as usual, but if you open up the .url file you'll see there's some additional info about the feed.

PermalinkCommentsie8 feed feedfolder plugin technical browser ie rss

Opera Speed Dial Code-less Hack for IE7

2007 Apr 17, 11:45Opera (the fifth most popular web browser) has a new feature named Speed Dial (video of it in action). Whenever you open a new tab you get your Speed Dial view which consists of nine thumbnails of user-settable pages. Its like a quick-favorites that appears every time you open a new tab. I think this is a neat idea and was considering how I might do that in IE7. The following is my hack-y and ugly but no coding required version of Speed Dial for IE7. I like my hack and I'm about to expound upon it in unnecessary detail so skip to the last paragraph if you're afraid of losing interest.

By default in IE7, whenever you open a new tab you navigate to 'about:Tabs'. As noted in wikipedia the result of navigation to 'about:Tabs' is determined by values in the registry. Specifically, values in the key in "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\AboutURLs". Usually this fact is exploited by malicious software to hijack "about:blank" and show you ads but we can hijack it too in order to display our Speed Dial-ish page.

Of course since this is a code-less hack we've got limited options on what to change 'about:Tabs' to display. It should have the following requirements.
  1. Something local so that our 'about:Tabs' doesn't disappear when we go offline and so that its relatively fast.
  2. The user should be able to modify its content.
  3. Show links that the user uses.
  4. Show thumbnails of those links
  5. Provide easy to use drag and drop interaction and generally look cool.
Now, I use del.icio.us which allows me to store all of my favorites online and which provides RSS feeds that list my saved links. New in IE7 is an RSS platform that will, among other things, cache RSS feeds locally. So, by pointing about:Tabs to my del.icio.us feed 'http://del.icio.us/rss/sequelguy/quickreference' I get (1) from IE7's RSS support, and (2) and (3) from del.icio.us. Of course requirements (4) and (5) are missing but hey, I said this was ugly.

In summary, if you change the registry value "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\AboutURLs!Tabs" to point to an RSS feed of your favorites you can get a hack-y version of Opera's Speed Dial. I should note that although its referenced on pages such as wikipedia changing your 'about:Tabs' URI in the manner I describe is not documented and not supported by Microsoft. There could be all kinds of horrible repercussions from this change of which I'm not aware. Yeah, actually you know what? Forget I said any of this. Pretend I never wrote it...PermalinkCommentsbrowser technical hack

REVENGE CD + EARPLUGS

2007 Mar 21, 12:48A CD of horrible noises to take revenge on hated neighbors. Comes with earplugs to protect yourself. Maybe useful against downstairs neighbor who wakes me up with his subwoofer.PermalinkCommentsproduct revenge audio music noise
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