Windows optimize

Patches not a solution for Vista design problem


Patch Tuesday is just around the corner, that monthly ritual when Microsoft absorbs a not-inconsiderable chunk of Web bandwidth to fix the design problems it's been sitting on for one to thirty days. One of those problems just might be the security breach created by ATI video card drivers.

But one design flaw is not likely to be fixed this month or any month. Vista, you see, makes HD movies and TV look worse by design. "Microsoft acknowledged that quality of premium content would be lowered if requested by copyright holders", and some consumer-generated content is getting caught up in that feature. It seems as though the Hollywood studios may join the unholy trinity which has fueled cycle after cycle of upgrades.

The original cyclical marketing system required the new OS to be so slow that you had to buy new hardware that was fast enough to run it. You had to have the new OS because it was required by the latest version of applications. You had to have the latest version of applications because they came with new file formats which were incompatible with the old, yet perfectly functional, software. In order to effectively do business and exchange information, everyone had to jump on the merry-go-round and hang on for dear life.

However, software publisher influence is waning fast; their budgets pale by comparison to Hollywood's pots of gold. They're willing to do just about anything to lock up our computers so we can't buy and sell movies, like we've bought and sold books and recordings for a century under the First Sale Doctrine. Early recordings (such as Edison cylinders) had license restrictions, but the trust-busting spirit of a century ago just might have had something to do with our current rights to buy and not rent books and music.

Has Linux and the Open Source movement arrived just in time to preserve our rights to own, not rent media?

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37 comments
raisch
raisch

This article attempts to raise awareness (somewhat ham-handedly) of a broader, far more critical issue facing us all: what rights do we as consumers have over creative works produced by others? And by extension, how Copyright law has and will continue to change to move wealth from our culture into the hands of the corporate world. It's obvious that Microsoft has hobbled Vista as a high quality entertainment platform to assuage the concerns of large media companies who have publicly stated numerous times that in order to protect the "interests of artists", they must be able to control "end-to-end" all use of creative works. (The most obvious example of this was big media's attempt to codify their interests in 2002's (failed) Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act or "CBDTPA") If big media has its way, you will no longer be able to "own" a movie or a song. Rather, you will only be allowed to "experience" a work when, where and how the copyright holder dictates. The list of things you will not be allowed to do without paying for the privilege seems endless, but here are a few of the highlights: Things You Cannot Do If Big Media Has Its Way sell a DVD or CD you purchased borrow a DVD or CD from a library lend a DVD or CD to a friend use services like NetFlix view a movie on your iPod or laptop use a song clip as a ring tone make an archival copy of a movie or song use a clip from a movie in a classroom create a clip for use within your own review of any creative work make a parody "mashup" of a movie or song to share with your friends ... etc. Since most of these restrictions are in direct opposition to current law, big media has been quietly and concertedly directing our government to change existing law to suit their needs. (The most recent example of this was 1998's Digital Millennium Copyright Act or "DMCA".) The bottom line is big media wants to enjoy the legal protections of copyright without any of the burden of the rights copyright provides to Society, like limit terms, fair use, resale, etc. If this concerns you, please consider visiting (and perhaps donating to) the only group working to protect your legal rights in the digital world: The Electronic Frontier Foundation at www.eff.org

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

"7. make an archival copy of a movie or song" Several of my more recent DVD purchases are content protected to the degree that I cannot now (using XP) make a simple backup copy. Bah...

jerry
jerry

Try "AnyDVD" and its mate "CloneDVD2". The company is based in Antigua where no one bothers them. AnyDVD works on HD and BluRay DVD's too. All "protection" is removed and the day a new scheme comes out they immediately update the program.

gil_gosseyn
gil_gosseyn

Try ripping the DVD with DVD Decryptor. Works great, creates unencrypted .ifo and .vob files, including all menus. And, it's FREE!.

raisch
raisch

A. E. Van Vogt's Null-A books: The World of Null-A The Players of Null-A (aka The Pawns of Null-A) Null-A Three explore how a society organized around our shared understanding of logic (as described in Aristotle's Organon) react when confronted by individuals who reject one or more of Aristotle's principles, specifically those rare few who reach correct, workable conclusions not from a strict analysis of facts but through the use of intuition or other highly integrative, "non-Aristotelian" processes. Much of the philosophy Van Vogt used in his Null-A novels can be found in Alfred Korzybski's General Semantics (GS), a logical framework stressing the difference between so-called "true" reality and our perceptions of it. The simplest example of a GS principle is the phrase: "The map is not the territory" which attempts to describe the difference between the concepts we hold of a "thing" and the thing itself. GS challenges us to question all of our "facts" by calling out the multitude of abstractions we use to understand and manipulate our environment. What I learned from these novels--and from further exploration of GS, Cognitive Science, NLP, Psychology, and other similar attempts to understand the difference between our world and the abstractions we create of it--informed much of my early intellectual development. But please don't let philosophy dissuade you from reading these books as they are also ripping good reads and I cannot recommend them strongly enough. Refs via Wikipedia: A. E. Van Vogt non-Aristotelian Logic General Semantics Alfred Korzybski

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Live it, learn it, love it.

seanferd
seanferd

The series of posts to which i was responding were written by Gil Gosseyn (and i see now that my response did not branch directly off his post, as intended). The name Gilbert Gosseyn (GO-SANE) is the name of the main character in several books (Null-A) by author A.E. Van Vogt. Patricia Hardie is another character who starts off as muddle-headed and a bit disconnected to reality. The point was that it is impossible to have an intelligent argument with between parties where one or both/some/all of the parties don't actually respond to the FACTS of the arguement, don't understand all the facts, or don't do any research/ fact-checking. PLEASE DO NOT ASSUME THAT I AM REFERRING TO ANYONE IN PARTICULAR. I AM NOT SAYING THIS TO OFFEND. IF A PERSON IS ONE WHO KNOWS AND ARGUES THE FACTS, I AM NOT REFERRING TO THAT PERSON. I do not have all the facts on the topic, i am simply responding to the arguementative styles sometimes found in 'blogs on this site. so... keep arguing. get radical if you need to. just argue with real information and respond to the actaual statements, or no one learns anything. Rock on y'all. Let there be Slack.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Googling the name doesn't yield anything relevant.

seanferd
seanferd

I think you know what I mean. Folks come off as insane or unsane because they really don't process what they're reading. They just fire back on the misunderstood partial information they do pick up, like so many people who become offended and go on an attack before a complete statement leaves the "offending" party's lips. There is way too much of this in these 'blogs, and I am not referring to real, actual, valid differences of opinion. I am referring to people won't make the effort to understand what someone else is saying. Hey, if you don't understand something, reseach it. May be you'll find that there is no basis for disagreement whatsoever. Especially about hard, proven facts that are accepted in consensus reality. E.G. I once had an arguement with someone that I had to terminate after half an hour, and I walked away with a signed paper which maintained that " Mass times Weight equals Volume". Keep alert: Thorson is looking for you. ps And pardon me for being a bit off topic. this thread was the one that finally got to me. I won't bother saying anything like this again. RAGE ON TechRepublic. Let there be slack.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Vista degrades the HD movies on purpose. Vista will NOT ALLOW YOU TO WATCH HD CONTENT because of DRM. That is all.

learush
learush

Has Linux and the Open Source movement arrived just in time to preserve our rights to own, not rent media?

rclark
rclark

It looks nicer yes, but is HDTV really worth the effort? Same with HighDef music. Who really needs that level of distortion free fidelity? I know a lot of time, money, and angst has been put into it, but really, you watch a movie for the content, not for the pixel rating. All of this artistic crud is really beside the point. I would rather have an operating system that will let me work without blue screens than be able to freeze frame a production quality work of art. Ideally, over time, we will get both, but my need is for reliable software. My want is for enjoyment of the accessories. Need beats want every time.

adnikauto
adnikauto

Will Linux and Open Source be a viable answer?... yes, but only for some time. Lea you right, I'm agre with you... BUT sooner or later all private computers will be prohibited... we are on a straight way to it. All computing will be placed on networks, we as the end users will have access only to terminals. After some time will be no terminals for end users. We get to Direct Communication Age. No kiddin... Regards

MadestroITSolutions
MadestroITSolutions

I think using more traditional and straight English would allow us to better understand what you are trying to convey (I don't think your audience is 100% English as first language). Anyways, a few comments about your statements: Microsoft is upgrading your computer with important updates. The web is simply the best means to deliver the information. What do you prefer, lots of bandwidth and bugs and viruses in your computer, or once a month lower bandwidth with better software and less secutiry concerns? Microsoft is not "sitting on it for thirty days". They are trying to minimize the impact on end users by grouping all the updates in one batch which is more efficient. New OS usually means improvement (not always though). I don't know in which world you live in, but as far as I know, most applications support older formats. It's called backwards compatibility. "Old, yet perfectly functional software" is outdated software, unless you still like typing letters in WordStar's DOS based editor. There is a saying out there I read some time ago that goes something like this: "By the time a piece of software works great, has no problems and no bugs whatsoever, it is an outdated dinasour". Of course you need to upgrade to do business effectively, it's called EVOLUTION. I just fail to see how they lock up our computers. I buy music, movies, etc etc all the time, and I have Windows Vista. You ask whether Linux and Open Source are a viable answer?... why do you ask? why do you think so? You give no reasons whatsoever but you bash Microsoft all article long. I have written comments about your article without bashing Linux or Open Source once. It would be nice to see articles that are a little bit less biased.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

"Microsoft is upgrading your computer with important updates. The web is simply the best means to deliver the information. What do you prefer, lots of bandwidth and bugs and viruses in your computer, or once a month lower bandwidth with better software and less secutiry concerns?" I agree here "I don't know in which world you live in, but as far as I know, most applications support older formats. It's called backwards compatibility." But office 2000 only poorly supports the native office 2007 formats, and office 2007 does not support the international ODF. Also, there are compatibility problems between identical "year" versions of office for windows and office for MAC. But this is a longstanding mac/pc issue revolving around standards and use of them in regards to fonts and invisible character marks in text. "Old, yet perfectly functional software" is outdated software, unless you still like typing letters in WordStar's DOS based editor." Office 2000, Office XP, Office 2003. Now are all OLD and Outdated" but hardly Wordstar. Word 2000 is more then enough for 98% of the population. What drastic, life altering improvement in Office 2007 justtifies its upgrade over office 2000, let alone office 2k3. "Of course you need to upgrade to do business effectively, it's called EVOLUTION." But the point is large software companies are attempting to control that evolution, that is not evolution, thats captive economy. "I just fail to see how they lock up our computers." Its called DRM. In most cases its not an issue for 99.9% of the population. But thats about to change with HD content. Lets say you run out and buy an 27" HD monitor, and a blueray player for your spiffy new computer. Vista will now only show you that content in normal resolutions, not HD. HD has been "locked out" on Vista computers to prevent the "piracy of premium content". Here they are neglecting a large, new chunk of the population...people like me. I do not own a television, I have a tuner card in my computer. I play rented DVDs through my computer, I have a premium sound card (not sound bloater anything =\) and external marantz amp feeding Paradigm speakers, my computer is my stereo. I WILL NOT be buying a HD dvd or blue ray system or movies if I can not view it in HD resolution on my computer. "You ask whether Linux and Open Source are a viable answer?... why do you ask? why do you think so? You give no reasons whatsoever but you bash Microsoft all article long." I have to agree with you here. There was no real content about how Open Source can help, just about how Vista hurts. And IMH, Open Source will not be able to do much "legally". Linux still struggles with the legality of Dvd and mp3 playback in Europe and America. But, that being said, it takes maybe 10 min to make any major linux distro play mp3s and encrypted dvds. Plus, we now have FLAC, screw MP3 anyway. ( iPod is to lame to support this superior format with out invalidating your warrenty by hacking the crap out of the firmware ) Also, the "encryption" key for hd content has been cracked several times now. Which means the scheme they are using is crap, and when it goes mainstream, linux will be able to use "non-legal" codecs to play hd content. The real issue is if hardware makers suck as plextor, LG, Hp, etc get on the drm bandwagon and require certain "software keys" befor playing any HD content. Its easy to point fingers at MS, but they are not the only player in this game. "I have written comments about your article without bashing Linux or Open Source once." You have not, actually, you have behaved in a mostly neutral manner. I may not agree with some of your statements, but I agree with how you said them. I too would like to see more content and less religious fervor.

SD ITman
SD ITman

Microsoft's history is filled with releasing software and OS's before they were ready. I mean why not when peple are so willing to go along with the idea that the paying public should be beta testers. It is certainly a cheaper way for microsoft. Not many software vendors can get away with that. Not all of us can be PR men for Bill.

jeb2004
jeb2004

I agree that the original post and question are vague, but they are based on substance. For a full analysis, go to http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html The core issue is that Vista's content protection mechanism only allows protected content to be sent over interfaces that also have content-protection facilities built in. If it cannot verify, the output is deliberately and significantly degraded. Many devices do not have content-protection facilities built in and even though they are perfectly capable of displaying the premium (HD) content, Vista will not output it. Content-protection facilities are not built into Linux and/or Open source software, so their users will get full premium (HD) content displayed on the exact same hardware that Vista displays degraded content.

W.E.
W.E.

OUR computers were restricted on their ability to watch a HD movie by the movie industry. The same people flinging law suits without due process (no identification or proof of the offender) against bit torrent sites. They are doing everything they can, and lobby for to protect their age old cash cow where the recording industry makes more money than the artist.

Wayne M.
Wayne M.

W.E. is absolutely correct in his assessment. This is not a Microsoft issue. As I alluded to in my title, currently DVDs have regional codes that prevent anyone from playing a DVD on a player outside of the DVD's region. When we visit Thailand from the US, we cannot play our legitimately purchsed DVDs unless we also bring a US manufactured DVD player. Not all of the world's problems caused by Microsoft.

normhaga
normhaga

Try removing the region code. You will find that your region free copied DVD will play on other DVD players in other countries unless they also use a diferent format. The US uses NTSC whereas a lot of other countries use PAL.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

What was presented in the article is an MS problem.

gil_gosseyn
gil_gosseyn

YOUR computer(I don't have Vista, and never will) is restricted on it's ability to watch a HD movie BY Microsoft in an effort to gain favor with the movie industry. There is NO LAW that says Vista has to fully implement the entertainment industry's "Dream Version" of DRM. Microsoft CHOSE to do it because they want the entertainment industry to make their content usable EXCLUSIVELY on Microsoft software. I agree that the entertainment industry is out of control with their DRM efforts. They tried the same thing when VCRs first became popular, and a Federal judge told them they couldn't, creating what became the "Fair Use Doctrine." Of course, he was one of those "activist judges" the Republicans always scream about when a decision goes against the interests of "Big Business." By the way, home video went on to make them more money than they ever made from theatrical distribution, saving them from bankruptcy in the face of ever-rising production costs. Unfortunately, they got their way after the President of the MPAA, Jack Valenti (who told a congressional panel in 1982, "I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone."), spread enough money around Washington to buy the Congressional votes needed to pass the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, arguing that copyright infringement via the Internet would severely damage the record and movie industries. Can you say "Deja vu"? And now Microsoft has gone above and beyond the DMCA, trying to gain a monopoly on Internet and computer entertainment. At least the entertainment industry is up-front about it, unlike Microsoft.

MadestroITSolutions
MadestroITSolutions

However, is this a Microsoft thing or does it affect everyone? From your explanation I would say this would be the case for any technology, regardless of the maker.

meryllogue
meryllogue

Sorry. You lost me totally. What was the point? I am curious... are you saying that if I download a movie to my Vista PC it will look crappy compared to my old TV?

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

?that Microsoft does not see us (the end-users of Windows) as their real customers. We are merely the ?critical mass? of consumers who maintain the status of Windows as the de-facto operating system standard. Microsoft considers the users who purchase their applications and development tools, middleware consumers who purchase servers, and the media companies and others who will pay license fees for use of their technology as their real customers. Since we (the end-users of Windows) are not the ?real customers?, our interests are secondary to these other interests. (The money Microsoft makes off of Windows is merely icing on their cake) Since we (the end-users of Windows) are not Microsoft?s primary customer, Microsoft only needs to make Windows work well enough, or easy enough so that a critical mass of users do not defect to another platform. If there is any issue that pits the end-users vs. Microsoft?s ?real? customers, the end-users will lose. And that?s clearly what?s happened here. This is why there is a war going on between the makers of high-end display cards and Microsoft. Unlike with Windows, we actually are the real customers for the video hardware companies. If their product doesn?t work, or doesn?t work well enough to justify their premium price, they?re out of business. There?s far more choice in high-end video cards than there is in operating systems. The reality is that as long as there is not viable alternative to Windows (Sorry Linux fans, we?re still a long way off from that reality) then this is what we will be stuck with; being the 2nd consideration in OS design.

learush
learush

If you take high-quality video and funnel it through a high-quality device (the high-end video cards required for Vista eye-candy), the resolution of that video is purposely downgraded. It probably wouldn't be any worse than your old TV, but it would definitely be worse than an HD set.

clintonspicer
clintonspicer

Well written gil, actually why didn't you write the first article, your explanation was a lot clearer yet a bit more confronting. Anyhow I agree, Microsoft does not have any right to tell you that you can or cannot watch a movie in a certain way, shape or definition. If the movie industry does not like their movies becoming subject to copyright then why do they not work on decent enough unbreakable code, or work on a device where that people cannot copy from.... Send the disc back to the manurfacturer if it is damaged to get a replacement instead of the so called "backup". Until these companies get thier shit together they have no right to enforce bollocks like this one

gil_gosseyn
gil_gosseyn

The point is that even if you HAVE a monitor and/or graphics card that is capable of displaying HD content, if your entire playback chain (content, player, GFX card, cable, and monitor) doesn't strictly adhere to the HDCP standard that Microsoft implemented to suck up to the MPAA and the movie studios, you will not be able to see HD content that you OWN or CREATE in HD. How would YOU feel if you had an HD movie camera, and couldn't actually watch your recordings on your computer in HD? And what about the indie actors and directors who self-market their works? The TV/movie industry has completely ignored the Fair Use Doctrine that was established by the courts when they tried to make recording TV or movies with home VCRs illegal. The record industry tried the same thing when home cassette recorders first came out, and failed. Unfortunately, they had some success when home audio CD recorders came out, and got the recorder manufacturers to only use the more expensive "Audio CDs" that gave the record companies a "royalty fee," although I doubt any of the artists ever saw it. And now Microsoft has signed up to be the industry's self-appointed policeman, taking control of your computer and telling you what you can or can't watch (or at what quality), including content you have LEGALLY BOUGHT or CREATED! "I would think that if they downgrade the video, there must be a reason behind it." Yes, and the reason is they hope to get the entertainment industry to make their content usable on computers with Microsoft software ONLY! "It probably looks better with a graceful degradation than by allowing the device to "interpret" something it is not supposed to." This statement is ill-informed, at best. But I think it's just stupidity and blind, ignorant trust. "I don't think they just do it to keep their business interests." And this statement proves it. And if you think, which you probably will, that I'm just a "Microsoft basher," then you deserve what you get with Vista, including the feature that lets Microsoft disable your Operating System at will. Think not? They've already done it to many Vista users with a faulty "critical update." And then there's the update that erased the Master Boot Record on some Vista user's hard drives. Not to mention the audio driver update that MS wrote to use memory space reserved for the system32.dll. Enjoy!

MadestroITSolutions
MadestroITSolutions

I mean, I would think that if they downgrade the video, there must be a reason behind it. It probably looks better with a graceful degradation than by allowing the device to "interpret" something it is not supposed to. I don't think they just do it to keep their business interests. I think these are your own conspiracy theories. I think it goes without saying that you are a Microsoft basher.

bkneeland
bkneeland

There does not seem to be a real point to this article. Perhaps there was suppose to one other than just Microsoft bashing. I think the article says if I want to watch an HD movie on a PC, I will have to run it on my Ubuntu PC not my Vista? BTW, how does XP figure into this article? Will it display an HD movie at HD? BTW, who has an HD monitor on their PC? Is there such a monitor? BTW, I don't even have and HD TV or even an HD movie to watch. I guess I am still in the stone age with my Sony WEGA 32" TV with Comcast and a plain DVD player. Oh well, another year of NOT keeping up with the Jones....LOL

ozi Eagle
ozi Eagle

Hi, I've found that the best way to get HD, even on my old TV is to put my glasses on. Herb