Short links for March 31st, 2008

Some interesting things I bookmarked on on March 31st, 2008:

Haken Continuum
The Continuum by Haken Audio, $3390 for half-size, $5290 for a full-size board.
  • Gloggomobil: Programmable Music Machine – The wooden barrel is spun by means of a hand-crank on the side. Small pegs are inserted into pre-drilled holes in the barrel to determine what note plays and when. The music plays on a small-scale metallophone or Glockenspiel (like a xylophone but with metal tuned bars rather than wood).
  • Terje Isungset – Norwegian musician and percussionist who primarily plays intruments made from ice.
  • Zizzle Zoundz – Zoundz creates a fusion of self- composed music with an accompanying light show. Create your own riffs by placing one of Zoundz's pawns on an interactive “hot spot” on the sound board.

iTunes illegal in Norway?

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BuzzBums reports on the Norwegian Consumer Council which has deemed iTunes’ DRM (called Fairplay) illegal in Norway, with France and Germany possibly following suit.

“I understand that a company feels the need to protect its products from piracy,” said Thon (Bjørn Erik Thon, Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman) in 2006. “However, this should not negatively affect customers who through lawful means have obtained downloaded files. Today, iTunes´ use of DRM-technology renders the customers without rights in dealing with a company which on a whim can dictate what kind of access customers will have to products they have already paid for.”

Apple iTunes store
Apple iTunes store

Companies need to protect their cash cows, and iTunes music downloads certainly are a big money maker, but why does DRM have to be so user-unfriendly. I just recently had my first experience with iPod and iTunes and I really disliked the lack of freedom to easily move music files around. (I quickly abandoned iTunes and swapped it for Winamp which made things a little better)

I should be able to use any device to play the music I buy. It’s like that insane copy protection on CDs which prevents you from playing it on your PC (which is where I happen to spend most my workdays). And no, I don’t mean you need to be able to play your old VHS tapes on a DVD player, but it should all be a little less troublesome with these digital files, right?

Anyway, Norway is giving Apple until October 1st to alter Fairplay and the allowed use of iTunes Store files, or pay fines and close iTunes in Norway. Let’s see what happens, and whether other countries follow or not.