Blu rays of death

There is an onslaught of infuriating things coming to my attention lately. And being the person I am I can’t just let it slide – it irks me. So here’s another one: doing a bit of casual research about Blu-Ray support in Linux I came across some happy blog talking about MakeMKV so, naturally I went on exploratory mission (it would’ve not been me if I didn’t)  and came across some interesting material about BD+ and SVQ files :

For example, if a blu-ray player is connected to home network then a BD+ program can scan all shared files on all computers on the network and upload the report to a remote server. While it is very unlikely that studios will put such an evil program on a disc, it is technically possible.

Whoa! What?!?!?! I was musing before on the subject of possibly revoked keys on your Blu-Ray device via acknowledged firmware update to accommodate newer disks requiring firmware higher than rev X, but this blows even my conspiracy theories!

Wikipedia article doesn’t alleviate the fears – it makes it oh so much more real:

BD+ is effectively a virtual machine embedded in authorized players. It allows content providers to include executable programs on Blu-ray Discs. Such programs can:[8]

  • examine the host environment, to see if the player has been tampered with. Every licensed playback device manufacturer must provide the BD+ licensing authority with memory footprints that identify their devices.
  • verify that the player’s keys have not been changed.
  • execute native code, possibly to patch an otherwise insecure system.
  • transform the audio and video output. Parts of the content will not be viewable without letting the BD+-program repair it.

While everybody was thinking that Blu-Ray devices were made for viewing movies by their owners, things are exactly in reverse – those movies are watching us. How can we be so stupid and let ourself be fooled into that?

While I have no problem paying for movies and I do exactly that to which I have a proof – my 300+ DVD collection, I object to any snooping done by any third parties in my house. My freedoms are being tampered with; I am being stripped of my privacy, my rights and my choices. I seriously, truly hate that.

Yeah, we all want high-def content on our monster-TVs, but I am not prepared to trade-in my freedoms for that. No way. I hope BD+ gets hacked just like DVDs were – once and for all. I do not to feel like criminal doing whatever I please with the Blu-Ray content within my Fair Use rights. I will not tolerate piece of equipment in my house that doesn’t play by my rules.

Blu-Ray spells death to consumer freedoms, death to privacy and death to democracy. You don’t have to think hard to imagine scenario where disks could be programmed to disable all “unwanted” content. As you’ve seen from above quotes and resources – any disc is allowed to “patch” your Blu-Ray player as it sees fit, including modification of locally stored key chains. And we though Microsoft was evil. There are new games in town that are bigger and meaner than Microsoft. Microsoft paved the way to all those new and brave entrepreneurs willing to grab you by the balls and squeeze it until you scream and then back off a little.

I am not exaggerating here. Yes, above post indicates that studios are not likely going to do it, but Sony CD rootkit scandal begs to differ. Corporate mentality dictates 2 things: maximize profits and do whatever it takes to get things done your way. Everything is evaluated as a price and apparently our freedoms cost very little in comparison to the opportunity to sell copious amounts of digital copies on different media while keeping a close eye on those who may step out of line. It has been proved over and over again – those who “pirate” content did not intend to buy or rent it in the first place so there is no “lost sales”. It is all boiling down to “creating new markets”… and selling MORE content. We who buy content may download a thing or two on occasion only to buy that same content on our next trip to the store. It is all about the availability and accessibility of content, Blu-Ray does nothing to cover those. Read “Piracy is Good?” and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Blu-Ray design proves that it was intended as a lock-in mechanism, and until I see some moratorium statement from **AA’s and elimination of accompanying functionality from Blu-Ray devices I won’t believe otherwise.

I truly and honestly hope that *AA gangs will choke on their greed and drop dead sometime soon. But that is not happening and not going to happen. I see people giving into the temptation of having “more” and it is sad. We do not ask questions and we do not think until it’s too late. Reminds me of Adbusters article” After America, there is no place to go” by Kitty Werthmann ( Issue #92 :  The Carnivalesque Rebellion Issue ). Looks and feels like we’re going through the same issues as Austrians in 1938 – they elected Hitler because they were OK trading in a “piece of freedom” for a “piece of mind” and a “peace of bread”. Very soon Austrians discovered that status-quo didn’t last. Within a year things have changed and freedoms eroded more and more every day while piece of mind and piece of bread were not forthcoming either. Our present freedoms are being taken away every day. We have elected our Hitler – the overpowering drive for “more” with Industry Admirals (or should I say Großadmiral’s?) at helm.

Don’t get me wrong, capitalism is a good thing and I do not pitch communism here, but what we currently have is not capitalism and democracy, it’s a corporatism and oligarchy – look up definitions and you’ll see I’m right.

Boxed Communism

Got thinking about iStuff vs things like Android and other [semi-]open initiatives today. I have come to realize that iProducts are representing the poor choice we had during communism times. Look: you come to the store, ask for 200g of sausage, you don’t ask which kind – there is only one, and the closest you can get to a “variety” would be question: which newspaper do you want to wrap it into – yesterday’s or today’s? iPhone differentiation is only superficial – skin-deep if you will. “Look, I’ve got pink skin!” or “Look I’ve got neat wallpaper”. Somehow the rest of the industry managed to at least make it look like there’s a variety. Not to mention that iProducts share an oversight of Mao and Party.

So here’s the dilemma – for an unsuspecting user platforms like Android or Symbian (or even Windows mobile, for that matter) are complex and hard to comprehend – “Hey, Joe! You’ve got to get yourself an Android – awesome apps etc. What do you mean which one? Oh, there’s Galaxy, Nexus, Desire… What do you mean simple? No, Joe, you’ve got to take a look and see what you like.” Whereas with iPhone – “Joe, buy yourself an iPhone”. Done.

We are our own enemies – we kill selection by being lazy and then complain that we’re being duped on every corner by monopolistic corporations that disregard our opinions and tell us what to do.

Ok, so here’s what I think should happen – we stop following somebody else’s orders/visions and start thinking for ourselves. Easy enough, right? No.

Here’s where I get to the real communism (USSR-style). How many parties do we have to choose from? Well, here, in Canada it’s major 4 (in Alberta it’s major 1) and how deep the difference goes? Not very. We cry and we bitch about Copyright reform in Canada pushed through by Conservative, however it’s Liberals who introduced it, and while NDP was oposing it, they are seeking merger with Liberals. Where does that leave us? Exactly where we are.

I’m the opensource guy and I am being labeled as “communist” at times and Ballmer scares people with stories of OSS turning countries into communist state but here’s the problem – it’s people like Steve (heh, got both of them here) who turn state into communist state and not the communist state Marx and Engels are talking about – the one that was implemented in USSR and the one that spread over eastern Europe.

Thankfully there are beacons of reason out there: Fair Vote Canada is trying to spread the knowledge on alternative forms of elections – the ones that would actually represent *all* of the population rather than minority (do you math: only 30-40% of population goes to vote and 40% of those voted elect your government – does that seem right? FSF and EFF are working hard educating governments and users about what “freedom” is in IT and what can be done to preserve it.

Back online

Took me a while, but I’m back online… pihua is dead and now I’m trying the new concept. This time I won’t make the same mistake and will backup my database 😉

This time it’s an experiment in ego-measuring contest with no rules. This time it’s all about me, my narcissistic self and all I care about. Good portion of Internet population is already indulging in self-promotion and streaming their thought onto unsuspecting public, so why should I sit idle? We should either overload this media with sufficient levels of noise or bring the level of average blog to a sufficiently high level to discourage any participation from folks who have nothing to say.

I do have something to say. I have a lot to say. Not sure if anybody cares to listen. I’ll make it my diary to confide in, my stick to beat all the issues that bother me, my empty stage for yelling out loud when nobody listens. I will be here even if nobody comes.

Get ready – it’s going to be rough, unedited, plenty mixed up and #$cked up too.