Thursday, January 31, 2008

Avoid DRM encumbered media

Now I'm not one of these people who has terrabytes of ripped movies and music that they've never actually purchased, but I do want to make sure that can I watch and listen to my digital collections on whichever playback devices happen to have available to me at the time. That's why DRM concerns me and also why I strive to avoid buying movies or music that is DRM encumbered, such as a song from iTunes.

Recently I came across this article and if you do a brief search on Google for DRM problems you'll find a slew of people who are unable to play content that the legitimately purchased because some minor change in their environment caused the DRM software on their PC to collapse like a house of cards.

Of course Apple are just as bad as Microsoft in this respect - but their DRM enforcement isn't so fragile. However, it binds you just as tightly - you'll never be able to play the movie you downloaded from iTunes on a non-Apple player.

So, how do you ensure that your digital collection remains playable for as long a time as possible? Well firstly, avoid buying DRM encumbered content from sources like iTunes and avoid buying DRM encumbered playback devices such as a PC with Microsoft Windows Vista installed on it.

Secondly, when you make digital copies of your CDs and DVDs, use open formats such as Ogg and DivX.

FogBugz 6 page width

How to use Firefox and GreaseMonkey to force FogBugz 6.0 to use more of your screen to display bug details:

// ==UserScript==
// @name Style
// @namespace fogbugz
// @description Make bug window larger
// @include https://**
// ==/UserScript==

GM_addStyle("div.bugShadowBottom { width:75% ! important; }");
GM_addStyle("#bugviewContainer,.buttonbar,#BugFields { width:100% ! important; }");

This script adds some style overrides to the top of every FogBugz page. It is the div.bugShadowBottom that drives the width, so to make it even wider, adjust that. The second style makes sure that the internal styles scale with the overall width.

Update: Thanks to Adam V for pointing out the GM_addStyle function!