The Spotify Calculation

Although I know this has likely been covered elsewhere on the internet, I felt I would like to ensure that I spread the word where possible, as after working through these calculations myself, I was quite shocked.

 

Despite Spotify’s claims that they are converting millions of ‘pirates’ into paying customers, and that they are reinvigorating the music industry and bringing it out of the piracy dark ages for me, the numbers simply don’t add up.

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Ultraviolet – “The Dark Knight Rises”

Having recently purchased the latest Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” on DVD I was made aware by the largely unsubtle information which adorned display stand that the DVD copy came with a digitally downloadable version of the film. As this was certainly a blockbuster in the traditional sense, I was curious as to how well this system may have been incorporated, and how likely this would be to stop people acquiring their own illegal digital copies anyway after purchasing the film. I thought I would post about my experience here…

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Two Step Authentication [UPDATED]

With some recent security scares surfacing in the online bloggoshpere – dropbox being one of them (do a quick google) I read an article explaining the concept of two step authentication.

Two step authentication is essentially an attempt to improve the security of the widely accepted password system used online.
The trouble with a password is – as I’m sure you’re aware – if someone has your password, they can access your account, shopping list, email, social media or whatever service the password protects. The issue progresses further as the same password often protects all of these services, rather than just one.

Two step authentication works on the principle that the password and a second piece of information is required in order to access the account. Some banks have used this system for a long time with online banking. – A small card reader which generates a short code which protects certain transactions (not log ins).
To protect a service, the user enters their password as normal, and they are then prompted for a second code which changes on each log in attempt. This may initially seem like a giant PIA, however when associated with important services it is a small inconvenience – when implemented correctly.

I use a password management service (LastPass – which is excellent by the way), and this service by its nature, protects a lot of log in details. Two step authentication with LastPass works as such:

Log in with LastPass password, open Google Authenticator app on your phone (iOS + Android) and enter the code it generates.

It really doesn’t take long and there are numerous “oh my God, I’ve lost my phone” options to access / secure your account.

The same applies for Google logins too – both on Android and the web.

Google’s system goes one step further (as it covers numerous services) in that “application specific” passwords can be generated so for example, the password authenticating my Google account on my phone and be instantly revoked, thus disconnecting my handset from my google account. It also makes my Google services much more difficult to get into in the first place.

One caveat is that there is the option to ‘trust’ the computer when loggin in – disabling the two step authentication. This isn’t too much of an issue though as all Google services can be remotely logged out from, thus re-enabling the two step authentication.

Two step authentication is coming to more and more services, with Dropbox next on the list (when the next update is released) and I would strongly (and highly!) recommend enabling the option wherever possible.

[Update]

I just wanted to add a list of services which support this service that I’ve come across so far:

Google Accounts

LastPass

Dropbox

WordPress! (Via Google Authenticator plugin – read their website as it needs enabling before protection is active).

Dropbox Cache [UPDATED]

Although I am championing Google Drive at the moment, I do still use Dropbox from time to time (especially seen as I’ve been given 50GB of Dropbox space with my Samsung Galaxy S3, although in true Dropbox ‘it’s not really there’ style, this will disappear after 2 years). Having read this article I have been able to save 7GB(!) of hard drive space on my mac. Read the article for more info but essentially:

  1. Show system files (or hidden files on windows).
  2. Delete the damn .dropbox.cache folder in your Dropbox folder
  3. Reclaim vast amounts of storage space!

As I’m using the fantastic TotalFinder, showing system files was easy, I’m not sure it it’s always been available on the View menu in the standard Mac OS Finder, but it’s well worth investigating to reclaim some wasted space.

[Updated]

You can easily access this folder from the standard OS X finder by selecting “Go to folder” from the “Go” menue in the the finder (or by pressing Shift+Cmd+G) and pasting / entering the following:

/Users/[username]/Dropbox/.dropbox.cache/

 

This will take you straight to that folder if you can’t show hidden folders! You cant then delete the biggest folders or the whole thing, and Dropbox will sort itself out as and when it needs to. Might be a good idead to have dropbox completely closed (right click on the icon) when you do this.

It’s Hard to Believe that this Insane Real Time 3D Demo Is Not a Real Life Video

Not “3D” in the gimmicky sense, this demo illustrates how close to indistinguishable CGI has become. You can see from the article text that this is not some kind of rendering farm, it is created in realtime (you can see the mouse pointer manipulating the canvas) with a Radeon 5870 in an Intel Core i7-based PC.

http://gizmodo.com/5927819/its-hard-to-believe-that-this-insane-3d-demo-is-not-a-real-life-video

Google Music

Very easy way to get Google Music working in the UK:

I’d read that Google Music only checked the geographical location of your IP when you accept the terms and conditions. I had tried with a free proxy service to accept the terms and enable Google Music for my account but to no avail.

I recently persevered using the free option on the paid service proXPN.

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Vinyl Comparison – Background

Firstly, I’d like to just cover some interesting things I’ve discovered about the medium, as I believe they play a major part in why there are supposed differences between modern high fidelity digital formats (of which I only consider their to be only one – CD quality WAV) and vinyl releases.

As I mentioned in the introductory post, what goes on on the surface of a record is largely black magic to me, and the process of converting 1s and 0s into an audible waveform makes much more sense. However, after doing a bit of reading, I may have shed some light onto the surface of those little discs.

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