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DRM is feature-fool

Published in Humor, Society, Technology

So I was trying to download an audiobook from the NetLibrary. Now, I already have to suck up a lot and use Internet Explorer on Windows to even use the service. Even then I couldn’t get it to work.

Here is the official support response:

OCLC NetLibrary eAudiobooks are DRM protected. Your computer’s date/time clock settings must match the actual time zone, be set for the correct time of day, and must be as exact as possible. If the settings are off, DRM won’t allow the download.

Follow these steps to resolve the problem:
1. Close any Internet Explorer windows that are open.
2. Go to the Control Panel (click Start, Settings, and Control Panel) and click on the Date/Time icon to change the clock.
3. Confirm that the date is set for the correct day of the week.
4. Confirm that the clock is set to the correct hour and minute (don’t worry about seconds).
5. Also, confirm that it accurately reflects AM or PM depending on the time of day.
6. Lastly, check the time zone setting and verify it is correctly set to your time zone.

That’s great. So, I can’t get a book because my desktop doesn’t match the server’s time. Obviously a good example of how DRM helps everyone. But, hey, I don’t have to worry about the seconds. That’s really user-centric designed. They’re so thoughtful.

Of course, the error message:

The linked you clicked is no longer valid

was very helpful at the time as well. The instructions themselves bounce between full-explanation (how to change the clock), to skipping details (what if I don’t know what this DRM demon was and why he’s holding onto my bits!)

Dataplace – a demographics clearinghouse of fun

Published in Geolocation, Misc, Society, Web

Dataplace is huge clearinghouse of demographics & mapping information gleaned from the US Tiger Census. For example, you can get the census of any region/city, including a slick use of sparklines, as well as a map of the location demographics spread.

An incredible feature is the ability to build up your own thematic maps by overlaying various layers of information at your own choosing. For example, you can build a map, of say, overlay the “Percentage Housing Units that are Overcrowded” with the “Aggregated Family Income”.

Like any good project nowadays, they have a Dataplace developer’s blog.
Dataplace forums.