This is all I ever see when I try to use Google Docs Offline while actually offline. Brilliant work there, Google. (It seems to work fine while I’m actually online, if that’s any consolation.)
An email I was recently required to send a complaint to New Line Cinema (email@example.com; their email address is hard to find, but that one seems most relevant) after suffering an embarrassing and annoying experience with their broken copy protection.
I recently rented the DVD of the movie “Shoot ‘Em Up” from Blockbuster Online. I was originally planning to view this movie on my laptop, since I have a long train commute to work, but I found I wasn’t able to. The disk didn’t seem to read or work correctly in either VLC or Windows Media Player. Once I got home from work, I instead tried to view it on my Dell desktop computer, but I had the same issues as on my laptop. So I attempted to play the DVD on my Macintosh G5 computer, only to find that it wouldn’t play on that computer either.
1) A HP laptop computer, using both VLC and Windows Media Player
2) A Dell desktop computer, using both VLC and Windows Media Player
3) A Macintosh G5 desktop computer, using both DVD Player.app and VLC
4) An Xbox 360 game console
The Xbox is the only device in my entire household that seemed able to play the DVD, and I was finally able to watch the movie using it.
The DVD is not scratched or damaged, so I can only assume that the problem is caused by some copy protection you placed on the disk. I understand the need to protect creative works from piracy and copyright infringement, and as a software developer I often face the same types of issues that a movie studio does.
However, I would never create a product that simply does not work on my client’s/user’s computer to meet this need of copy protection. This DVD is, in a word, defective. All of the above devices have the standard DVD logo on them, and are perfectly capable of playing every other DVD I’ve come across.
Since I rented this DVD and did not purchase it, it would be out of place for me to demand any compensation for the time and effort it took to determine why this DVD was not playing on my various computers. I do hope that you take a step back and realize that one of the primary reasons people pirate movies such as Shoot ‘Em Up is the increasingly strict copy protection that refuses to allow them to play the movie the way they want it played. I’ve never downloaded a movie over bittorrent before, but I sure was tempted when I wasn’t able to play this one after three attempts—I can guarantee the bittorrent download would have played on my laptop the first try!
Thank you for your attention,
- James Schend
I’m not usually one of those foaming-at-the-mouth “DRM and copy protection is evil!” type of person, but making and selling a product that simply does not work in the name of copy protection is way over the line. Way over the New Line (ha ha, get it?)
I just auto-updated my Zune software to version 2.5, and when it started up I was greeted by the following dialog box.
For the image deprived, the dialog reads:
You recently enabled graphics and video enhancement. Is the screen displayed correctly? Yes/No
Ugh! Where to even start!?
- No I didn’t. I didn’t “enable” anything, much less “graphics and video enhancement.” I don’t even know what that is, or how to enable it, or why I would want to enable it. Above all, this dialog lies to me.
- Are you seriously asking me if the screen is displayed correctly, in a dialog box!? “I’m sending you email to ask you if your email is working.” Of course the goddamned screen is displaying correctly, idiots.
- Wait a second, do they literally mean the screen!? Are they seriously saying that something Zune’s installer (or it’s “graphics and video enhancement”) might do to my computer could actually fuck around with my video card? That’s certainly the implication, isn’t it? Of course, what they actually mean is “window,” not “screen.” At least, I hope to God they do.
- And lastly, but perhaps most importantly… if the window was displaying incorrectly, how would I know? Zune has a very customized UI that doesn’t lend itself to instantaneous judgments of “correct” vs. “incorrect.” (See the screenshot at the top of this post.) The dialog doesn’t present a screenshot describing what it’s supposed to look like. How could any end-user, actually answer this dialog?
I hit “yes.” It seems to be working ok. I’m mildly curious to know what would have happened if I hit “no” or the close box. (I like to imagine it would shuffle the window around a bit and then ask me if it’s displayed correctly now… kind of like those “can you hear me now?” commercials.)
Congratulations, Zune developers. You’ve earned this:
P.S. I really do like Autoplaylists. And thank you from the bottom of my heart for fixing MP4 playback from a networked drive!