Saturday, September 30, 2006

Audiobook adventures - or: why I won't be listening to Frankenstein on the way to work.

Recently Aja got me an Mp3 player for the car. It's a cer stereo that also takes Mp3 Cds, an incredibly cool thing, considering how much music we have.

So when I got to the poiunt of downloading an audiobook from NetLibrary, I naively assumed I'd be able to play it in the car. The car stereo plays Mp3 and WMA files, and the Netlibary downloads are WMAs.

Unfortunately, DRM stood in my way. Before the audio file will play, it ha to check with Netlibrary to make sure you have permission to use the file. As the car stereo doesn't have an Internet connection, it can't check with Netlibrary to get the relevant permissions. So the major use I would have for an audiobook (driving to and from work) can't be fulfilled this way.

It's a shame. I love audiobooks. When I lived in gastonia I drove for an hour and a half each day, and listened to some great fiction while driving. Now, my drive is ten to fifteen minutes, but it would still be fun to be able to listen to something while I drove.

The sad thing is that it would be comparatively simple (if illegal) to make a playable Mp3 CD of any audiobook the library has. I'm not going to do it, because I have more respect for library property than that and I don't want to break the law, but this is another case of legal methods being more fiddly and annoying than illegal methods.

I have friend who loves listening to music on his computer. He is online most of the time, and likes having a soundtrack. I don't think he owns a CD player other than the one in his car and the one in his Mac. He had recently bought an album (I think it was the Velvet Revolver debut one) and tried putting it in his computer. Instead of playing the CD, it crashed his computer. Seriously crashed it. The reason was, it was loaded with copy-protection software designed to work on a PC, and instead of working on his Mac it crashed the whole thing. It also didn't work in his car.

Eventually, to listen to the album he had laid down hard currency for, he had to download it illegally.

That's an example of companies turning consumers off. I really hope NetLibrary doesn't turn out to be the same thing.


Post a Comment

<< Home