Weekly wrapup, 13 – 17 August 2007

Here’s a summary of the week’s digital lifestyle action on last100. Note that you can subscribe to the weekly wrapups, either via the special weekly wrapup RSS feed or by email.

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Top digital lifestyle news

In a post titled ‘Google shows why DRM is evil‘ we looked at Google’s decision to abandon paid-for video downloads, noting that, as of this week, purchased videos will no longer playback, and instead users are being a given refund in the form of a Google Checkout “bonus”. One of the inherit problems with DRM is that if a company goes bust or, presumably in Google’s case, decides to shut down the servers it uses to verify a legitimate purchase, then any DRM’d media is rendered useless.

Next up we reported on a story doing the rounds in a number of UK newspapers (Independent, Financial Times, The Mail on Sunday) that UK ISPs are increasingly worried about the BBC’s iPlayer, which, were it to catch on, could place an “unacceptable” strain on their networks. The solution, says Tiscali chief executive, Mary Turner, is for the BBC to contribute to bandwidth costs. While other ISPs are talking about implementing ‘packet shaping’ as a way of penalizing iPlayer traffic so as to maintain speeds across the rest of the network. The result would be that, during peak times at least, the iPlayer could become painfully slow.

In more iPlayer news, the planned protests against the BBC, which we reported on a few weeks back, took place this week, as supporters of the Free Software Foundation (FSC) — dressed in bright yellow Hazmat suits — gathered outside BBC Television Center in London and BBC headquarters in Manchester to demand that DRM be eliminated from the BBC’s iPlayer.

More digital lifestyle news:

R/WW Files: Online Music

Every week our sister blog, Read/WriteWeb, has a feature called Read/WriteWeb Files, in which they investigate a current hot topic or company in Web technology. This week they focused on Online Music, and here at last100 we also contributed a number of posts to the “files”.

In a post titled ‘Universal to sell DRM-free music with Google’s help‘, Dan Langendorf looked at Universal Music Group’s planned experiment to sell DRM-free music. Ryan Jarrett, also wrote a great post profiling ten web sites that offer free and legal music downloads.

More from last100’s contribution to the R/WW Online Music files:


In a great post titled ‘Microsoft Points – what’s next for the company’s virtual currency?‘, Mack D. Male examined Microsoft’s virtual currency strategy, which currently exists as part of Xbox Live Marketplace and the Zune Marketplace. But will that always be the case or could Microsoft have bigger things in mind for their points system? Almost all of the major forces in the digital living room have a payments system of some sort. Sony has the PlayStation Network Card, Nintendo has Wii Points, Google has Checkout, and Amazon recently launched FPS. Sony and Nintendo’s systems are virtual currencies, whereas Google and Amazon’s are payment services. Microsoft could be the first company to offer both by opening up Microsoft Points to the world.

We also published a first look at YouTube Desktop, which aims to bring a desktop application experience to navigating and viewing YouTube videos through a web browser.

That’s it for another week. Have a great weekend!

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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