Self-described "professional paranoid" Peter Gutmann of the University of Auckland has become the most widely quoted source of information on DRM and content protection in Windows Vista. The trouble is, Gutmann's work is riddled with factual errors, distortions, contradictions, and outright untruths, and his conclusions are equally wrong. In this three-part series, I'll show you why Gutmann's outrageous and inflamatory arguments don't stand up to close scrutiny.
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I've been reporting my experiences with Windows Vista and playback of HD DVD and Blu-ray discs. Several commenters have expressed skepticism over my contention that Windows Vista's DRM didn't come into play at all, and I've also seen some raised eyebrows over my test results involving CPU usage. To put those questions to rest, I dug up an older, slower system without a single HDCP-compatible part. All it takes is a single two-buck part to produce perfect HD playback - at least for now.
I have a stack of shiny high-def discs, a Windows Vista PC, and a new combo drive that plays both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats. Here's how I went from bare metal to home theater in 60 minutes or less. And the best part of all? No Vista DRM. Yes, you read that right. I've got the details right here.
As part of my ongoing Vista Media Center project, I'm about to add Blu-ray and HD DVD playback capabilities to my new living room system. Unlike most upgrades, though, this one isn't a simple matter of plugging in a new drive and loading some updated drivers. You'll need to jump through no fewer than six hoops to get Blu-ray or HD DVD working on a Windows PC.
Microsoft has finally removed the wraps from its plans for Windows Vista Service Pack 1. What's in it? When will you be able to get your hand on it? Will it include a new search interface to address antitrust complaints? I've got answers to those questions and more.
Several readers have written to request a list of parts and prices that I used for my Vista Media Center system. Here it is, with the caveat that the prices are bound to fluctuate. If you're planning to build your own, start here.
In June, I recounted my out-of-the-box experience with a new Dell PC running Windows Vista. In July, I took the plunge and moved this system out of the office and into the living room. With a few extra bits of hardware, everything is working together perfectly. If you've considered doing the same thing, read my advice and check out the accompanying image gallery.
The single most frustrating thing about working with Vista today, just as it was back in the year after XP's release, is that the collection of accumulated experience hasn't turned into a searchable trove of solutions yet. It takes time and effort for early adopters to build that sort of distributed knowledge base. So how do we get there? Less whining, more complaining.There's a big difference.
Over the weekend, I read yet another Windows Vista whine that managed to hit the Slashdot front page. In this case, it was my longtime colleague Jim Louderback, who decided to push the "Vista sucks" button as he was bailing out of PC Magazine. Here's why I'm unimpressed.
If you're waiting for Peter Gutmann to reply to my questions or those of my ZDNet colleague George Ou about his confusing, contradictory, and inflammatory Windows Vista "research," I've got some bad news. In a note on his website, Gutmann says he "doesn't have the time" to back up his theories with actual facts. Anyone want to take bets on how many publications that unquestioningly picked up his original FUD will publish follow-up stories?