Ed Bott

Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications.

Latest Posts

Digital media ethics: it's personal

The voting in my digital media ethics poll is now closed, and your votes have made one conclusion crystal clear. The overwhelming majority of you believe that if you buy a music CD, you're buying the rights to play back that performance any way you want, on any media, at any bit rate, as long as it's for your personal use. According to the RIAA, you don't have a right to do any of that stuff.

October 17, 2007 by

177 Comments

When is it OK to copy digital media?

The response to the digital media ethics poll I posted earlier this week has been overwhelming. Based on these results, thne RIAA and its allies are clearly losing the battle of ideas. Here's a summary of the voting so far, along with links so you can add your opinion.

October 12, 2007 by

111 Comments

Where do you stand on digital media ethics?

Help me wrestle with some ethical questions related to digital media. We can all agree that it's easy to make perfect copies of digital media, and that there's no such thing as an unbreakable copy protection scheme. But the fact that you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you should. Does it?

October 9, 2007 by

350 Comments 1 Vote

What's coming with Windows? Even the insiders aren't sure...

Sometimes you find fascinating little tidbits of Microsoft news buried in obscure places, tossed in as throwaway remarks. Today’s case in point comes from a post at an obscure Microsoft blog, which inadvertently answers the question of why UAC fixes won't be included in Vista SP1 and raises a few more questions as well.

October 1, 2007 by

44 Comments

Everything you've read about Vista DRM is wrong (Part 3)

This is the third and final installment of my series pointing out some of the significant errors in a widely read critique of Windows Vista's content protection design. If you think you're getting accurate, unbiased information about Vista from Micrsoft's most vocalcritic, think again. Today's examples show how selective qoting of Microsoft's specs left out important details, and why Nvidia graphics cards are much more powerful than you think. Oh, and before you decide to buy any hardware based on someone's recommendation, you might want to ask whether they've actually used it first.

September 20, 2007 by

165 Comments

Everything you've read about Vista DRM is wrong (Part 2)

Windows Vista includes a new set of features that allow playback software to work with protected media, especially high-definition content. This DRM infrastructure is bitterly controversial, and it's given rise to an enormous amount of misinformation. In part 2 of this three-part series, I continue my detailed examination of the errors, dostortions, and untruths in the most widely quoted paper on the subject, written by New Zealand researcher Peter Gutmann. I was stunned to find that some of the assertions in his epic paper are directly contradicted by his own sources, and that two of his key stats are literally made up. See the proof for yourself.

September 18, 2007 by

172 Comments

Everything you've read about Vista DRM is wrong (Part 1)

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.

September 16, 2007 by

372 Comments

More on HD, DRM, and CPU usage

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.

September 8, 2007 by

36 Comments

A Blu-ray / HD DVD update

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.

September 6, 2007 by

83 Comments

Blu-ray, HD DVD, and Vista

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.

August 30, 2007 by

79 Comments