CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again


Episode 619: Shake your boot.ini

Hey, man. Watch where you're putting that boot.ini. You don't want to brick an XP machine. People don't like that.

Hey, man, watch where you're putting that boot.ini! If you find yourself typing it, and you're also not familiar with backslash versus forward slash, well, then, you shouldn't be writing graphics patches for EVE online. In other news, a politician defends a poorly written law (again), the race to the moon is on, and now you can learn how to use Facebook with a "bookazine." Thank goodness?


Listen now: Download today's podcast



Jason from Cincy
Ring DRM.

Jay from Philly
Law aside, maybe DriftNet could help.

Pete from New York
Good explanation about the MPAA.

Molly and her iTunes update
Is Molly on some sort of special build from Apple list? She complains about getting iTunes updates all the time, and each time she Tweets about it, I check for an update only to find nothing. If she's getting special builds, I'd like to get in on it.


No Vista-only graphic cards
Hey guys, I've been building my own machines for years. There is absolutely no consumer-level graphics card on the market that is Vista only. Why would the hardware makers shoot themselves in the foot like that? If the gentleman wants to say what brand and model of computer he has, I can personally tell him where to get the WinXP drivers for his graphics card.

Charles in SF

Vista drivers
I was just listening to Buzzcast 618 where you guys were discussing "graphics cards being too new to support XP" The caller speaks the truth. I just went shopping for a laptop a month ago and went into it as I normally do. "it doesn?t matter what OS is factory installed because I'm just going to blow it up and install XP Pro anyway." Yeah...not so much. You will find that most of the laptops that come preinstalled with Vista will not list XP drivers on the laptop manufacturers support pages. However, you can "usually" download NT compatible drivers directly from the hardware manufacturers site (i.e. ATI, Intel, etc.). Huge pain in the hiney, but it can be done. Love the show.

Currey Fabiano

New graphic cards
Tom, Molly,

Just wanted to tell you that there are many graphics cards that do not allow you to downgrade to XP from Vista, as they are intended for Vista. One, for example, is the Nvidia Geforce 8700M, which is my own laptop, and I think that also includes the entire 8M series of Nvidia's cards. I do not know about ATI, but I assume their newer cards are similar. I have not, however heard of this problem with any desktop graphics cards.


XP incompatible graphics cards

As a comment to yesterdays show I would like to mention that I found several reports (forum postings) from notebook users saying that their ATI graphics card is not supported in Windows XP.

The reasons:

  1. Notebook graphics chipsets are different from desktop ones in both GPU/RAM frequency management and cooling methods (the temperature at which the active cooling starts is significantly lower than on desktop card, preventing notebooks from melting/overheating).

  2. Notebook graphics are not supported in the official drivers (this is the case at both Nvidia and ATI/AMD) and if the notebook's manufacturer releases only XP or only Vista drivers, the other OS will not be supported. The users I mentioned above all had ATI/AMD HD2400/2600 class graphic cards in their systems, and they experienced random restarts and crashes (sometimes BSODs) when reverting to XP. I do not have details about Nvidia.

  3. Some MS drivers do work with unsupported cards, but there is no control over the power management features of the card, so there will be a serious penalty on battery lifetime, as the GPU/RAM will not have reduced frequency during battery mode operation.

Note: DirectX support has nothing to do with this issue, as all grapchics chipsets are backward compatible with 9.0(c).

One is glad to be at service.


Copying video DVDs without violating DMCA
Tom, Molly, and Jason,

Copy protection vs. Copyright Protection

What's on a DVD to protect the content is not called 'copyright protection.' It's called 'copy protection'. 'Copy protection' is a technological measure that protects the disk from making a copy of the disk and/or the files contained on the disk. 'Copyright protection' is the law that protects intellectual property from unauthorized copies. Thus, copy protection is a technological measure and copyright protection is a federal law that protects intellectual property through the courts. Seeing as BOL reports on Jammie Thomas and the RIAA rather frequently, I'd have thought you could have figured this one out.

Copying video DVDs does not always violate the DMCA

It is a complete misnomer that you have to violate the DMCA reverse engineering provisions in order to copy a video DVD. Let me explain. There are two ways to copy a DVD:

Attempting to copy the individual files off of the disk to another media source (i.e., your hard drive). This is a file-level copy.

Making a byte-for-byte copy of the data from the DVD to a file (also on your hard drive). This is a full disk copy.

Let me explain why #1 violates the DMCA vs why #2 doesn't.

Item 1 violates the DMCA because the software has to decrypt the files in order to copy them and still allow the files to be usable. By decrypting the files without officially licensed software, you are circumventing or reverse engineering the cipher in order to get to the unencrypted data. This act violates the DMCA's reverse engineering clause.

Item 2 does NOT violate the DMCA. A byte-for-byte (byte-level) copy of a disk is simply a raw copy of all of the bytes from the beginning of the disk to end. This type of copy does not require any decryption to make the copy. These are typically called .ISO files. No decryption, no reverse engineering, thus, no DMCA violation.

So, you can make full copies of Video DVDs for backup purposes without violating the reverse engineering portions of the DMCA by making a byte- for-byte copy. One tool that can be used to make a byte-for-byte copy is 'dd' on Linux. Winimage and Nero, I believe, are also capable of making byte-for-byte raw copies.

OK, so where's the caveat? It's right here. Many DVD producers intentionally introduce bad sectors (hard errors) onto the DVD as an additional 'copy protection' mechanism to prevent byte-level copies. The DVD Video portions describe where exactly to look on the disk for the next bit of data. So, playback of the DVD will never hit these hard errors because the playback avoids them. However, when you make a byte- level copy, the tool and drive will scan and attempt to read every sector (including the hard error sectors). These hard errors will cause some DVD drives to barf and, thus, the tool attempting to read the data will also barf. So, it can be next to impossible to copy come disks at the byte level with some DVD drives. Circumventing hard error protection also does not violate the reverse engineering portions of the DMCA as it also does not require removal of any encryption protection schemes. It just requires avoiding hard errors on the media itself, which are likely easily found with a scanning tool. Sony is one media company that intentionally introduces hard error sectors onto its DVD media to prevent byte-level copies.

The final issue in byte-level copies is that it will be the full size of the media. If the disk is dual layer and consumes 17GB of data, it will consume 17GB of data on your hard drive as a byte-level ISO copy. So, it definitely eats a lot of space. This also means that to reburn the disk, you'd have to have media sized to accommodate this .ISO image. The good thing about a byte-level copy, though, is that it's an exact image of the DVD. Nero also allows you to mount an ISO file as though it were a real disk and, thus, would allow you to play this media back as though it were a real DVD with licensed DVD playback software.

So, there you go, you can make byte-level copies of DVDs without violating the DMCA reverse engineering provisions.

Brian W.

Who voted against the restrictions on free hotspot operators?
In Episode 618, you guys mentioned the 409-2 vote in favor of the new law imposing additional restrictions on free Wi-Fi operators. Who, you asked, would--in an election year--vote against something that was billed as "protecting the children?" Well, it looks like it was Reps. Broun from Georgia, and (surprise!) Internet darling Ron Paul himself.

This isn't a political endorsement or anything; I'm not one for politics, and I know you guys don't like to get into that stuff on the air anyways. Just thought it was interesting, and so I passed it along.

Great show, etc.

--Vishal from LA

(Then later...)

OK sorry, I admit it--I paused the podcast and sent the e-mail. I'm giving myself a timeout. Why do you guys have to be so damn comprehensive?! =)

Facebook apology
Greetings Buzz crew,

Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg is getting a lot of credit for admitting mistakes and apologizing for the way in which Beacon was implemented. But unless Facebook users read tech blogs or listen to Buzz Out Loud, they're unlikely to know about Mr. Zuckerberg's presumably heartfelt mea culpa, or how they can take action to protect their privacy if they wish to. I received no message in my Facebook mailbox, no post in my newsfeed, and no communication via the Facebook petition group created to protest the implementation of Beacon. Facebook shouldn't get credit for an apology to the tech pundit class when that information has not been transmitted to all who use the service.

Show is good. Me like!

Austin, Texas

Jumping to Conclusions gets you wet? (snicker snicker)
Hi Tom (and Molly and Jason),

Thanks for referencing one of my favorite children's books and ruining its innocence at the same time. :)

I think the book you were trying to remember was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster ( Somewhere along Milo's journey to rescue Rhyme and Reason, he and his friends jump to the Island of Conclusions. I think it may be somewhere near the Island of Concussions, but I can't seem to remember my last visit.

Love the show!

Chuck...not the Chuck
Parker, Colorado

P.S.> Molly--Remember the time you were talking about your ideal refrigerator and said something I like, "I need my horizontal space, man!"

Now, I can't get the idea for a cheesy superhero out of my head-- Horizontal Spaceman. Eat too much at your Christmas party? Leave it to Horizontal Spaceman. Yes, he would have an arch-nemesis--Vertical Spaceman (of course), and an intriguing love-hate relationship with the mysterious Depth Woman (male superheros are so two-dimensional).