About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

10 March 2007

DRM Doomed?

Yet another opinion on a tech site raises the question - was my 4 years of slaving (well ok not slaving) towards a PhD really worth it?

The thing is, DRM is not a copy protection mechanism - it stands for rights management; not copy management. Likewise, it is not a copyright enforcement mechanism. There are enough academic papers (including my own) about the last two points. And if that is the case; why on earth does everyone still rally on the same issue?

The fact of the matter is, DRM has been maligned with control of media in a veiled attempt at controlling piracy. DRM has been sold on the same terms as CDs and tapes; and not as new business measures which is what it really is. Furthermore, DRM has been seen as the big guys protecting their property from the public - the possibility that joe public could use DRM to protect their own things - photos, documents, home movies etc. has been ignored. So maybe, my thesis does have a place; but will anyone care?

08 March 2007

Cash in Transit Vans

When I was in Durban, my mom raised a very fair point when we were trapped behind a cash in transit van at the traffic lights: why do cash in transit vans label themselves so clearly that they are carrying a lot of valuables on them? Surely, it would be best to remain anonymous - yes have armed guards inside etc - but there is no need to proclaim on the side "Coin Security Service - Cash in Transit"!

And it is a valid point. In computer security, we maintain security through obscuring the data - sensitive data is encrypted. And encryption of data, is more akin to obfuscation, than to the popular lock and key. Encrypted data is still data - it is not packaged inside another data file. Instead, it has usually the same length, just looks different.

Surely, cash in transit vans can do something similar - after all, I don't think there are regulatory requirements for Cash in transit vans to state that they are potentially carrying valuables. They can just be armour plated vans with a guard inside them. And, maybe then we will have a lower attack rate on cash in transit vehicles - after all, to attack a cash in transit vehicle, you will first have to find one.

Movie: The Last King of Scotland

Idi Amin was one of those weird leaders; respected because he honestly did a lot of good for (some) of his people. Reviled, because he also did a lot of bad things ... as Jay said after the movie - a lot like Robert Mugabe. And the movie portrays this conflict between the good and bad very well; at certain times, Idi Amin is a very charming, helpful man and at other times, he is a monster. Almost a real life Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde.

What is more interesting is the white Scottish doctor, who is effectively the narrator of the story. He is not cast as a general good guy, caught in the crossfire; like many other stories of this nature. Instead, we see how he does take advantage of his situations, although he does have a conscious; which is eventually what leads him to try get away. And, there is also the hints of western interference, when a British spy claims how they put Amin in power, and how they can take him out also.

Most of all, the movie is worth watching because of Forest Whitaker's performance. From the accent, to how he interacts with the people, it does not feel like it's an actor. Jamie Foxx, in his portrayal of Ray Charles was similar in this respect; and it is possibly the best accolade one can give an actor.

06 March 2007

Gloriously Inept

Cricinfo has a wonderful article on Glen McGrath's lack of batting prowess in the ODI arena. It's just hilarious reading.

Movie: The Pursuit of Happyness

No it's not a spelling mistake, but a "in joke". On the whole, this is one of the uplifting, everyone can overcome their difficulties. But it leads you to think - are the homeless guys and other poor people, poor and homeless because they do not have what it takes; or is it because the roll of the dice have forced them to what they are. The movie is about a poor man, whose state in life so far has been dictated by rolls of the dice; and how he overcomes his obstacles to get out of the cycle of poverty. Yes, it's a cliche. Yes, it's a predictable story. But, at the same time, it is a wonderful acted story. And Will Smith thoroughly deserved his Oscar nomination. And his real life son, plays a wonderful on screen son.