Tech "News"

Good job, Reuters.

I really need to stop reading mainstream news articles about technology. I just cringe every time I see one, because they're bound to have some glaringly obvious errors that a tech-savvy child could spot, making it obvious that this "fact-checking" thing we've all heard about in journalism isn't really a requirement.

Today I made the mistake of clicking on Duncan Martell's Reuters story on online songs. The worst part is, it isn't even news! The article simply lets you know that online songs have DRM. Welcome to 2003, Duncan, and thanks for the warning. But anyway my complaint was about factual errors, not non-news, right? So here we go, a direct quote, with some bold added by yours truly:

But Apple's FairPlay digital rights management, or DRM, software prevents you from listening to those purchased songs on a music player from Dell Inc., Creative, Sony, or others. The same thing goes for songs you've imported to your computer from CDs you already own.

Umm.... what?

And another gripe I have is when a journalist writes in a way that implies something that isn't true, in order to exaggerate his or her point or to get someone to click-through to an article and view ads. This is especially true with headlines for security reports, such as "OMG Macs Attacked By Viruses!!," which then in the actual body of the article usually explain that the headline is completely false, especially if the journalist bothers to look up the definition of "computer virus." But anyway, from the same DRM article I quoted before, here's a line which implies you can only burn a single song to a CD seven times:

you can only burn the same "playlist," or collection of songs, seven times

Yes, it is true that you can only burn the same playlist seven times, assuming it has tracks downloaded from the iTunes Music Store. But a playlist isn't really defined as a "collection of songs." It's a playlist, an ordered list, or "mix" of songs. So you really only run into a barrier if you want to burn more than seven copies of the same exact playlist, which I can't ever imagine doing, unless I was illegally distributing copies to multiple people. This restriction is not placed on individual songs. I can burn a million copies of a downloaded song if I want, as long as it's not in the same playlist more than seven times.

Better luck next time, Reuters.

Here's the full article.

Posted: Saturday - May 13, 2006 at 08:52 AM