iPlayer content on exotic devices

So since my pled for streaming iPlayer content on the Xbox media centre platform. I've been doing what I can to alert the right people to the effort which is happening in this area. The hope is that once the Xbox media centre hackers get there teeth into streaming iplayer content to the xbox, others will follow suit. I've already heard about Wiidia player project through the blog posts and forum entries. I thought it would be possible to create a mediaplayer through Opera but wow the video going back to August 2007 looks good, so things must be really good now. Specially with the release of a server.

Anyway, about other platforms. The obvious one which will make the management sit up and take notice would be the iphone but that looks like a no go for now. The AppleTV should be able to playback the iplayer streams no problem if apple allow access to the browser, otherwise modified appletv's will find a way. I don't think we have a chance on the Xbox 360 platform but the PS3 should work with a version of Linux installed. PSP and DS I've yet to check and I'm sure windows mobile phones along with Nokia phones will work either now or very soon with iplayer streams.

The problem seems to be the propitery Adobe streaming protocols (RTMP, RTMPT and RTMPS) not to be confused with RTSP. But this is being worked on by the guys at Gnash, who have a working lib for decoding RTMP already but doesn't seem to be in a state where others can take advantage of it? Anyway its all really exciting and also means people doing everything legally. No DRM reverse enginnering, no transcoding and we're not even breaking the Geo-ip rules even. I just hope the prototypes and examples will be enough to keep things as they are on the BBC end of things for a long while. I would hate to see drm being added in the middle of this period of development. I'll certainly do what ever I can to keep the field as open as possible to others and I think the BBC iplayer API will drive even more creativity when it goes live.

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Old Skool tunes

I recently spent some time at a old friends house. We were going through his old vinyl and tunes as he reminded me that I had actually taught him to mix on decks years ago. He also played some amazing tunes which I had forgotten about till today. He's some of the better tunes… (any with a star mean I don't have a decent quality version of this tune).

  • 2 Bad Mice by 2 Bad Mice
  • Sugar is Sweeter by CJ Bolland
  • Trip II the Moon by Acen
  • Energy Flash by Joey Beltram
  • Such a Feeling by Bizarre Inc
  • Ecstatic (dry mix) by Zentropa
  • Papua New Guinea by The Future sound of London
  • The Bouncer by Kicks like a Mule
  • LFO by LFO
  • Waterfall by Atlantic Ocean
  • I need your loving (original mix) by Baby D
  • You got the love by Candy Statton
  • Gonna make you sweat by C&C Music Factory
  • Injected With A Poison by Praga Khan
  • Passion (do you want it right now edit) by Gat Decor
  • Not over yet by Grace
  • Rock my heart by Haddaway
  • Hurt you so by Jonny L
  • Feel real Good by Manix
  • Acid Trax by Phuture
  • Go (rainforst mix) by Moby
  • Insanity by Oceanic
  • We got to live together by R.A.F
  • Searchin for my Rizzla by The Ratpack
  • Break 4 Love by Raze
  • Instruments Of Darkness (The Prodigy Mix) by The Art of Noise
  • Move your body by Xpansions
  • Far out by Sons of a Loop Da Loop Era
  • Le Voie Le Soleil by Subliminal Cuts
  • Renegade by The Terrorist *
  • Playing with Knives by Bizarre Inc
  • Rush in the House by Xenophobia
  • Trip To Trumpton by Urban Hype
  • Some Justice by Urban Shakedown *
  • Salva Mea (Epic Mix) by Faithless *
  • Let me show you (vocal mix) by Camisra
  • Rip Groove (RIP mix featuring TopCat) by Double 99 *
  • Spin Spin Sugar () by Sneaker Pimps
  • Sugar is sweeter (Armand's drum n bass mix) by CJ Bolland
  • Professional Widow (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' Mix) by Tori Amos
  • The Chopper by The Terrorist

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The long tail of Torrent sites

Trance traffic logo

I really miss Trance Traffic. It was my primary source for the music discovery and music download. Problem was and I'm sure others have had this problem too. The Torrent site has RSS feeds but doesn't use a passkey system on the torrents so once you have the torrent file you can just download it and I guess share it with others. Unlike other sites where the torrent file is attached to you via a passkey system. Anyway the downside of not using a passkey system is the torrent site does not know when your using it unless you login via the website. Which kind of makes the RSS pretty useless, right? Well I would say so. So thats how I lost my trance traffic login although I was a regular on the site.

I've been looking around for other torrent sites which do trance and dance music but there all closed to the public. Trancetraffic, Puresound, Deepbassnine, etc… (wow UKnova is getting big) If anyone has passes to trancetraffic, please send me a email please.

Whats interesting about the search for a new site is the amount of small torrent sites which do a couple of smaller genres. I bet if you did a graph it would map the long tail perfectly. At one end you have huge sites like thepiratebay, mininova, etc but quickly the curve turns towards sites like uknova, torrentreacter, etc and before long into the smaller sites which include lots of porn, anime, games and music video, trackers. I would draw that out in inkscape tonight, but its bloody 4:30am I shoudl be sleeping.

Things may not be so bad, now the head sites like piratebay have started adding long tail categories and tagging. So for example I found the latest dance music here on mininova and obviously there is RSS too. I can even do a search query for my favorate trance show (a state of trance) with RSS too. Although I will miss the comments and special trance traffic packs that would be uploaded by people in the community.

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Tiger Team a review

Tiger Team hopes people turn there security around

Ok I take it all back, I was wrong. Tiger team is great. I thought it would be all style and no substance or really boring. But actually its very short (less that 20mins a episode) cut together into a reasonable paced documentatry. Its split into 5 pieces including part 4 the heist (yes 2 members of the camera crew do follow them into the heist) and part 5 the debrief. Its actually all good stuff and you get a good balance of social enginnering and computer exploits. For example they use a USB trojan and some social engineering on a receptionist to gain access to the internal network. Theres some technical material details but not enough to bore most people and maybe not enough to really be used for copycats. For example they don't say which software there using or how they pick locks. There's alot more analysis on the show in the Schneier blog post about the series. I wonder what some of these people would say about the real hustle?

The first episode was good but the second one really good because you could really see that it was a real challenge and they almost got caught too, which adds to the suspense. I really don't hope they don't cancel this series before it plays out. More photos here and because its not available in the UK, links to the torrents.

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Anywhere is possible…

So I saw this trailer while browsing around my rss reader. Looks like a decent action film but what struck me was the concept seemed to remind me of a excellent William Sleator book titled Strange Attractors. From memory the book has a character who can teleport anywhere and ends up meeting a couple other people who can do the same. Those other people don't quite have the same ethics about teleportation and hence the start of a plot. Anyway it looks we will have to wait till the day after Valentines day to watch this in UK cinemas. Luckily thats only a day after most of the world.

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Is having a Routine good, bad or indifferent?

My mum said the other day, she felt she was a little out of touch with what me and my sister like and do. It was sad to hear this and I've promised to be more proactive about feeding back some of my work and personal stuff. But what was really interesting was when my mum asked if I was stressed at work. This came after I tried to explain what I do at work. I think what suprised my mum more that anything was the lack of a routine.

This got me thinking, is a routine a good or bad thing? Some would say, not having a routine means everyday brings new challenges and opputinities but at the same token, it also means you don't get to research, master, reflect, etc for long because who knows what will happen tomorrow? Having a routine can be as interesting and challenging but also means you can plan a little better and give things the time they need.

Don't get me wrong, I do have a slight routine to my life but its certainly not as tuned as others. My typical day includes getting up about 9am, going to work soon afterwards having lunch some time between 1-3pm, leaving work about 7pm-ish and going to bed about 1am. Recently I've been going out a lot after work, so typically in December I was eating out which meant eating at different times everyday. Work has very little routine, one moment I can be replying to emails next minute running around the city looking for a venue for our christmas party. I tend to have quite a few meetings off-site over coffee or even lunch-dinner. Events including Geekdinners and BarCamps are usually dependant on other peoples time, so there never regular. I do try and go to other regular events but due to the lack of routine in my calendar – I do miss some regular events like Minibar, Pubstandards, etc. I also tend to do things like food shopping, clothes shopping, computer bits when I can be bothered rather that on a schedule. I don't know if this is good or bad yet.

I have a lot of tools which help me manage the lack of routine in my life but they could be improved now I sit and think about it. However maybe its time to have a little more routine in my life, even if its just so my parents know which city I'm in that week… (*smile*)

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I bricked my windows mobile phone

Mobile data?

Mobile laptop data has always been a pain, in my mind it started when the phone companies started making those PCMCIA adapters where you could stick in a GSM/GPRS card. Before that you use to have to dialup via the infrared port or a serial cable. The GSM/GPRS cards would allow you to put in a sim card into the PC card and dialup on your laptop from anywhere. Then Vodafone came out with a 3G data card, others followed suit adding Wireless and even HSDPA (3.5g) to the mix.

But there was a few problems. Each card came with some propitery software, the card themselves were expensive and the data plans attached only suitable for business users. In America on the otherhand all you could get all you can eat data plans based on that weird standard called EVDO for a reasonable rate. Because of this Laptop makers started adding EVDO and other Mobile data options, which made the PC cards a little less important. But the huge break through (in the UK) came when Tmobile (to there credit) dropped there data plan to a all you can eat model. Vodafone and Orange followed soon afterwards. 3 the mobile operator in the UK started offering a cheap usb dongle to there users of mobile data. 10 pounds buys you the dongle and the data for a month. Well I thought this was a good idea and I know a few people are tempted with the offer but I think I found better.

Ok enough history – I bricked my new phone, no not actually killed it so it no long works but more like bricked it so it operates as a wireless modem. I was doing this over bluetooth at the start but for some reason while using the windows mobile internet sharing option the phone wants to be in bluetooth discovery mode too. This quickly kills the battery, so I started plugging it in over USB. Because the phone also charges over USB too, it might as well be like the USB dongle. My Data plan currently is 5 pounds for weekend and evening unlimited data (unlimited meaning 1gig fair use data a month). Orange offer for another 3 pounds a all day everyday option but limited to 30meg a month. This doesn't work for me, as I'm usually around a wireless or wired connection during the daytime. Anyway the point is that mobile laptop data is become cheap and easy. If I can get a windows mobile phone to talk to a linux laptop, then anyone running windows or mac must be able to get theres up and running in minutes. But like before the data rates are better that ever. HSDPA (3.5g) is also pretty impressive, I was getting 400k down and 200k up in a starbucks in central Bristol. I expect in London I might get even more. This makes it a serious contender to the rip off wireless hotspots you find in some hotels and cafes up and down the country. Now if only the mobile operators would sort out international roaming data charges!

Ah I forgot to mention one thing.The bricked nature also comes from WMstorage, which basiclly turns your phone into a mass storage device or usb memory stick. Because I can't use activesync on linux this has been perfect for dragging files back and forth. However its never been reliable till now. So my phone sits there as a mini flashdrive and bluetooth modem but can still receive calls and texts if needed. Next step really is to pass some of that functionality on to my laptop instead.

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Which VPN questions?

So I've been using Hamachi for my VPN for a while now but since switching to Ubuntu, its felt a bit out of place. First of all installing Hamachi is painful – you must compile it, theres no debs or universe repository support. The basic version is command line only and some people have created a couple of gui's including YAHG, Ghamachi and quamachi. But to be honest even with the guis it sometimes doesn't work as expected. For example right now I'm at my parents house on a broadband connection but can only access one of my 3 machines I have acttached to my Hamachi network. Two of the machines before I left for Christmas failed to connect to the Hamachi Medation server for some reason. Another reason why I'm a little down on Hamachi is the propitery nature of it. I know its been looked at deeply but if there was something like Hamachi which was actually open, I would switch.

So I've looked around and come across quite a few technologies like PPTP, Open VPN, IPsec, FreeSwan and OpenSwan. After reading this very long entry, I started understanding some of the VPN technologies a lot better. So it seems to me that PPTP is Microsoft driven and there is a couple of server versions for Linux. PPTP seems to be old and insecure? IPSec seems to be better but not as good as L2TP with IPsec? FreeSwan has forked into OpenSwan and StrongSwan. I still don't understand the whole Open VPN thing, as it seems to be part of everything rather that a complete solution (do correct me if I'm wrong).

So I looked into OpenSwan and StrongSwan and choose OpenSwan because it gets more mentions online and hey it was clearly documentated on the site – apt-get install openswan. I know strongswan is the same but hey i needed to start somewhere and the windowsmobile tutorial seemed straight forward (if someone knows other reasons why I should use strong over open please do say). Anyway as Hamachi is, I restarted the server after installing openswan to find its not quite started up correctly and I can't remember my standard ip address to talk directly to my smoothwall server. So anyone with some good tips for small time VPN usage let me know.

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Manipulation of women or just a upper hand in the game?

Rules Of The Game – Episode 1: Be A D–khead

Add to My Profile | More Videos

I'm sorry but as far as I'm concerned its manipulation and I really don't like it. What am I talking about? Well shows like the one above (cheers Dave for the link). The weird thing is its not exactly the show aspect which is the problem, its the pure social engineering aspect of it to trick women into giving out there numbers, going on a date or getting them into bed.

Yes I know its a bloody complex issue because you could say well we all use manipulation to a certain extent but this is something else and the reasoning behind it is for pure personal gain which in my book is not cool. What I don't get is what do these guys think will happen in the future? Are they expecting to keep up the act, show or persona forever? Maybe?

So yes I've opened a huge box of topics in this very short post. And I keep rewriting rants about social engineering, confiedence, social control and ultimatly Neuro-linguistic programming. We should be teaching this stuff in schools so everyone can protect themselves from con artists and social hackers like some people I know. I made reference to the real hustle in a previous blog post educating the masses about these such topics but we kind of need a show to talk about protecting yourself from the opposite sex (or same sex if you prefer). Don't get me wrong I'm not a player-hater as such but I don't feel it fair someone holds an advantage over someone else, specially when it comes to the painful world of mating or dating.

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Penetration testing on TV?

Tiger Team promotional photograph. Left to right: Ryan Jones, Chris Nickerson, Luke McOmie

I've heard some strange ideas for TV shows but whoever thought up this one must be barking mad. First heard on a NPR podcast then later on the register

Tiger Team follows a group of elite freelance security consultants hired to test organisations' security by using social engineering, hacking, and physically defeating security mechanisms. So we expect to see our heroes picking locks and going through the trash to get clues all the while maintaining an uneasy relationship with their clients and law enforcement officials.

Even the register are sniffing out this show long term appeal.

The plot elements have appeared before in films such as Sneakers, starring Robert Redford. It's hard to see how a story arc strong enough to sustain interest over the course of a TV series can be sustained from these elements.

The first programme is due to screen at 11pm on Christmas Day on CourtTV, which is hardly a recipe for a large audience. On the plus side, those watching will be probably too sozzled to notice any plot holes or technical errors.

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iPlayer on xbox media centre

xbox media centre

Streamng iplayer has certainly caught on well and everyone I've spoke to has good things to say about it. Although a supporter of the open-ish flash streaming player, I don't use it much right now. Yes not all the content is there yet but its also limited to my laptop and small computer screens. This is insane when I already consume all my media (tv, films, podcasts, etc) through xbox media centre and a nice large screen.

So whats going on? Well xbox media centre can already play native flash files, supports live streaming from day one and has a complete python backend for interacting with websites like youtube and the BBC radio player already . iPlayer should be a logical next step? And you know what if someone did create a script like the BBC Radio player one it would be perfectly legal, acceptable, promotable and great to use. I've been keeping an eye on the iplayers scripters forum but there still on about the download version. Phil really has everything needed for anyone to build the iplayer for xbmc.

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Dave’s thoughts on streaming iPlayer

So right now iplayer has no DRM but there is a fear with the latest Adobe flash communication server, DRM could be switched on in the near future. Now obviously I'm not going say either way as that would be confidental roadmap type stuff which gets me fired but I did think Dave's thoughts were interesting. Here's the best parts…

Sadly I don’t think that the rights holders or the BBC has been convinced that DRM does more harm than good, is unacceptable, and ought to be eliminated. I think they’ve just seen a lot of negative press about DRM, and want to avoid negative press. A streaming DRM-less alternative stops the majority of the criticism, but only partially solves the problem.

I won’t be surprised if the Adobe Flash DRM features are turned on in the future, because the BBC has not yet issued a policy stating that it rejects DRM technologies and refuses to foist them on people.

However, assuming that DRM is going out and will stay out of the iPlayer, what are the next issues the BBC faces in engaging with the free culture movement?

Redistribution is a hard problem for the BBC to tackle. It would mean that, if I download an iPlayer show, I am permitted to share copies with my friends.

Probably they will also be British license fee payers, since I live in the UK and most of my friends are too. But what about my non-British, non-license fee paying friends?

Currently they can’t access at all many BBC works directly from the BBC – even many BBC web pages. It does this with “GeoIP”: looking up the IP address of each user in a database that lists the geographic location of all registered IP address blocks. For a long time the BBC has discriminated against non-UK-registered IP addresses. serving them different and less HTTP data than is accessible from a UK IP address.

This is merely access control, not DRM. DRM mandates proprietary software and is supported by laws that prohibit the distribution of free software that can access DRM media – a serious social problem.

A social problem… very interesting choice of words Dave. I agree were not out of the woods theres lots more to be done. GeoIP is shakey ground to be standing on but unless there is a global licence fee or something. We will end up in big trouble with the government, trust, worldwide and of course the rights holders. Its a complex issue and requires more thought and time that the DRM debate maybe?

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When’s the eBook readers coming to the UK?

Amazon Kindle

I'm sorry but I'm fed up of hearing stupid people ranting about the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader. One because its not targeted at them, second because they rant about the price (although I would like them cheaper too) and third they just won't shut up about comparing them to books.

I'm honestly sick of people saying they prefer books to ebooks. Stop comparing them! Its really boring to hear I prefer books because there physical…blah blah blah. Stop it! If I can stop ranting about the Apple Iphone, you can stop moaning about ebooks. The fact is I prefer reading on screen because of the ability to change line lengths and text size. I would like to read a some what balanced review from someone simular.

Whats caused this little outburst? Well reading some of reviews from stupid people who don't actually own a Kindle yet on Amazon. I would link to them but they don't deserve it. The best review and most honest review of the Kindle so far has been this one and Steve Gibson's reviews. I would like one but there too expensive right now and I would perfer a version of the kindle with either wifi or bluetooth inside of it. Being tied to a mobile network is a no no but I can see the business case behind it. A while back I was excited with the Rex iLiad (yes its real name) but it seemed to have got stomped on by the Sony one which came out at the same time.

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