The mention of Eric’s iPod brings me to my pet peeve of the day. About six weeks ago, I purchased an audio book version of Jim Collins’ Good to Great, and very much enjoyed it. I ripped it to MP3 and put it on my little Samsung U5 MP3 player, and played it in the car on the way to and from work. Then I bought The One Minute Manager and did the same.
For a couple of days now, I’ve been looking around the web for deals on audio books that I could just download – I will pay for them, but I prefer just getting the MP3 over the Internet and putting them directly onto my MP3 player. The best deal I found was a subscription based service that I’ve heard about, and looked at before, Audible.com. It is advertised on some of the podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis, so it must be OK, right?
Well, I signed up for a monthly subscription, paid the first month, got my first audio book, downloaded it with anticipation, and… what the heck is an “AA” file??? It won’t play on my LINUX computer! And now I Google the AA file format of Audible.com, and it’s proprietary – only plays through iTunes and on iPods!
Audible.com uses Digital Rights Management (DRM), which restricts the distribution and use of an audio file to those devices that have paid to buy into their restrictions. So I can’t use this new audio book, curses!
I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Part of me wants to complain, get my money back (or at least cancel the subscription), and run away to another web site that’s more expensive but gives me files I can use. The other part of me says, “oh carp (a typo but I like it), Jason has an iPod and loves it, maybe I should just buy an iPod and be done with it.”
This would mean that I would have to re-rip my whole CD collection to MP3 instead of Ogg Vorbis http://www.vorbis.com , a free encoder that I have been using until now (long story, but MP3 is not free, a licence fee is paid to the owners with every device that can play it, check out the web site for details). The whole OGG thing runs with my slightly anti-establishment bias. But, the iPod does not play OGG, and from what I read, never will. Well, you can wipe your iPod and install new software that will play OGG, but then you can’t play the proprietary DRM formats, kind of wiping out the benefit of switching to iPod.
Curse these entrenched, self-serving, self interested companies that want to lock their customers in! Even if the jail cell is very nicely furnished, it is a jail cell just the same.