Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Are Sony really this nasty?

Spotted this comment in the off-topic thread on Groklaw:

And speaking of hardware shenanigans, a friend of mine just recently bought a Sony CD recorder, only to get it home and find out that it wouldn't record on any of his blank CDs. After experimenting, I discovered that it only records on Sony "digital audio" CDs. Talk about product lock-in!

Now he bought it because the burner in his computer was no longer working (would read, but not write), and since he's a musician, he thought rather than replace the one in his computer, he'd buy the standalone because it also let him record directly from analog sources. So I asked him about the one in his computer. He said it stopped working after his wife had upgraded something on the computer.
That made me think "hmmmmm", so I offered to look at it. Surprise!
The 'upgrade' his wife had done was to replace the CD burner... with a Sony! So I popped a blank Sony CD into that, and lo and behold, it suddenly worked.

Not sure how that's legal, but they are clearly doing it. But they lost a customer... he took the recorder back to Best Buy for a refund, and he's replacing the burner in the computer.

That's kind of weird, and you think would fall afoul of various laws relating to consumer protection & anti-competitive behaviour. I'm pretty sure it would be illegal here in Oz unless the fact the burner only worked with Sony branded CDs was prominently marked on the box.

I presume the guy is trying to burn standard Redbook audio CDs, so I can't see any reason why any other media wouldn't be acceptable, other than Sony trying to force people to buy their (often overpriced) product. Just like the printer manufacturers & their proprietary ink cartridges, I suppose.

Does anyone know anything more about this issue?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

One more annoying thing about Windows

Ok, today's annoyance: I moved the computer around (actually, I moved all the furniture in the study around, but that's another story).

When I plugged everything back into the computer, I didn't bother to make sure I plugged all the USB cables back into exactly the same port they came out of.

Upon booting into Windows, I'm greeted with the "found new hardware wizard", and my (USB) keyboard & mouse don't work. A hard reset later, and at least the k/b & mouse work, but I still get Windows asking me to install drivers for my TrackIR5. Which was already installed & working prior to the move...

This isn't the first time this has happened to me. It seems that Windows decides that because this piece of hardware wasn't plugged into that particular USB port, it must be a new piece of hardware that needs new drivers installed, and not at all the same as the one that was plugged into that other USB port at the last boot, and which isn't on that other port any more...


If only my games were playable on Linux.

I don't suppose anyone knows how to get ArmA II (Steam version) & SupCom working via Wine?