And here’s one I made earlier

(I was actually pulling this together before getting wind of Dale’s descent in script-kiddiedom – see previous post – hence the title)

Well it’s nice to see Britain’s premier ‘blogging expert’, Iain Dale, maintaining his usual consistency when reporting on stories about the BBC – i.e. thick and – by the time the sock puppets arrive – full of clots.

There is one group of computer users it’s never a good idea to offend. They are like Jose Mourinho. They regard themselves as the ‘special ones’. They act as if they are superior. They look down their noses at the ninety per cent of people who haven’t followed them into the Kingdom of the Self-Righteous. They are the Chelsea supporters of the computer world. Ladies and gentlemen, I am of course referring to the users of Apple Macs.

They will be up in arms today over the news that they won’t be able to access programmes of the BBC iPlayer. I remember very well the uproar there was among Mac users when 18 Doughty Street first launched and they couldn’t stream it. You would have thought the world was coming to an end. They demanded that every waking hour at Doughty Street was devoted to finding a solution. The happy result was that a solution was indeed found and as far as I know all is now well.

We did that on a budget a fraction of the size of the BBC. Yet the BBC, having spent millions on the development of its iPlayer holds out little hope to Mac users of ever finding a solution.

The BBC. It’s what we don’t.

His comments, as one might expect, serve to neatly demonstrate his abject lack of technical knowledge and ability – the ability in question being that of taking his information from a reliable and knowledgeable source, such as The Register, whose own coverage notes that:

The iPlayer application will only be available for MS Windows initially, but the support roadmap reveals interesting priorities: cable TV service support will come first, followed by Apple Macs and then Freeview boxes.

Making the service available to Virgin Media customers (who are the UK cable TV service) would be one in the eye for Sky television at a very important time, so you can be sure that Virgin will be working hard to make that happen.

So, the Apple version of the Beeb’s iPlayer, for which Dale tries to suggest it has little hope of ever delivering, is actually included in the Beeb’s support ‘roadmap’, albeit that it takes second place behind support for Virgin Media’s cable TV Service, which already provides on-demand access to a fairly sizeable number of BBC programmes is a similar manner to that which the new iPlayer service will provide.

In addition to grossly misrepresents the Beeb’s plans – as usual – Dale also considerably over estimates the importance of Mac users, many of whom are little better than a bunch of effete, whinging snobs for all their pretentions of superiority over users of other systems.

More observant readers will notice one significant omission from the Beeb’s developmental roadmap for its iPlayer service – nowhere does it mention any provision for Linux users, who, it appears, will be left out in the cold, as usual.

Will this omission prompt much the same unedifying display of public wailing and gnashing of teeth from them that one has come to expect each and every time that Mac users feel hard done by?

Of course not – unlike the Mac community, with its overbearing surplus of middle class, self-obsessed frat-boys, the Mr Angry’s @, Linux jockeys have an irrepressible ‘can-do’ attitude.

If the Beeb will not provide, then Linux’s open source community almost certainly will – within days, if not hours of its launch there will be code monkeys the world over picking apart its iPlayer software for the information necessary to develop a compatible Linux player, DRM or no DRM.

Thus far, no company has successfully developed a Digital Right Management system that someone else has not been able to crack – both Apples’ ‘Fairplay’ and Microsoft’s ‘PlaysForSure’ DRM systems were cracked within days of reaching the outside world and continue to be cracked for all that both have released a series of patches and updates in an effort to reassert their control over distribution. These too were cracked within days of their release. Microsoft have even resorted to making spurious legal claims that allege that persons unknown have had access to its own source code, hence the speed with which the DRM system is repeatedly cracked within hours of being updated.

All nonsense of course. The real reason that these systems are cracked so quickly is that:

a) the people doing the cracking are damn good at what they do – and when ot comes to Microsoft in particular, highly motivated just to put one over on the Great Satan of Redmond, and

b) DRM systems are not as secure as Apple/Microsoft would like people to think.

DRM is, after all, only a form of data encryption and, as is the case in any data encryption system, there is always a trade-off to be made between performance and security – the more secure the system, the longer it takes to decode the data into a playable form.  Both companies could, hypothetically, produce near-uncrackable systems, but only at the expense of end-users having to wait several minutes to play back their music or video every time they play the file.

Dale is talking complete rubbish here on two basic counts.

First he hasn’t bothered to check the facts as they relate to the reality of the Beeb’s plans for its iPlayer system, or simply disregarded them of a personal preference for Beeb-bashing propaganda over honest commentary.

Seond, the comparison he makes with Fox News Lite is as facile as it innaccurate, simply because nowhere does his pet propaganda venture have to deal with either the complexities of digital rights management or the protection of copyrights that may be own, in part or in total, by third parties – nevermind that simple in terms of viewing figures, Fox News Lite is somewhere on a par with a home shopping channel rather than a major international broadcaster.

It’s an apples and oranges comparison in every possible respect.

8 thoughts on “And here’s one I made earlier

  1. Whilst this isn’t exactly a shock. I do love the fact that Dale is happy to appear on the BBC whilst also slating it.

    So what you can criticise the BBC, pump your propaganda machine, and then appear on it to boost your profile as Supreme Leader of Blogosphere? Mr Dale are you perhaps being a little inconsistent?

    Nice work Manic and Unity.

  2. “Dale also considerably over estimates the importance of Mac users, many of whom are little better than a bunch of effete, whinging snobs for all their pretentions of superiority over users of other systems.”


    Take that you bitch! I don’t mind: as soon as the Linux boys have cracked it, I’ll be running the iPlayer equivalent on X11 anyway…


  3. God’s teeth, Unity, it’s only a computer. I switched from a very old and unreliable PC to a new and shiny Mac two years ago; I don’t think the switch involved my replacement with a pod person (but then, I would say that…)

  4. I suppose I could have noted that Mac users fall into one of three general categories…

    1. Those who bought an iMac on the strength of being told how easy it was to use – not usually too many problems with them.

    2. Those work in graphic design/DTP/printing etc, who use Macs as a working tool – like DK, they simply relax and wait for the Linux code monkeys to sort everything out because they know they’ve got Unix under the hood and will likely be able to run any workarounds developed by the Linux community.

    3. Middle and upper middle-class dickheads who bought a Mac because they think it makes them look ‘cool’, ‘different’ and/or an ‘in-duh-vidual’ – whinging bunch of self important bastards to a man.

  5. You’re becoming almost as obsessed as Ireland and McKeating. Get a life. You seem to agree with my basic thrust, yet still feel that you have to disagree. Bizarre.

  6. Hello Iain.

    Tell me, if you do ever make it into Parliament, do you plan on responding to every tricky question in the Commons with a shrill cry of “OMG! You’re obsessed!”…?

    How about Paxman? Would you like to try it on him? It appears to be the only cheap trick Staines didn’t pull out of his arse when he appeared on Newsnight… and it *just* might work.

  7. Oh and Iain, while we’ve got you on the line, would you perhaps care to explain yourself regarding your nifty new redirections?

    I seem to recall you spouting some nonsense (in your role as blogging ‘expert’) about the key to weblogs being honesty and open interaction… yet you’ve clearly attempted to bypass the latter because of your ongoing difficulties with the former.

    Are you that afraid of the same* scrutiny you yourself direct at others?

    (*OK, mine isn’t quite the same as yours… I at least attempt to be honest, transparent and consistent.)

  8. Sorry, Iain?

    It’s now seemingly ‘obsessive’ to pick you up on occasions where you make basic errors of fact and indulge in the spreading of obvious propaganda?

    The Beeb’s thinking on iPlayer is dictated almost exclusively by it’s decision to implement digital right management and, incidentally, is a business decision that is entirely market driven.

    Both Apple and Microsoft use their own proprietary DRM systems, the Beeb has gone with the one that affords them the largest scope for market penetration from the outset, after which it has set out a roadmap for other platforms that broadly reflects their prospects for delivering future revenue streams, which is ultimately what this is all about, as in the medium-long term this initial free period will serve as proof of concept/technology in anticipation of the development of subscription/pay per view services.

    In all likelihood, the end of the rainbow is a position in which iPlayer is free in the UK – charging in the UK for on-demand services will be difficult to justify so long as it remains funded by the licence fee – but requires a subscription fee or one-off payments for overseas users.

    What is clear is that the Beeb does intend to develop Mac support and that it not true to say that it hold out little hope of ever delivering that support.

    As for the rest, that reflects a well-established reality – omit support for Linux and its user base will do it themselves and, incidentally, because Macs use a Unix core, the codebase developed by the Linux community will likely contribute to the development of the Mac version of iPlayer to some degree.

    The only point of ‘agreement’ we have here is that the Mac tends to attract rather more than it fair share of stuck-up tossers.

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