Fighting anti-piracy by moving DNS off “the grid”

Domain name seizure.US authorities made more domain name seizures this month, prompting a bit of a panic among the file-sharing web. While torrent services are mostly associated with illegal content (for good reason), they are also used for all sorts of legitimate tasks.

As such, the growing ease with which the US government has been seizing domains concerns torrent users, to the point that some are ready to fight back. I’m not talking about the courts either. As TorrentFreak reports, a group of enthusiasts has started to develop a P2P-based DNS system that would make domain seizures a whole lot more difficult.

The details get a little technical from there, so I’ll refer you to TorrentFreak to sort through it at your leisure. What’s clear, though, is that technology and those who are passionate about it will continue to stay strides ahead of the people that aim to control the web.

Angry Birds highlights Android device fragmentation

Angry Birds.As cell phones continue to become more and more like what we used to know as a PC, we’ll start to see more of the problems crop up that the PC faced. Chief among, it’s becoming clear, is fragmentation. With the advent of operating systems like Android and Windows Phone 7, handset manufacturers are increasingly under pressure to put out better handsets.

With the iPhone, everyone has the same hardware, and because Apple earns profits from both the hardware and the software and controls the production of both, there’s no real rush to make a new handset. The hardware manufactures for Android and WP7, on the other hand, are in a sort of arms race. Every month it seems there’s a newer, faster Droid on the market. Something with a better camera. Something that runs Flash. Something with more RAM. Something better. That race is leading to a serious fragmentation, at least with Android, and it’s affecting the user experience.

Angry Birds has become one of the most popular games across several mobile platforms, but the developer has struggled to keep its product functional on all Android devices. The developer, Rovio Mobile, said that it will be creating a second version of the game for lower-end Android handsets, citing “severe performance issues.” While this isn’t a huge issue now, imagine two years down the road when there will be ever more hundreds of thousands of apps and a marketplace cluttered with new and old handsets. It will be a mess.

Of course Apple isn’t totally exempt from this issue. Its own handsets have changed significantly year after year, giving way to some high-performance applications that simply won’t run on the original iPhone or even the iPhone 3G. As time wears on, though, I would expect Apple will see significantly less fragmentation than the operating systems with secondary hardware manufacturers. There have been rumors though, that Apple is creating an iPhone “Lite” as well as the current iPhone 4 and a CDMA version of the phone for Verizon. Sounds an awful lot like fragmentation to me.

Netflix gets a price increase

Netflix rate hikeThere I was, late Monday night, getting ready to leave for Ohio the following evening. My girlfriend and I were going to drive through most of the night on Tuesday so we could miss the Wednesday traffic (sidebar: get it together VirginiaDOT – the 77/81 junction looks like it was designed by throwing spaghetti at a wall and letting a first grader draw the signage). As we both packed she said, “Sucks about that Neflix increase, right?” Check the email. Price increase. Back to packing.

I was worried when she first mentioned it, but really, the extra dollar a month doesn’t bother me. I’ve been unbelievably happy with my Netflix subscription, so the extra $12 a year is like a tip for good service.

On the flipside, though, I wish I could justify stepping down to the streaming-only plan. I would love a streaming video service that could rival my music service (MOG). Give me on demand everything, not just the old stuff. As it stands, I keep the DVD part of my Netflix subscription for those movies I want to watch while I work but can’t find elsewhere. I would love to get it all over the cloud, and would likely pay double my current Netflix fee to do it. Time for an industry shift, folks, and the first service to do it will get a helluva lot of subscribers.

Bullz-Eye’s Holiday Gift Guide is out

Holiday gift guide.

If you’re having trouble coming up with the perfect holiday gift this year, we have something that could help you out. Our annual Bullz-Eye Holiday Gift Guide is out, including a section (written by yours truly) specifically devoted to gadgets.

Of course, you can also check out the rest of the guide, which includes games, movies, and virtually any other category of gift you might need help with. Happy shopping!

Eric Schmidt: No Chrome OS netbooks for the holidays

Google Chrome OS.According to Google’s CEO, Chrome OS won’t be ready to go in notebooks until after the holiday. It’s a bummer, really, because the OS release could produce a glut of development from app makers looking to make web versions of their current software.

The OS was originally supposed launch well before the holidays, then it was pushed back to late November, now it’s looking like we won’t see it until next year, outside of beta anyway. Google says it will have more to share later in the year. Guess what, guys. It is later in the year. It’s very late in the year in fact, so just tell us it won’t be ready until next year. That’s all we need to know.

Several manufacturers have held a “no comment” status on launching Chrome netbooks. That can’t be a good thing. I figured there would be some excitement about a slim new OS that won’t have the crazy licensing fees of Microsoft products. Really makes me wonder why the OS has caught a delay. Is Google having trouble partnering with manufacturers? Did they back out after agreeing to support the platform a year ago?