Tuesday, February 17, 2004


Me and a friend were trying to purchase an ebook the other day. We found we could download an ebook version from amazon. It was much cheaper, and quicker to buy the ebook. So we decided, why not? She bought the book while we were in our computer science lab. Half the lab runs machines running a variant of Debian Linux, and the other half were Sun Solaris machines. Clicking on the download link threw us a small file, with an etd extenstion. Having not seen anything like that before, I assumed it was a pointer to a real file. I had her cat the .etd file. As I had thought, it was an XML file. However no matter what we did we could'nt get to the actual file. Opening the .etd file in acrobat reader for Linux did nothing. Using the link from xml file directly in a browser yielded nothing. At this point my friend was getting extremely frustrated. Why didn't they tell us that we would need Adobe Reader for Windows. Why didn't they tell us that the file was DRM protected?

I opened up my laptop (windowsxp), hooked up to the wireless network, and sure enough adobe reader launched and it wanted me to activate DRM on the machine. Which I did? It was frustrating though, and finally after switching of the firewall (dont know why I had to do that, but it worked), getting DRM activated, I finally downloaded and saved the file. At about this time, my friend was fuming. I can tell you I got snapped at almost through out the day after that. And we both are not going to buy ebooks ever again. The experience was so thoroughly bad. And then she found that she couldn't even print the pdf. Thankfully, when I told her that, I was at my home, and she was at hers, and we were talking over the phone!!!

Mozilla and hypocrisy

Right, but what about the experiences that Mozilla chooses to default for users like switching to  Yahoo and making that the default upon ...