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EST. SEPTEMBER 8th, 1997
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    Random Poll: Just how big is big momma?

    a) Big momma is so big, she can get group insurance rates.
    b) Big momma is so big, she gets clothes in three sizes: extra large, jumbo and oh-my-god-it's-coming-towards-us!
    c) Big momma is so big, when she gets on the scale it says 'to be continued.'
    d) Actually, big momma is so big, when she gets on the scale it says 'One at a time, please!'
    e) Hey... uh - the movie is about 'Big Momma' not 'Yo Mama'. Get your head out of the toilet.

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    Sony's Double Density Blunder

    Here's the news:
       Sony corporation announced today that in September it will begin selling licenses to its new compact disc format which is twice the capacity of a standard CD. Philips Electronics NV will be cooperating with Sony in licensing the new CDs in an effort to get more companies involved with the format. The disc format, currently called Double Density CD-ROM/-R/-RW, provides for three types of CDs: read-only, write-once, and re-writable. Sony says that the 1.3GB format will prevent illegal copying of the media.

       This new product seems to be in direct response to the PC industry's widespread use of current CD-R media and the demand to store more data. But the wisdom of this product launch is questionable, at best. Sony Corp has had a troubled past when it comes to introducing new media to market. Remember BETA? Remember Sony HD floppies? They are arrogant to think that they can single-handedly prevent illegal copying with a proprietary media and/or encryption method or whatever other tricks they intend. Today's "black hat" media hackers are out-smarting the highest paid engineers in the world through careful dissection, reverse engineering and sheer determination. The more you tighten the reigns, the higher profile the victory, and hence the more enticing to hack.

       Clearly Sony Crop has determined that copy prevention alone would not be sufficient to coax software distributors on board to use the format. Why not add more capacity to the mix? That'll really get `em hooked, right? Wrong. You'd think Sony forgot that they had their own DVD product R&D department.

       DVD technology is steadily becoming well-established in the consumer product market and has no need of trickery, encryption or otherwise, in order to discourage illegal copying. Granted, DVD makes no effort to all-out prevent copying (discounting CSS encoding which has been recently rendered ineffective), but sheer volume of the media alone makes it inconvenient to attempt duplication, let alone the cost of recording and duplication equipment.

       My advice to consumers is: avoid Sony's Double Density CD-R format at all costs. You are looking at sub-standard optical media technology which is easily bested by DVD. If consumers react the least bit positively to this sort of poorly thought out product line (which would seek to make itself the "industry standard") then consumers will continually be plagued by yesterday's technology.

       My advice to Sony Corp is: take another look at your DVD product R&D department - if you're going to work on a new format, start with DVD as the foundation! By starting with DVD-RAM or DVD-ROM media specs and deriving a format, you open up possibilities to reach a large, existing market, and enstill faith in the tech community that you're not off in left field again.

    Sean Kelly, DCN Staff
    Wednesday, July 5th, 2000

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