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Friday Follow-Ups: Flash Performance, Wal-Mart Music

Revisiting some topics recently covered in this space....

* When I wrote about Adobe's new Flash Player 10 on Wednesday, I hadn't had time to try out its performance. Now somebody's beaten me to it: The folks at Ars Technica did their own benchmark testing and discovered that the new plug-in runs faster and eats up fewer processor cycles in Mac OS X and Linux, two platforms that had earlier seen sub-par Flash performance.

I have since installed Flash 10 in Mac OS X and Windows Vista, where it's worked fine and, from my casual observations, uses less memory as well. (For instance, on the Mac, Safari with Flash 9 needed 67 megabytes of memory to display the Flash-intensive MLB.com homepage; with Flash 10, it needed 62.)

Anytime you can get an update that both adds features and needs less processing power and memory, that's something special.

* Wal-Mart, which had planned to shut down the "digital rights management" servers that governed song downloads sold in its first attempt at running a music-file store, is now backing down. In an e-mail to customers reproduced elsewhere, the retailer said it would keep that DRM machinery -- and tech support for it -- active for the indeterminate future:

Based on feedback from our customers, we have decided to maintain our digital rights management (DRM) servers for the present time. What this means to you is that our existing service continues and there is no action required on your part. Our customer service team will continue to assist with DRM issues for protected windows media audio (WMA) files purchased from Walmart.com.

I can see the PR argument for Wal-Mart to take this step. I'm not so clear on why Wal-Mart customers would be happy to see their music continue to be held hostage. Were I in that situation, I'd like to think that I'd throw my DRMed music files in the escape pod at the first sign of trouble -- burn them to an audio CD, then re-rip those songs to the computer in an un-"protected" format. It would involve some work and sacrifice some audio quality, but then I'd be free of worrying about what might happen to my property. But if I had bought hundreds of songs, and if I was busy enough... I can't promise I'd go to the trouble. At least not right away.

What about you? Do you own any DRMed songs from a non-iTunes store with questionable prospects? If you haven't re-ripped them, are you expecting this store will do the right thing, are you leery about the inconvenience involved, or do you just not know how to do this whole burn-and-re-rip exercise?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  October 17, 2008; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Music , The Web  
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Next: Selling Computers Without Performance Anxiety?

Comments

My wife and kids are not sure (at least off the top of their heads) which sings they bought from which service.

Posted by: DC suburbs | October 17, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I still view walmart music as the overly parental corporate titan that wouldn't sell fairly mainstream music in its stores unless lyrics or cover art were changed.

Posted by: Ugh | October 17, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

If companies like Wal-Mart, Sony, Yahoo, and all the major music labels are serious about winning back paying customers they need to offer software that will unlock the DRM protection on previous downloads, or allow free replacement downloads in unprotected mp3 format. Since large volume music purchasers will be hurt the most by this, these companies are alienating their best customers and providing even more incentive to start downloading for free instead. Alienating your most loyal paying customers is not a winning business strategy.

Posted by: Ann Anemas | October 18, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Technology in itself is reason to upgrade from older equipment & flash with all memory prices are at all time low, with EXTREME SSD being New double your performance emergence, Now.

Look att Hubble. It has cameras, yet only 2 mb of Ram, 16mhz/s or less, much similar to WebTV box five years latter. Thats NO Machine for media intense computing, & elaborate photo data. Why waste ones' time with machine first purposed in 1977, when James Webb telescope could use boost.
And probably upgrade.
For Gov't Fixit for fixits' sake is their occupation, yet in Home Entertainment its gotten to be pretty sophisticated system. Hurrah.Especially with Home Server 2008 & Wifi media to multi locations, where accessing various storage areas make home internet shop & server.

Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART VON DRASHEK M.D.

Posted by: thomasxstewart | October 18, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

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