UK Legalises media backups


Image by The Rocketeer
Used under Creative Commons

Now this is interesting. While it’s been common practice for some time to “back up” your CDs, movies, and eBooks by ripping them or copying them, it has technically been an infringement of copyright to do so. A new law has come into force in the UK, though, that makes it legal to keep backups of media you own either on local storage or in the cloud.

There are caveats, as always: you cannot sell the original media and keep the backup, nor can you share your backup with friends or family. In short, it’s about you having a backup copy of something you still own.

You are also not allowed to record streamed media, even if you subscribe to the streaming service, or to “backup” rented media like games or DVDs. Interestingly, companies like Google, Amazon and Apple are not required to remove DRM so, while you are technically allowed to back your media up, the media providers don’t have to make it easy for you to do so.

Copyright protection is still in place; you can’t copy something you haven’t already bought, but there is perhaps an argument that media providers are going to lose out in cases where a person might have bought an iTunes track to listen to on their iPod, and a CD to listen to in the car. I think this new situation is eminently sensible though: we back up all sorts of important files, so it makes sense to be able to back up your music, videos, and other media.

For more info, check out this article on BBC News.

Do you keep copies of your music, videos, etc. in other formats? Or do you buy a separate copy for every listening or viewing platform you have? Why not share your thoughts in the comments?

Friday Fun Recycled: You have to burn the rope

Ever find yourself trying to complete a game and you just can’t get past that last boss? What, never? Must just be me then.

Anyway, this game won’t give you that problem, just follow this advice: You have to burn the rope. Be aware, there’s sound, and you will need Flash to play the game. Oh, and do hang on for the end credits :)

You have to burn the rope

Friday Fun: Hey Hey 16k

OK, you need sound (and Flash) this week… today’s Friday Fun is a song all about the halcyon days of 16k computers.

I was talking to one of the parents at nursery the other day about how tech has changed since we were little… how we lived during the time of black & white tellys, before the World Wide Web, and when the remote on the video recorder was attached by a cable.

And, of course, the computers :) Ah, they were great… I learned to program on a C64. So turn up the sound, play the video below, and enjoy the nostalgia!

Hey Hey 16kFor more of the funniest videos, click here

Google doodle celebrates Robert Moog

Moog Synthesiser Google Doodle

It’s Robert Moog’s birthday! Who’s Robert Moog? He was the founder of Moog Music, and inventor of the Moog analog synthesiser. Moog synths are something of a revered item in the electronic music world… somewhat like a vintage Les Paul guitar or a Steinway piano are in their respective fields.

If you want to have a bit of synthesiser fun, check out today’s Google doodle – a fully functional HTML5 synth. You can record, play back, and muck about with the settings to change the sound.

If you want more Moog goodness, and have an iPhone, check out Animoog for iPhone.

What’s that music?

Do you remember the 1990s advert for Guinness where a man is dancing round waiting for his beer to settle? Don’t worry if not – here it is again from YouTube:

This was the first advert where the music caught my attention to the point where I just had to track it down. Fortunately, Guinness actually released the soundtrack on CD so it wasn’t too hard. Rather nicely, it also introduced me to Perez Prado and the style of mambo. The thing is, if the CD hadn’t come out I would have found it much more difficult to find out what the music was. The World Wide Web was in its infancy, and downloading music files on those slow dial-up modems wasn’t even worth thinking about.

Nowadays things are a mite easier, and when you hear some great music in an advert you can quickly Google it to see what it was… or you can check out TV Ad Music. With YouTube videos of recent adverts, information on the music artists, and links to download the tracks from iTunes where available, you’re pretty likely to find a few items to tickle your fancy.

I found TV Ad Music when searching for information on who sang the song for the O2 “Things are Changing” advert. Unfortunately you can’t buy it, but it’s a lovely song. Another great track (and another that you can’t buy, sadly) is the Halifax Community Choir singing “I believe I can fly”.

Check the site out, and explore some of the great music you hear during those commercial breaks.

What’s your favourite piece of music from advertising? Tell us in the comments.

Do, a deer… reindeer that is… [Friday Fun]

I thought we’d revisit a previous Friday Fun this week, seeing as it is so close to Christmas and all!

This week’s Friday Fun isn’t a game as such… it’s a row of reindeer that all play different notes when you honk their noses. Use the guidance to play Christmas carols, or just play around and come up with your own tunes.

You’ll need Flash, and the sound on (obviously). Try not to annoy the other inhabitants of your house too much :)

–> Click to play <–

Friday Fun: Buttery Biscuit Bass

I first remember Masterchef when it was presented by Lloyd Grossman and, to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it at all. Now there’s a strange fascination to watching people cook… probably in part because I’m older myself and my tastes has changed.

Not only can you watch standard Masterchef, there’s celebrity, junior, and even Australian for some reason all appearing on UK channels. But you came here for a bit of fun, so I want to present to you this great video, created in the summer of this year by YouTube user Swedemason. It takes footage from UK Masterchef and turns it into a fun track.

You will need sound for this – it’s a bit pointless without :)

Android Bluetooth Speaker / Handsfree [review]

Android Bluetooth Speaker / HandsfreeOne of the things I love about my iPhone is that, as well as doing the obvious telephone stuff, it allows me to play games and listen to a good chunk of my music collection. There are plenty of accessories to make music listening more enjoyable, such as sound docks and the like, but Mobile Fun, those purveyors of mobile phone accessories, recently sent me an Android Bluetooth Sound Box to play with. Now, novelty technology doesn’t usually get me excited, but how did the Android Sound Box fare?

Firstly, while it looks very much like the Google Android logo, I don’t think it is affiliated with Google in any way. It’s just a green android, which happens to look like the Android. That aside, the looks are fun and it’s something of a conversation piece. Great, but it should actually serve a purpose too, so how does it do as a sound system?

The short answer is “alright”. It’s not going to bring the roof down or anything, but it does a better job of projecting your music than, say, the iPhone’s built-in speaker. The nice thing is that, since the Android broadcasts itself as a set of bluetooth headphones, it will connect to any mobile that offers that capability. The sound clarity is pretty good, although the small speaker does mean there’s not much bass response. It also limits the volume (which is controlled by twisting the Android’s head) but it’s still good enough to listen to while doing the housework, hanging out in a school break room, or any other situation where playing music out loud isn’t going to get on someone’s nerves.

There’s another element to this little guy, though. Not only is he a Bluetooth sound system, he’s a hands-free kit. By pressing his head down you send the signal that you would like to use voice dialling. I found this to be a bit flaky, with incorrectly recognised names much of the time but, to be fair, I have always found that with the iPhone and suspect the problem lies there rather than with the Android. When I did get it to dial the right person they told me the sound was fine, and I could hear them perfectly well. It’s a bit funny, too, having a conversation with this little green robot :)

All in all, the Android Bluetooth Speaker and Handsfree is a fun little gadget that moves away from the standard, functional mobile phone accessory. It does its job pretty well, and in situations where you know you will want to listen to music but don’t want to lug a sound dock around with you, it will come in handy. It’s a novelty, but it’s a fun novelty and with Christmas just around the corner it might make a good stocking filler for the smartphone-toting geek in your life.

This little green guy is available from Mobile Fun, priced £19.95.

Friday Fun: Music Catch

We’ve looked at this one before, but there’s no harm in coming back to it. Time for some chilled-out fun with this simple game. As the beautiful music plays, the “notes” jump up onto the screen. The aim is for you to catch them. Yellow notes increase the size of your collector, red notes decrease it, and purple ones make it magnetic.

There’s really very little else to say about this except that you will need Flash, and will most definitely need the sound turned up.

–> Click to play Music Catch <–

Friday Fun: Record Tripping

It’s not often that a game really impresses me, but Record Tripping by the Bell Brothers is just fantastic. The idea is to solve puzzles that involve you rotating barrels, clocks, safe tumblers, and so on… spinning them forwards, backwards, or slowing them down.

Nothing innovative yet, but this game almost feels like art. No, seriously! There’s some great music playing from artists like Gorrilaz and Beck, and a very “watch with mother” style voice reading passages from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. As you skip forward or backward so does the reading, like scratching a record. When you slow the spin down, the reading also slows.

The combination of great tunes and DJ-like scratching is somehow hypnotic. Record Tripping is, quite honestly, one of the best Flash games I’ve played in a long, long time.

Give it a go – you’ll need Flash and sound.

–> Click to play <–