Saturday, December 7, 2019

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Music Education & More | Music Think Tank



WinRAR Nukes Pirate Keygen But is a “Good Guy” Towards Regular Users | TorrentFreak

There’s a high probability that most people reading this article will be familiar with the image on the right.

That’s because in computing terms, data compression tool WinRAR has been around for what seems like forever.

Indeed, with its 25th birthday coming up next April, WinRAR launched before many of its users were even born. Nevertheless, it has stood the tests of time and according to the latest estimates, now has around 500 million users.

Indeed, the company told us this week that WinRAR is the third most installed software in the world behind Chrome and Acrobat Reader. The reason for that, at least in part, is the company’s liberal business model.

Perhaps the most curious thing about this ubiquitous tool is that while WinRAR gives the impression of being free, technically it is paid software. Users get a 40-day period to trial the tool and then, if they like it, they can part with cash in order to obtain a license.

However, WinRAR never times out and relies completely on users’ inclination to pay for something that doesn’t need to be paid for to retain functionality. As a result, WinRAR has huge numbers of pirate users yet the company does pretty much nothing to stop them.

Those who do pay for a license get rid of a ‘nag’ screen and gain a couple of features that most people don’t need. But for pirates (and the tool is massively popular with pirates), an unlicensed WinRAR still does what it’s supposed to, i.e unpacking all those pesky compressed pirate releases.

Of course, there are people out there who would still rather not pay a penny to use a piece of software that is essentially free to use. So, in order to obtain a ‘license’ and get rid of the nag screen, they use a piece of software called a ‘keygen’ that generates one for them.

The company behind WinRAR doesn’t seem to care too much about casual piracy but it is bothered about keygens. This week we spotted a lawyer for the company Win.rar GmbH filing a complaint with code repository Github targeting such a tool.

“We have put in a licensing generation system that is impossible to decrypt (until now that is). This system works by our employees generating a unique .key file and the end user putting it in their WinRAR installation directory so in that way the product activates,” the notice states.

“It violates our technological measures by the repo holding the source code and the compiled application to a custom-created keygen which is built to bypass our licensing generation system and allows end users to create their own unique .key files for no charge which therefore bypasses our technological measures.”

The format of the DMCA notice is part of a growing trend. It doesn’t claim that the keygen copies WinRAR’s code but instead states that it violates the company’s rights by breaching the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA. As such, the notice cannot be easily countered.

“This GitHub repository violates a section of 17 U.S.C. § 1201 which is a part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” the notice adds.

“Since 17 U.S.C. § 1201 doesn’t have a counter-notification process if GitHub does not provide one then appealing of this notice is improbable. GitHub is legally not required to provide an appeals system for anti-circumvention cases.”

Github didn’t waste any time taking the repository down but before it disappeared, this is what it looked like. Notice the Chinese text at the top, which is of special interest.

The author of the tool identifies as Double Sine or DoubleLabyrinth, hailing from Tianjin University in China. He or she seems to have created the keygen as a technical challenge but there is some irony to be found in the coder’s location.

Since 2015, WinRAR has provided a completely free version of WinRAR for regular users in China. This, the company said, was to thank people for sticking with WinRAR over the years.

“We are proud to announce that after years of hard work, we now finally provide a completely free Simplified Chinese version of WinRAR to individual users in China,” a note on the local website reads.

“You can now officially download and use WinRAR completely free of charge from, without searching or downloading cracked products, or looking for illegal versions, or downloading from unsafe websites at risk of security.”

Speaking with TorrentFreak, a representative from WinRAR’s marketing team couldn’t immediately elaborate on the specifics of the DMCA notice but noted that people shouldn’t really have a need to pirate its product.

“Indeed this is an interesting case, as we also don’t see the necessity of using a pirated version of WinRAR instead of our trial version. We know that our licensing policy for end customers is not as strict as with other software publishers, but for us it is still important that WinRAR is being used, even if the trial period might be over,” the representative said.

“From a legal perspective, everybody should buy at the end of the trial, but we still think that at least uncompressing content should be still possible as unrar.exe is open source anyway.”

The company also highlighted the existence of cartoons and memes on the Internet which relate to WinRAR’s indefinite trial, noting that “we like all of them and it meets our sense of humor.”

Perhaps more importantly, however, the company understands the importance of maintaining the positive image it’s earned by not persecuting users who use the product beyond its trial period. Going after them isn’t on the agenda but they would prefer people not to go down the piracy route.

“[I]n the field of private users we have always been the ‘good guys’ by not starting legal actions against every private user using it beyond the trial period, thus we also don’t understand the need of pirated license keys for WinRAR,” the company concludes.

Rival open source tools such as 7-Zip offer similar functionality for free, no keygens needed or nag screens in sight. But, for the majority of users, WinRAR remains the tool of choice, even after a quarter of a century. It’s a remarkable achievement backed up by an intriguing business model.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.


Friday, December 6, 2019

Music Education (Or The Lack Thereof) In The US. | Music Think Tank

A Brief Survey of the Value of Music & Music Education

Passing thought on the Decline of Music Education with a quote from

 Thought Leader & Industry Innovator, M Dallas Wright

Music is so often overlooked and insulted- its sickening to me really. I resent that the world’s general idea or stereotype about a Musician, about the Artist. Their art and craft sometimes sneered upon and looked down upon as if we were all merely jesters or solely there for entertainment. I cannot do enough to urge the need for a swift shift away from that illogical way of thinking, not to mention ignorant.
At the end of the day, we live in a world (or a country) where music is mocked, laughed at, and even despised by some folks. Theres nothing wrong with that,  everyone is entitled their own beliefs…but this is not a matter of beliefs, opinions, or even preference.

This is based on sheer science and exact measurements which have been observed, tested, and measured time and time again.  

 Surely you may be puzzled by this and wondering how the two might be correlated; what does science have to do with beliefs and music?

Well, the thing is- this particular science is called Music Theory, and the facts are that the physics of music and the measurement of its characteristic and properties, all point clear correspondence to every facet of life.

Down to the very most intricate fundamentals and rudimentary principles, Music Theory can effectively explain all phenomena  and possibilities.


 Just stop and fathom that statement for a moment.


Without listing the countless implications that holds in regards to why music should thereby be the most important subject of study in any classroom, I will follow that up by sharing that with all that being considered, I will always strive to continue learning every single day, regardless how old I become…

I have had the opportunity to learn all over the world, in unique places about abstract and diverse things. Even with as much as I have learned throughout my life, I’ll admit that I may not know much about anything at all. Maybe.

Albeit the one thing I do know - without question- is that if a conversation is being held somewhere about whether or not to

“cut the budget spending for Music Education,” then our education system must not be as truly educational as previously imagined, is it?”



- M Dallas Wright

Founder, MDW Design LTD


FTC kicks feet through ash pile that once was Cambridge Analytica with belated verdict | The Register

Trade boss says long-dead biz was indeed deceiving the public

The US Federal Trade Commission has issued what looks to be a largely symbolic ruling against the remnants of data-harvesting marketers Cambridge Analytica.…


Certain Songs #1698: R.E.M. – “so. Central Rain (Late Night With David Letterman, 1983)” | Medialoper

Television Performance, 1983

. . .

File Under Sorry

On October 3, 1983, my two most favorite things of the 1980s collided . . . before I knew they were going to be my two favorite things of the 1980s.

In face, I don’t think I’d watched Late Night With David Letterman when R.E.M. made their U.S. television debut on his show. While I had probably read that Letterman was subverting the entire form, I still associated the entire form with Johnny Carson, who, was, you know, for my parents, not me.

Not to mention that if I was awake at 12:30 at night — or 1:00, because Fresno’s NBC station, I was, you know, doing anything but watching TV, for fuck’s sake. It’s not a coincidence that I get into Letterman a few months later, it was after I was able to record his shows every night and watch them the next day.

Anyways, I made an exception and tuned in to see R.E.M. in the same way I used to tune into Tomorrow for The Clash or The Jam. And in hindsight, what I got was both an anomaly for Dave and totally on-brand for R.E.M.

The first Dave anomaly was that R.E.M. got two songs — pretty unheard-of for a band with only one album on an indie label — and even weirder, after the first song (“Radio Free Europe,” naturally) instead of Dave having Mike Mills and Peter Buck back to his desk for the interview, Dave went over to talk to them. According to Mike Mills in 2015, that was the reason that Michael Stipe sat down and didn’t talk to Dave — because he assumed that wasn’t the plan.

And of course, in 1983, it always made sense for it to be the two extroverts — Buck & Mills — to be the ones who were interviewed. And this is where you could see just how smart they were: they held their own with Dave, Peter Buck explaining the Athens scene, Mike Mills explaining that Murmur came out with a lower list price, and definitely amusing Dave — who of course, got a couple of great jokes — in the process.

Oh, and according to Mills, an incredibly typical Dave joke prior to their performance:

Peter and I were sitting in the dressing room drinking beers and Dave walked in. He looked at the beer and he says. “You guys nervous?” We said, “Yeah, a little bit.” He said, “Don’t worry, it’s not like it’s a real show or anything.”

In any event, after the interview, R.E.M. did the coolest thing: they played a brand-new song. Which, at that time, didn’t even have a name!! But, in retrospect, it makes perfect sense: at that time, R.E.M. was always writing, and they loved to put new songs in their set from the moment they wrote them, so from the band’s point of view, it was just what they did.

And, of course, it was also a message to their fanbase: we’re sticking around, we’re looking forward, stay tuned

Oh, and it didn’t help that it was a pretty good song, obviously going to be called “I’m Sorry,” featuring a ringing guitar riff setting up the title chorus, and great backing vocals on the later verses, as well as forceful drum work from Bill Berry, and even a bit of an instrumental rave-up at the end.

As a teaser for their next record — still six months away! — it couldn’t have been more perfect.

R.E.M. on Late Night With David Letterman

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