Category Archives: Encryption

Disney: evil, but defeatably evil

Disney DVD’s slogan is Moves, Magic and More.  They got the more part right for sure.

There I am trying to back up my copy of Wall_e_lic2_d1 so that once the kids have scratched the living bejesus out of the playing version, a new one can be generated from the master. And also as to avoid the annoying ads, language selection and other remote-control-based activity at the start – just shove it in the DVD player and walk away. Thankfully Australian copyright law lets me do this.

The studio have been dicking around with the disk’s table of contents, giving it over seventy files it claims are five gig in size – which, giving the DVD specification, is not possible. What you need to do in circumstances like this is play it in some player that will tell you what the magic track that actually contains the movie, not some hacked version of it. Then back that one up.

In the case of this particular disk it’s track 53, 1:33:26 long weighting in at 5425.95MB in size.

Thing is, DVDShrink barfs on it. Like it does Cars, but for different reasons. Thankfully I’ve recently discovered that Linux has an equivalent to DVDShrink, but this one is still being maintained. K9copy is it’s name; Cars was processed with no problems, and it was only the tomfoolery on Wall-E that caused a pause in activity.

So there’s one less application that I need a copy of Windows to run.

Distributed computing, capitalist style

Here’s an idea: rather than sending advertisements to user’s computers, why not send scripting code to calculate [the valuable thing, like, I dunno, pi or hacking the encryption on HDDVD or something] and send the results back to your central computer?

Come on, you know you want to. And it’s free! Primer: GPG encryption in five minutes or your money back

A while back I was given the task of setting up encryption for sending files around. Ooh. Sounds tricky, I thought. I’ve seen PGP signatures on privacy freaks’ e-mail for years now, but it all seemed a bit like black magic. I had no idea how it worked.

I went looking, and it turns out it’s not really particularly difficult to figure out or get working. But I had to wade through a few hefty (in web terms) manuals to find all the info I needed. I never really found a web page which detailed the basics in an easy to digest format. This could be that page.


PGP is Pretty Good Privacy, invented by Phil Zimmerman and now run by the PGP Corporation. It’s the defacto standard for this kind of stuff. It’s fairly secure, and has the added benefit of compressing text quite well. PGP sell a number of solutions, but if you’re wondering about freebies, then…

GPG is Gnu Privacy Guard, which is the free implementation of (most of) PGP. It lives here:

How to use it

Encryption of this type is all about keys. If you haven’t grasped the key concept before, here it is in brief: a recipient has a public and a private key. The public key is given to anybody. Senders encrypt stuff using the public key. Only the recipient has the private key, and uses this to decrypt stuff. Obviously if communication is two-way, you need multiple public and private keys. Okay? Easy.
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