DRM rears its ugly head
Yesterday, I downloaded my first audiobook from Audible.com. Following a tip from Leo Laporte of TWiT fame, I used audible.com/twit to sign up and get a free first book. The book I got was “On Intelligence: How a New Understanding of the Brain will Lead to the Creation of Truly Intelligent Machines” by Jeff Hawkin.
As I was downloading the book, I noticed it wasn’t in MP3 format, but in some other strange format (the file extension is .aa). I then hit Google and found out it’s protected by DRM. Sigh. This obviously meant it wasn’t going to play on my Sony Ericsson mobile phone. How the hell am I supposed to listen to it then? I guess I could sit by my computer and listen via iTunes all day long, but that kind of takes away the fun, doesn’t it?
I searched for a way to easily convert the file from .aa to .mp3 and strip out the DRM, but all the instructions I found were either incomplete, required a no longer available version of some particular application or relied on really dodgy software like SoundTaxi. I knew I always had the option of grabbing the audio output from iTunes and recording that, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing some really simple way of doing it first. Eventually, I caved in, purchased a license for Audio HiJack Pro and set it up to record the output from iTunes. It ran over night and now I have all 8 hours of “On Intelligence” in 30 minute MP3s. It’s amazing how much crap we put up with.