digital

Downloading non-DRM Amazon MP3s on Linux using clamz

I recently wanted to buy some MP3 files from Amazon (a whole album in my case, but you can also just buy single MP3 files if you want). Digital music downloads from Amazon are often much cheaper than buying the physical CD (from Amazon), and you can also instantly get the stuff within seconds, without having to wait for the physical CD to be shipped to your place.

The good thing about Amazon's MP3 downloads is that the files are not infested with any DRM-crap (if that were the case I wouldn't spend a single penny on such useless junk, of course). This allows you to burn the MP3 files on CDs and/or play them on any device you like (MP3 player of choice, laptop, hifi-system, car, e-book reader with MP3 playback support, etc. etc).

Granted, you can not re-sell the digital files on eBay later, this is the one little drawback you have when compared to physical CDs, but I guess most people can usually live with that. Also, it would be great if Amazon would provide Ogg Vorbis files instead (or in addition to) MP3 files, of course.

Anyway, in order to download the MP3 files you buy from Amazon, they suggest to install the Amazon MP3 Downloader, which (surprisingly) is even available in a Mac and Linux version (only 32-bit though), but is (unsurprisingly) closed-source. This is no-go, of course, but luckily there is an alternative.

The clamz tool (GPL, version 3 or later) allows you to easily download single Amazon MP3 files, or whole albums. First, you need to login to your Amazon account and then visit a certain Amazon page (which sets a special "congratulations, the Amazon MP3 Downloader has been successfully installed" cookie in your browser). See the clamz website for the respective URL for your country. For Germany, use this URL.

The clamz installation is easy enough on Debian:

  $ apt-get install clamz

IMPORTANT: It seems you need at least version 0.5 for recent Amazon files as they apparently changed something, see #647043. Current Debian unstable as of today already has 0.5, though.

After that is done, the rest is easy: In Amazon, click on "Buy MP3" or "Buy MP3 album", which will download a special AmazonMP3-1234567890.amz file. You can then let clamz download all the MP3s by typing:

  $ clamz AmazonMP3-1234567890.amz

Wait a few minutes, and you'll have a bunch of non-DRM MP3 files in your current directory. Easy.

See the manpage for a bunch of options which let you configure clamz to your preferences.

Forensic Discovery - a (free) book by Wietse Venema and Dan Farmer about forensic techniques for gathering digital evidence

I accidentally stumbled over this today: the book Forensic Discovery, written by two security gurus — Wietse Venema and Dan Farmer - has been published by Addison-Wesley.

Which is nice and all, but even nicer is the fact that the book is freely available for online reading. There's also a ZIP-file, if you want to get the whole thing.

This should make for some interesting reading during the next few weeks...

39 Megapixel Hasselblad Digital Camera

OMFG! There's a new 39 megapixel digital still camera, namely the H2D-39. I so want one of those. But I do not want to know how much such a thing costs, I really don't...

(via One Stop Under)

My new toy: the Canon PowerShot A610, and how to use it with Linux

My new Canon PowerShot A610

So, I finally got myself a new digital camera — the Canon PowerShot A610. Judging from some, good reviews I read, it looks like the best option for my purposes and for the price I'm willing to pay.

It's a 5 megapixel camera, it has a 4x optical zoom, it's pretty fast, can do videos (640x480 at 30 fps) etc. etc.

Of course, it only comes with a 16 MB SD-card which is a joke, so I'll need to get something like a 1 GB card soonish.

It seems to be pretty well-suited for macro photography (1cm minimum distance), see the samples on the right.

Scrissors
Pen

Linux usage:

Using this camera with Linux is not as simple as mounting it as an USB mass storage device. Instead, the camera uses the Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) for file transfers.

Fortunately, the wonderful gphoto2 (apt-get install gphoto2) supports that, so I can easily get all images and videos off the camera with a simple

gphoto2 --get-all-files

(actually, the camera is only "supported" in the current gphoto2 CVS version, the latest stable release, 2.1.6, doesn't really recognize it — but it still works ;-)

As I now have a pretty solid digital camera (compared to my last one), and I've also been gifted a good book on digital photography, I hope to be able to improve the quality of the photos in my photoblog quite a lot in the nearer future.

In any case, I'll sure have some fun with this new toy...

Photo Friday and photoblogs.org

Autumn Leaf
Five Buttons

I recently blogged about my crappy photoblog which I populate with pictures from my crappy digital still camera.

On friday I stumbled over Photo Friday (heh), a nice site which posts a photo assignment every friday. Everyone is invited to submit photos which interpret the given theme. People can then vote on the submissions and six of them are finally listed as "noteworthy".

This weeks challenge is "Five". I actually took a photo of five buttons in an elevator in order to submit it, but then decided that I like this image of a leave better.

Oh, and I'm now listed on photoblogs.org, but unfortunately I entered the RSS feed of my photoblog there instead of just the URL. I registered with the site, claimed my photoblog and all, but I cannot change that #!&%* URL there. That has to be done manually by the admin(s) and even though I requested the change days ago (on the site and via email) there's still no response. Sigh...

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