Have iPod, Will Secretly Bootleg
February 27, 2002 11:25PM
edited January 2014
Wired will get in a lot of trouble for that. Up until reading that, I wouldn't have thought of that, but now I'll have to remember to take my iPod next time I go to the Apple Store.
Reply 1 of 1
_ alliance _
February 28, 2002 2:49PM
dont know if this has already been posted, but i found this amusing.
Have iPod, Will Secretly Bootleg
By Leander Kahney
When Apple introduced the iPod, the company was aware that people
might use it to rip off music from the Net or friends' machines. Each new
iPod, in fact, is emblazoned with a sticker that warns, "Don't Steal Music."
But it is unlikely that Apple imagined people would walk into computer
stores, plug their iPod into display computers and use it to copy software
off the hard drives.
This is exactly the scenario recently
witnessed by Kevin Webb at a Dallas
Webb, a computer consultant from Dallas,
was browsing his local CompUSA when he
saw a young man walk toward him listening
to an iPod. Webb recognized the iPod's
distinctive ear buds.
The teenager stopped at a nearby display
Macintosh, pulled the iPod from his pocket
and plugged it into the machine with a
FireWire cable. Intrigued, Webb peeped
over the kid's shoulder to see him copying Microsoft's new Office for OS X suite, which
retails for $500.
When the iPod is plugged into a Macintosh, its icon automatically pops up on the
desktop. To copy software, all the kid had to do was drag and drop files onto the iPod's
icon. Office for MacOS X is about 200 MB; it copies to the iPod's hard drive in less than
"Watching him, it dawned on me that this was something that was very easy to do,"
Webb said. "In the Mac world it's pretty easy to plug in and copy things. It's a lot easier
than stealing the box."
Webb watched the teenager copy a couple of other applications. He left the kid to find a
CompUSA employee. "I went over and told a CompUSA guy, but he looked at me like I
was clueless," Webb said.
Unsure whether the kid was a thief or an out-of-uniform employee, Webb watched as
he left the store. "I thought there's no point in getting any more involved in this
imbroglio," Webb said. "Besides, this is Texas. You never know what he might have
CompUSA representatives didn't respond to requests for comment. Neither did Apple
The iPod is perfect for virtual shoplifting. It is designed as a digital music player, but its
roomy 5-GB hard drive can be used as portable storage for all kinds of files, even the
Macintosh operating system. In fact, it can operate as an external drive, booting up a
machine and running applications.
The iPod's FireWire interface -- one of its most important but undersold features --
allows huge files to be copied in seconds. The iPod doesn't even have to leave the user's
And while the iPod has a built-in anti-piracy mechanism that prevents music files from
being copied from one computer to another, it has no such protections for software.
Ironically, Microsoft has pioneered an easy-to-use installation scheme on the Mac that
makes its Mac software relatively easy to pilfer. The company is known for its sometimes
heavy-handed anti-piracy mechanisms in such products as Windows XP.
When installing Office, users simply drag and drop the Office folder to their hard drive.
Everything is included, including a self-repair mechanism that replaces critical files in the
By contrast, a lot of software on the Windows platform relies on a bunch of system files
that are only installed during an installation process. Simply copying an application from
one machine to another will not work.
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