I left a conundrum behind last week, shortly before I left for a long weekend in Barcelona. (It was very nice, by the way, thank you.) I’m delighted to see that others have been hard at work in my absence, defeating the Beeb’s latest iPlayer countermeasure.

And what a weak countermeasure it is! XORing the stream with a two-byte repeating pattern. Really, it’s almost beneath them. This comment by No. 7 on the comment thread made me laugh:

...and to the BBC iplayer department, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys.

I don’t yet understand how the iPhone picks up the two-byte key for this XOR scheme, or what kind of inside knowledge was needed to discover the capability, but I hear that the BBC have managed to break iPod Touch functionality in the process. If that’s true, it’s a spectacular own goal, and a complete waste of everyone’s time.

The power of random, self-organising groups, co-ordinating over the internet, is huge. As fast as the small team at the BBC comes up with ways to confound us, we’re working around them. They just can’t keep up.

I’ve applied the patches to the command-line downloader: it’s available via subversion as usual, or as a tarball. I’ll rebuild the Windows client in a day or two.