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DRB

unemployed bum
Oct 24, 2002
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Watchin' you. Writing it all down.
iPod turns up the heat with porn

Racy downloads available for free

JULIO OJEDA-ZAPATA

Knight Ridder


Racy downloads available for free

When Apple Computer unveiled the video-capable version of its popular iPod music player last month, it trumpeted the fact that users could download Pixar short films and top music videos, along with recent episodes of "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives."

But video clips of a spicier nature quickly became available as free, iPod-friendly downloads. That created an immediate problem for parents already scrambling to keep abreast of their teenagers' computer routines.

Yep, iPod porn has arrived, Mom and Dad. You need to know how to deal with it -- just in case.

This development scarcely surprises technology watchers such as Marcus Rogers, a Purdue University computer-technology instructor and iPod aficionado.

Pornographers are always looking for new distribution channels, he said.

"It's the nature of the industry," Rogers said. "They were early adopters of the Internet and bulletin-board systems, precursors of the Internet. They embrace anything that allows them to distribute this stuff quicker, better, to more people."

Enter the video iPod and Apple Computer's iTunes music-jukebox software with its recently introduced ability to download video files. These have proved irresistible to X-rated Web sites that have begun offering graphic video clips tailored to iTunes and the new iPod.

One such site encourages visitors to "grab a girl to go." Another offers goth, punk and pierced variations on the unclad female. Both sites made it quick and easy to download steamy sequences via iTunes and then sync them to a video iPod for mobile playback.

`Podnography' trend

Pornography isn't unique to the video iPod. Users of older iPods and other portable players have long been able to download audio "podcasts," often of an explicit nature. In some such radiolike programs, hosts read X-rated fiction. In others, they dissect fetishistic topics. Some have used the term "podnography" to describe this trend.What's more, recent-model iPods and other music players are able to display pictures -- including pornographic ones -- on their full-color screens. Playboy has offered soft-core "iBod" imagery specifically for picture-capable iPods.

Sony's popular PlayStation Portable handheld-gaming device also has become a porn magnet this year, largely because of its large, letterbox-formatted color display. Content authors ranging from Playboy to purveyors of hardcore pictures and videos have released PSP-specific material, both as downloadable files and on the device's Universal Media Discs.

Because of such prurient practices, some tech devotees recommend that parents avoid iPod-like devices and look into more secure portable gadgets. Brian Olson of suburban Denver likes the PocketDish, a handheld video player aimed at Dish Network satellite-TV users who want to easily transfer shows from their Dish digital video recorders.

"We're going with the PocketDish," Olson said. "For parents, I know both the satellite providers provide excellent parental lock systems to keep porn programming from ever being recorded or even seen on the program guides, and these locks are foolproof."