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Jon Lech Johansen doesn't like DRM. His first public success at breaking it awarded him an indictment orchestrated by Norwegian and U.S. entertainment big-wigs. Though landing him in hot water with the authorities, it also landed him a job. "DVD Jon," who now works with doubleTwist Ventures, has turned his attention to iTunes (for Windows and Mac), and to a freeware application that wrests songs from iTunes control for delivery on a range of high-end mobile devices.

DoubleTwist desktop 1.0, released this week, does double and triple duty by converting any purchased iTunes tracks to MP3 and then syncing them, along with the rest of your iTunes videos and files, to any of a number of supported cell phones and media. Integration with a Facebook application, Twist me, also bundles in the chance to share Facebook photos, iTunes playlists and videos, and files from the desktop with Facebook pals.

DoubleTwist syncs iTunes media
The application utilizes intuitive function tabs. Now if only it didn't lag so.

While doubleTwist desktop groups all the elements of success--iTunes music, mobile content, multimedia files, social networking, and a decent-looking, if basic, interface--it's lacking one absolutely crucial feature. To put it kindly, the app is an unhurried performer.

Throughout hours of testing, doubleTwist desktop was slow to load, slow to revive from a minimized state, and slow to switch between tasks. Stability issues likewise blighted the application during tests, even after a clean second installation. Throwing in an error installing the Microsoft Outlook component quickly carries us to the conclusion that the doubleTwist desktop has a lot of speed and rendering issues to tackle before it can earn a place on every hard drive.

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.