Breaking Eggs And Making Omelettes

Topics On Multimedia Technology and Reverse Engineering


Windows Media Codecs With Debug Symbols

January 14th, 2005 by Multimedia Mike

A visitor brought my attention to the fact that Microsoft makes available, as a free download or a nominal-priced CD, Windows Embedded Introductory Kit. It’s quite large and contains, among many other things, some .lib files with debug symbols. That was nice of them.

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Cribbed Microsoft Media Code

January 14th, 2005 by Multimedia Mike

Okay folks, let’s get a few things clear here: Yes, we all know that some official source code for a few of Microsoft’s A/V codecs made it into the wrong hands and is now floating around the internet. Understand that you are not l33t h4X0r if you happen to receive this file. Also, quit sending it to me. I do not want it. I delete it upon receipt. I may have to implement a special mail filter to deal with it.

Realize that this could taint us. I have no problem with ripping open a publically-available binary decoder to discover an algorithm inside (and if they happen to leave the debug symbols compiled in, oops, file that under “their problem” category).

If it makes you feel any better, there are some people who have already glanced at the code and discovered that it covers algorithms that we have already largely reverse engineered, a long time ago, via legitimate methods.

Microsoft should come up with bogus, red herring source code samples and periodically “leak” them, just to give the -ahem- “hacker underground” something to salivate over and feel special about.

…sigh… and I had really hoped to avoid creating a legal/ethical category for this blog…

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Sony Announces Glorified Post-Processing Chip?

January 13th, 2005 by Multimedia Mike

From the Internet Movie Database Studio Briefing, Sony is planning to unveil a chip that will perform image postprocessing on a normal television signal in order to make it look like a HDTV signal:

Sony Brings HDTV-Like Quality to Ordinary TV — At a Price

Sony has unveiled a new settop processor called the Qualia 001 Creation Box…is a microchip that sharpens the edges of objects within an image…priced at $5,080.

This is not the first time I have heard about such a product. I saw an ad in a home A/V magazine a few months ago for a set top box that could perform 6 types of post-processing on the input video signal. I think the price tag was in the neighborhood of $3,500. Just for some well-known mathematical filters probably implemented in a standard Texas Instruments DSP.

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Cursory Fraps FPS1 Research

January 13th, 2005 by Multimedia Mike

A user on one of the FFmpeg mailing lists brought to our attention a codec called FPS1. The company behind this codec is named Fraps. The application domain for this codec is apparently real-time screen capture of computer game animation, such as in popular first-person shooter games, hence the clever FOURCC FPS1.

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