Breaking Eggs And Making Omelettes

Topics On Multimedia Technology and Reverse Engineering


Bad Fluffy Multimedia Deployment

January 12th, 2005 by Multimedia Mike

On a recent visit to the FlatIron Crossing in Colorado, the first thing that greeted me was a large, hanging widescreen television with a PC BIOS start up screen imploring the user to remove any system disks and press any key to boot the computer. Another hanging screen nearby showed a Windows XP login screen. These screens were scattered throughout the shopping center and luckily, many of them were showing what they were supposed to be showing, I suppose. The regular presentation was some rather choppy video that made me wonder if the video stream was being piped in via a constrained 115Kbit/sec serial cable.

I do not even want to guess how much it cost to deploy dozens of these widescreen, flat-panel monitors all over the building, or what the underlying justification was. And how are they administered? Is there actually one PC driving each monitor? I understand that 1 PC driving the whole show would be unappealing as all the monitors would be in complete sync for an eerie, techno-dystopian effect. Perhaps 1 PC is driving 3-5 monitors?

Then there is the potential for misuse. I hope the back office with the PCs is well-secured. The program running these video files ad nauseum could probably be easily subverted to show anything. One unlocked door and a prankster with a CD-ROM of some choice cuts from the internet “adult content” community could turn family-friendly shopping on its ear.

Then again, perhaps the video streams are being transmitted via DSL from some central office, hence the quality.

Now that I think about it, I was probably paying more attention to the multitude of monitors than any other patron in the entire mall.

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VQF Binary Interface

January 12th, 2005 by Multimedia Mike

I received a tip regarding the VQF format. This page contains binary decoding modules capable of handling VQF data. Binary decoding support has already been added to the MPlayer and MPlayerXP projects. This might be a good jumping-off point for anyone interested in RE’ing this format.

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Google Taking Sides In License Wars

January 6th, 2005 by Multimedia Mike

There are few things that annoy me quicker than a licensing war erupting on a free software project mailing list. Self-righteous geeks with dubious grasp on legal matters tediously dissecting the minutiae of different licensing terms. But I could not believe what I found when I asked Google to bring up the text of the GNU LGPL:

Google's Licensing Favoritism

Sure, there are those who claim that ‘GPL’ is more commonly searched for than ‘LGPL’. But I see so few good conspiracies to latch onto, can’t you just give me this one?

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PC-Less Internet Movies

January 6th, 2005 by Multimedia Mike

The IMDb Studio Briefing constantly posts articles about how this or that media company is going to offer movies over the internet. Now, you are supposed to be able to get these movies without the bother of going through a PC:

TV Viewers To Receive Movies Over the Internet Without a P.C.:

Microsoft is partnering with movie download service CinemaNow to pipe movies to the TV sets of consumers over the Internet without a computer…

Posted in Multimedia PressWatch | Comments Off on PC-Less Internet Movies

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