Monthly Archives: February 2005

Reverse Engineering Cookies

No, not web cookies– the title refers to reverse engineering cookies and other recipes. I was browsing the catalog of the high-end Harry & David gourmet food shop– you know, the kind of stuff that looks so delectable but is so exorbitantly expensive that you would never consider buying it for yourself. I found these cookies called fruit galettes that looked absolutely delightful but were outrageously priced at $26/lb. They seem to have come down in price to $20/lb since then, which still seems a bit steep for what is apparently 2 round butter cookies glued together with some kind of fruit jelly.

Based on that RE analysis (butter cookies and jelly), I set out to recreate the cookie recipe myself. The reason I bring this up is because Valentine’s Day just came and went and that meant it was time for a big batch of heart-shaped fruit galettes!

See all the juicy details over at another of my blogs, Infinite Flour.

heart-shaped fruit galettes

Rosetta Stone

After my SUCON multimedia presentations in Zurich, Switzerland, I bummed around Geneva for a few days. This was the highlight of my European junket. I especially enjoyed my visit to the Museum of Art and History. I was particularly amused by the staff who sat in random locations around the building, reading a book or otherwise occupying themselves, until a visitor came around– then they had to get up and pretend to be studying the art. I found it to be an odd charade. But they were still nice people, letting me stick around even after I tripped at least one alarm.

Since multimedia and reverse engineering were still fresh on my brain, I took a particular interest in the Egyptian exhibit. In particular, I remember the stories of how Egyptian hieroglyphics remained a mystery until the Rosetta Stone was unearthed. Think about it: These archaeologist guys find the pyramids with a bunch of weird writing and have no idea how to decode it. Then one day, someone finds a clue that helps them decipher the puzzle.

Why was this even necessary? The ancient culture probably thought it would be around forever. Probably never conceived that other cultures would surpass theirs, find their old artifacts, and seek to understand what they meant.

Just sort of reminds me of trying to understand antiquated data formats, that’s all…

Java Image Formats

Welcome to another edition of my personal multimedia research scratchpad. Diego Biurrun forwarded some intelligence about some custom Java image formats. It seems that a company named eyewonder has seen fit to develop a streaming video technology aimed at delivering obnoxious short ads delivered via Java applets.

So, custom Java image formats. Or, more likely, a slightly customized image format that is presently only decodable via some proprietary Java class. As is typical, it is difficult to glean any useful technical details from the website. But if the marketing literature is to be believed, this stuff has caught on in a big way.

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