Monthly Archives: June 2006


When you exercise at the gym you see people who are likely just starting with the whole workout thing. Some may have been motivated by realizing that their bodies were not going to last much longer if they didn’t make some major lifestyle changes. Achieving good health is not a state that an unhealthy person can attain overnight. Maintaining good health over the long term requires ongoing discipline.

To tie this into multimedia and open source, I think it’s really fortunate that there has been a talented community of hackers working on open source multimedia playback and encoding solutions for so long. Can you imagine where the open source community would have been in terms of multimedia support if people had just started working on the problem this year? There’s a huge legacy of multimedia formats to support. I mean, the guru does amazing work, but imagine if he only started the effort sometime this year and largely worked on his own. To have to start now would be tantamount to the 350 lb (160 kg) fellow at the gym starting down his long, painful road. Thankfully, the community is more equivalent to long-time regular gym patron and body builder.

I just think it’s a good situation to be in. I shudder when I think what would have happened if open source multimedia playback solutions had been neglected for so long that the community didn’t have the technical knowledge to support its own.

DoubleTwist Ventures

DVD Jon reports that he is joining up with a curious Bay Area outfit (or, for all we know, perhaps he IS the outfit) named DoubleTwist Ventures, an organization that explains its charter as focusing on:

the development of interoperability solutions for digital media and the reverse engineering of proprietary systems for which licensing options are non-existent or impractical.

Sounds suspiciously similar to what we multimedia hackers do purely for our leisure-time programming. Live the dream, Jon. Get paid for what you love to do!

All I know about the company is what the front page of the website reports, which is a text blurb pasted on a picture — very 1996. Seems out of place in this day and age. The mailto: link has a bad email address, too (though it may be a counter-spam measure and the text in the picture looks valid).

More NES Password Madness

I was perusing my old Nintendo Power issues today, as I am wont to do for no good reason, and I stumbled upon a forgotten bonus that the magazine shipped to its subscribers once upon a time– Top Secret Passwords:

Top Secret Password Guide cover
Click for a larger image, and to guess which game is covered by the level 8 password on the sticky note

Now I’m playing with power. They put a tremendous amount of work into that cover. Passports for not only the Principality of NES but also the Republic of SNES. I guess in the early 1990s, nothing said “top secret” quite like a portable phone. Luckily, the book features passwords for Solar Jetman, the present object of my password infatuation. I wonder if the official password validator accepts the secret password comprised of all ‘Q’s, or if that’s handled by a special case.

Not only is Solar Jetman covered in the book but when I opened the book a carefully folded piece of paper slid out. It contained a number of very neatly written passwords, including ones for every world in Solar Jetman! It doesn’t look like my handwriting, plus the paper includes passwords for games that I never would have been caught dead playing. What a mystery. It’s almost like someone meant for me to find these clues and take up the cause of researching these ancient Nintendo password systems.

The password book contains passwords for a number of games where the only information carried in the password is what level the player was on. For a number of such games, I did a quick string check through the respective ROM data for the passwords. It looks like no coders bothered to use straight string comparison techniques for password validation.

One can only guess what sort of international espionage thrillers influenced the book’s artists, but their conceptualization of incognito (and airplane markings) involved a lot of pink:

Codename: Pink
Click for larger image of Codename: Pink Gamer