Breaking Eggs And Making Omelettes

Topics On Multimedia Technology and Reverse Engineering


Archives:

Robots Of The 80s, Part 2

February 28th, 2007 by Multimedia Mike

Now let’s get into Gobots, the other transforming robot from the 80s. The people who engineered these machines came up with some goofy ideas. I’ll always remember Tom Hanks in the 1988 movie Big where he had no qualms about calling out the naked emperor by stating that it wouldn’t be much fun to play with a transforming building. In light of that, it’s pretty hard for me to understand how I ended up with 4 of these Gobots (I’m pretty sure they came from that line) that were actually rocks that transformed into robots.


Rockbots -- robot forms
Click for larger image

See? Rocks, and not altogether convincing rocks, at that (do rocks usually have eyes?):


Rockbots -- transformed into rocks
Click for larger image

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Robots Of The 80s | 10 Comments »

Robots Of The 80s, Part 1

February 27th, 2007 by Multimedia Mike

I grew up in the 1980s and as such I still have a box of toys leftover that I’ve ferried from one residence to another ever since I left the parents’ nest. Mostly, I was obsessed with all manner of robots in the same way that I am obsessed with multimedia hacking these days. Anyone who still hangs on to boxes of paraphenalia from their youth occasionally entertains the idea that these old toys might be worth something these day.

I pulled out my box of robots from the 80s recently and quickly disabused myself of the notion that any of this junk could be worth anything. In fact, I resolved to dispose all of it all just as soon as I exercise my reprehensible photography skill (or lack thereof) to capture them all in a more efficient form. And since this is my blog, and I haven’t had that much to say about the blog’s chartered topics lately, I will document the robots here, in case there is anyone else out there who cares. Plus, maybe someone else can identify some of these robots that I used to be keen on but can no longer positively identify.

I’ll start with some Transformers, always my favorite robots. Here’s Megatron, the villainous Decepticon leader who looked ever so menacing in cartoon form but looked somewhat silly as a toy:


Megatron -- robot form
Click for larger image

He was a Walther P-38 when transformed. I didn’t even understand what “Walther P-38” meant until a few years ago.


Megatron -- Walther P-38
Click for larger image

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Robots Of The 80s | 6 Comments »

How VMware’s Codec Came To Be

February 26th, 2007 by Multimedia Mike

Philip Langdale explains how VMware’s VNC-like video codec came to exist: The story of a humble codec. Good reading, and describes the engineering/documentation trade-offs often made in the corporate software world.

Posted in Open Source Multimedia | Comments Off on How VMware’s Codec Came To Be

Deflecting Blame

February 22nd, 2007 by Multimedia Mike

This is encouraging: In the following rant, other people (the whole of Ubuntu in this case) are taking the heat for FFmpeg’s shortcomings: 5 Things I hate about Ubuntu. Item #3: “It has defective or near unusable packages (ie ffmpeg, scribus)”

In this situation, the complaint refers to the fact that FFmpeg’s native, default codebase does not presently include the ability to encode AMR or MP3. The Guru is reportedly working on a native MP3 encoder. Native AMR… that certainly should be in the codebase by now, though it probably isn’t.

Posted in Open Source Multimedia | 1 Comment »

« Previous Entries