2004 News ArchiveCurrent news
December 28, 2004
I got Donkey Konga for Christmas, and I learned how to read the DK Bongos controller from a GBA program running in Game Boy Player. Get the demo
November 17, 2004
GSF is a format for music engines extracted from Game Boy Advance video games, for use with the Highly Advanced plug-in for the Winamp media player. Zophar's Domain reports that among a few dozen rips of commercial games is a rip of one of my GBA projects. I am teh flattered.
October 27, 2004
The Boston Red Sox have won the 2004 World Series. The Curse of the Bambino is broken. But don't you think for a minute that this will make Eminem stop cursing.
October 12, 2004
I still wish at least one of my interviews would result in a job offer.
August 29, 2004
I guess it is the curse of somebody formerly diagnosed with ADD that I must drift from one project to another. I've done a bit more work on the business logic for a music game for Game Boy Advance systems. Now I have one program that will parse a DWI step file and another program that converts BPM changes to times and back. Combining them would result in a program that displays scrolling arrows, the essence of a music game.
Many web sites use CAPTCHAs to protect their systems against abuse facilitated by robots. However, common CAPTCHAs tend to exclude people with disabilities as well, and many governments consider this collateral damage unacceptable under laws such as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in the United States. W3C, the body that maintains standards for web technologies, has published an article explaining the truth about CAPTCHA. Some time ago, I had written another article along the same lines.
August 23, 2004
I've updated the GSM Player again. By popular request, I've de-uglified the UI, among other changes.
August 18, 2004
June 27, 2004
GSM Player v2 for GBA is ready. I've decided to put the Esti project solidly on the back burner now that the GSM decoder is down to 50 percent CPU time. It's still not as fast as Tursi's, but it's ready to be used in games. Perhaps I'll return to a less-complex-than-GSM codec once I try to make movies.
June 25, 2004
There exists a long-standing interpretation of United States copyright law, set down by the Supreme Court in Sony v. Universal, that manufacturers of a copying device with a substantial non-infringing use are immune to liability for contributory copyright infringement. You can own a VCR or a personal computer only because of this so-called "Betamax rule."
But it appears Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) managed to get something called the "Induce Act" introduced into the Senate that would overturn the Betamax rule and make it unlawful for, say, Apple Computer to sell an iPod music player, as a major record label could probably bring a complaint such as this against Apple.
To take action against the Induce Act, citizens and permanent residents of the United States should fax a letter to their senators.
June 21, 2004
I managed to get the CPU usage of the GSM player at 18 kHz down to about 50 percent (from 60 percent) by unrolling the inner loop of the short-term synthesizer. Making 2D games based on this playback engine just got a bit more viable, as the non-music code now has 8 MHz available, and the Sega Genesis did a lot in 8 MHz.
June 19, 2004
Two weeks until LZW patents expire worldwide. Yay.
June 16, 2004
In an effort to maintain a family friendly web site, I have removed off-color jokes from several pages hosted under the domain pineight.com. I apologize for any offense the reader may have felt. I'll also be tweaking the branding to distinguish pages containing professional information from pages containing advocacy.
June 2, 2004
Super Mario is a communist.
I've made an online tool to determine what sample rates will play nicely with certain types of PCM playback hardware such as that of the Game Boy Advance system. Anybody developing audio apps for the GBA should give it a try.
May 10, 2004
"Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full."
2 John 1:12, KJV
April 3, 2004
I've switched distributed computing projects again. Now my computer is participating in MD5CRK, a research project designed to investigate the insecurity of the MD5 message digest algorithm. If you want to help MD5CRK, but you can't install the client program, then just let your web browser idle on this site, and the MD5CRK MagicButton applet will take care of everything for you.
March 21, 2004
There is no such game as "Dormax" or "Dormaxx". What you're looking for is "DDRMAX", where DDR stands for "Dance Dance Revolution".
March 6, 2004
People with no programming experience have been repeatedly contacting me to ask how to use the 8ad codec for use in a personal stereo application. They just want to throw wav files into a folder, convert them, and flash the ROM to their flash cart. I've finally made something for them: a GSM player for GBA.
With that out of the way, I'll resume work on the Esti codec. However, I'll still respond to feature requests for the GSM Player.
February 20, 2004
Ah, screw it. I found that somebody else made an acceptable audio codec to work at just over 1.65 bits per sample. This is the GSM 06.10 codec, with a free implementation called Toast. I was able to port the Toast decoder to run on the GBA in real time, using 60 percent of CPU time at 18 kHz. Imagine 150 minutes of acceptable quality music in 32 megabytes. I will release source and an example binary soon.
The much simpler Esti codec still has a future though: it would take less CPU than the Toast decoder, and it could scale to several bitrates in 2.0-3.0 bits per sample.
February 14, 2004
In my experimental "Esti" lossy audio codec that uses second order linear prediction, cheating-ish variable-length coding, I have coded audio at an estimated 2.9 bits per sample with a result that sounds as good as what a typical ADPCM codec does at 4 bits per sample. This bitrate would fit an entire CD in 32 megabytes at a quality suitable for playback in a handheld game player. The key here is that the linear prediction acts both to decorrelate the signal and to mask quantization noise. Once I get this ready, Konami will have one fewer reason not to port Dance Dance Revolution to handhelds such as the Game Boy Advance.