about true 3D perspective and shading?
People sometimes perceive the Streamer block
to be expanding as it recedes towards the upper left. This is an optical
illusion caused by our visual expectations. Normally, perspective foreshortening
makes the far end of a box shape like the Streamer block appear to be
smaller than the near end. But the Streamer block is sort of two and a
half dimensional. It doesn't really change size as it recedes into the
distance. Because the top-left end of the Streamer block is larger than
our eyes expect, our brains conclude that it is expanding. Once 3D rendering
and graphics acceleration is readily available in Java, the Streamer might
employ them for a more spatial interface.
is the picture so small and blurry?
Rationalizing, one justification for the small
size is to help minimize clip download times. Most of the clips are compressed
with an H263 codec. H263 compresses well and provides reasonable performance
in this context, but it tends to blur the images some. Eventually the
Streamer might provide a user option for a quality vs. speed/size tradeoff
so that you can get better image quality if you have a speedy enough connection.
are SUVs so large?
Some claim that bloated cars, SUVs, are further
evidence supporting Kurt
Vonnegut's theory that humans have experienced an evolutionary turn
for the worse. Vonnegut suggests this de-evolution is due to an unnecessarily
oversized organ, the brain. SUVs owe their existence and their immensity
to our oversized brains, and they are a direct manifestation of this condition.
it's not really streaming. What gives?
The Streamer began in 1992 as part of a master's
thesis project at the MIT Media Lab's Interactive Cinema Group. It was
dubbed the Video Streamer at that time. In the eons of web-time that have
passed since then, what we now call streaming video (namely, transmitting
video over the net and playing it without first buffering an entire clip)
has become commonplace. With an uncertain amount of effort and luck the
Streamer may eventually also play streaming video sources. Stay tuned.
Why does it have to wait for the clip to be
fully downloaded before playing?
Short answer: It was much quicker to develop
the software to do it that way rather than play clips from a streaming
Next shortest answer: The simplest way to manage playback of a video clip
using the Java Media Framework was to program the Streamer to play clips
that are first cached locally. Also see the previous question.
What happens to the video frames that go off
the back end?
They are collecting in the dusty innards of your
monitor. To keep the Streamer - and your display - humming along, a periodic
cleaning of your monitor is a good habit.
The sound occasionally breaks up. Why?
Two words: audio demons. Gotta find time to fix
What about playing sound on Mac and Linux?
Sorry, but the current version of the
Streamer was built on a shoestring. Hopefully, attention will soon be
given to platforms other than Windows.
Is time on my side?
Yes, it is.