GIF is (finally) dead. Long live Webp.

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It has been a long and bumpy ride, GIF initially appeared 33 years ago, and improved the next year by supporting animation. In the 90’s, GIF rocked the yet young internet, being the first image format supported by most browsers of the time. It was extremely limited by today’s standards. It only supported 256 different colours, but you could choose those from any of the 4 billion colours supported. And until 1992, it was the only really usable image format in the internet. Not only that, but you could also do animations, small movies. Back in the early 90’s that …

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Android TV players – You get what you pay for

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It’s now 2021, and your large smartTV bought in 2017 is not becoming unbearably slow and lacks most of the current content. When you want to watch HBO Max or Disney Plus on your huge, but now becoming obsolete smartTV, you only have a few alternatives: Hook your laptop to it, which is cumbersome Get a set top box from a decent PayTV operator, such as Vodafone TV Spend 200€ on an Apple TV 4K Look for a cheap AndroidTV player The thing with AndroidTV media players is that there’s one for all price ranges. However, we all know: there …

Google’s contradictions are killing CMAF and screwing everyone , including its own users

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Or why you won’t get 4K quality on Netflix content using Chrome anytime soon. I’ve tracked CMAF development before [1], and how the whole industry went through so much effort into creating a common format which would be compatible with every single device out there. Yes, manifests would be different between HLS and DASH, but the underlying streamed content would be shared between all devices. In order for people to understand how we got that far, we need to understand that it took Microsoft’s willingness to allow applications and devices using Playready 3 or below to become incompatible with content encrypted using Playready …

USB Power Delivery (for Set top Boxes) - A dream so close and yet, so far away

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I’ve designed this diagram  on the eve of the approval of the USB Power Delivery standard. It drew on the EU’s Common External Power Supply’s motto: one power supply to rule them all. It took us 7 whole years, and we’re not there yet, but we’re now so close. Well, it’s also a bit weird, but I’ve worked on Set Top Boxes for most of my professional life, and my whole goal has always been the same: get rid of set top boxes. Now, it’s tremendously obvious for everyone that I’ve thus far failed. Yes, there have been some attempts …

Boeing 737 Max – The illustrated example of technical debt

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What happens when Product Management, Finance and Engineering all seat at the same table and decide not to pay their debt? 346 lives are taken as collateral. How Boeing got to this point ? Ryanair gave a hand… The Boeing 737 Max is the 4th and latest interaction of the most successful airliner of all times, having sold more than ten thousand units since its introduction in 1968. That’s right, this airplane has its roots on a 51 year old base design, when airports and passengers were a lot less and jet engines were and a lot different, and smaller. The very …

DRM 101 – Introduction to DRM systems

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It may seem silly, but it’s so difficult to find proper information about a DRM is, what it isn’t, and broadly, how it works. What is not a DRM Most people associate a DRM with content protection, a way to protect the content. However, stricto sensu, it isn’t. A DRM system is not about how contents are protected or encrypted. In fact, most current DRMs use exactly the same encryption methods to protect content, and again contrary to most DRM way of thinking, these methods are public and vary between AES-CTR and AES-CBC. If you find those names too familiar, it’s …

Linking to a specific Confluence page version

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In short, linking to a specific Confluence page version is not possible by simply copy pasting an existing link, but it needs some manual URL editing. Here’s how to do it. EDIT: Finally Atlassian added this feature by changing the page links on page history. Unfortunately this is only valid for the cloud version, or versions 5.x onwards, whereas most hosted installs still don’t offer this option, this simply isn’t possible on version 4.x. It’s pretty obvious I’m not the biggest supporter of confluence as the enterprise knowledge management platform, but denying it grabbed the largest chunk of this market …

Playready 4 will bring closure to the DASH dream: one single OTT format to rule them all

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Editor’s note: the initial version mistakenly identified AES-CTR as “AES-CTB”, which doesn’t really exist. What got us here? 2017 was a weird year. It’s not often that the OTT video industry comes together to create simplify the industry player’s lives. It was tried before and failed. Then DASH appeared, it promised to rule on the OTT format wars, by proposing a single standard format, but at the end of the day, it failed to deliver its promise. DASH is a single standard, but as any other bad standard, it allows for options, incompatible options. It’s these options which allows standard compliant …

Introduction to Multicast ABR (M-ABR) – Where it works and where it totally fails

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Last year (2016), Cablelabs published a very interesting document entitled “IP Multicast Adaptive Bit Rate Architecture Technical Report“, describing how to bring together two fundamental and previously incompatible network concepts: Multicast and Adaptive Bitrate delivery, in what it call Multicast ABR (M-ABR). But, does it make sense? If it does, on which use cases it works? Let me spoil the surprise: It does make sense on one single use case. It spectacularly fails elsewhere. To start with, lets have a look at the generic M-ABR architecture:

Adobe flash won’t die on 2020, it’s been dead for years

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Adobe just made the news by announcing that Flash plugin would loose support by 2020, effectively setting a deadline for all browsers to disable it definitely, and wiping it from the face of the Internet. Unfortunately, that’s simply the death certificate of something which happened long ago. People just forget to tell Adobe about it, and Adobe has since refused to bow to reality. No one can tell exactly when Flash died, but the conclusion that it is dead is unavoidable. Just looking at today’s internet describes how low it has reached. As it is obvious on the chart below: Until 2015 we …

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