Blog Author: Surendar Chandra

Open sourcing DisplayCast


Open source plays an important role in a research laboratory like FXPAL. It allows our researchers to focus their energy on their own innovations and build on the efforts of the community. Open source projects thrive when many openly contribute their work for the common good. However, FXPAL has a business imperative to protect its innovations. We believe that we have found the balance between contributing back to the open source community and protecting our innovations.

Thus we are happy to announce that we have open sourced DisplayCast using a liberal NewBSD license. DisplayCast is a high performance screen sharing system designed for Intranets. It supports real time multiuser screen sharing across Windows 7, Mac OS X (10.6+) and iOS devices. The technical details of our screen capture and compression algorithms will be presented at the upcoming ACM Multimedia 2012 conference. The source code is hosted at GitHub. We provide two repositories: an Objective C based screen capture, playback and archive component that targets the Apple Mac OS X and iOS platforms, and an .NET/C# based screen capture and real time playback component that targets Windows 7.

We hope others find DisplayCast useful and that they will release their own innovations back to the open source community. FXPAL will continue to open source relevant projects in the future.

The AppleEye controversy and the need for educating users


Ever since Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan published their discovery in the Where 2.0 conference, the popular press has been abuzz with sensational articles on how iPhones and iPads are recording your location in a secret file. The article itself misstates some key technical details. For one thing, the database is “hidden” because all the internal files in iOS are hidden and only visible in a jail broken phone; the file itself is only accessible to the root user. For users who make unencrypted backups of their iPhones using iTunes, this location data is exposed on their desktops. One hopes that users do not make unencrypted backups of their iPhone contents on a stranger’s desktop. If, on the other hand, an intruder had control over my account, they could access far more private data than just my location history.

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Lean back with YouTube and Android

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Google just released a YouTube remote control app that allows one to seamlessly continue watching a YouTube video from the Android phone to the YouTube Leanback system (and back). Leanback provides a relaxing way to access YouTube contents on a large screen such as on a Google TV or on a desktop screen. Leanback continually picks videos from your feed, including your video subscriptions, video rentals and related videos. The system is designed for minimal user interaction.

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