Mickey Mouse’s introduction to the world was the 1928 cartoon, Steamboat Willie. Not only was it the first appearance of Mickey with sound, it was also one of the first cartoons to employ synchronized sound. The problem is, the sound is awful. Sure, after nearly a century, what do you expect? But [Oona Räisänen] thought it wasn’t just age, but flutter from the original recording. Could it be made better? What follows that question is a self-described geek’s journey into the depths of recorded sound.
The first step was to find a high quality source. The Internet Archive had a copy that was mostly clean. But it also has a lossless scan of the movie including the original optical soundtrack. A quick script played back the original soundtrack and — you guessed it — the flutter is already there. You can see the original 7-minute short from Disney’s channel, below.
Continue reading “Steamboat Willie Never Sounded Better”
This week Jonathan Bennett and Aaron Newcomb talk with Randal Schwartz, the longest running host of FLOSS Weekly, Perl’s biggest cheerleader, and now Dart and Flutter expert. What’s new with Randal since his last FLOSS Weekly episode in May 2020? Why should you look at Dart and Flutter? And how do you avoid becoming a security martyr?
Then as almost a bonus at the end of the episode, Randal quickly covered his now-expunged conviction for “doing his job with too much enthusiasm”, and covered some basic pointers to keep other security researchers out of trouble. This week is a nostalgia trip for long-time listeners, as well as a real treat for everyone else.
Continue reading “FLOSS Weekly Episode 765: That Ship Sailed… And Sank”
The holy grail of computer languages is to write code once and have it deploy effortlessly everywhere. Java likes to take credit for the idea, but UCSD P-Code was way before that and you could argue that mainframes had I/O abstraction like Fortran unit numbers even earlier. More modern efforts include Qt, GTK, and other things. Naturally, all of these fall short in some way. Now Google enters the fray with Flutter.
Continue reading “Should You Build For Windows, Mac, IOS, Android, Or Linux? Yes!”
Many people with hearing impairments have assistive devices at home that flash a light whenever a fire truck goes by, an alarm bell goes off, or the doorbell rings. With the exception of a hearing dog, these devices are useless outside the home, and this is where [Halley]’s Flutter dress comes into play. Flutter has microphones and microcontrollers sewn into the dress to listen to the surrounding environment and uses small vibration motors to wave small cloth leaflets whenever a loud sound is detected.
In the writeup for Flutter (PDF), [Halley] tells us she used a quartet of microcontrollers to detect the ambient acoustic environment. Each microcontroller passes the signal from the microphone into a buffer where it performs an FFT on the sound data. From this, the loudness and frequency of a noise – as well as the direction from a time-of-flight calculation – can be determined. Once that is complete, each microcontroller actuates a small vibrator motor in the dress’ leafs according to how loud and in which direction the sound came from.
As with all assistive technologies for the hearing impaired, there is always the aspect of deaf culture’s point of view that such inventions are seen as forcing a disability on someone. [Halley]’s Flutter dress was with the input of a few family members who have hearing impairments and got some positive feedback from members of the community. Good job, and we can see why it won Best in Show at the 2012 International Symposium on Wearable Computer’s Design Exhibition.