Thursday, July 30, 2009

HayWire, Haystack, and Barnburner

... are the names of 3 parts of my latest software release.

There is a lot more about them on the Seductive Logic home page, where one can download this stuff and play along at home.

For those who want to stay put, HayWire is a program for viewing your computer's memory contents on a video screen in real time. You dial in a hexidecimal address somewhere inside a program running on your machine and you see the bits mutate before your very eyes.

The program started out as a 4 hour hack to evaluate a plug-in framework for the Freeframe open-source video effects plug-in standard. Rather than just doing something simple like contrast and brightness, I thought I would copy memory into the buffer from a user-selected address. It worked, and then it got way out of hand...

One impitus for this was Dmitry Vostokov, whom I discovered while looking for debugging tools. He has a program that turns crash-dumps into fascinating pictures, among a wide-variety of diverse excursions around the crash-dump analysis discipline that has to be seen to be believed.

I sent him a copy of the video plug-in and a host program, and he had a look at it, then he grabbed the SourceForge version and played with that too. He wrote back and suggested doing a book project - which will get underway in earnest soon. (I am finishing the program now).

Anyway, the plug-in is still in there, with much more capability. The host program bloomed from a property page into a full-blown rich-multimedia-application framework.

A few minutes before starting this blog I discovered something amazing playing with the program. I will write about it soon, after I get a better idea of what the limits of this blog program are.

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