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'Culture (was For sale)'
1997\07\03@123812 by Engineering Department

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From: Ross McKenzie sagely comments:
>And a final one; a US sitcom the other evening had someone saying
> that they wouldn't be coming to Australia because they couldn't speak
> Australian.

Kind of an in joke perhaps.  There is a resturant chain in the US called
"Outback" that has ads featuring translations of Australian slang (in the
heaviest brogue imaginable).  I wonder if that doesn't foster the
non-critical view that all countries have their own language.  English
speak English, Americans speak American, ad nausium.

Those of you working with closed captioning may have noticed the xenophobic
character set the FCC selected at the bidding of the National Captioning
Institute and WGBH.  Some accented characters, but not enough to do French.
Some dingbats but not enough to do Spanish or Portugese.  Odd.

> >Cheers,     <writes Win>
>
> How very English of you.   <replies Ross>

Product of too many canings in colonial British boarding schools. <g>

Sincerely yours,                  <is that better? <G>>

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corproration
spam_OUTImageLogicTakeThisOuTspamibm.net

1997\07\08@001645 by John Payson

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> Those of you working with closed captioning may have noticed the xenophobic
> character set the FCC selected at the bidding of the National Captioning
> Institute and WGBH.  Some accented characters, but not enough to do French.
>  Some dingbats but not enough to do Spanish or Portugese.  Odd.

Well, the entire closed-captioning character set can be displayed(*) using
only a 7-bit display buffer.  If there were any more characters, this
would no longer be possible (**).  Personally, I think they should have
included 128 /printable/ glyphs in the set at minimum, but I didn't design
it.  As it is, the codes divvy up as:

110 : Printable glyphs(*)
7   : Color select prefix codes
7   : Underlined color select prefix codes
2   : Italics and italics underlined prefix codes
1   : Flashing prefix code
1   : Transparent space

(*) There are actually 111 defined printable glyphs (which would up the
total to 129 different codes).  The Philips CC chip solves this problem by
mapping "O" to "0".

(**) Well, you could get one more if you mapped "l" to "1".


The things I thought were odd when working with closed captioning--much
stranger than its "xenophobia", were:

[1] No asterisk character ($2A is an "a" with an aigu)

[2] Doubling up of all the color-select codes (and all the XY prefix
commands in the command set) to support underlining, when I have only ONCE
ever seen anything delibrately underlined in a closed-caption broadcast.

[3] Bizarre handling of "gotoXY" codes.

[4] Semi-mandatory doubling of the 16 double-byte printable glyphs (which
means that each of them takes up four bytes).  In the code I wrote for
captioning, I'd only double the d-byte glyphs if they were followed by
matching codes, so two musical note characters together would appear as 6
bytes).

[5] An end-credit credit from NCI (National Captioning Institute) which
contained 5 lines of text--in direct violation of the captioning standards
(and the capabilities of some sets) which only allow for four!

Still, despite its wierdness, captioning is cool.  Too bad I never got to
unleash my caption multiplexor on an unsuspecting world--that thing was
neat.

1997\07\08@095037 by Engineering Department

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> Still, despite its wierdness, captioning is cool.  Too bad I never got to
> unleash my caption multiplexor on an unsuspecting world--that thing was
> neat.

Hi John,

So what was (is) the caption multiplexor?  I'm curious.

Cheers,

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation
.....ImageLogicKILLspamspam@spam@ibm.net

1997\07\08@184212 by John Payson

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> > Still, despite its wierdness, captioning is cool.  Too bad I never got to
> > unleash my caption multiplexor on an unsuspecting world--that thing was
> > neat.
>
> Hi John,
>
> So what was (is) the caption multiplexor?  I'm curious.

It was a piece of hardware/software which would add information to the
"Caption Channel 2" which is available on any TV that supports captioning,
and would also add information to "Text Channels 1 and 2" which are avail-
able on 90% of CC TV's.

The CC2 channel overlays 32x15 characters on the underlying video (unused
areas are blank).  On many sets, at most four rows may contain any text, and
on some sets (and most old CC decoders) only the top and bottom four rows
are available.  Text is available in seven colors (black background) with
underlining and italics.

The two text channels support 8x32 or larger text screens.  The screen is
unfortunately not XY addressible (there's a "goto column" but not "goto row")
and is simply written top-to-bottom with carriage returns after each line.
Regardless of vertical size, the screen will scroll when full.

The caption data on line 21 can transmit 30 byte-pairs per second.  Depending
upon the level of dialogue, this data stream may be nearly empty or nearly
full.  The caption multiplexor passes through existing captions with at most
one frame of delay (I don't double a control code if it's going to be super-
ceded immediately anyway) and displays additional information (e.g. program
schedules, weather, etc.) using any additional bandwidth.

Neat capability.  Too bad it didn't go anywhere.

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