Friday, May 08, 2015

Leeroy Jenkins Sufffers Digital Degradation. Is the Cloud not as secure as we thought?

An astute poster on Reddit spotted that the famous World of Warcraft parody video "Leeroy Jenkins" has apparently degraded over time on Youtube and the audio is now corrupted.

What could be going on. Are digital archives not as incorruptible as we once believed? If such an iconic work can be corrupted what does this mean for our precious memories that we are increasingly trusting to cloud storage?

Storage devices can degrade over time but this is very unlikely to be the cause of Leeroy Jenkins corruption. Any half way decent cloud storage system has multiply redundant back ups with error correction. As several respondents to the Reddit post have pointed out it is far more likely that the errors were introduced when the video was converted from an older video format to a newer format. The "copy of a copy" syndrome kicks in and quality degrades.

EDIT: For clarification: You can copy digital files perfectly so "copy of a copy" degradation isn't always a problem but digital video formats employ lossy compression so some quality is lost with each conversion. The audio distortion in this case however is so extreme I suspect this is more than just incremental loss  of quality over multiple conversions. I think something went seriously wrong in a recent conversion to HTML5 format.

Regardless of the cause however the video is now corrupted. Given Leeroy's iconic status I am hopeful that some nerd at Google will take notice and restore a pristine copy. The fact that this can happen is something to think about however. Leeroy Jenkins may still be well known enough for someone to go to the bother of fixing it. I doubt you can say the same about the videos you uploaded of your child's birthday party.

Original Reddit post from I_ama_Borat here: http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/357s6l/eli5_all_of_a_sudden_the_famous_video_of_leeroy/ 

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Late to the PS3 party

I recently came into a second hand PS3 so I am taking a whistle stop tour through some of the better known console exclusives from the last generation.

The PS3 was technically ambitious with its many cored cell processor but it failed to reach the dominant position that its predecessor held. It was late to market. It cost more than a competing Xbox360 and it was reputed to be difficult to programme. Nevertheless the platform had a number of highly regarded exclusives. Now is probably the very best time to do a retrospective tour of them. Second hand games and accessories are cheap and widely available but with the PS4 firmly established it cannot be long before PS3 stuff starts disappearing from retail shelves.

So far I have tried the following games:

Little Big Planet: Cute platformer that I enjoyed a bit of coop in with my daughter.

Demon Souls: From Software's dark masterpiece that spawned Dark Souls and Bloodborne. So far the game feels very similar to Dark Souls.

The Last of Us: post apocalyptic adventure widely hailed as a masterpiece of storytelling. The opening sequence is terrific and the plot is developing nicely but sadly I am not really enjoying the gameplay.

Uncharted: Drakes Revenge. This is a tomb robbing adventure very much in the style of Lara Croft. I am enjoying this a lot.

Red Dead Redemption: Cowboys, horses and revenge. I haven't played this yet so I about really comment but it regularly features in to ten lists.

I don't realistically expect to finish these games. I already have a backlog of games I want to play on PC. Also despite living in a house with five computers we have only one proper TV so my time on the PS3 is very limited. Nevertheless I am enjoying plugging this gap in my gaming knowledge and the PS3 itself has already become the Netflix and DVD player of choice in our home.