The great Aussie con job
Posted 10 May 2005 - 07:32 AM
Apparently some technical con man managed to convince a large number of people who should have known better, that he had worked out a way to send full-bandwidth PAL video down ordinary telephone lines!
Eventually he was forced to admit that it was just a hoax, but not until he'd extracted some serious money from a number of investors. He also apparently managed to fool engineers from the likes of IBM and similar, by making them sign confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements that effectively stopped them looking inside his "black boxes"
From what I can gather from the journalistic mutilation, both the "transmitter" and "receiver" boxes contained hard drives containing identical digital recordings of the same set of "test films", and all that went down the phone lines was some very low data rate binary signals that simply sync-ed the two recordings together! Thus he could easily "demonstrate" that whatever he was playing on the "transmitter" would faithfully appear on the "receiver"!
So at no time did he actually put external video into the system, he just used his "specially encoded" samples on the "transmitter" hard drive!
To be fair to the engineers who were fooled, I supposed they were working on the assumption that no-one in their right mind would pull a stunt like that, because they would so quickly be found out!
Does anybody have any more details, or know where I might find out?
Posted 11 May 2005 - 08:15 AM
Posted 12 May 2005 - 06:49 AM
Ah well, yes; that great Murdoch-ism: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is..." or: "passion is approximately inversely proportional to understanding"
THis was all about 3 years ago. At the time I was involved in looking for low-cost, high bandwidth image transfer systems, so I did come across it. I believe he turned down an offer of several million dollars at one point, saying it was worth more. I was never satisifed that he had something that would stand up, so didn't pursue the device - and haven't heard since: so I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has any more to tell.
Apparently some engineers became suspicious when it appeared to still work with an impossibly low data rate. The other problem briefly alluded to was that it was supposed to have utilized some brilliant new mathematical algorithm developed by some local mathematical whizz-kid, who upon investigation was found to have a very ordinary scholastic track record, particularly in maths!
By the way, (speaking of things that may not stand up:-) you haven't by any chance seen any Genesis footage transferred to film yet? Panavision haven't exactly been falling over themselves to show the world what they've got....
Posted 17 May 2005 - 09:40 AM