utorak, 17. lipnja 2014.

Webdriver Torso - the numbers station of the internet

YouTube verzija Conet Projecta podsjeća nas da najviše postova šalju sami strojevi, kamere i aplikacije primjerice, ne ljudi.


BB reader Enkidu describes what looks curiously like a modern counterpart to the mysterious "numbers stations" of the cold war, radio frequencies carrying baffling sequences--spy codes!--of numbers and words.
The YouTube channel for the user "Webdriver Torso" contains over 77,000 videos, each 11 seconds in length, with a series of one second pitches, each accompanied by a frame containing nothing but one blue and one red rectangle on a white background. No one seems to have any idea where this channel came from, who the user is, or what the purpose of the videos might be. "Webdriver" is the name of a product in the Selenium suite of browser automation tools (for instance, used to test performance and stability of a web application), and it's plausible that this is the very tool used to automate the uploading of the videos to YouTube. This is begging for an analysis of the data represented in these videos. For anyone fascinated by numbers stations but frustrated that they missed the heyday of the Cold War, this might just be your chance! I'm a developer, but this falls well outside my areas of expertise...but I'd be happy to try to cooperate with anyone interested.
- boingboing.net/2014/04/25/the-numbers-station-of-you.html

“Webdriver Torso” is either something incredibly sinister or nothing at all

When viewing the enigmatic YouTube phenomenon known as “Webdriver Torso,” the first thing that comes to mind is Richard Dreyfuss’ attempts to contact aliens in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. The YouTube channel’s 78,417 videos (and counting) do have a distinct SETI-esque quality to them, as seemingly random patterns of red and blue shapes move across a white background to a series of ear-piercing tones. The format is predictable— 10 slides labeled 0000-0009 over 11 seconds—with one notable exception. But that’s the only certain thing about it. Webdriver Torso posts videos at irregular intervals, and a new one is uploaded at least every hour.
But the most intriguing mystery by far is the channel’s origins. No one has stepped forward to claim credit for Webdriver Torso; earlier this month, The Guardian thought they had explained the mystery as a series of test patterns used by a European telecom company, but that turned out to be a dead end. Now all eyes are on Google as Webdriver Torso conspiracy theorists claim to have traced the channel back to Google’s offices in Zurich. YouTube’s themed search results for the channel could be seen as a tacit admission of guilt, as could the one comment Webdriver Torso has ever left on a video: “Matei is highly intelligent.” Could the Matei in question be Google Senior Research Scientist/robotics expert Matei Ciocarlie? Is Google developing a sentient YouTube channel that will one day rise up and enslave us all? Is Webdriver Torso secretly communicating with extraterrestrial life? Is it issuing commands to brainwashed operatives à la The Manchurian Candidate? Or maybe, just maybe, is this just some mundane technical exercise that Google isn’t bothering to explain because conspiracy theories are hilarious? Who knows. - Katie Rife
- www.avclub.com/article/webdriver-torso-either-something-incredibly-sinist-204954

Google behind Webdriver Torso mystery

Google has admitted it is behind the Webdriver Torso web account, an unlikely internet sensation which has mystified and delighted web users.
The mystery began when a series of seemingly pointless 11-second videos - all showing a series of blue and red rectangles - were uploaded in their thousands to YouTube.
Speculation was rife about who was behind the enigmatic postings and what they could mean.
Aliens and spies were mooted.
But now it seems that the reality behind the Webdriver Torso mystery is more mundane - it is one of many tests channels used by YouTube to ensure video quality.
The content of the video is meaningless, just a random set of sounds and visuals picked because they were easy to create, according to a YouTube source.
By comparing the uploaded video with the original file, the team is able to assess whether they are being uploaded in the same quality.

Mystery solved

In an official statement, Google said: "We're never gonna give you uploading that's slow or loses video quality, and we're never gonna let you down by playing YouTube in poor video quality.
"That's why we're always running tests like Webdriver Torso."
Its light-hearted statement echoes 1980s pop star Rick Astley's hit song Never Gonna Give You Up in reference to a recent Webdriver Torso video which showed the singer in silhouette.
That in turn is a reference to Rickrolling, one of the internet's most famous memes which linked people to a video of the singer via a masked link.
The Webdriver Torso mystery was finally solved by website Engadget following revelations that Webdriver was part of a network called ytuploadtestpartner_torso, which in turn was associated with social media accounts that name-dropped several Google employees based at its Zurich office.
Engadget confronted Google with its findings and the search engine confessed.

Not spies
Wired magazine was the first to spot the Webdriver Torso phenomenon in February, as part of a feature on bizarre YouTube clips.
The technology press quickly became obsessed with the story, with a variety of theories postulated, including that the videos were part of an advertising campaign by aliens or a digital version of spies' numbers stations, used during the Cold War to decode messages.
Each of the almost 80,000 clips - uploaded over a seven-month period - followed the same pattern - 10 slides, each with a red rectangle, a blue rectangle and a computer-generated tone.
The BBC conducted its own investigation, led by BBC Click producer Stephen Beckett. He asked Google if it was behind the mystery at the end of May but, at the time, the firm declined to comment.
"I can't deny I'm not disappointed that we haven't discovered extra-terrestrial life, or cracked the communications of a clandestine spying ring," he said.
"While the truth may be a little more down to earth, with all the attention now is the perfect time for aliens and spies to start communicating discreetly via rectangles and Rick Astley memes. Perhaps we shouldn't relax just yet." - www.bbc.com/news/technology-27778071

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