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Leticia Figueira
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Leticia Figueira

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As winter begins in the Southern hemisphere, many Brazilians are sending paper balloons skyward in celebration of Festa Junina, a festival celebrating the winter solstice. Project Loon was honored to join in the festivities this year with our own balloon launch in the rural outskirts of Campo Maior, where we connected Linoca Gayoso, a local school, to the Internet for the first time.

The vast majority of this community doesn’t have Internet or cell service—but the locals know of a few very specific spots around town where they might find a weak signal. So if you see them sitting in trees, you’ll know why. (In fact, they have a word for this—‘vaga-lume,’ which means ‘fireflying,’ in English—because at night that’s what the glow from their mobile phones looks like.) But with the Project Loon team in town and one of our balloons overhead, the students in Tiao’s geography class were able to get to the Internet from their classroom for the first time as they learned about world cultures. 

This test flight marked a few significant ‘firsts’ for Project Loon as well. Launching near the equator taught us to overcome more dramatic temperature profiles, dripping humidity and scorpions. And we tested LTE technology for the first time; this could enable us to provide an Internet signal directly to mobile phones, opening up more options for bringing Internet access to more places.

Check out these photos for a behind-the-scenes look on how it all came together.
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Leticia Figueira

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Technovation Challenge Brazil 2014! Spreading the word on diversity and education in STEM areas. Proud of being part on that!
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Leticia Figueira

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This is... this is... lovely!
Balloon-powered Internet for everyone.
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Menos um. :/
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I bought a digital video download today that required a video player from Leaping Brain. As usual, the proprietary player wasn't great and to transfer it to my iPhone I'd need another proprietary player. Ugh. But I browsed around and found that the video had been downloaded into a hidden directory as a bunch of .mov files. Great, except none of the files would play.

It turned out the actual player, launched from their compiled app, was a Python wrapper around some VLC libraries. Nothing funny going on, as far as I could tell, but when I tried to launch the player directly, nothing happened. The compiled app was modifying the .mov files right before they were loaded into the player, and then reverting the file on disk. According to http://leapingbrain.com/mod-machine/faq/:

 "We apply our BrainTrust™ proprietary video encryption to your movies before we upload them to our servers. If someone ever was able to gain access to your content, the files would be useless and unplayable, because they are stored in a scrambled, encrypted format. Once downloaded to the user’s hard drive, the files are still encrypted and only readable via the MOD Machine Player by a legitimate owner. We are not aware of a better DRM scheme than ours. Where Windows Media DRM is easily crackable, and doesn’t run on Macs, BrainTrust™ works great on Windows 8, Vista, Windows XP and Mac, and is virtually uncrackable."

Virtually uncrackable? Well, since they load the file from a Python script, it's easy to make a copy of the "decrypted" file before it's reverted. Having done so, I was curious to see the encryption scheme. By comparing the binary files, I discovered the "proprietary video encryption" algorithm: for the first 15kB, each 1kB block has its initial bytes xor'd with the string "RANDOM_STRING". That's the "scrambled, encrypted format" that leaves these files "useless and unplayable".
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Hahahaha, true.
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The other side of DRM.
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Have them in circles
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This Hangout On Air is hosted by Leticia Figueira. The live video broadcast will begin soon.
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TCBR Team - Catch Up Dez/2013
Sat, December 14, 2013, 11:15 AM
Hangouts On Air - Broadcast for free

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Leticia Figueira

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No, we're not going to the World Cup.
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On se quitte toujours...
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Oi filha, ouça tbm  uma das maiores cantoras francesas: Edith Piaff
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Leticia Figueira

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Have them in circles
175 people
Felipe Tanus's profile photo
jesus nava's profile photo
GamerVERT's profile photo
Raghib Suleman's profile photo
rafael z. lisboa's profile photo
Daniel Martins's profile photo
Gilberto Silva's profile photo
PyLadies Recife's profile photo
Daniel Kotowski's profile photo
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Tudo é uma questão de manter a mente quieta, a espinha ereta e o coração tranquilo.