: Frequently Asked Questions:

So what kind of a show is "The Packet Sniffers"? We are an independently produced TV show based in Bloomington Indiana. Our focus is computers and technology, with a broad swath of anything remotely connected to those in between. While we embrace freedom of speech and expression, we do censor ourselves to an extent. We would like this show to be appropriate enough for all ages to watch. Why? For one, we have families and co-workers watching this. Secondly, that's just the way we want it. However this won't limit us in any way towards the technology we cover or talk about.

Thus far we have several episodes completed that have been well received. We are constantly looking to improve the show and are working to make it look ever more professional.


Q: Why does my browser display junk when I try to download an episode?

A: Hold down Shift and at the same time click the link. Sometimes your browser needs to be told to download the link rather than display it.

Q: Why does my media player not generate audio when I try to play one of your shows? (Or audio with no video)

A: Most likely it's because you need a codec or need to upgrade your media player. Windows Media Player 9 or later is needed to play the low-fi versions of our shows. You can upgrade your Windows Media Player by using this link here. (Assuming you are using a Windows platform). If you are trying to view our hi quality versions, WinAmp should play them fine.

Q: I have one of your VCD disks for play in my DVD player. The menu keeps looping, but I can't select an episode to watch?

A: VCD menu's work a little different from a DVD menu. You must press the number of the selection you wish to play (1 for episode one, 2 for episode two, ect.). Also, with our VCD's, there is always an unlabeled menu option one higher than what is listed that plays all shows on the disk. Sometimes you may find an Easter egg that way too.

Q: I have one of your DVD's, are there any easter eggs on it and how many?

A: Yes. There are several.

A: Why does your video look funny sometimes around the edges of the picture on my monitor or 16:4 TV set? Some parts of a show are offset to one side or have excessive blank area around the picture.

Q: That's because we format the show to fit a typical 4:3 television set. A normal 4:3 TV clips a small amount of picture from all sides of the video. Sometimes when our shooting isn't perfectly framed this means someone's face is cut in half or something like that. We reduce the video size or offset it to correct these issues when they arise. Unfortunately this correction is visible when viewing the show on a computer or 16:4 TV set. In the future we will try to correct this for the online releases for our show.

Q: Your audio sucks, it clips and pops.

A: Thanks, we know. We started this project with almost zero knowledge of the video production process. Our audio will be fixed in the future as we get better at this. Sennheiser to the rescue.

Q: Why do you use Windows Media Format, it's proprietary and OS specific?

A: It works for the majority of people out there. We have no problem if folks re-encode our shows into other formats, we don't utilize the DRM functionality of WMV. And oh yes, there is always MPlayer that should be able to play our shows if you are not a Windows user.

Q: What is this NSV file you are using now? How do I play it?

A: NSV is the file format for NullSoft Streaming Video. It is based on the VP3 royalty free codec and is similar to the latest MPEG4 codec's today (Audio is encoded into MP3). Winamp is used to play it. Well, MPlayer will play these files too, as well as any other player than understands the NSV file format and can decode VP3 encoded video.

Sometimes Winamp does not associate the NSV file extension to itself, so you have to manually open the file through Winamp. You can also drag and drop the file onto the Winamp playlist to queue it up.

Extra info: VP3 is the basis for the Theora open source codec currently in development (6-2005). Theora uses the Ogg file container format (As opposed to NSV) and uses Vorbis for audio, so it is different. But Similar, none the less.

Q: Why does it take you guys so long to put out an episode?

A: We do this all in our spare time, which when you start to get older you find that you have less and less spare time available. Also, it takes an enormous amount of time to edit video. A good editor should be able to get it down to 1 hour of editing for every 1 minute of video. We're not that good yet, it often takes 3-4 hours of editing per minute of video for us. As time goes on this should get better, however we are constantly learning new techniques and applying new ideas to the editing process. Just remember, the longer you have to wait for the next episode the better it will be ;).

Q: Why don't you offer torrents for download?

A: We don't feel torrents would work well to distribute our show. One doesn't have to look to hard at other shows with much higher distribution to find that their viewers are having problems with seeding - aka low download speeds. After the first week following a new release there wouldn't be enough people seeding our torrents to make it any faster than our current http mirrors.

Q: Do you mind if I mirror/torrent/stream your shows?

A: We don't care, knock yourself out! If you plan to host a reliable mirror we would appreciate an email about it though so we can add it to our downloads page. Thanks!

Q: I like the show, how can I get it on my local public access TV channel?

A: Most public access channels will let you submit other peoples work if you have a signed statement from the copywrite holder saying this is ok. We would be happy to provide this. Also we will need to know the media format that the station requires. We can output to a number of formats, just let us know. DVD+/-R is probably the cheapest, but we'll work with whatever your needs are.

Plus, we'll send you some free schwagg if you help us out :). We've got high quality Packet Sniffers DVD's, T-shirts and other stuff available.

Q: I have a monitor (Or other electronic device) that I need fixed. How much do you charge?

A: We appreciate the offer but we are not a repair service. We have full time jobs, this show, and other projects too, we really don't have the time to do repair work on the side. If it's directly pertaining to a segment you saw on the show we would encourage you to try it yourself. We taught ourselves everything you see on the show, you can learn as well. However if you absolutely insist feel free to contact us and make an offer.

Q: I like corn!

A: Good for you...

Q: That RC car segment in episode 1 sucked! What where you thinking??

A: Quite frankly, I'm not surprised people had this reaction to the "RC Epic" in episode 1. However I am surprised by the amazingly negative responses people have to RC cars in general. How many 8 year olds do you know that can afford $1500 for a toy? (Hint: The market isn't just for kids anymore). But whatever, I appreciate that a lot of adults just can't deal with certain hobbies. People that are into RC loved it, people strongly averse to all things RC hated it. Oh well. As I've said before, it's 4 minutes of video out of 2+ hours- please don't judge our entire series by 1 segment if you don't like RC.

Q: I would like to send you guys a video of a technology review or project that I did. Will you include it in an episode?

A: Fire an email our way and tell us about it. We aren't openly soliciting video segments from people, but if you have something good and you got sk1llz we'd be happy to include it. You can reach us at: contact[@]packetsniffers.org

Q: Are you trying to make money off this show?

A: No, we make the show because we enjoy doing it. We sell T-shirts and stickers mainly because people asked for them. As of this writing, these items haven't even paid for themselves and I doubt they ever will. However, we're not ashamed to have the show eventually get into the black. Tape media and equipment costs are the main things that drain our pocket books regularly (We'll never ask for donations, if you want to support us buy a t-shirt).

We put up Google Ad's on the site back in July 2005. It will likely be a full year before we get any payment from that. We are still evaluating if paid advertisements are really something that brings benefit to the site and the snow.

Q: What kind of equipment do you use to make the show?

A: Check out our production site for that kind of info:
     DEAD BEEF Productions

Q: Where do you get the music you have on your show?

A: It's mostly SID and NES remixes with some techno mixed in for good measure. SID is an old Commodore music format. Check out the forums for more info, or wait until we get some more info about music on the site.

SID Remixes:

Slay Radio - live streaming SID remixes:

Native SID's:

NES Remixes:



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