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Apple confirms 'Asteroid' project with GarageBand distribution

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Has anyone else found this file? I noticed when i was unpacking the app (i had zipped it up) "asteroid.tiff" caught my eye. I tried to open the file but it wouldn't work. I opened it in BBedit and it said this in the top "(This file must be converted with BinHex 4.0)" followed by alot of similar characters: "2m!!!$r!!!!r`" over and over and then some stuff that looks like it could be a file.

Ideas? Just apple messing with us?
post #2 of 34
As if there was any doubt as to the authenticity of an Apple audio product code-named 'Asteroid' or 'Q97,' tipsters have recently uncovered incontrovertible evidence corroborating reports of its existence and intended operability with the company's recently released GarageBand 2.0 music software.

Nestled deep within the contents package of Apple's new GarageBand 2.0 software, -- currently shipping with most of Apple's computers -- is a single image file named 'asteroid.tiff.' Unfortunately, the file is incomplete or improperly encoded, and therefore will not display. Nevertheless, it is present and clearly labeled, with a last modification date of over one week prior to the first reports of Asteroid surfacing on the web.

Asteroid was the code-name for an internal Apple project that was to deliver an Apple-branded analog FireWire audio device (breakout box) that would let users plug in external audio device attachments (instruments), and directly record audio tracks on their Macintosh using Apples GarageBand 2.0 music studio application. The hardware device was to retail for $129.

Since AppleInsider's breaking story on Asteroid, much controversy has surrounded the project. Asteroid was initially expected to debut last month at Macworld Expo, but may never see the light of day. As recently as this weekend, sources told AppleInsider that Apple has "postponed the project indefinitely" due to poor intitial execution.

Asteroid was just one of several new products believed to be under development by Apple's newly formed iPod division. The company is still expected to debut at least one music related hardware product over the next 12 months that will not be categorized as an iPod.

post #3 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by spiral
Has anyone else found this file? I noticed when i was unpacking the app (i had zipped it up) "asteroid.tiff" caught my eye. I tried to open the file but it wouldn't work. I opened it in BBedit and it said this in the top "(This file must be converted with BinHex 4.0)" followed by alot of similar characters: "2m!!!$r!!!!r`" over and over and then some stuff that looks like it could be a file.

Ideas? Just apple messing with us?


Wow great find! and a first post?



post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by TednDi
Wow great find! and a first post?



No. I used to post often (Registered 2001) but did the posts get reset? I haven't posted in the past year though.

Also, my post title was altered by the mods. I did not say "Asteroid confirmed etc." I just asked if anyone else had found the file and if they were able to open it.
post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by spiral
No. I used to post often (Registered 2001) but did the posts get reset? I haven't posted in the past year though.

Also, my post title was altered by the mods. I did not say "Asteroid confirmed etc." I just asked if anyone else had found the file and if they were able to open it.

Spiral,

A couple years ago the admins lost the forums database. Everyone and their post count was lost. As for the title, I merged your thread with the one automatically created by the AppleInsider system when we post an article. It takes the title of the AppleInsider story, nothing personal.

All the best,

Kasper
EIC- AppleInsider.com
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post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by spiral
Has anyone else found this file? I noticed when i was unpacking the app (i had zipped it up) "asteroid.tiff" caught my eye. I tried to open the file but it wouldn't work. I opened it in BBedit and it said this in the top "(This file must be converted with BinHex 4.0)" followed by alot of similar characters: "2m!!!$r!!!!r`" over and over and then some stuff that looks like it could be a file.

Ideas? Just apple messing with us?

Have you tried renaming a copy of it to end with .hqx (the binhex suffix) and opening it with Stuffit Expander?
post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
incontrovertible evidence confirming its existence

...

a single image file named 'asteroid.tiff.'... the file is incomplete or improperly encoded

Is this any more reliable than the Powerbook G5 html code?

(I'm only questioning the "incontrovertible" evidence, not the sources mentioned.)

--B
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post #8 of 34
Quote:
"postponed the project indefinitely" due to poor intitial execution.

Interesting, I am assuming the initial version sucked really bad. Maybe Bill Gates should take notice.
post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by TednDi
Wow great find! and a first post?





Still, GREAT FIND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and sorry about the reset!



post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
As if there was any doubt as to the authenticity of an Apple audio product code-named 'Asteroid' or 'Q97,' tipsters have recently uncovered incontrovertible evidence confirming its existence and intended operability with the company's recently released GarageBand 2.0 music software.

Sorry, but I don't think this is anywhere close to being "incontrovertible evidence", as I demonstrate below.

Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
Unfortunately, the file is incomplete or improperly encoded, and therefore will not display properly. Nevertheless, it is present and clearly labeled.

I have successfully decoded the file:



As you can see, this is far short of a confirmation of any upcoming Apple product. Perhaps the GarageBand developers are playing a joke on the rumor sites?

In case you think I made this image up myself as a joke, here are the steps to reproduce it yourself:

1. Download the BinHex source
2. Remove the header and footer so that you have only the C source
3. Comment out line 23 and remove " - timezone" from line 323.
4. Save the file as "xbin.c" and compile it using "gcc xbin.c"
5. Rename the resulting "a.out" file to "xbin"
6. Do "chmod +x xbin"
7. Extract the asteroid.tiff file from the GarageBand 2.0 package and place it in the same directory as xbin
8. Run "./xbin -v -n asteroid asteroid.tiff"

If everything goes correctly, this will produce a file called "asteroid.data". Rename it to "asteroid.data.tiff" and open it. You will see the image above.

Trevor
post #11 of 34
Takes guts not to release a product because it was crap (== "pure initial execution").

Glad to know they have standards left. Wonder if it was Steve directly who pulled the plug?
"I have a dream, that one day, my posts will be judged by their content, not their spelling."
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post #12 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by vocaro
Perhaps the GarageBand developers are playing a joke on the rumor sites?

That's what i assumed. I would like to see the image. It doesn't show up in the forum. Nice sleuthing.

Here is the image vocaro posted (it was a tiff so i just changed it to a gif). That is hilarious! That's a pretty sweet joke.
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by spiral
That's what i assumed. I would like to see the image. It doesn't show up in the forum. Nice sleuthing.

For the record, the 'Asteroid' project was not a joke. Seriously, have you guys been following the news the last couple of months? Also, that end result of that image decoding does not look like a 28KB image the original file implied, nor do I believe the placement of the file is a 'joke,' but you guys are free to speculate to your hearts delight. If anything, the image was a placeholder. Also, if you check the creation date of the file, it is a full two weeks before any publication, including AppleInsider, first mentioned Asteroid.

Kasper
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post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by spiral
I would like to see the image. It doesn't show up in the forum.

Oops, I was linking to the wrong file. Should be fixed now, as long as your browser can display PNG images.

Trevor
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by Kasper
[B]For the record, the 'Asteroid' project was not a joke. Seriously, have you guys been following the news the last couple of months?

For the record, no one is suggesting that the project was a joke, only that the image might be.

Quote:
Also, that end result of that image decoding does not look like a 28KB image the original file implied

Why not? After unHexing, it becomes a 17KB TIFF image, which is perfectly typical for an uncompressed bitmap of that size, and it is not too surprising that BinHexing would add another 10KB of overhead, since it also stores the resource fork and other meta data.

If you still don't believe me, follow the steps I provided and see for yourself.

Trevor
post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by vocaro
For the record, no one is suggesting that the project was a joke, only that the image might be.

Trevor

See my comments about the creation date, which I guess you can say was also altered, but then you'd really be stretching your argument

AppleInsider first published about Asteroid on November 23, 2004. The last modification date on the image is November 12, 2004.

Kasper
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Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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post #17 of 34
Easy to decode: ~ Cell chip arrived, but hasn't docked yet
OSX + Duals, Quads & Octos = World Domination
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post #18 of 34
I think the images' obfuscation strongly points to a developer's prank. If the image were a placeholder, it would not have been binhexed.

It's not definitely a prank, but then neither is it definitely Apple confirming the Asteroid project. It could just as easily be Apple acknowledging the Asteroid rumors.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by bergz
Is this any more reliable than the Powerbook G5 html code?

(I'm only questioning the "incontrovertible" evidence, not the sources mentioned.)

--B

Actually, I think this is more inctrovertible evidence that the PowerBook G5's are right around the corner (hello March 1st!)
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by spiral
That is hilarious! That's a pretty sweet joke.

The Rorschach Test will be integrated into the OS.
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by Kasper
AppleInsider first published about Asteroid on November 23, 2004. The last modification date on the image is November 12, 2004.

All that proves is that whoever stuck the image in there also had access to AI's "sources". You plant the fake angel skeleton, let someone else find it, the rumor spreads, then everyone goes shopping in the new Springfield Mall.

Ralph: Prinscipal Skipple, Prinscipal Skimpster! I found something! It's a spearhead!
Miss Hoover: That's your trowel blade, Ralph. It fell off the handle.
Ralph: And I found it!

Burns: "Smithers, use the amnesia ray."
Smithers: "You mean the revolver, sir?"
Burns: "Precisely."

--B
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post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by spiral
That's what i assumed. I would like to see the image. It doesn't show up in the forum. Nice sleuthing.

Here is the image vocaro posted (it was a tiff so i just changed it to a gif). That is hilarious! That's a pretty sweet joke.

well, obviously an allusion to the Asteroid arcade game, or one of many re-creations such as this Java one...
http://www.ducttapefashion.com/games.../asteroid.html

good times

remember, what we have here does not prove that
1. asteroid is/is not gonna be released
2. the image is a joke to trick forum sites or an in-house joke
3. image is/is not a placeholder
4. image does/does not have any purpose in final draft

great decoding work...! try the java game...! yeahhh take that you stupid hunk of rock..!
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by sunilraman
try the java game...! yeahhh take that you stupid hunk of rock..!

Java is cool.

This is cooler.

--B
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post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by bergz
Java is cool.

This is cooler.

--B

but can you play 2-player PONG with that..?? if i recall correctly there was 2-player PONG back in the day....
post #25 of 34
Has anyone considered the possibility that the whole Asteroid thing was just a device to smoke out employees who were leaking product info? I mean it's plausible enough that Apple would make such a device, but at the same time, I was legitimately suprised when I first heard the rumour.

Perhaps it was set up in such a way that the information would be leaked, and the person responsible subsequently identified, without Apple actually reqlinquishing any secrets because the actual product was never going to make it to the market?

The truth is out there - only BinHexed...

-Rob
post #26 of 34
There are a bunch of developers at Apple who are reading this story and laughing their asses off right now.

If there's any weed involved they might end up hurting themselves laughing.
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by TheOtherRob
Has anyone considered the possibility that the whole Asteroid thing was just a device to smoke out employees who were leaking product info? I mean it's plausible enough that Apple would make such a device, but at the same time, I was legitimately suprised when I first heard the rumour.

Perhaps it was set up in such a way that the information would be leaked, and the person responsible subsequently identified, without Apple actually reqlinquishing any secrets because the actual product was never going to make it to the market?

The truth is out there - only BinHexed...

-Rob

For the Conspiracy Buffs out there.....

March 1, 2005 - 17:23 EST__ Tim Bucher, who headed Apple's Macintosh Hardware Engineering until last fall, has filed suit against the company, alleging that Apple terminated him without cause and failed to pay all due compensation, reports CNET News.com. "As a result of the actions of defendant Apple, the plaintiff has suffered damages including the loss of income and emotional distress," according to Bucher's lawsuit. Bucher is seeking to recoup lost compensation, punitive damages and other penalties. Bucher was hired by Apple in March 2003 and was promoted to senior vice president of Macintosh Hardware Engineering last May, replacing Jon Rubinstein, who was named head of the company's iPod division.




post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by ClimbingTheLog
There are a bunch of developers at Apple who are reading this story and laughing their asses off right now.

If there's any weed involved they might end up hurting themselves laughing.

I don't understand why so many people are poo-pooing this.

I find Appleinsider's explanation much more logical and WAY more likely than the crack-pot conspiracy theories people are dreaming up.

I say we see it sometime this year or possibly it's just been canceled.
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post #29 of 34
I don't think anything in this thread qualifies as a 'crack-pot' conspiracy just yet...

Sure, AI have offered a logical explanation, but it's an explanation based around a single .tiff file that may or may not have been related to the rumoured 'Asteroid' project. Granted, their explanation follows a degree of logic, and I won't be surprised if and when we see the product come to market, but I would hesitate to suggest that the .tiff qualifies as evidence.
post #30 of 34
Apple should buy Amadeus, rewrite it in Cocoa, and package it with OS X for free similarly to iTunes.

Really, if Apple can do Garageband, why not a basic audio editor for us musicians who play REAL instruments?
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by Junkyard Dawg
Apple should buy Amadeus, rewrite it in Cocoa, and package it with OS X for free similarly to iTunes.

Really, if Apple can do Garageband, why not a basic audio editor for us musicians who play REAL instruments?

HEY! my MIDI keyboard is a REAL instrument
and i've got ABRSM Grade 6 in Pianoforte, Grade 8 in Theory....

not quite a musician though just had to learn all that classical piano tripe 'coz my parents *ahem* forced me to...

edit1: ah whatever...

edit2: have you tried using Ableton Live 4? very nice mix of sequencing, live audio editing, envelopes, filters, AU and VST plug-in support, great tempo control (for the 'REAL' musicians that don't just make 140bpm four-on-the-floor) music
post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by sunilraman
HEY! my MIDI keyboard is a REAL instrument
and i've got ABRSM Grade 6 in Pianoforte, Grade 8 in Theory....

not quite a musician though just had to learn all that classical piano tripe 'coz my parents *ahem* forced me to...

edit1: ah whatever...

edit2: have you tried using Ableton Live 4? very nice mix of sequencing, live audio editing, envelopes, filters, AU and VST plug-in support, great tempo control (for the 'REAL' musicians that don't just make 140bpm four-on-the-floor) music

Why not use logic lite, or whatever it is, or Logic itself?
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post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
Why not use logic lite, or whatever it is, or Logic itself?

Ableton Live 4 is really quick to set up and use, throwing in Midi, ReWire to Reason, throwing in Samples, VST and AU... I like it as a quick composition/performance tool

I may have lost too much brain cells partying in the past several years to achieve my artistic 'edge' but I tried Logic Pro 6 and it was way way way way way too complicated for me.... I had no idea where to begin and how to hook this and that up to this and that to even get a sound happening

Definitely Logic Express and Logic Pro has their place, but definitely check out Ableton Live 4 too...
post #34 of 34
Oh yeah, I just started using Ableton Live a few months ago and LOVE it! It's a bit overkill for my needs, but I like the GUI and sometimes I need a bit more than Amadeus, although not often.

I don't really do much with audio, basically I just record myself on guitar while singing (hoping my singing doesn't break my Powermac) and keep a library of songs I'm working on. I don't even use double tracks. I use sound filters to clean up the recording, but if I can't play something live, i don't use it.

I know with GarageBand there is a larger market for an app that let's anyone play around with samples and drum tracks, that's mainly what I was getting at. I'd never denigrate MIDI or anything, it's just annoying when I hear songs on the radio in which the only hooks are samples from other artists - usually semi-obscure bits and pieces from older artists that today's youth cannot recognize. I just heard a rap song today that was a cover of Pink Floyd's Interstellar Overdrive, but the name of the song was different. WTF?

Well I guess it's payback for all the white boy rockers who got famous by covering blues songs of the Mississippi Delta. How poetic is it that a black artist makes money by ripping off a song from Pink Floyd?
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