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Permission granted by author for anyone to distribute this
writing free of charge (including translation into any
language)...under condition that no profit is made therefrom,
and that it remain intact and complete, including title and 
credit to the original author.

Ezekiel J. Krahlin

a parable for the 21st century
(and a lesson in queer hacktivism a.k.a. "Quacktivism")

© 2004 by Ezekiel J. Krahlin
(Jehovah's Queer Witness

Premise: Why would a Quacktivist ever require a copy of
any animation on the Internet? Because it may contain
hidden code, or be witness-recorded evidence of an 
urgent nature, or convey nuances in the enemy's 
propaganda tactics...which will then be sent to our 
Specialists in Social Engineering. Remember (Mighty 
Mouse Virus says):

"Not all important online messages are conveyed through text."

Enjoy this message to my friend, author of "John's
Animations" at:

He feels that the coding of Macromedia's Flash Animation is a
secure way to protect your animations from online copying, and
illegal redistribution therefrom. I told him if you were a
hacker, you'd figure it out...and sho' nuff I did. May this
lesson be understood by those with the wisdom to understand.
Live long and hack!

--begin my msg. to John:

From:  	Ezekiel Krahlin
Received:  	05/08/04  10:30 PM 	
Subject:  	horse.html 	
Attachments:  	horse1.gif (8KB)  horse2.gif (10KB)  horse3.gif (9KB)  
                horse-anim.gif (25KB)

Stunning "dream time" sequence in part of the horse's day.
Truly a magnificent little masterpiece of light and shadow.
The horse, drawn with much affection and bold lines/colors
dances on your screen for sheer joy. Best thing to do, in the
entire world...can you name even ONE thing more fun?

I could meditate on that one animation for HOURS! Wonderful,
positive energy from the Spirit of Pegasus.

So this hacker's gonna figure out how to crack your
presumptuous Macromedia copy-protection...and DOWNLOAD your
anims. to my hard drive....

Well, whaddya know, even Opera browser's "Save as w/images"
was tricked into NOT including the horse's flash animation.
However, I KNOW a good hacker can EASILY swipe your animation
in at least TWO different ways:

1) Have a video program record whatever shows up next on the
screen, for 60 seconds. Then you'd run your
gets perfectly recorded...just need to crop it out of the rest
of the screen, and do that for each frame. Of course, you'd
also remove the useless start and end frames...this almost
goes w/o saying.

2) Use a high-quality (not cheap) web cam to record the
animation...just point it around, to look AT the computer, not
FROM it, as is usually the case. The animation can then be
saved, and distributed throughout cyberspace.

But, a low-income hacker with limited resources, can achieve
the same as (1) above...a brute method of swiping your
animation would be thus: Just run a screen-capture utility,
and each snapshot, you try to capture a new frame of the
animation. (I prefer to use the richly featured and flexible
freeware image viewer/editor, Irfanview, to capture animation
frames, as well as perform a whole slew of other graphic

This might take a bunch of hits-and-misses, but I'll bet a
little patience and careful file naming, will give us a
restored copy of your original. Now I could do that right now,
but let it suffice I send you THREE different frames from that
animation, just to PROVE my point:

horse1.gif 8 kb horse2.gif 10 kb horse3.gif 9 kb
And let me attach LASTLY, the animation I created from them, to show you that hackers ALWAYS find a way around ANYTHING. May I present:
horse-anim.gif 25kb
And I did ALL THAT off your animated horse, while on the Internet, and between typing these lines to you. IOW: LESS THAN 10 MINUTES!!!
--end of my msg. to John Whoa! Someone posted to me an easier solution, using browser underdog Netscape (7.0 or higher).
---------- 1) Select "View Page_Info" from menu at top. 2) Click on "Media" tab at top. A list of graphic files on that page will show up. A Macromedia animation file ends with extension ".swf". Just select that file. 3) Then click on "Save As" button at bottom. Save to whatever folder you want. (Note: You cannot do a "Save As" on more than one file at a time.) ----------
So, thank you Alan G. in Atlanta! Nonetheless, my technique can be applied under any circumstance; so you ain't necessarily stuck with having to depend on Netscape...though it's a damn good reason for including Netscape browser in your Quacktivist arsenal. (And if you [shudder] use AOL as your provider, well then, you have Netscape browser by default.) Tedium is often a part of when a nice shortcut tool comes along (in this case, using Netscape as an "animation capture" tool), hackers are most appreciative. Wow! Another winning tip just came in. Read on:
---------- From: Pony Tease Subject: Re: Quacktivism: Hacking Flash Animation Newsgroups: soc.motss Date: 2004-05-09 Pony Tease wrote in message news: > There are many tools fro reverse engineering Flash > animations. One that jumps immediately to mind is FLASM. > A Flash assembler that breaks the file down into it's root > components. > > There are other tools out there. ----------
Excellent. I'm keeping all this new information, to add to my original essay. Will give credit to all...only anonymously, unless you specifically request otherwise. But keep in mind I'm trying to inspire non-hackers to become giving them tools they can easily wrap their brains around. FLASM is not for the newbie, nor barely the intermediate. So I've just begun my "Quacktivism 101" pieces, via Usenet articles...then permanently housed on my website. I am strongly dedicated to the belief that hacking is the most important tool for today's activism. So the more followers that can hack, the more empowered becomes our mission (in my case, sexual-minority rights). So I'm attempting to teach non-hackers how to as enjoyable a fashion as possible. A basic understanding of hacking will go a LONG WAY towards winning our civil rights. Now, not everyone has the TIME and DEDICATION to become a Brainiac over this...but there is MUCH NEED for as many low-level hackers that can be recruited! Think of low-level hackers as "grunts" or "garbage collectors": without them, the war could never get won, and peacetime would be a very stinky proposition (respectively, mind you). Why animation copying per se? 'Cause sometimes an image may convey information that is concealed from all but a few, powerful entities. Information which many of us believe should be FREELY ACCESSIBLE to the order to run one's life with intelligence, responsibility, and compassion. For example: there's an advanced course in the human body, for medcial doctors. Many illustrations--including animated ones--help teach each chapter. Without the graphics, the (online) book would be worthless. But what if such knowledge could prove lifesaving in many ways, if made public? Not to mention that images (including animations) can contain embedded code, revealing enemy strategies, or direct commands from one you trust. So, a LOT of folks can be taught such basic hacking strategies like animation capturing...while ONLY A FEW could be taught the more sophisticated challenges of becoming an ace hacker. This farming out of hacking's "busy work" will free up the minds of our more talented, to focus their skills where they can be MOST EFFECTIVE. Plus, it's a group effort with great emotional rewards such as "comradeship", "belonging", "appreciation", "sharing", and "protection". Many folks who WANT to do something now, but can't hack...CAN do something, RIGHT NOW, as an apprentice hacker. And be part of this most noble Allied Resistance v.2.0.0. As more tips come in, I'll continue to expand my original essay, which you can always read in its most updated form at: -- Tops are from Venus, Bottoms are from Mars.

Remember: A hacking (or online)
activist is a "hacktivist", and a
queer hacktivist is a "quacktivist".

Update (February 1, 2009): See Wikipedia article, "Steganography,"
regarding the transmission of secret messages within images and
other media. Then, check out this site on "Antisteganography".