Media Theory for the 21st Century

February 8, 2008

Close-reading YHCHI

Filed under: Discussion — Dr. Dave @ 6:52 am

I know this is a little late, but if you want to read the text of a Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (or any other Flash piece) carefully, a tool I use a lot is SWFStrings, in the SWFTools utilities. This is a command-line utility (meaning you have to go into DOS on Windows and Unix on a Mac) that extracts the text from the SWF files.

Here’s how to use it in Firefox. Enter “about: cache” in your browser’s address bar, then click on the “Disk cache” link. Search the page for part of the link where you found the address, or for “.swf.” When you find it, right-click on the link to the .swf file, and choose “Save As/Download to/etc.” Download it to a convenient location, preferrably near where SWFTools is.

Now for the less user-friendly part. Open a Command Prompt in Windows or a Terminal window in MacOSX. Navigate to the directory where SWFstrings is. Then enter “swfstrings filename.swf > filename.txt”. The > saves the text in a file rather than outputting it to the screen. Then you can read it from the text file normally.
Caveats:

1) Text is organized by font style rather than order of appearance. This isn’t usually a problem with YHCHI, but they do use the occasional italics.

2) The text may be incomplete. Because YHCHI uses 0’s instead of O’s, I think SWFStrings parses these as hexadecimal (0F = 16) and excludes them.

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