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Why Overlays are Cool

I recently discovered a very cool feature in winamp, that exploits overlays in the Win API. Winamp allows you to overlay a visualization to any color in your system. If you set the overlay color to the color of your desktop, you get the winamp visualization on your desktop! Try it out, its super cool, gives you a nice soothing animated desktop that jumps to your music.


We always thought overlays were cool - they can prevent tearing too, with correct buffering.

You know, it's always helpful if, when using "we" (unless you meant the Royal We, which I doubt), that you be specific.

For those less DNS-inclined, resolves to tide79.microsoft.com....

Realizing, of course, that even if people were DNS inclined, mere mortals here can't see the poster's IP.

Anyway, I was just kind of teasing, because, yes, this feature is cool, but somebody over here (hah! This time my IP isn't at MS) decided that it would be, and therefore exposed it (and, yes, it's very likely exposed in the API's of other OS's, but the poster was talking about winamp).
On the other hand, color key stuff can lead to cool (and odd) effects. You can, for example, watch movies "through" your word-processor, if you key black to your DVD movie. :)

Folly of me, perhaps. I haven't read enough of the code of this environment to know how often silly super-user features occur.

Yeah, it can be fun. I once played with one of those over-the-top screen savers which used the color key to determine where to draw. By default, it set the background color to that, so that your desktop always seemed to be moving. It gets more interesting when you set, say, 90% of the background colors of the UI to be that color. Also gives you a headache, though.

I did exactly this. It started out with me using overlay in winamp but I eventually had it set up to where I could overlay a TV tuner(actually svideo in from Directv receiver), DVD player, and a camera (watching my driveway)...but it was unstable if I used the TV and camera (2 WDM's) at the same time...but could work(win2K). Anyway (most)all my windows are transparent so I can watch my house,DVD or directv(remote control!) through my apps. SPDIF audio, tube amp, dual processors...got tha bomb. Some programs still have problems with color schemes so I wish more users would try this setup so the bugs could be worked out. I'm going for multiple displays next. Please though everyone boycott Msoft's Media Center Edition unless you're for extreme anti-copyright protection measures...that may very well infringe upon your rights. Linux to the rescue please!