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News Archive - December 2007

Ogg in HTML5; BBC iPlayer; Google Knol

Thursday 27th December 2007

Category: News

First up is the somewhat controversial removal of Ogg Vorbis and Theora from the HTML5 spec, with many blaming Nokia and Apple. Plenty of others have also argued against the reasoning behind this.

Naturally, although Ogg's inclusion in the spec would be a boost to the format, far more significant is the potential of being able to visit a website and have audio and video just work. Without including some sort of specific codec, the situation will be exactly the same as today - even with specific tags for audio and video, you'll still have to use whatever codec the web developer has decided is best. Yes, even if they are included in the spec, other codecs could still be used - but with some browsers already supporting Ogg Vorbis/Theora, it becomes much simpler to stick to those formats to make your website play nice with the browser. Just think of images - there are loads of image formats you could use, but people stick to JPEG, GIF and PNG because its what browsers support.

Next is the news that the BBC iPlayer is now in Flash form, allowing it to be used on many more Windows versions, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and anything else that supports Flash. Naturally, a 'freer' solution would be nice, but this is a definite improvement on "Got Windows XP? No? Tough."

Google is planning what appears to be a competitor to Wikipedia, namely Google Knol. Unlike Wikipedia, single authors will pen entire articles, with users able to rate and comment on the article. Of course, this comes at a time when Wikipedia's image of democracy is under attack. Frankly, as useful as a source for everything is, the idea is fundamentally flawed - a single resource will ultimately have a few select people that are responsible and, in some fashion, in control.

Going back to the poor old W3C, some that are dissatified with the way the CSS Working Group is, or rather isn't, working have proposed changes, which has prompted a response to the suggestions made and the wider issue.

There's also a look at Java one year after it has was GPLed, the release of Movable Type 4.0, the first version to be open source, and a post stating Programming languages are not like hand tools, contrary to the frequent statement "Choose the language according to the task".

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GNOME's Interface; DRM by Western Digital; Eee PC

Monday 10th December 2007

Category: News

Firstly, an GNOME's interface warts and it's future, which restates the ever-present problem of how to fix important but boring bugs.

Next is Western Digital's software to allow you to share files from their external hard drive. Unfortunately, WD Anywhere Access now has DRM included, meaning it will prevent sharing of files with certain extensions, such as MP3 or AVI.

Finally, the author of Distrowatch writes a little about the Eee PC. The Eee PC is so interesting because it's being sold widely and runs Linux by default. Admittedly, I'd prefer a distribution besides Xandros, but work is progressing in getting everything running smoothly on other distribution.

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IBM PC; GNOME Online Desktop; Perfect Code; Adam Curtis

Sunday 2nd December 2007

Category: News

First up is the Register going all the way back to 1981 to visit the IBM PC, complete with a 4.77MHz processor. Speedy.

Next up is a tour of the GNOME Online Desktop, which presents a different way of using GNOME. Some of the features seem handy, especially those related to package management - anything that helps users pick packages from the multitude out there is heading in the right direction - although I'm not sure that I'd enjoy using the sidebar. Of course, the sidebar is not obligatory, and there are plenty more parts to the Online Desktop that will hopefully work well.

There's also the question of whether perfect code exists, and the Register interviewing Adam Curtis.

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