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11 SEPTEMBER 2009

How Firefox Is Pushing Open Video Onto the Web

"HTML 5, the emerging standard, is that content creators will be able to embed video and audio files on web pages with the same simplicity and ease as images and links.

The tools being used to power this behavior are the Ogg Theora and Vorbis codecs maintained by the non–profit Xiph.org. Currently, most video and audio on the web is presented using either Adobe's Flash Player, Microsoft's Silverlight or Apple's QuickTime. These are proprietary technologies, which means they come with various restrictions – licenses, patents and fees – attached.

Ogg, being open–source and patent–free, has no fees and very few use restrictions. Ogg has been around for a while. It was beaten out by MP3 in the Napster days as the audio format of choice, and has remained obscure ever since. It's also gotten a bad reputation because of poor quality and large file sizes compared to competing tools like h.264, which is used by both Quicktime and Flash, and will be used in the next release of Silverlight.

However, in the past year, the quality issues dogging Ogg have been largely solved thanks to the increased interest and involvement of developers who want to see support for open video on the web become a reality.

At a recent developer conference, Google showed off how it was building Ogg support directly into its Chrome browser to handle video playback without using any plug–ins. Mozilla's Jay Sullivan was then invited on stage, where he announced the next version of Firefox would also include built–in Ogg support, all part of a grand plan among browser makers to, in Sullivan's words, free video from 'plug–in prison.'"
(Michael Calore. Webmonkey, 18 June 2009)

TAGS

Adobe SystemsAppleChromeCODECconvergenceFirefox • Flash Player • Google IncH.264HTMLHTML5innovationinterdisciplinary • Jay Sullivan • MicrosoftMozillamp3Oggopen codecsopen sourceopen video • patent-free • QuickTimeSilverlightsolutiontechnologyTheoraVorbis

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 AUGUST 2009

Microsoft's Expression Web SuperPreview

"We built SuperPreview to simplify the process of testing and debugging layout issues across different web browsers and platforms. You can view your pages in multiple browsers simultaneously or view how a page renders in a browser and compare it to a comp or mock–up image of a page.
...
SuperPreview will be included as part of a future version of Expression Web. The final feature set and its availability have not been announced. The SuperPreview demo shown at the MIX09 conference was a technology preview and not a product announcement. However, because we'd like to get feedback on this technology and on its implementation, we have announced a beta version of SuperPreview for Internet Explorer. This free download will allow you to compare renderings of IE6 with whatever other version of IE you have installed on your machine. If you have installed IE8, you'll be able to compare IE6, IE8 and IE8 running in IE7 compatibility mode, side–by–side. The final 'shipping' version of SuperPreview for Internet Explorer will continue to be available for free. The Expression Web team hopes that it will be useful in helping to make the process of developing web pages for IE (and in general), faster and easier."
(Microsoft, 2009)

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TAGS

2009browser • browser compatibility • ChromecomparisoncomplianceCSSdesigndesign for the screen • discrepancy • DOM • Expression Web • FirefoxGoogle ChromeHTML • IE • IE6 • IE7 • IE8 • information in contextInternet Explorerlayoutmark-upMicrosoft • MIX09 • operaOpera browserpresentationproduct designrenderingSafari • Safari browser • solution • SuperPreview • technologytestingtoolusabilityvisual depictionvisualisationW3Cweb designweb standardsXHTML

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 JUNE 2009

Web-browsing Public Stares Blankly While Questioned by Google

"As part of the marketing drive to push downloads of its Chrome browser, Google has been creating a series of promotional videos and releasing them on their YouTube channel. One recent video, however, offers a fascinating–though perhaps not methodologically ironclad–piece of 21st century web anthropology, questioning people in Times Square as to their preference in browsers. While it's a safe assumption that the PSFK–reading demographic not only knows what a browser is but most likely has sound reasons for their choice, fewer than 8% of those questioned by Google's man on the street even knew what a browser is. Interestingly, many of those interviewed considered 'browser' and 'search engine' synonymous–no doubt ironically having something to do with Google Search's own massive ubiquity."
(Sam Biddle, PSFK, 19 June 2009)

[This sure puts things in perspective. It's all well and good arguing the differences between various social software tools and technologies but if as shown here most people have little awareness (or most likely interest) in such things then how significant are these technologies really (especially when they are put in context with more pressing concerns)?]

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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