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Christian Steiger

some selected webbuzz

Monat

April 2010

Sony to announce Android based TV

The news is hot. According to Bloomberg Sony will announce an Android based television in May.

I assume that this action will open up another front for Android Application Development.

The Android platform looks pretty bright from development point of view. Within a short time the one phone (G1) OS has grown into a significant player in the operating system market.
Statistics clearly show that Android is heavily gaining market share in the smartphone market. That is already a stable trend beyond discussion.

In the last couple of months we keep hearing more and more news on android based tablets by big players for example the planned 7 and 10 inch devices by Dell.

(Credit: Engadget)

Netbooks are coming by Acer, Dell and HP (although I am not sure HP will continue to pursue Android after the Palm aquisition) and now we have an announcement on a television.

We are an Android Software Development company, so we are happy to see the platform developing in such pace and diversity. This will open up a whole new era of software development on Android. We are also sure that the future will be even brighter and we will see surprising and furhter mass consumer devices running Android.

Posted via web from webbuzz by urban-listening

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First Android „Dragonpoint“ TV Coming From Sony Next Month – Google TV – Gizmodo

HTML5 Video – MS sees the future in HTML5?

There’s been a lot of posting about video and video formats on the web recently. This is a good opportunity to talk about Microsoft’s point of view.

The future of the web is HTML5. Microsoft is deeply engaged in the HTML5 process with the W3C. HTML5 will be very important in advancing rich, interactive web applications and site design. The HTML5 specification describes video support without specifying a particular video format. We think H.264 is an excellent format. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video only.

H.264 is an industry standard, with broad and strong hardware support. Because of this standardization, you can easily take what you record on a typical consumer video camera, put it on the web, and have it play in a web browser on any operating system or device with H.264 support (e.g. a PC with Windows 7). Recently, we publicly showed IE9 playing H.264-encoded video from YouTube.  You can read about the benefits of hardware acceleration here, or see an example of the benefits at the 26:35 mark here. For all these reasons, we’re focusing our HTML5 video support on H.264.

Other codecs often come up in these discussions. The distinction between the availability of source code and the ownership of the intellectual property in that available source code is critical. Today, intellectual property rights for H.264 are broadly available through a well-defined program managed by MPEG LA.   The rights to other codecs are often less clear, as has been described in the press.  Of course, developers can rely on the H.264 codec and hardware acceleration support of the underlying operating system, like Windows 7, without paying any additional royalty.

Today, video on the web is predominantly Flash-based. While video may be available in other formats, the ease of accessing video using just a browser on a particular website without using Flash is a challenge for typical consumers. Flash does have some issues, particularly around reliability, security, and performance. We work closely with engineers at Adobe, sharing information about the issues we know of in ongoing technical discussions. Despite these issues, Flash remains an important part of delivering a good consumer experience on today’s web.

Dean Hachamovitch
General Manager, Internet Explorer

Posted via web from webbuzz by urban-listening

Cloud Vendor Benchmark 2010

Amazon AWS, Google AppEngine, Microsoft Azure oder T-Systems Dynamic Services – welches ist die richtige Cloud-Plattform für mein Unternehmen? Diese Frage stellen sich viele IT-Entscheider und Anwendungsentwickler. Aufgrund der derzeitigen Marktdynamik und einer Vielzahl von Produktankündigungen fällt es zunehmend schwer den Überblick zu behalten. Es kursieren unzählige Definitionen zum Thema Cloud im Markt, was zu einer Unschärfe in der Abgrenzung der Angebote führt.

Vor diesem Hintergrund hat die Experton Group eine vergleichende Studie zu den Cloud-Angeboten in Deutschland erstellt. Diese bewertet die wichtigsten Hersteller gemäß ihrer Cloud-Angebote aus der Perspektive deutscher IT-Manager und Anwendungsentwickler. So wurden die Angebote unter anderem nach der strategischen Ausrichtung der Hersteller (Roadmap), Tiefe und Breite des Portfolios, Technologie und RZ-Infrastruktur, Service-Qualität sowie Preisgestaltung und Nutzungsbedingungen untersucht.

Posted via web from webbuzz by urban-listening

Thoughts on Flash by s. Jobs

Apple has a long relationship with Adobe. In fact, we met Adobe’s founders when they were in their proverbial garage. Apple was their first big customer, adopting their Postscript language for our new Laserwriter printer. Apple invested in Adobe and owned around 20% of the company for many years. The two companies worked closely together to pioneer desktop publishing and there were many good times. Since that golden era, the companies have grown apart. Apple went through its near death experience, and Adobe was drawn to the corporate market with their Acrobat products. Today the two companies still work together to serve their joint creative customers – Mac users buy around half of Adobe’s Creative Suite products – but beyond that there are few joint interests.

I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true. Let me explain.

First, there’s “Open”.

Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.

Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards. Apple’s mobile devices all ship with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards. HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.

Apple even creates open standards for the web. For example, Apple began with a small open source project and created WebKit, a complete open-source HTML5 rendering engine that is the heart of the Safari web browser used in all our products. WebKit has been widely adopted. Google uses it for Android’s browser, Palm uses it, Nokia uses it, and RIM (Blackberry) has announced they will use it too. Almost every smartphone web browser other than Microsoft’s uses WebKit. By making its WebKit technology open, Apple has set the standard for mobile web browsers.

Second, there’s the “full web”.

Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access “the full web” because 75% of video on the web is in Flash. What they don’t say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads. YouTube, with an estimated 40% of the web’s video, shines in an app bundled on all Apple mobile devices, with the iPad offering perhaps the best YouTube discovery and viewing experience ever. Add to this video from Vimeo, Netflix, Facebook, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, NPR, Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, People, National Geographic, and many, many others. iPhone, iPod and iPad users aren’t missing much video.

Another Adobe claim is that Apple devices cannot play Flash games. This is true. Fortunately, there are over 50,000 games and entertainment titles on the App Store, and many of them are free. There are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world.

Third, there’s reliability, security and performance.

Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009. We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.

In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?

Fourth, there’s battery life.

To achieve long battery life when playing video, mobile devices must decode the video in hardware; decoding it in software uses too much power. Many of the chips used in modern mobile devices contain a decoder called H.264 – an industry standard that is used in every Blu-ray DVD player and has been adopted by Apple, Google (YouTube), Vimeo, Netflix and many other companies.

Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software. The difference is striking: on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.

When websites re-encode their videos using H.264, they can offer them without using Flash at all. They play perfectly in browsers like Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome without any plugins whatsoever, and look great on iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Fifth, there’s Touch.

Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers. For example, many Flash websites rely on “rollovers”, which pop up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot. Apple’s revolutionary multi-touch interface doesn’t use a mouse, and there is no concept of a rollover. Most Flash websites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices. If developers need to rewrite their Flash websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?

Even if iPhones, iPods and iPads ran Flash, it would not solve the problem that most Flash websites need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices.

Sixth, the most important reason.

Besides the fact that Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices, there is an even more important reason we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. We have discussed the downsides of using Flash to play video and interactive content from websites, but Adobe also wants developers to adopt Flash to create apps that run on our mobile devices.

We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.

This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms. Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features. Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms.

Flash is a cross platform development tool. It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps. And Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms. For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.

Our motivation is simple – we want to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins – we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the best and broadest selection of apps on any platform.

Conclusions.

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.

New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

Steve Jobs
April, 2010

Posted via web from webbuzz by urban-listening

Pencil Project

  1. Standalone builds of Pencil 1.1 Release Candidates are available in the download page – for GNU/Linux and Windows.

  2. The previous stable version of Pencil can be found in the Firefox Add-ons.

View more screenshots…

The Pencil Project’s unique mission is to build a free and opensource tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping that everyone can use.

Top features:

  • Built-in stencils for diagraming and prototyping
  • Multi-page document with background page
  • Inter-page linkings!
  • On-screen text editing with rich-text supports
  • Exporting to HTML, PNG, Openoffice.org document, Word document and PDF.
  • Undo/redo supports
  • Installing user-defined stencils and templates
  • Standard drawing operations: aligning, z-ordering, scaling, rotating…
  • Cross-platforms
  • Adding external objects
  • Personal Collection
  • Clipart Browser
  • And much more…

Pencil will always be free as it is released under the GPL version 2 and is available for virtually all platforms that Firefox 3 can run. The first version of Pencil is tested against GNU/Linux 2.6 with GTK+, Windows XP and Windows Vista.


Posted via web from webbuzz by urban-listening

A wireframe kit for Google Drawings and 5 reasons it beats Omnigraffle and Visio – Morten Just

I’ve been playing around with the newest addition to Google Docs, Google Drawings, and I’m quite liking it. I tried drawing a few diagrams and even a wireframe, and it turns out the basic drawing interactions are just as good – in some cases even better – than what I’m used to in Omnigraffle and Fireworks.

5 reasons Google Drawings beats Viso and Omnigraffle

We know the cloud computing arguments, and they certainly apply to wireframes

  1. It’s live. The entire team can work on the same document and see each other’s work instantly
  2. The wireframes live in the cloud, no sending files around, no outdated documents
  3. The risk of losing data is zero. It saves for every edit you make
  4. It’s free
  5. Most people already have a Google account, so no sign up required

We need stencils

One thing was missing though: Stencils. Omnigraffle has stencils coming out of its ears, and Fireworks has some excellent built-in ones. But Google Drawings in its current early and simple form simply doesn’t have it. So I made one.

Leaving the stencils in the gutter

An interesting limitation is the fact that

  • there’s no stencil library function and
  • you can’t easily copy and paste from one document to another.

One solution, it seems, is to clone one of the wireframe kits and thereby also cloning the stencils into each document. To not print or export the stencils, I’ve left them in the gutter area of the document. Seems to work quite okay.

Kind of blue

I’ve been wanting a blue kit since I left a project years ago where we used blue stencils (the idea was Peter’s). As you may have experienced, some customers simply don’t understand wireframes. The blue color gives that well-known blueprint feel, and shouldn’t prompt questions like “I like it, doesn’t it need a splash of colour?”

The templates

To make it even easier for you (ehm, me) I’ve begun making simple starting point templates.

Main blank template

Product detail page

Landing page

Item list view

They’re all in this shared folder on Google Docs, and it will be updated when there are new templates. If you make one, let me know and I’ll add it to the folder so everyone can use it.

Posted via web from webbuzz by urban-listening

The State of Web Development 2010

Welcome to this detailed report from our sec­ond “State of Web Development” sur­vey of pro­fes­sional web design­ers and devel­op­ers. It includes details and analy­sis of all the responses to over 50 ques­tions cov­er­ing tech­nolo­gies, tech­niques, philoso­phies and prac­tices that today’s web pro­fes­sion­als employ.

You can down­load the com­plete (anonymized) set of responses in CSV for­mat, our PDF info­graphic overview see just the results to all the ques­tions or read on to dive into our detailed analysis.

The State of Web Development” sur­vey is brought to you by Web Directions con­fer­ences, and Scroll Magazine, and con­ducted by John Allsopp

State of Web Design overview

Posted via web from webbuzz by urban-listening

Facebook is transcoding video for iPad

Another heavy user of Adobe’s video streaming software Flash is now pandering to the all-powerful iPad.

Everybody’s favourite waste of time, social notworking monster Facebook, is now streaming user videos to Apple’s second coming of the portable computer with no sign of Flash in sight.

An excited blogger at Mac Stories noticed that the videos were suddenly viewable and suggested that Facebook was now using HTML5, which is the favoured methodology of Apple supremo and arch Adobe-baiter Steve Jobs.

It turns out, however, that Facebook is not using HTML5 at all. The company told ReadWriteWeb that, „All new videos are encoded in h264 format, so we’re playing videos natively in the iPad since it supports h264-encoded videos. It will load them full-screen, similar to what it does for YouTube videos.“

So rather than using HTML5, Facebook is actually detecting that the iPad’s Safari browser is in the mix, and is transcoding the original video format to MP4 on the fly.

Apparently, Facebook quietly rolled out the new system a week ago and at present only new and recently uploaded clips are viewable on the iPad.

Google is widely predicted to be in the process of making its VP8 video codec open source, which will no doubt add to Adobe’s woes.

Posted via web from webbuzz by urban-listening

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