Over the past 3 years Apple Inc. has taken the heat on pushing the adoption of the W3C standard, HTML5, for all web based development. They have even been taken to court for not allowing competitor's technology (Flash) on their platform (iOS). Recently to avoid any more blame for flaws in these 3rd party technologies, they have stopped pre-installing them on all hardware products they ship.

Now the companies behind these other technologies are showing signs of support for Apple's directions. Are Microsoft shifts away from Silverlight and Adobe announcing the HTML5 Video Player widget indications that Apple rivals in the HTML5 war are finally given up?

This recent Microsoft decision is in line with their statement 4 years ago stating that, what they had done with Internet Explorer for the past 6 version were wrong and IE8 is the start of HTML5 compliancy.

Recently Microsoft released beta version of IE9 at PDC, which will be even more compliant with HTML5 than any previous versions of Internet Explorer.

The mess that are current web sites is really the fault of Microsoft. For creating browsers (IE) that are too tolerant of HTML coding mistakes and non-conformation to the HTML standards. Microsoft also provided web developers with technologies (ASP, etc.) and tools (.NET) that are not W3C standards. Along with the prevalent of Microsoft technologies in the 3rd world countries, these created a low cost labour force that further propagates non-standards web sites and applications. Fortunately with Apple's and other members of W3C efforts web site and applications owners are finally demanding HTML5 compliance.

Microsoft's statement about HTML5 is not to say they are abandoning Silverlight, Silverlight is still the development environment for their Windows 7 Phone platform. What they are saying is that HTML5 is Microsoft's future directions for true cross platform compatibility. This is a significant message to all web site and application owners. In the past these owners are only focused on the platform [Windows] they felt majority of the computing users are using. Now they are told that if they want to future prove their products and services they should focus on HTML5.

As for Adobe, they are not giving up on Flash either. They released the HTML5 Video Player widget because their users [developers] are demanding ways to be compatible with the iOS platform; it being the largest consumer of HTML5 content at the moment. I'm sure they are also aware of the efforts YouTube, Vimeo and others are doing to make their respective sites compliant with HTML5. One of the largest video sharing site, YouKu, serving the largest population in the world made their site compatible with on the iOS platform in July this year.

In the same month, we saw one of the largest online business migrating to HTML5; the porn industry. The adult film studio Digital Playground announces it will convert its mobile sites to HTML5. History teaches us that when the porn industry puts its supports behind a technology all competitive technologies will eventually disappear. Case in point is the VHS and Beta video cassette tape format war.

If you know me I am a strong proponent of standards compliance, I first express my opinions publicly with my article Compatibility. So I am very happy to see HTML5 is showing signs of wining the war. This will results in better build web sites and applications in the long run. Content will finally be separated from the technologies they are served in. How? I will leave this as a topic for another article.

Recently during a developer conference in Sydney Australia, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the idea of using WebKit as the rendering engine within its web browser was "interesting" and added "we may look at that." I hope this is true, but one must always take anything Ballmer says with a grain of salt. He often speaks without thinking and without any background knowledge of what Microsoft is actually doing with regards to the subject in question.

Of course, if this is really true, it will not be the first time Microsoft admit defeat with regards to their bloated browser, Internet Explorer. When Microsoft released 7.0 version and announced 8.0 version of it Internet Explorer, they admitted that their approach in the past had been wrong and they promise to do a better job to comply with Standards; established by W3C. With IE 8.0 that compliancy is starting to take shape, but it is still far from the compliant status of its competitors: Apple Safari, Mozilla's Firefox, Opera's Opera, etc. Therefore, the adoption of WebKit as its engine for future version of IE will accelerate its compliance to Standards and gaining the capabilities of the current fastest Javascript engine in the Internet world.

Most of all it will cause all those lazy web developers who only code their web site to work on IE's quirky mode to finally wake up and start to follow the W3C standards.

I call upon all web developers to not wait for Microsoft and start coding to the W3C standards and then make exceptions for IE, and not the other way around. This is because even if Microsoft does not adopt WedKit its IE 8.0 will be more compliant to W3C and will be must less lenient to web sites that are not compliant, causing these web sites to just FAIL.

read more | digg story

Apparently Apple and Microsoft have took on the tactics that Coca Cola vs. Pepsi, and McDonald's vs. Burger King used back in the 80's. To be fair the first shot over the bow with their "Get a Mac" TVCs. Microsoft this year decided to spend USD300 millions on an advertising campaign to savage the poor image of Windows, brought on by the negative press towards its latest version of Windows named "Vista".

[ThoughtsOn]MimCZikP8cY[/ThoughtsOn]

On October 14th (US Pacific time) last week Apple had a press event at its Cupertino headquarters to announce the new line of MacBooks. Microsoft's attempts to steal the attention from the announcement by instructing its outside-PR firm to release a press message titled, "Why You'll Find Better Value in Windows PCs than Macs" in anticipation of Apple releasing a USD800 laptop.

Will these dirty tactics really going to sway the shopping habits and opinions of the average consumers?The one good thing as a result of the Coca Cola vs. Pepsi advertising campaign war were the many ingenious and clever commercials. Given the several TVCs from Microsoft in their campaign, it looks like their efforts is no match to Apple's outside-agency, TBWA Chiat/Day.

May be it is time for Microsoft to stop purchasing advertising agencies, hands-off on its advertising campaigns, and leave the agencies to inspire themselves into creating a campaign that is more appealing.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesopinion

Nintendo LogoUnless you live in one of the undeveloped countries you will no doubt hear of the famous Nintendo trio: "Nintendo Wii", "Nintendo DS" and "Nintendo Game Boy". When the Nintendo Game Boy came out in 1989 it easily became the most successful handheld game console. It appealed to both kids and adult alike. The latter mainly because there was no other alternative until 1990 when Sega released its weak competitive console.

Nintendo then released the Nintendo DS in 2004 to counter the competition from Sony with its PSP (Play Station Portable) game console. Nintendo quickly released a revised and much improved version called, "Nintendo DS Lite" in 2006. It is this latter version that took off is masses throughout Asia, mostly the adult players; both males and females.

In Hong Kong the Nintendo DS Lite phenomenon is quickly surpassed Sony PSP in just six months after its release, with Hong Kong electronic stores receiving large quantities of old Sony PSP as trade-ins for new Nintendo DS Lite consoles.

From my unscientific observation, most of the appeal appear to be females. One can see women playing the NDS Lite while walking on street, taking the MTR (subway), on the bus, in the tram, and in Starbucks. basically everywhere you can think of. At Starbucks one will see group plays (a group of players playing the NDS Lite over WiFi connection).

The Nintendo Wii or as Nintendo officially refers it as simply "Wii", is no exception. With its launch in the North America, UK and Japan late 2006, it had not met the overwhelming demand on the console. Even after 9 months after the official launch it is still very difficult to purchase a Wii console in North America and UK.

The would be players in the rest of the world did not stand idle by their counter parts in North America, UK and Japan. Grey Market units become available in Australia, South Korea, Europe and Hong Kong. In Hong Kong the USA version cause less than the Japanese version by about HKD700.00 and both versions can come modified to allow them to play games from both regions. It is now almost a year after the official launch in North America and Wii are still flying off shelves here in Hong Kong.

In the mean time Sony and Microsoft both suffered massive loses in their respective division for the Sony Play Station and XBox consoles.

Nintendo took a very different approach compared to Sony, Microsoft and Sega, when its console the Nintendo Gamecube and its predecessor Nintendo 64 was arguably unsuccessful. It focused on the gaming experience and more importantly the game play rather than the graphics and realism of the scenes in the games like Sony and Microsoft.

With this approach Nintendo came up with ingenious approaches to game play, demonstrated by their Wii console and the titles that had been released. Similarly they have similarly unique gaming experience with their Nintendo DS Lite titles. Both of these consoles have player interacting with the console in ways that cannot be found on Sony's PSP, Playstation or Microsoft's XBox 360.

The phenomenon is further validated by the number of titles available for the Nintendo DS Lite and Wii compared to the Sony Playstation 3, Sony PSP and Microsoft XBox 360. Also the sustained resell value of both the Wii and Nintendo DS Lite consoles compared to the Sony Playstation 3, Sony PSP and XBox 360. The latter is dropping even much faster now that Microsoft has officially acknowledge defects in almost 50% of the consoles sold worldwide. As a result costing Microsoft 1 billion USD for extended warrantees for the consoles.

Will Nintendo enjoy this success forever. Of course not. Both Sony and Microsoft will not stand idle by watching Nintendo chips away their respective market shares. A sign that Sony is not standing still can been seen in its Little Big Planet project. But we have yet to see any innovations from Microsoft.

Being a long time Mac user (23 years) and Macintosh software developer (10 years), I can vouch for most of Scott's comments and findings. One thing that many people forget when they compare the cost and speed of a computer is the whole package of what you get when you purchase a computer. What do I mean by this? Please allow me to elaborate.

For the cost, there are the long term cost of maintenance required for your computer. Whether this is for personal use or at a corporate environment. There is the cost of upgrading the software you use regularly as a result of one or more other software you use, which requires you to upgrade. Please allow me to elaborate further on this point.

It is often the case, from experience, while using a computer operating in the Microsoft Windows operating system (OS), if one vendor; may that be Microsoft or one of the other third party upgrade their software, it is often the case that these changes will affect other installed software. Causing these software to misbehave, to a point that these other software vendors will come out with their own upgrades to remedy the problem(s). Depending on the extent of the changes, you can imagine this can easily become a never ending circle of upgrades that end users will have to endure. Unfortunately, this scenario is most evident with Microsoft itself.

I am not saying that the above is always the case, but it is the result of a hands-off approach by Microsoft on third party Windows developers. In such a manner that third party developers will develop their software in almost whatever way they like, and without enough disclosure by Microsoft, these third party developers will not know how to develop their software in such a way to survive the longevity of version upgrades of the Windows OS, and compatibilities with other third party software the users may have running on their computers.

On the other hand, Apple Inc. has a very close hands-on approach on how third party developers create their software for the Macintosh OS. Apple has volumes of manuals explaining to developers how third party software should behave and how to implement every conceivable user interface elements in their software. Most importantly, Apple will guarantee these third party software to work across OS versions as long as the third party developers follow Apple's directions on software development.

This molded Macintosh users into very demanding end users on third party software. Over the years I had seen software companies come and go in a very short period (three to six months), just because they do not follow Apple's directions in creating their software.

Now addressing the other point in comparing computers of different OS; the "speed of the computers". People often compares computers by their technical specifications. Yes, this are valid criterions for computers running the same OS, but when you comparing computers running different OSs; like ones that run Windows OS and Macintosh OS, these criterions are just one part of the criterions in your comparison process. Before I dive into what I mean, I like to bring up the old physic formula: Power = Work / Time.

The power of a computer can be measured the same way. The amount of work achieved over a given amount of time. That is the true power of a computing.

As there are so many factors that affect the speed or power of a particular computer for a given individual, it is not fair or valid to simply compare the

  • processor brand/type and speed
  • video card brand and speed
  • amount of memory or RAM
  • size of hard drive

Hopefully after reading this you will see computers differently especially ones that run Windows OS, Mac OS or Linux.

read more | digg story

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice

For the past 23 years the Mac OS had shined against most operating systems, particularly Microsoft Windows OS. Although Apple, particularly Steve Jobs, had always had the believes that the product will speaks for itself. Where as, Microsoft had a powerful market machine and able to successfully sell an obvious inferior product.

So hopefully these new iPhone ads are signs of Apple's marketing attitude changing for the better.

read more | digg story

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesopinion
AppleLogo

Many people complains that Apple Inc. is not clear about their directions and secretive about their product announcements and release dates. An example being the recent events that had transpired with Apple's iPhone. Apple announced and demonstrated the iPhone off at MacWorld San Francisco 2007 show in January. They then inform the public of a June 2007 release date.

Now as the rumored release date of June 11 approaches, numerous companies are trying to make their own announcements to stifle the anticipated excitement surrounding the actual iPhone release.

HTC, the Taiwanese Microsoft® Windows Mobile® smartphone manufacture, is planning a major announcement in London on June 5. Their chic designed invitation copied Apple's iPhone theme by saying, "... a new mobile experience that will change the way we use and control our phones.".

Microsoft® released the Microsoft® Surface a few hours ago. This device is suppose to be a commercial product based on the Multitouch technology that had been in development for the past 25 years. With Fingerworks developing an Opensource software to implement this Multitouch interface initially on Windows 2000 and Mac OS X. Although, Fingerworks is now an entity of Apple and its technology had been incorporated into the iPhone.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysEVYwa-vHM] Multitouch demonstration by Perceptive Pixel, Jefferson Y. Han's company.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LByAFrcOwJk] Jefferson Y. Han's Multitouch Experiment in 2006.

So these actions by the various manufactures to position their announcements just prior to Apple's iPhone launch, further proves Apple's point and justifications to not make their plans 100% clear to the public. While still gives their stockholders and consumers something to look forward to.

read more | digg story

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesopinion

Microsoft is reported to be seeking public opinions on IE8's future web Standards (W3C) compatibility.

I think it is a good thing that Microsoft is finally admitting the fact that all previous versions of IE are not web Standards (W3C) compliant. Note that IE7 is on the road to the right direction, but it is way too slow compared to IE's competitors: Safari, Opera, FireFox, Camino, OmniWeb, etc.

Now Microsoft is using a blog to seek the public's (particularly web site developers') opinion, is definitely seen as a good thing. I too somewhat agree, but the fact that Microsoft wants to avoid breaking these same developers's web site with IE8 is the wrong focus.

Microsoft should be encouraging these developers to fix their web site, so that they are W3C Standards compliant and pass all W3C tests, and to promote the web (W3C) Standards behaviour for all elements of a web page. What Microsoft should NOT be doing is to continue to encourage these same developer to make lazy and sloppy code for their respective web sites.

I for one vote for Microsoft to be "heavy handed" in making IE8 100% W3C Standards compliant. For any features that are not yet W3C Standards compliant, Microsoft should not release them.

Microsoft should follow its own track record of doing the technically correct thing, like in Windows Vista's security, rather than always focusing on backward compatibility. Doing the latter will further worsen the sloppy code that are generated by so many web site developers.
read more | digg story

According the to an analysis by a reporter at Washington Post over 77.8% or 284 days in 2006 Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) users on the Microsoft Windows OS platform was vulnerable to malware and exploits, which were designed to steal personal data off users' computers.

In comparison FireFox browser was only vulnerable for 9 days in 2006 or 2.5% of the time.

Microsoft claims that IE7 is much more secure but when it released in November 2007, exploits and malwares were immediately available.

SANS Institute has a chart that list all currently unpatched Microsoft vulnerabilities.

So, if you want to be secure, move away from using Microsoft products. At least until Microsoft gets their act together.

BTW: this is not news as security vulnerabilities had existed in various Microsoft products for many years. The difference is that most technical people, who are not blindly sold by Microsoft marketing, had realized this for years.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice, News

To all Mac users who are using Microsoft Word that came with Microsoft Office v.X and Microsoft Office 2004.

A "zero-day vulnerability" had been found by the security advisories in all versions of Microsoft Office v.X and Microsoft Office 2004.

Microsoft themselves had also issued a Security Advisory for this vulnerability.

The current solution is not to open or save any MS Word documents from untrusted users.

My personal advise to all my Macintosh friends is not to use MS Word at all. This is because MS Word documents from trusted users may be unknowingly passing you a malformed MS Word document that is designed to take advantage of this vulnerability in MS Word.

There are paid and free alternatives to MS Office. To name a few: "Neo Office", "OpenOffice" and Apple's "Pages" that is part of the iWork suite, are all great alternatives.

The bottom line... I try not to use any Microsoft products whenever I can. As of now, close to 5 years now I had yet to use any Microsoft software on my Mac accept for testing purposes.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice

Another attempt for Microsoft to further break the web sites around the world.

Before you start to call me an Apple bigot and start to bombard my Inbox with hate mail, please take the time and read my full article before posting any comments. That's because as always I totally welcome comments from all my readers.

With the pending release of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 (IE7), Microsoft has published a "warning" on the Microsoft Developer's Network to web site developers.

Prior to deployment of IE 7, we strongly recommend that you test your Web sites, extensions, and applications to make sure they are ready. Microsoft recommends that Web sites and applications are ready for the release of Internet Explorer 7 this month.

Michael Calore of WIRED has a good article that points out how ridiculous Microsoft's request is. In the same article there are also a few comments from WIRED readers that I too agree with. I will add my two cents worth here.

Being the largest software manufacture in the world, for many years Microsoft has enjoyed the benefits of the layman computer users' ignorances of alternatives solutions. This fact of general acceptance through ignorance does not equate to an official Standards.

Instead, Microsoft should use this dominance to come right out and inform the layman end-users that past versions of IE have been flawed and non-compliant to the W3C Standards. With the release of IE7, Microsoft is starting to be W3C complaint and has yet to complete this transition.

Standards are set and outlined by Standards bodies. In the case of the web, W3C is the official accepted body, which Microsoft is part of, that outlines the behaviours of browsers for every element of a web page and beyond.

As Calore and others have said, IE7 is moving towards compliance to the W3C Standards, but this forthcoming release is well behind those of its competitors (Firefox, Safari, Mozilla and Opera) who had Standards compliant browsers for many years.

Microsoft's insistence of web site developers add conditional codes to their respective sites to accommodate IE7 is absolutely unacceptable, especially for web sites developers who are already W3C Standards compliant. If IE7 complies to W3C Standards then these web sites will just work. The fact that these sites do not behave as expected in IE7 is 100% the fault of Microsoft.

I strongly believe that web site developers around the world should stick to the W3C Standards and use the W3C validators to ensure compliance. Especially for the larger and more popular sites: Digg.com, Del.icio.us, Flickr.com, YouTube.com, etc.

The web site developers who need to change their codes are the ones who are not yet W3C compliant. These developers had blindly follow the behaviours and interpretations of Internet Explorer (IE) and coded their sites to work with specific versions of IE for years. This sort of expectations and demand of the end-user is only acceptable in a controlled environment, as in within a corporate computer installation. Even in the latter case, web site developers should work towards the W3C compliance, since today's leader can well come tomorrow's loser.

So I hope that the introduction of IE7 will encourage more web site developers to be W3C compliant. Resulting in web sites and web applications that are truly platform, operating system (OS) and browser brands agnostic, which is my definition of what a true web enabled service should be.