THE FALL OF FLASH

Sometimes my company gives me the opportunity to do some really cool things. That happened recently. I composed a blog post for the BrightRoll corporate blog together with the technical writer and PR team about a topic I’m passionate about, the Flash deprecation. Check it out: https://brightroll.com/blog/fall-flash-what-video-advertisers-need-know

IAB SafeFrame

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Last week I had the opportunity to present a relatively new IAB standard on a local ad industry event in Germany, the Admanagerforum (More: http://www.admanagerforum.de/). It’s a technology I highly anticipated and supported at Yahoo, the company I work for before it was even submitted to the IAB. I certified rich media vendors for it and made sure it rolled out properly across Yahoo sites in Europe and Middle East (EMEA). Some peopele say that too specific standards kill innovation in the online industry but in my opinion it’s the cure to many problems in online advertising. From security, ad fraud, code quality to billing and discrepancies. SafeFrame is an important step ahead in improving ad code quality in rich media ad tags, improving security for publisher sites and it provides the ability for billing based on viewable impressions too (finally accredited by the MRC). Ad fraud is something that’s more difficult in a SafeFrame environment as well. About half of the audience in the summit has been on DFP and Google recently implemented support for this in GPT so the feedback and interest was better than I expected. Approximately one third of the audience indicated interest in learning more about the topic later.

Enjoy this great infographic from the IAB website (http://www.iab.net/safeframe) and listen to my colleague Sean Snider, the software architectect who mainly developed SafeFrame at Yahoo and James Deaker explaining the viewablity aspect. My presentation in German is available here via OneDrive: http://1drv.ms/1CCLwcs

safeframes-infographic

Ubuntu Edge – It’s the future, today.

A mobile device as powerful as a PC connected to a screen, keyboard and mouse for office work and touch input for the usage on the go is a concept I would have rather expected  from Microsoft but those guys seem to be too busy with cleaning up the mess of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 that are not compatible among each other. Instead the idea comes from Canonical, the makers of the great Ubuntu Linux operating system.

To build this device Canonical will need $32M for that kind of hardware. Especially in times of absolute government surveillance it’s more important then ever to support open and trusted infrastructures.

Please join me in supporting the campaign for funding the Ubuntu Edge device (I went for the 20$ perk just to support it): http://igg.me/at/ubuntuedge/x/4043517

If you want to invest more and can afford to spend even 800$ for this device I would like to encourage everyone to do so.

Make it happen! It’s the future, today.

Edit: Too bad the crowdfunding campaign didn’t reach the goal. It seems it’s too early for this kind of technology.

Mozilla Firefox to block 3rd party cookies

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If you are an owner of a blog and you try to monetize it you won’t be happy about an upcoming feature of Firefox that Mozilla will introduce in version 22. Mozilla will block 3rd party cookies that are used by most banner ads. The Do-Not-Track signal will be also turned on by default. The IAB, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has put up a petition against this. I encourage you to sign it!

http://www.iab.net/mozilla_petition/

More thoughts on Flash vs. HTML5

I started a video tutorial training at lynda.com on HTML5 as I’m getting more and more impressed by the new possibilities of HTML5 and CSS3. Yesterday during lunch I ran into a hot discussion about Adobe Flash vs. HTML5 with a colleague who is a former Flash developer, just as I am … I have been a bit more on the designer side but stopped working with Flash about the time MX came out. So we both are not using Flash actively anymore although I have to check FLA files from time to time and got recently into the Flash-Video topic at work as I supported a project related to online advertising and video. Moreover I had a Flash CS4/ActionScript3 training a few months ago at work so I got up to speed regarding the latest features and capabilities of Flash. A good starting point for an intense tech-discussion! 🙂 I also learned about the possibility of creating Flash projects without actually buying Flash by using FlashDevelop. So basically a hardcore developer can’t tell you anymore that he doesn’t get into Flash because for him it’s an ugly piece of 2D animation software and you can’t say that it’s a matter of money what you chose. There are many aspects of the discussion like the speed and reliability of Flash on mobile devices or older machines (Apple picked that up and banned Flash) and if you are more a designer who wants do do animation or really code stuff from the scratch.

In the end I think there is a fight going on to win the hearts and minds of developers (this article comes to the same conclusion: http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/05/the-future-of-web-content-html5-flash-mobile-apps/)… Flash, Silverlight and HTML5 are awesome frameworks for great web content but the question for me is: why should I build HTML5 sites that look and behave different from browser to browser where I can have a cross-platform-plug-in like Flash that renders them the same way everywhere? Is it because Flash is a proprietary technology (I know that Adobe claims the opposite) and HTML5 is an open standard driven by W3C, whatwg.org, Apple, Microsoft, Google and some other companies ? For sure it is but what has Adobe done wrong that would make people switch? Has it been abusing their market position? The answer is NO in my opinion. They never made people register for downloading the Flash player or tried to abuse their dominance too much. Microsoft provides with Silverlight an extremely powerful toolset… but yea, it’s from Microsoft so nobody really trusts them (I recently tried out their new Expression… pahh! Forget Adobe Dreamweaver! This is much more powerful for only-CSS-based-websites).

I’m very curious where the trend goes but there are indications about an end of the “Adobe vs. Apple” war. Apple now allows apps to be compiled in Flash for example: http://www.reghardware.com/2010/09/09/apple_ios_runtime_green_light/

So maybe Flash, HTML5 and Silverlight will peacefully co-exist in future. People who always used open source like PHP will probably support HTML5 and everyone who used to work with Flash like media agencies will keep it and Silverlight? Not sure but there must be someone using it 😉 I keep learning HTML5 and CSS3 just as I enjoyed learning Adobe Flash AS3 … and right now I’m downloading Microsoft Visual Studio Lightswitch Beta 🙂

One thing I forgot about… once HTML5 gets finalized the Flash vs. HTML5 debate will be over. Everyone will learn HTML5 instead of HTML4 or do you know someone who still writes HTML3 and embeds Flash for the advanced stuff? The question won’t be: “will HTML5 replace Flash?” but “now that I know HTML5 why should I use Flash?”. Consequence: Flash must get better (probably much better) to survive once HTML5 becomes a final standard.

Useful info on Flash vs. HTML5:

http://remysharp.com/2010/02/08/html5-vs-flash/

http://www.ludamix.com/archives/2010/02/entry_5.html

demos:

http://websatisfactionpr.com/projects/websatisfactionpr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=131:html5-demo&catid=51:tips&Itemid=18

http://www.mygeekpal.com/276/working-with-html5-the-future-of-web/

How AMD copes with Nvidia “standards”

AMD always had a a difficult time when it came to standards. Just recently they announced they are going to remove 3DNow! from future CPUs. AMD now recommends going for SSE (that Intel introduced BTW)… so here it seems they lost the standard-fight. For sure it’s not easy to establish standards against giants like Intel or Nvidia but AMD found a way to cope with this! … and a smart one too.

As I described in my last post Nvidia is trying to push PhysX & CUDA (their hardware acceleration standard for physics in games) with all their power they still have in the market. They team up with game software companies, support their game development and probably even pay them not to implement support for the technology of “the other guys” (that would be ATI – pardon AMD… now they are one company and are phasing out the ATI brand).

More or less the same happened with the 3D glasses technology… Nvidia pushed the market to support their standard with 3D Vision and some hardware manufacturers even followed them. It’s basically the only 3D shutter glasses set available right now… but here comes the trick: you can use it only with Nvidia graphics cards. Surprise 😉 Probably you could hack them to work with AMD but that’s a different story.

AMD could go ahead and invent their own standards and fight the standard-war trying to establish them… but you need a lot of money for such an approach and you probably are going to lose in the end (like with 3DNow!). AMD came up with a clever strategy here. They try to win with open standards against Nvidia and their proprietary technology. AMD supports OpenCL (physics engine acceleration), OpenGL ES (web browser acceleration) and just recently I learned about Open Stereo 3D (for 3D shutter glasses) . I just hope this works out for AMD!

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/3dnow-simd-extensions-phenom-sse,11128.html

http://www.electronista.com/articles/10/03/15/amd.announces.partners.on.open.stereo.3d.standard/

Clone and be cloned


Usually it’s Apple products and inventions that get copied or if you want “stolen”. The list of examples is endless starting with Microsoft Windows that is an evident rip-off of Mac OS. The most recent example is Google Android that is a rip-off of the Apple iOS and HTC that just can’t stop borrowing ideas from the Apple iPhone.

It always has been like this and probably it won’t change… but wait, hold on for a moment. Isn’t Steve Jobs the master-ripper, the king of the idea-thiefs who stole the UI for Mac OS from Xerox? There is no clear answer IMHO.

Xerox PARC has been a research facility that was intended to inspire people. Apple paid them in stocks and moreover hired some people from there and continued the development of the graphical user interface so it was not exactly stealing the idea (More about this epic “inspiration”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_graphical_user_interface & http://www.mackido.com/Interface/ui_history.html). Steve basically took a very promising concept, put some work in it and then brought it to the market. The iPad is the same FTW! It’s no Apple invention but they took this promising concept (everyone thought it’s dead BTW) improved it and brought this great product to the market.

Right now the other Steve over at Microsoft wonders what went wrong with the slate/tablet PC running XP, Vista or 7. Why is it not selling? (More: http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/07/ballmer-and-microsoft-still-doesnt-get-the-ipad.ars). He probably knows the answer!

Yes, it’s the developers and the software that makes the iPad unique. It’s the tons of great apps that run on iPhone and iPad. All designed to work with the touch technology. In the end the iPad is software just as the Mac is. Ever wondered why Apple is so determined on the Psystar Mac clones? It’s because they exactly know that it’s Mac OS X that makes a Mac. The box you run it on doesn’t really matter. The Amtek iTablet (http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/05/x2-brings-the-amtek-itablet-back-from-the-abyss-forgets-that-no/) on the image below will never be a true competitor for the Apple iPad because it doesn’t have this huge amount of mobile software that Apple has in the App-Store.

In my opinion the worst that could happen right now to Apple is that Google Android tablets kills the iPad. I start seeing them everywhere for less money than the iPad. A good example is the 1&1 Smart Pad in Germany (http://blog.1und1.de/2010/06/30/einfach-smart-das-11-smartpad/). So what was that about “don’t be evil” at Google? They are trying to “get their foot in the door” in many areas. So far they only really succeeded in search. I hope they stop messing around so much in areas where they don’t belong. It’s what Microsoft has been doing for many years and they didn’t become very popular with this approach.

BTW: Wozniak confirms the controversy between Apple and Google 😉 … and Schmidt can’t answer a simple question: “how the fuck is Google making money with Android”. Not sure but Google is in general such a mess that maybe someone forgot about that or Schmidt just doesn’t want to answer!

Image by Jesus Belzunce