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.

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The state of Flash vs. HTML5

The debate about Flash vs. HTML5 began over two years ago. It all started with a public letter by Steve Jobs on April 2010: http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

Where are we today?

Flash is still the default technology for most content designed for PC-based consumption… Facebook and other browser games are Flash and web video is still Flash in most cases as well. Although YouTube supports HTML5 i.e. most sites still don’t offer it by default due to the mess around the video tag and codecs. On YouTube HTML5 is in testing stage an default off. The video encoding systems would need to encode each video at least twice to support most common browsers. Google announced o drop support for H.264 in Chrome but never did it. Mozilla announced support for native codecs installed on your machine including H.264 but didn’t implement this so far. All together H.264 is a bad idea as it’s not an open standard (more: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/h-264-patents-how-much-do-they-really-cost/2122) but it would be a common standard at least between popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. HTML5 lacks vital technologies like adaptive streaming (live content), content protection (for premium content) and playback locking (for advertising) . Some serious work needs to be done to get this right  (more recent info: http://www.longtailvideo.com/html5).

Mobile:

On mobile Flash is dead and users suffer wherever there is still Flash. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean doesn’t allow an easy installation via the Google Play Store anymore (more: http://www.howtogeek.com/120277/how-to-install-flash-on-the-nexus-7-and-other-jelly-bean-devices/ & http://www.zdnet.com/androids-flash-player-is-dead-live-with-it-7000002668/). On iOS it never really existed except some hacks with running Flash enabled custom browsers but those never allowed to play Flash games i.e.

PC/Mac:

Some PC versions are dead or dying. It seems Adobe can’t keep up with the quality assurance anymore. The native Linux version that installs into Firefox has been abandoned in favor of supporting only the Chrome Pepper API plug-in on Linux (more: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTA2MDc). The native Windows version for Firefox suffers to from bugs like the protected mode problem that can be fixed manually by editing the config file of Flash (more: http://www.trishtech.com/internet/disable_adobe_flash_protected_mode_in_firefox.php) and even the Pepper API Chrome plug-in on Linux introduces nasty regression bugs breaking hardware video decoding and similar. The Mac version has regressive bugs like missing hardware decoding from time to time too. All together the variety of Flash versions is so vast that it’s really hard to keep track of them: http://blogs.computerworld.com/desktop-apps/20845/explaining-confusion-over-flash-versions

Apps:

In Apps Flash is behind the door usually except in Google Chrome Web Apps that can be simple links to Flash based websites. AIR is dead meanwhile as well. The AIR App Marketplaces always sucked (I had it on my WeTab) so it was no big loss. Windows 8 Apps can be either HTML5 or native. In Windows 8 Internet Explorer 10 comes with Flash but only white listed website can run it in the Modern UI mode. Only the Desktop mode allows to show every website in Internet Explorer 10. (more: http://www.infoworld.com/t/microsoft-windows/flash-windows-8-thats-just-part-of-the-story-194315 & http://blog.rabidgremlin.com/2012/10/11/did-microsoft-just-kill-flash-ie10-wont-run-flash-unless-your-site-is-on-a-microsoft-whitelist/?replytocom=2560).

The future of Adobe & HTML5:

Adobe recently announced their HTML5 tools called Edge that are more or less what I predicted more than a year ago (more: http://html.adobe.com/edge/) . To be frankly they are very late with that. I started using a web based HTML5 editor called Maquetta (more: http://maqetta.org/) that came out of IBM as an open source project long before Edge came out (more: http://maqetta.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=28:ibm-contributes-maqetta-to-open-source-community&catid=2:news&Itemid=9).

Conclusion:

In general I think content providers for video, browser game developers and the online advertising industry should get their asses up all together and invest massively in HTML5. Operating system makes should focus on making HTML5 as fast and snappy as possible to prevent App developers to go native on their Apps like Facebook recently (more: http://hughewilliams.com/2012/09/27/why-facebook-shouldnt-have-dumped-html5/). The W3C and individual company lobbyists looking after the HTML5 standard should stop fighting about dumb codecs i.e. and finally agree on the best option. JavaScript and CSS should get some overhaul too. If I see how difficult it became to do easy things these days or how inconsistent and immature JavaScript still is I wonder how HMTL5 App developers manage to write complex web applications like browser games using that technology (not to mention browser compatibility issues). There is a long way to get rid of Flash ahead of us but in the end it’s worth it. Things are changing and Steve Jobs was absolutely right.

Epic win over telecoms by the European Union

Another epic win by the European Union after the one billion Euro fine on Intel (https://warczyk.wordpress.com/2009/05/16/go-home-intel/) and bashing the telecoms giants for far too high roaming prices and introducing a standard for mobile charging devices! Here is the next:

http://www.euronews.net/2009/11/24/eu-telecoms-reforms-enter-force-in-december/

“Broad new telecommunications rules for the European Union have finally been fully approved, carrying various customer benefits. When a customer chooses to change service providers, the company will be required to transfer the same mobile phone number to the company that has landed the customer, within one working day. And the automatic downloading of personalised information to a user’s computer when he visits a Web site will need the customer’s consent.

Viviane Reding, the EU’s information society Commissioner talked about further assurances as well: “When data are lost — personal data — the person should be informed immediately. Internet access could not be cut off without first going through a judge, and so on. So, we see that consumers’ rights are central to this new legislation.””

Just recently Microsoft messed up their T-Mobile service and lost the data of users so this topic is hot (more info: http://www.finanznachrichten.de/nachrichten-2009-10/15177910-t-mobile-sidekick-us-users-face-personal-data-loss-020.htm)

I general I think it’s a great idea to stop the telecoms from doing what they want… they behaved too long like an international mafia! I’ve been a victim of the roaming prices BTW… Vodafone tried to tell me that I need to pay 2800 Euro for using my German 3G/GPRS service in Poland for one week. I took a lawyer and we finally settled without going to court but still I paid a lot for the lawyer and the settlement.

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