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The Internet

Submission + - ISPs should not become "internet cops" (pcpro.co.uk)

MattSparkes writes: The proposed "three strikes" system in the UK is under fire from law professors. The scheme would give illegal filesharers three chances to stop before being kicked offline forever. This would give ISPs far too much power, argue some. "They are providers of internet services, they are not internet cops. It has to be said that removal of access to the internet looks like a criminal sanction," said a professor talking at the London School of Economics. The government has said that unless the record industry and ISPs can stop filesharers quickly then it will step in and legislate.
The Internet

Submission + - The 8 Most Misused Tools on the Web (askreamaor.com)

Rea Maor writes: "Gimp for printing and photo work. It's great that we have the free alternative of Gimp for those of us who just want to draw up some quick graphics without forking $800 over to Adobe. But even the Gimp development team makes it very clear that Gimp is not intended to be a Photoshop replacement. They say nothing in the "What Gimp Is:" section about print and photo work. People should stop expecting this of it.

PDF for web content. Why in heaven's name can I still click a link on a web page and get a PDF document in 2007??? PDF can not be displayed in a web browser. It needs an exterior program just to read it. Having two programs open just to read text that should have been in HTML is an annoying hassle. Stop it!

MS Word for eBooks and email. MS Word is your best friend if you are composing office documents in an office, whose only audience will be other office workers in the same company, so you will know that everybody has the same copy of MS Word installed. But MS Word isn't a publishing medium — not everybody uses it, the platforms that can access it at all have buggy and ineffective support, it isn't consistent from one version to another even on its native platform — and, like PDF, it needs a special program just to read it. Hint!

Flash for your whole site. Eleven years after Vincent Flanders showed the world what is wrong with this, and you still have Flash-only sites that make you sit through their dumb 20-minute intro when all you wanted to do was come there and find out some quick information or, God forbid, order something. It's a computer, not an opera theater. Drop the singing and dancing crap, and you just might have to stand on your merits as a web business. gasp!

Firefox extensions for marketing. Lately it seems you can't go looking for Firefox add-ons without running into a hundred ways to install ad-ware on your browser. These pieces of obnoxious ad-ware are called "toolbars", but we aren't fooled for a minute. The difference between Internet Explorer and Firefox is that you have to specifically install your ad-ware in Firefox. Aw, bummer!

Photoshop for web layout. Photoshop is great for graphics work; designing the web page graphical elements in Photoshop is fine. But Photoshop is not a WYSIWYG HTML editor. Too many sites out there think that all you have to do is draw a web page in Photoshop, chop it up into block, and display the blocks on the web page with absolute positioning tags. This invariably leads to a broken web layout with the blocks being bigger, smaller, out of alignment, or overlapping in just about everybody's web browser but the designers. It ends up looking like a Tetris game that somebody lost.

Tables for web layout, as opposed to CSS. Last I checked, it's 2007. We have this new invention as of 1997 called CSS — perhaps we've all heard of it? Tables are fine for drawing a chart, which presents tabled data. Web pages are not charts. Using tables for the whole web page layout looks like you built it out of Legos and you only had one size of brick to work with.

Web-safe colors for color scheme. It's dead -let it die. The last time a computer was made that could only show 216 colors was the mid-1990s. The web-safe color table makes a great palette for a bowl of Froot Loops, an opened can of radioactive fruit cocktail, or a science-fiction comic book about day-glo aliens. It's lousy for everything else."

User Journal

Journal SPAM: Atomic Bomb 23

62 years ago today one atomic bomb was dropped under the sky of Hiroshima. 400 thousand people were terminated at one second.


Submission + - The Semantic Web: Grassroots vs. Ivory Towers (semanticfocus.com)

James writes: The Semantic Web hasn't yet gained strong traction from the development community. Grassroots is initiative of people like you and I to create the Semantic Web from the bottom-up. The ivory towers is the W3C and their initiative to create the Semantic Web. Both groups are pivotal to the acceptance and adoption of new standards and technologies. Without grassroots initiatives we would not have adoption and without the W3C we would not have standards!
The Internet

Submission + - Sticking a fork in Web 2.0 (whattofix.com)

DanielMarkham writes: "John Dvorak has an interesting post on PC Magazine regarding a coming bubble in Web 2.0

While many prognosticators have made predictions about a burst bubble about to appear, and the end of Web 2.0, nobody has made a plea for the small-time developers to think before they leap into this arena. After all, the true losers of a Web 2.0 bubble, if there is one, will be the mom-and-pop internet shops working on a shoestring.

Daniel Markham, a technology strategist, takes apart the finances behind the Web 2.0 world. While everybody knows you can start a web business with a quarter and a smile, most technologists have no idea what's involved actually making the thing work. Markham goes through the numbers, pulling information from a lot of VC blogs where most technical types don't go.

Some of his conclusions are biting:

People are tired of ads. They hate them on TV, they hate them on the web. They're tired of those stupid customer loyalty cards that every business has nowadays. They're not stupid: they know those cards help the businesses a lot more than they do the consumers. And they're going to get tired of digging, moderating, boinking, slapping, skirting, poking, winking, and whatever other synonyms websites can come up with to try to get folks to participate. Right now, there's a headlong push to get people involved in these Web 2.0 sites, but for every true convert, there are a hundred folks that just drop by to see what everybody else is doing. They're there because of habit, not because of bells and whistles.

Aside from the boom-or-bust articles, which are rather predictable, is there a greater social damage that will occur by busting lots of little guys, instead of investors with deep pockets?"


Submission + - DRM Scorecard: Hackers 1000, Industry Zero 2

An anonymous reader writes: InfoWeek blogger Alex Wolfe put together a scorecard which makes the obvious but interesting point that, when you list every major DRM technology implemented to "protect" music and video, they've all been cracked. This includes Apple's FairPlay, Microsoft's Windows Media DRM, the old-style Content Scrambling System (CSS) used on early DVDs and the new AACS for high-definition DVDs. And of course there was the Sony Rootkit disaster of 2005. Can anyone think of a DRM technology which hasn't been cracked, and of course this begs the obvious question: Why doesn't the industry just give up and go DRM-free?

Submission + - The sad state of sound in Linux (blogspot.com) 1

Wertigon writes: Looks like atleast one coder has been driven insane by the aggravating difficulties of getting sound to work properly in his 'nix application. Coming from his blog:

All this shows me is that ALSA is truly garbage, and a very bad idea from the ground up. If you want good sound support under Linux, the best, and sometime the only feasible option is to install the closed source OSS. With this, you always get mixing (even using the hardware mixer which ALSA doesn't always do), support for a dozen UNIX OSs, and finely tuned controls.
Perhaps it's time to go back to OSS, now that it has become Open Source again?


Submission + - Why Ruby on Rails Succeeded

Esther Schindler writes: "Whatever you think of Ruby on Rails—even if you prefer another language or development framework—you do have to admit that Rails has gained huge acceptance in a short period of time. In this CIO.com article Hal Fulton, author of The Ruby Way, explains what this programming community did right, and how others can learn from it."

Submission + - Congress: P2P Networks Harm National Security (zdnet.com)

davcrock writes: Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) in a hearing on Tuesday accused Limewire and its founder Mark Gorton of being a national security threat. Apparently the issue is that government employees can leak confidential data over Limewire. Apparently the government can't afford things like firewalls.

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