With a new browser, Google looks to make the web the app platform.
Although I haven’t written about them, I’ve been quietly monitoring the podcast space. I am amazed by how quickly they’ve taken hold and today’s announcement by Infinity Broadcasting that they were launching KYOU Radio, a radio that’s distributing podcasts seems to be the tipping point for that new technology. For my readers who are not familiar with the concept, a podcast is essentially an audio file that is distributed via a syndication feed like RSS. Mosts podcasts are encoded in MP3 format and, for the most part, podcasts have been the equivalent of audio blogs. The initial concept behind them came in a dinner at Katz’s deli in New York (fall of 2000) when Adam Curry and I urged Dave Winer, who was then the only person keeping RSS on life support, to provide a way with RSS to distribute data other than text. Adam had written an article talking about the last yard issue in terms of delivering content in the home (realize this is before BitTorrent was popular.) From there, Dave added the enclosure item to the format and things were quiet for a long time. Last summer, Adam introduced iPodder, a program that simplified the creation of…Read More
So far, we’ve talked about the impact of a modular approach on existing business models outside of the software industry. Today, we delve in on the industry most associated with modular design: software. Certain software companies have been suffering from the advance of modularity in software design. The main one, to date, has been Microsoft with its Windows software platform. In the mid-nineties, Microsoft decided to integrate a number of Internet components tightly with its operating systems offering. The two most critical ones of those components have been a web server (IIS) and a web browser (Internet Explorer). Leaving aside discussions relating to the antitrust issues this kind of integration has raised, the integration of those tools with the operating system have left openings for alternative approaches that were more modular. On the server end, IIS has been the subject of many attacks by hackers. Because it is hooked deeply into the operating system, an attack against the web server can have an impact that goes much further that the web front-end. In most cases, the attacks succeeded not only in taking machines down but also turning them into zombie armies that could then turn around and attack other servers.…Read More
Over the past few days, I’ve been doing some research for an easy-to-use web-based open-sourced content management system. The basic system needs to be usable by several people and needs to be simple. In the process, though, I have learned that simplicity is hard to do. The main challenge comes from the fact that most software developers are too knowledgeable to really create easy to use system. As a result, new features are created daily for open source tools but little attention is being paid to making the overall tools easy to use. The challenge is that simple interfaces are hard to design and largely present a challenge that is woefully underappreciated. A good interface is one that is so in tune with user expectations that it becomes essentially invisible. As a result, the balance in product development always happens between fewer features with an easier to use interface vs. large feature set with increased complexity. Weblog tools seem to manage a careful balance between the two but are unfortunately tied to a particular model, based on entries and list of entries. More complex sites, with different sections and other functionality do not fall well within that mold. Let me…Read More
There has recently been much grumbling about XHTML 2 in general and its deprecation of the IMG tag in favor of the OBJECT one. While XHTML 2 is indeed a departure from the existing standards instead of being an evolution, it is important to realize that some of the things the workgroup is trying to do is fix old issues and help improve the overall development of the web. While I agree with Zeldman’s assertion that IMG should be deprecated in this version instead of being completely tossed out, I believe that the tag should never have been in HTML in the first place. The argument for an OBJECT tag date back to the early days of the web (circa 1993) when things broke down into two camps: one that wanted a quick and dirty way to show images on the web (the IMG crowd) and the other that looked forward and wanted any type of media to be embedded in a page (the OBJECT crowd). We are now paying for the decisions that were made back then and, much like tables are still in use for layout on most sites instead of being replaced by CSS, we will continue…Read More
CNN is running an interesting article about information data stores and the semantic web. A very sad thing was the following statement about the semantic web: One hopeful journalist from the Economist asked Berners-Lee to give an example of how companies could make or save money using it, but he didn’t have an answer. This is clearly an illustration that often geeks speak in terms that most people do not understand. I am often guilty of it myself (a cursory look through recent entries will give you an idea of why I’m making this statement) and I realize that we need to do a better job in explaining some of the key concepts in new technology. XML, RDF and other technologies related to the semantic web are indeed hard to understand when you talk to techies. As a result, they often get dismissed as too hard. In order to help people get a better understanding, I’ll try to come up with a simple example. Right now, this page is served to you either in HTML or RSS. Those are two different languages. One, HTML, is understood by your web browser. The way text is bolded, for example, is that I…Read More