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Name: Charles Iliya Krempeaux
Member since: 2002-01-08 11:26:49
Last Login: 2007-04-25 16:26:45

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Articles Posted by tnt

Recent blog entries by tnt

Syndication: RSS 2.0
Thoughts on Video and Audio Microformats
Topics: Microformats  IPTV  IPradio  

As I've talked about before, Microformats are a clever and simple way of marking up your HTML so that both humans and machines can understand what you are saying.

(If you are interested, the last thing I wrote on Microformats was: Microformats Proposal for Reputation and Trust Metrics. That article doesn't really have anything to do with this article other than it's also about Microformats too. But if you're into Microformats you may find it a good read. But anyways,....)

One of the areas that has been lacking a Microformat (as far as I know) is the world of multimedia. (Although people have been putting thought into it.) This article deals with just one aspect of multimedia Microformats: linking. This article doesn't really try to invent any new Microformats, but encourages people to use existing HTML elements and attributes to communicate and specify semantics and metadata useful for linking to video and audio media.

One of the things we sometimes do when dealing with media (such as audio and video files or streams) is link to them. For example, here's some sample HTML markup doing just that:

    Go and <a href="/movie/grad2005">watch this</a>.

However, this doesn't give us much semantics or metadata. What type of file (or stream) is at the end of that URL (specified in the href attribute). (Is it an MPEG movie&#x203D; An AVI movie&#x203D; Or an Ogg Theora movie&#x203D;)

(Note, the URL we have does NOT have a file name extension like .mpeg, .avi, or .ogg. Those from the Windows or DOS world are probably accustomed to them and may think that you need them to tell you the type of file [or stream] you are dealing with. However, that is NOT how it works on the Web. On the Web, a file's [or stream's] type is NOT specified by an extension; it is specified by with its content type. On the Web, extensions mean nothing; it's the content type that matters. But I'm digressing. Getting back to it....)

Also, what should we "call" that movie? (The words that the link is bound to is "watch this"; so should that be the title of the movie&#x203D;)

IPTV Needs a New Name - How about "NewTube"
Topics: IPTV  

The next big thing that will be hitting the Internet soon is (what we are currently calling) IPTV. (Although I've also seen TVoIP and TVoverIP used too.) It will be the Internet version of TV. (The same way that IPradio/podcasting and P2P music sharing is the Internet version of radio.)

However, IPTV is a horrible name! For one thing, how do you pronounce it? (I've heard it pronouced a few different ways and each way sounds horrible. Not to mention that each is a mouthful.) Also, normal people aren't going to get it. They are NOT going to understand that "IP" (basically) stands for "Internet" and thus "IPTV" is "Internet TV". (I know because I've been using the word "IPTV" when I've been telling friends of mine what I've been working on. And I always have to explain what "IPTV" means.) We need something better. And it seems I'm not the only one thinking this. Jeff Pulver also thinks IPTV needs a new name.

In trying to come up with a new name for IPTV I wanted to have the new name show its lineage to television. To do this, I wanted to somehow incorporate an existing name for television into the new name. While at the same time expressing that this is something new. And also I wanted the new name to sounds good when pronouced and not be a mouthful. My suggestion for what everyone should call IPTV is:


(Eventually people will probably just spell it like "newtube". But for now, I wanted to make it obvious how to pronounce it.) Here are the reasons why I like this name:
  • In many places around the world, (traditional) televisions are called "tubes". (As in "boob tube" and "the tube".) So "newtube" shows its lineage with television in its name.
  • The word "new" and the "tube" rhyme (in most dialects on English). So when you say "NewTube" out loud it has a nice sound to it.
  • It is only 2 syllables long. Which also helps make it sound nice. And makes it so it is NOT a mouthful to say.
  • No one is going to have trouble pronouncing it.
  • The word "new" expresses that this is something new :-) (Much like "New York".)
  • "NewTube" is a completely new name. So there won't be any ambiguity when searching for it on the search engines.

Goodbye Newspaper
Topics: Journalism  

Every now and then one particular local newspapers of mine -- The Vancouver Sun -- calls to ask me to pay for a subscription to their newspaper. (They keep on doing this over and over again despite me telling them to stop calling me; but that's a separate issue.) My answer, when they call me, is always essentially the same,... "I don't read news if it is not on the Internet". And I think this is pretty typical of people in my generation and those generations younger than mine. Sitting down and reading a newspaper just doesn't fit into my way of life. (Well, it will be typical of generations younger than mine when the generations younger than mine get old enough to get interested in reading the news :-) )

One theme that has asserted itself over and over again with the Internet is: what you want when you want it. I don't know if this theme was ever planned; probably it's an emergent or evolutionary theme. This same theme seems to be reflected in the lifestyles of those in my generation (and generations younger than mine). And the same theme holds when I read the news. I don't know when I'll want to read the news. I don't know where I'm going to be when I want to read the news. But when I feel like it, I want to read it right then and there. With a newspaper I cannot do this. I'm not going to carry a newspaper around with me where ever I go. But the Internet is (essentially) always there where ever I go; Internet access is ubiquitous -- it's everywhere -- and thus I have access to the news (on the Internet) from (virtually) anywhere.

Now to be fair to the Vancouver Sun, they do have an online version of their newspaper. But it costs money. And guess what, I am NOT going to pay to access it. I do NOT believe in mandatory user fees for this kind of thing. I know that charging access fees like this is just like the newspaper subscription business model they've been using and are used to. But they need to become a bit more creative and come up with a different business model that works with the way people use the Internet. Actually, they really don't have to become creative at all... just mimic the business model other's on the Internet are using. I.e., support your business with online advertising. You know, all those banner ads and tower ads. It's bigger business than you think. Very big in fact. How do you think all those free sites on the Internet are paying for their 5 and 6 figure monthly Internet bills&#x203D; (Disclosure: I've written alot of online advertising software for those banner ads and towers ads. In fact, you've probably come across it. If you hate online ads, I'm sorry :-) But I do know alot about the business. And know how it works.)

I think that for the businesses behind these newspapers to survive in the long run they are going to have to change how they make money. As my generation gets older and older the population from the generations that buys and reads (dead tree) newspapers will get smaller and smaller and their paying subscribers will start to disappear. I think it would be unfortunate for this to happen since newspapers pay the salaries of alot of the real journalists and investigative reporters out there, which allows them to do the great work that they do. And it would be a shame to loose their quality news.

But loosing the businesses currently behind newspapers doesn't necessarily mean the end of the professional journalist. Journalists don't need printed (dead tree) newspapers to be able to support themselves off of journalism. Other business models exist. The Internet is proving that you can be independent and very profitable at the same time. (Just look at the professional blogger.) That organization and organizations can be emergent. Now I'm not saying that professional journalism will necessarily be like this; but it gives you an idea of how things may become like. It could end up having journalists in control of information distribution, instead of newspapers companies. And controlling distribution -- including information distribution -- can be profitable.

Time will tell whether this kind of change will be "good" or "bad" for the people. Whether the so called news will still be plagued with propaganda, disinformation, and bias, or not. Whether we'll get true "choice" or not.

FBI Now Decides What Americans Legally Can And Can't Do On Their Computers
Topics: Civil Rights has an article titled: FBI to get veto power over PC software. Basically the FCC -- an unelected body -- has given the FBI the power to legally tell people in the USA what they can and cannot do on or with their computers. (If you're thinking something like "yeah right"... I'm serious!)

The FBI now gets to choose what software you are allowed to install. They now get to choose what you do with that software. The now get to choose how you do that too. And they can change their mind at any time and even make different rules for different people. And if you don't do what they say, you are breaking the "law". (I strongly suspect that this new power the FBI has been given is unconstitutional. But with stuff like the USA Patriot Act and DMCA, no one in the government seems to care if a "law" breaks the consitution or not. I.e., no one in the government cares if a "law" is illegal or not.)

It is pretty disturbing to see that the FCC once again has put "laws" into place outside the democratic process. There's a rule with government and laws that I have said over and over again: whatever can be abused will (probably) be abused eventually. So no "law", "rule", or "regulation" should be made that allows for any kind of abuse; or at the very least minimizes it. To put this in language like I hear politicians and law makers use:

The government is where the power is. And it will attract the "bad guys" to it. They'll try to take control of it. And all you need is the "bad guys" to gain any level of "power" in the goverment to abuse the powers the government has to do "bad things" to decent people.

(Note, I hate using the phrase "bad guys". I just wanted to use language that I think some people need to hear it in to understand.)

RSS and Atom Feed Rediscovery #
Topics: Syndication  RSS  Atom  

How does a machine -- a piece of software, a web crawler, a feed aggregator -- find a blog's RSS or Atom feed&#x203D; Human's might be able to figure out that the feed's URL is behind one of those orange "RSS", "Atom", or "XML" buttons; or behind one of the many other colorful button types out there. But how does a machine figure this out&#x203D; The answer is RSS and Atom autodiscovery.

Matt Griffith had a great idea for RSS autodiscovery that was refined in Mark Pilgrim's article on RSS autodiscovery. A way for a machine to easily figure out the RSS (or Atom) feed of your blog. But what happens if your RSS or Atom feed moves&#x203D; Maybe you moved it to somewhere else on your site; maybe you moved it to a different server (with a different domain); or maybe you want to have it hosted using a third party feed management system (because they provide you with nice reports or something), or maybe you are even changing which third party feed management system you are using. What do machines do that already autodiscovered your feed&#x203D; How do they find the new URL of your feed&#x203D; That's where RSS and Atom feed rediscovery comes into play; a complement to the RSS and Atom autodiscovery technology. RSS and Atom feed rediscovery helps fix some problems we are facing with feeds. RSS and Atom feed rediscovery makes it so that bloggers can change the URL of their feed without having to worry about loosing subscribers.

The problem is that when software subscribes to these feeds, alot of them only save the URL to the RSS or Atom feed. The problem is that alot of the software out there is neglecting to save the URL of the home page of the blog. This can be a major problem if a blog changes the URL of its RSS or Atom feed.

Consider it, what happends if I change the URL of my RSS or Atom feed&#x203D; How do machines and people's software which are subscribed to my old RSS or Atom feed URL find the new one&#x203D; How do they even know it's been moved&#x203D; That's where RSS and Atom feed rediscovery comes in. And it's just a rule for machines to follow. The rule for this is:

When machines subscribe to an RSS or Atom feed, in addition to caching the URL of the RSS or Atom feed, they also save the URL of the blog's homepage. That way, if the URL they have cached for the RSS or Atom feed stops working, they can go to the URL of the blog's homepage, and perform RSS or Atom autodiscovery (again) to find the new URL of the blog's feed.

Also, periodically, even if the feed URL is working, they should go to the blog's homepage and rediscover feed's URL. That way bloggers can gracefully migrate users to a new feed URL. And not loose any subscribers.

The question that may be coming to your mind now may be: how does a machine figure out the URL of the blog's homepage&#x203D; Well, there's alot of different ways you could do it. But I'll provide you with just one easy way.

When you initially subscribe to a feed, you can find the URL to the blog's homepage via the RSS <link> element (under the <channel> element). For example:

    <?xml version="1.0">
    <rss version="2.0">
            <title>Joe Blow's Blog</title>
            <description>The weblog for Joe Blow</description>
                <title>First Post!</title>

Or if it's an Atom feed, then:

    <?xml version="1.0">
    <feed xmlns=""
        <title>Joe Blow's Blog</title>
        <link href="/" />
        <link rel="self" href="/feed" />
            <title>First Post!</title>
            <link href="/log/9778afc5-43b6-4ab5-a5d5-558290502bc3" />

43 older entries...


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