Well last week was certainly one for the books. My Computer crashed and I had to rebuild it out of parts, which are getting thin on the ground as this is an old machine running XP. As part of my treatment regime I walk and lay around my house with a cannula pumping oxygen into my lungs at a rate of 2 liters per minute. I am getting good moving around and not getting the hose tangled up. Hell, I am just getting to the point where I wake up with the cannula still in place.
Therein creeps up the first dependency. Going places without that oxy shortens the time available to do things outside the house. Having to pump up with the magic drugs to get ready for road trips which are much shorter in time and distance is a drag. I feel okay at rest, but as soon as I move around breathing becomes problematic. Being clean and sober for 28 years does not minimize the whole cycle of dependency. Intellectually I know that this is different than being a drunk and a dope fiend, but emotionally it grinds on my brain.
Last Saturday morning I had a flareup, which is an inability to breathe despite my regular regime of meds. Basically a flareup is your lungs tighten up to the point where you literally are panting like a dog and cannot catch your breath. (Humidity is a big factor in COPD, as you feel that you are breathing in cotton balls) Ended making my first and hopefully my last 911 call. The Firemen were stellar in getting me stabilized for transport. Went to a New ER for treatment. 7 hours later I came home, still breathing slow, but regular.
Sunday I woke up to find my dog Walnut died,(she had been with me for 13 years) so I ended up in the ER again, but my regular one.(yeah I know how weird that sounds, just like the sitcom Cheers ‘where everybody knows your name)A friend came and drove me there. I used to drive myself, and hope I can continue to do that in the future.
The ER regime includes a dose of Magnesium sulfate, which works to relax the smooth muscles, aka your lungs. Also are steroids which help in getting the lungs to relax and work. This is usually good for a couple of days of really good breathing so I can get stuff done around the house. Depending on the results of blood tests, sometimes a course of antibiotics are added.
One of the standard diagnostic tools are x-rays of the lungs. X-Ray imaging is electronic now. No more developing of film and waiting to dry before looking at images on a light box. The shot becomes an image file that can be viewed immediately.
(Tech Tip: COPD has a tendency to lengthen the lungs, so tell the x-ray tech to use ‘portrait; over ‘landscape’ will help capture the lungs in one image vs 2.)
Part of my new lifestyle includes the ‘good’ parking next to shops, and being one of those folks riding around the grocery store in the motorized carts. Which is good news. The not so good news is that my limits on activity become shorter over time.
Early in my internet life when I was actively building websites, dreaming of sitting in front of the keyboard in my bathrobe and making money was the plan. That didn’t last very long, as anybody who is still active can tell you. Well now I am retired in front of the keyboard in my bathrobe.
Bur hey, I am still on the green side of things:)
There are a lot of ideas about what the internet is. This is probably the best explanation out here.
The internet thrives based on the flow of information. You want information to flow more broadly, rather than to hoard it. Historical economics is based on worlds of scarcity, and in worlds of scarcity it makes sense to hoard resources, as they are valuable by themselves. Yet, in worlds of abundance you want the opposite. You want abundant or infinite resources to flow freely because they do something special: they increase the value of everything else around them.
Mike Masnick Tech Dirt 03/05/2015
We can embrace the original peer to peer design of the internet, or sink into a quagmire of thought control promoted by companies whose goal is to own you.
The poster child for the new control is Facebook’s Internet.org. Doc Searls notes:
Internet.org calls itself “a Facebook-led initiative bringing together technology leaders, non-profits and local communities to connect the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have Internet access.” But what it offers is not the Internet, but a sphinctered fraction of it: Facebook plus a few chosen others.
Over at Wired is this article about the folks who are the recipients of this Zuckerberg largesse questioning and rejecting Internet.org.
Backlash Against Facebook’s Free Internet Service Grows
The Last thing we need is to welcome newcomers to the web through Facebook.
Current Cites has been published continuously since August 1990. It is an Annotated Bibliography of Selected Articles, Books and Digital Documents on Information Technology. “A team of librarians monitors information technology literature, selecting only the best items to annotate for this free publication.”
How we organize what we find and or where to find it will only become more important in the future.
This is the Current Issue Nov 2013
The Internet Scout
Published continuously since 1994 it posts an issue every Friday. It covers Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
The Scout Report is the flagship publication of the Internet Scout Research Group. Published every Friday both on the Web and by email subscription, it provides a fast, convenient way to stay informed of valuable STEM and humanities resources on the Internet. Our team of librarians and subject matter experts selects, researches, and annotates each resource.
This is the Current Issue
Terry Hart and his collaborators review the latest court cases on and about copyright in the US. A lot of the material is sprinkled with Latin lawyer jargon, (although pains are taken to explain the terminology as it appears) it does present a clear look at the current law on copyright. It is also noteworthy in its use of footnotes with links to source materials used in creating their articles.
An excellent example is the recent post:
Righthaven Revisited: What the Ninth Circuit Got Wrong
(News and Media Sites could use more of this type of linking to allow readers to make up their own minds on the articles veracity.)
If you are looking for a feed reader that does the job like google used to, Try inoreader.
Works Great, no bullshit ads, and has addons, and mobile apps for the desktop challenged.
There is a certain amount of controversy regarding video standards and support in the upcoming HTML 5 spec for creating and designing websites. This is an important debate in terms of the future and open direction of the web.
Video has become a substantial portion of the traffic across the web due to the vibrancy of our ability to process information in engaging our visual and audio senses at one time. Folks like moving pictures.
One of the bedrock principles of HTML is the open and unencumbered code that is used into creating what we see on the screen in our browsers. To that end video and the new video tag for embedding needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Closed technologies never benefit users over the long run.
Flash by Adobe is the current front runner in video on the web. It is an interesting technology but has become spyware on personal computers. Flash cookies are stored on your personal computer and are not removable with the standard browser privacy controls.
Don’t take my word for it, check for yourself:
Where to find these flash cookies:
* Windows: LSO files are stored typically with a “.SOL” extension, within each user’s Application Data directory, under Macromedia\FlashPlayer\#SharedObjects.
* Mac OS X: For Web sites, ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/FlashPlayer. For AIR Applications, ~/Library/Preferences/[package name (ID)of your app] and ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/FlashPlayer/macromedia.com/Support/flashplayer/sys
* GNU-Linux: ~/.macromedia
Hattip Wired News: You Deleted Your Cookies? Think Again
Schneier on Security: Flash Cookies
And currently none of the browser makers are addressing this issue. But then Adobe has a history of violating your privacy. An earlier version, Flash Player 6, turned on your Camera and Microphone by default if your computer had them. Flash itself puts blocks between you and your privacy by requiring you to go to Adobe.com to “manage” you privacy settings. There is no other down loadable program that requires this scheme, and cannot be managed on your own computer.
They say that the new version will respect your privacy, but don’t hold your breath.
Adobe is trying hard to keep their grip on the video on the web by a campaign of disinformation as to how open the Flash application is.
However, here is the money shot from Dave McAllister a blogger for Adobe.
The main reason we can’t release Flash Player as open source is because there is technology in the Player that we don’t own, such as the industry standard hi-def video codec, H.264. Adobe pays for that codec so video plays reliably worldwide, across browsers and OS’s. So we make it as open as we can – by releasing the specifications.
Source: Open at Adobe
Moving along from privacy to usability
Kevin Lynch also posted his take on Flash and most revealing are the comments.
Adobe is also saying that Flash doesn’t crash or hang systems, but the comments on this posting at Download Squad tells a different story.
Interesting is the admission by Adobe of incorporating H.264 to hedge their bets.
H.264 is getting a lot of airtime across the web as a possible successor to supplant Flash as a video standard. As the above quote aptly demonstrates H.264 is not an open standard, but a proprietary codec owned by the MPEG LA group. In a story posted at Beta News, the H.264 Group says that they will not ask for royalties aka payment for use,(until 2015 unless they change their mind) but trust me, just like the UNISYS .gif patent mess they will come calling.
According to Allen Harkness, global licensing director:
“While our Licenses are not concluded by End Users, anyone in the product chain has liability if an end product is unlicensed,” wrote Harkness. “Therefore, a royalty paid for an end product by the end product supplier would render the product licensed in the hands of the End User, but where a royalty has not been paid, such a product remains unlicensed and any downstream users/distributors would have liability. Therefore, we suggest that all End Users deal with products only from licensed suppliers.”
anyone in the product chain has liability if an end product is unlicensedThink YouTube with Invoicing. When the RIAA gets tired of suing everybody, the lawyers can just step into H.264 suits.
Like folks are gonna plumb source code for licensing and or liability. Give me a fucking break! Seriously, most folks on the web think that Copyright is a gift from Microsoft with Right Mouse Click > Save As.
Ogg Theora is currently the frontrunner in open source video, still has some technical limitations, but it has the potential to become a royalty free open video standard.
Encumbering the web with proprietary technologies will kill the web as surely as if you turned off the power to your computer.
Some interesting stuff on the intertubes this week.
National Federation for the Blind’s 6 Million Dollar Payday.
Target and the NFB have settled out of court for 6 million bucks.. At issue was the position that Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act includes retailers who are also online.
The Flashturbationites and the AJAXians web designers have been given yet another pass to make the web unusable to folks who do not have a full set of capabilities.
MetaFilter has a great commentary which points out the positions that various folks hold.
This ‘settlement’ does nothing to settle whether or not people with visual, aural, or other disabilities, are equal under the law. It is a cheap out for Target, about 10 minutes sales profit.
Sustainability of Digital Formats
This is a very technical discussion about various digital formats for creating and preservation of digital media. This is an interesting document coming from the Library of Congress who used to be the Depository of Record for Copyrights, and keeper of the Public Domain, but has since bent over and grabbed its ankles for the ‘entertainment’ industry since 1976, when mandatory deposits were abolished.
They may be thinking ahead, but they will be out of a job real soon unless copyright is reset back to 14 years for everybody.
Safe Harbor ahead for YouTube
“In a development that could portend some good news for Google-owned YouTube, a federal judge in San Jose has ruled that Veoh, the video-sharing service, isn’t liable for copyright infringement for material that was uploaded to its site.”
Source: WSJ LawBlog
Sarah Palin for VP? One bullet from the Presidency? Get Fucking Real!
Closed Captioning of Commercial Television has been the law of the land since 1996. Its genesis was the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) which gave us wide doorways, grabbars, ramps and Handicapped Parking. Section 508 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 mandated electronic and information technology alternative delivery methods such as closed captioning by government agencies.
This included websites, which has not been adopted completely by the government, and the Flash/AJAX development crowd has swept under the rug.
Ars Technica notes that there is a new Accessibility bill introduced into the House of Representitives.
New bill mandates closed captioning for Internet video
This is a remix/refresh of the Communications Act of 1934.
While the bill can be read to only apply to commercially produced video, the line between personal and commercial has been blurring on the internet for some time. Video sharing sites like YouTube who are trying to monetize themselves may be considered commercial soon. Other sites who use pre and post roll advertisements are definitely commercial.
Most digital cameras allow you to make video, so you can be seen by millions. With this legislation, the cost of video sharing will go up. It is one thing to provide closed captioning for the twitter whore, it is another level of complicated to provide a text description of somebody doing the funky chicken while jumping off his garage.
When you have a video that gets viewed 10 million times, and the closest commercial television program only has around 5 million there will be blood. The recent Drudge Retort AP copyfight points this out quite nicely, and that is a text argument.
Sites that wrap commercials around video or use pre and post roll advertisements are gonna get whacked.
Robert Scoble and Fast Company TV probably need to budget money for captioning equipment.
If you think that this or similar legislation is not coming, just think about who gets the best parking spots at your local regional lifestyle center. Do you want to be that person who says that folks with disabilities are not equal to you?
We live in interesting times.
H.R. 6320 is here
The National Captioning Institute has a good page of the current law.
Today marks the 15th anniversary of the Web. It has come a long way.
Robert Scoble is wondering if the current Accessibility case against Target will require videobloggers to provide transcripts. His concerns are specifically YouTube and his ownself kyte.tv.
The short version is No. The reason is that both YouTube and kyte are not offering goods and services for sale to the public. You take your chances with free.
Target. com is selling goods and services to the public and is the latest court case to try and get folks to understand that Accessibility matters. That it is happening in California is a mixed blessing, as their laws are a cut and paste version of the US Section 508 Accessibility Standards.
Businesses are crying undue burden as their get out of customer card.
I wrote about this back in 2001
A little over a year ago I wrote an article here on the upcoming U.S. Accessibility Regulations for the web. Specifically on Section 508 of the WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT OF 1998, which required all United States Federal Agencies with websites to make those sites accessible to individuals with disabilities, within 24 months of enacting of this law.
Robert’s concerns are a bit of an oxymoron as most YouTube videos have a sound track which does go toward satisfying alternate delivery.
Accessibility has a varied and checkered past on the web. In the US, it is a requirement, which until now with the notable exception of the National Federation for the Blind’s sort of Victory over AOL, has not until this point been tested in court.
Target may just be the case that finally wakes up companies that want to do business with folks across the web, Flash designers are going to get their asses handed to them, and the folks who neglect using the ALT tag will find themselves in a real uncomfortable position of having redo websites to comply.