There are signs that things could potentially change drastically in your web browsing world. Within the past week, there are some things that should make you stand up and notice.

It’s not a matter of coolness or funkiness that should make you stand up and pay attention.  It’s the lack of support for Adobe Flash that stands out for me.  Instead, the focus on the browser to support the HTML5 standard is key.  You should read as much as you can about HTML5.  Start with the Wikipedia article to get a sense of where this upgrade to the technology is headed.  Can a singular device signal a change in direction?  Whether it’s the cart or the horse, consider that few had heard of Firewire before the fruit coloured iMacs.  Remember the outrage when the new Macbooks came without Firewire.  Many forecast the end of the world but witness the growth in digital cameras that don’t require Firewire.

Google’s Blog
Then, from the Google blog, we see this post.  It’s not big and flashy and is provided almost as friendly advice that it’s time to make sure that you’re using a modern browser.  That’s always good advice for any software as the bad guys work to exploit vulnerabilities in software.  You want to make sure that you’re fully patched.  However, the message that new features in Google Docs and Google Sites won’t work with older browsers is ominous.  You’ve got a month to upgrade and the blog post indicates that you’ll see the effects starting March 1.

With the leader’s share in browser installations, any change to a web browsing standard has to include Microsoft.  They are onside and, in fact, have a testing centre set up here.  There’s another sign that you cannot ignore.  A concern on the Microsoft end of things is Silverlight which would join the Flash player in a fully implemented HTML5.

Arguably the biggest dispenser of media, YouTube, is onboard with this as well.  There is an opt-in service that lets you abandon the Flash player in favour of HTML5 for viewing your videos.

See what happens when you incorporate HTML5 into the way you’re doing things by looking at Jillion’s HTML5 Media Player’s demo.

Is HTML5 the answer?  A lot of really smart people think so.  Flash support seems to be the most noticeable.  After all, how many times do you turn on your computer and there’s a security update for the Flash player?  Or, you get to a website and receive the message “Problems playing content – update your Flash player”.  But, HTML5 is much more than alternatives to that player.

The signs are there if you’re paying attention.  Whatever browser you’re using will typically push out a message when there are upgrades.  You may or may not pay attention to it, but I would suggest that the writing is on the wall.  When you get the notification that it’s time to upgrade, you really should.  If you’re still using Internet Explorer 6, you need to read this article.

There are great browsers available that give you the full internet experience now and you’re going to want to continue it into the future.  Get on board and upgrade your browser(s) today.  It’s not terribly difficult; just take the update when it’s offered.  There will come a time when all major browsers support it on their current platform.  But, you’ve got to be running the current version.

For a really technical reading, check this out.

Social Bookmarks:

links for 2010-01-30

The Case for Geography

If you’re fascinated by maps, geography, and geographical differences, then here’s a couple of suggestions to eat into your spare time.  It’s one thing to think that you’re on top of everything; it’s quite another to poke around and realize that you really aren’t.

Geographic Trending
For a while now, Twitter has given us the concept of trending topics.  In the beginning, they reflected trending topics from anyone who is using the service.  However, now, you can take a look at things trending on location.  Just head to the Twitter homepage and look for the Trending tab and change it to your area of interest.  Immediately, the list of trending topics are localized to your choice.  How cool is that?  Not surprisingly, “iPad” and “Haiti” seem to be trending everywhere as I check this.


Geographical Twittering
Bing has done a terrific job of mashing Twitter messages with it’s mapping service.  And, if you’ve got Silverlight installed on your computer, the experience is greatly enhanced.  Just head over to what Bing calls Map Apps (say that quickly ten times!) and choose Twitter Maps.


From there, you’ll be presented with the world – literally!  Find a geographic location of interest and zoom in to the appropriate level and enjoy the Twitter Messages that are local to your map view.  As I write this entry, North America is just waking up so I’ve decided to see what’s happening in Melbourne.


It is most effective if people have elected to turn on the geotagging features from the setting page of your Twitter account.  This will be an individual decision.  By default, it is turned off.

So, you have yet another couple of ways to enjoy the ongoing discussions that Twitter offers.  Yet another way to explain things when your friends “don’t get it”.

Social Bookmarks:

links for 2010-01-29

Me, myself, and I

As I was browsing through my Twitter timeline this morning, I was specifically looking for something that I’ve been curious about for some time.  Specifically, I was looking for pronouns.  Goodness knows that nobody will confuse me with a real writer with a deep knowledge of the English language.  I can put two or three words together to form a blog entry and that’s about it.  I’m happy with that.

My focus on pronouns though has been something that’s been bouncing around in my mind for a while now.  The concept is whether they appear or whether they don’t and do they correlate to my interest in the message.  I remember a comment that my father once said that we should all strive to be good by making others look good.  I also remember the system operator of System EX-10 Canada, a multi-line BBS system who always talked in terms of “We”.  There was a time when I got to visit the “inner sanctum” which turned out to be a basement with multiple computers running the software.  I think “We” referred to the machinery because there certainly wasn’t a staff running the operation.

Today, huge amounts of communication flows through Twitter, Plurk, and Facebook in my world.  Your communication vehicles may be different.  The thrust is to get the message out – to communicate – to get to the point.  In Twitter, for example, you’re limited to 140 characters so there are times when you really need to focus on crafting your messages.  There are two things that I’m seeing. 

First of all, we see the creation of what my friend Margaret calls “MSM Speak”.  You know the stuff – LOL – BRB – the terms that we’ve all accepted as being part of the online experience.  A true butchering of the language but it seems to be a price that we’re happy to pay.

The other thing is that pronouns are harder to find.  Instead of complete sentences, writers are starting to focus on the predicate of their messages.  I’m noticing messages that very action oriented.  As a reader, you tend to fill in the subject with your own appropriate subject and usually the pronoun.  Sometimes, you fill it with “I”  and sometimes, you use the word "We”.  It’s an interest process and I find it very inviting and engaging as a reader.

Not all messages are like that though.  We have the “Rock Stars” who very clearly want to make the message all about them.  In this case, the message almost always includes references to “I” or “Me” and there’s no doubt that they’re focussing on themselves.  The other interesting observation is that this type of user doesn’t really want to engage in a conversation.  They just want to tell you what they’re doing.  “Here is a picture of my big toe”.  Like that’s going to increase the collective knowledge of their followers.

I’m certainly not a linguist but I know what I like to read.  I’m finding that the absence of pronouns a real magnet for my reading eyes.  Messages that start with “I” are increasingly glossed over.  Now that I’ve taken the time to write these thoughts, I’m sure that I’m going to continue to fixate on this.  With all that’s available for the reading and the learning, what catches your attention?