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Paul Merrell

Evidence of Google blacklisting of left and progressive sites continues to mount - Worl... - 0 views

  • A growing number of leading left-wing websites have confirmed that their search traffic from Google has plunged in recent months, adding to evidence that Google, under the cover of a fraudulent campaign against fake news, is implementing a program of systematic and widespread censorship.

    Truthout, a not-for-profit news website that focuses on political, social, and ecological developments from a left progressive standpoint, had its readership plunge by 35 percent since April. The Real News , a nonprofit video news and documentary service, has had its search traffic fall by 37 percent. Another site, Common Dreams , last week told the WSWS that its search traffic had fallen by up to 50 percent.

    As extreme as these sudden drops in search traffic are, they do not equal the nearly 70 percent drop in traffic from Google seen by the WSWS.

    “This is political censorship of the worst sort; it’s just an excuse to suppress political viewpoints,” said Robert Epstein, a former editor in chief of Psychology Today and noted expert on Google.

    Epstein said that at this point, the question was whether the WSWS had been flagged specifically by human evaluators employed by the search giant, or whether those evaluators had influenced the Google Search engine to demote left-wing sites. “What you don’t know is whether this was the human evaluators who are demoting you, or whether it was the new algorithm they are training,” Epstein said.

  • Richard Stallman, the world-renowned technology pioneer and a leader of the free software movement, said he had read the WSWS’s coverage on Google’s censorship of left-wing sites. He warned about the immense control exercised by Google over the Internet, saying, “For people’s main way of finding articles about a topic to be run by a giant corporation creates an obvious potential for abuse.”

    According to data from the search optimization tool SEMRush, search traffic to Mr. Stallman’s personal website, Stallman.org, fell by 24 percent, while traffic to gnu.org, operated by the Free Software Foundation, fell 19 percent.

    Eric Maas, a search engine optimization consultant working in the San Francisco Bay area, said his team has surveyed a wide range of alternative news sites affected by changes in Google’s algorithms since April.  “While the update may be targeting specific site functions, there is evidence that this update is promoting only large mainstream news organizations. What I find problematic with this is that it appears that some sites have been targeted and others have not.”

    The massive drop in search traffic to the WSWS and other left-wing sites followed the implementation of changes in Google’s search evaluation protocols. In a statement issued on April 25, Ben Gomes, the company’s vice president for engineering, stated that Google’s update of its search engine would block access to “offensive” sites, while working to surface more “authoritative content.”

    In a set of guidelines issued to Google evaluators in March, the company instructed its search evaluators to flag pages returning “conspiracy theories” or “upsetting” content unless “the query clearly indicates the user is seeking an alternative viewpoint.”

Paul Merrell

Google Censors Block Access to CounterPunch and Other Progressive Sites - 0 views

  • Now Google, at the behest of its friends in Washington, is actively censoring – essentially blocking access to – any websites which seek to warn American workers of the ongoing effort to further attack their incomes, social services, and life conditions by the U.S. central government, and which seek to warn against the impending warfare between U.S.-led Nato and other forces against countries like Iran, Russia, and China, which have in no way threatened the U.S. state or its people
  • Under its new so-called anti-fake-news program, Google algorithms have in the past few months moved socialist, anti-war, and progressive websites from previously prominent positions in Google searches to positions up to 50 search result pages from the first page, essentially removing them from the search results any searcher will see.    CounterPunch, World Socialist Website, Democracy Now, American Civil liberties Union, Wikileaks are just a few of the websites which have experienced severe reductions in their returns from Google searches.  World Socialist Website, to cite just one example, has experienced a 67% drop in its returns from Google since the new policy was announced.

    This conversion of Google into a Censorship engine is not a trivial development.   Google searches are currently a primary means by which workers and other members of the public seek information about their lives and their world.  Every effort must be made to combat this serious infringement on the basic rights of freedom of speech and freedom of press.

Paul Merrell

This Infographic Shows The Enemies Of An Open And Free Internet - 0 views

  • Who are the enemies of the free and open Internet in 2014?
Paul Merrell

mnot's blog: Nine Things to Expect from HTTP/2 - 0 views

  • HTTP/2 is getting close to being real, with lots of discussions and more implementations popping up every week. What does a new version of the Web’s protocol mean for you? Here are some early answers:
Paul Merrell

AT&T Thumbs Nose at Net Neutrality With 'Sponsored' Bandwidth Scheme | Threat Level | W... - 0 views

  • AT&T announced a new scheme today that allows app-makers and websites to pay for the bandwidth you consume using their services — a move digital rights activists say breaches the spirit of net neutrality.

    The second largest mobile provider is taking advantage of the data caps it imposes on subscribers by letting companies sponsor the bandwidth their wares use. The consumer who enjoys those sponsored services will not have that broadband count against their monthly data allotment. Sponsorship is not mandatory — if a company doesn’t pay AT&T, the bandwidth will count against the user’s cap as always.

    Online rights groups said the move is anti-competitive and takes advantage of a loophole in Federal Communications Commission rules prohibiting ISPs from favoring one service over the other. For the most part, however, those FCC guidelines adopted in 2010 apply to cable, fiber and DSL internet providers, not wireless ones.

Gary Edwards

The State Of The Word Processor: HTML Compatibility - ReadWrite - 1 views

  •  
    "Word processors are no longer central to the computing experience, but there are still good reasons to use them. The question is, how well do the work in today's computing environment?"

    Interesting test of ten different word-processors, with the objective to produce an HTML Web Page. The usual suspects were tested and the results are a disaster.
Gary Edwards

CPU Wars - Intel to Play Fab for an ARM Chipmaker: Understanding What the Altera Deal M... - 0 views

  • Intel wants x86 to conquer all computing spaces -- including mobile -- and is trying to leverage its process lead to make that happen.  However, it's been slowed by a lack of inclusion of 4G cellular modems on-die and difficulties adapting to the mobile market's low component prices.  ARM, meanwhile, wants a piece of the PC and server markets, but has received a lukewarm response from consumers due to software compatibility concerns.

    The disappointing sales of (x86) tablet products using Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows 8 and the flop of Windows RT (ARM) product in general somewhat unexpectedly had the net result of being a driver to maintain the status quo, allowing neither company to gain much ground.  For Intel, its partnership with Microsoft (the historic "Wintel" combo) has damaged its mobile efforts, as Windows 8 flopped in the tablet market.  Likewise ARM's efforts to score PC market share were stifled by the flop of Windows RT, which led to OEMs killing off ARM-based laptops and convertibles.
  • Both companies seem to have learned their lesson and are migrating away from Windows towards other platforms -- in ARM's case Chromebooks, and in Intel's case Android tablets/smartphones.

    But suffice it to say, ARM Holdings and Intel are still very much bitter enemies from a sales perspective.
  • III. Profit vs. Risk -- Understanding the Modern CPU Food Chain
  • ...16 more annotations...
  • Whether it's tablets or PCs, the processor is still one of the most expensive components onboard.  Aside from the discrete GPU -- if a device has one -- the CPU has the greatest earning potential for a large company like Intel because the CPU is the most complex component.

    Other components like the power supply or memory tend to either be lower margin or have more competitors.  The display, memory, and storage components are all sensitive to process, but see profit split between different parties (e.g. the company who makes the DRAM chips and the company who sells the stick of DRAM) and are primarily dependent on process technology.

    CPUs and GPUs remain the toughest product to make, as it's not enough to simply have the best process, you must also have the best architecture and the best optimization of that architecture for the space you're competing in.

    There's essentially five points of potential profit on the processor food chain:
    1. [CPU] Fabrication
    2. [CPU] Architecture design
    3. [CPU] Optimization
    4. OEM
    5. OS platform
    Of these, the fabrication/OS point is the most profitable (but is dependent on the number of OEM adopters).  The second most profitable niche is optimization (which again is dependent on OEM adopter market share), followed by OEM markups.  In terms of expense, fabrication and operating system designs requires the greatest capital investment and the highest risk.
  • In terms of difficulty/risk, the fabrication and operating system are the most difficult/risky points.  Hence in terms of combined risk, cost, and profitability the ranking of which points are "best" is arguably:
    1. Optimization
    2. Architecture design
    3. OS platfrom
    4. OEM
    5. Fabrication
    ...with the fabrication point being last largely because it's so high risk.

    In other words, the last thing Intel wants is to settle into a niche of playing fabs for everybody else's product, as that's an unsound approach.  If you can't keep up in terms of chip design, you typically spin off your fabs and opt for a different architecture direction -- just look at Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.'s (AMDspinoff of GlobalFoundries and upcoming ARM product to see that.
  • IV. Top Firms' Role on That Food Chain
  • Apple has seen unbelievable profits due to this fundamental premise.  It controls the two most desirable points on the food chain -- OS and optimization -- while sharing some profit with its architecture designer (ARM Holdings) and a bit with the fabricator (Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930)).  By choosing to play operating system maker, too, it adds to its profits, but also its risk.  Note that nearly every other first-party exclusive smartphone platform has failed or is about to fail (i.e. BlackBerry, Ltd. (TSE:BB) and the now-dead Palm).
  • Intel controls points 1, 2, and 5, currently, on the food chain.  Compared to Apple, Intel's points of control offer less risk, but also slightly less profitability. Its architecture control may be at risk, but even so, it's currently the top in its most risky/expensive point of control (fabrication), where as Apple's most risky/expensive point of control (OS development) is much less of a clear leader (as Android has surpassed Apple in market share).  Hence Apple might be a better short-term investment, but Intel certainly appears a better long-term investment.
  • Samsung is another top company in terms of market dominance and profit.  It occupies points 1, 3, 4, and 5 -- sometimes.  Sometimes Samsung's devices use third-party optimization firms like Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) and NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA), which hurts profitability by removing one of the most profitable roles.  But Samsung makes up for this by being one of the largest and most successful third party manufacturers.
  • Scenario one is that x86 proves dominant in the mobile space, assuming a comparable process.
  • Qualcomm and NVIDIA are also quite profitable operating solely as optimizers, as is ARM Holdings who serves as architecture maker to Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Apple, and Samsung.
  • V. Four Scenarios in the x86 vs. ARM Competition
  • Microsoft enjoys a lot of profit due to its OS dominance, as does Google Inc. (GOOG); but both companies are limited in controlling only one point which they monetize in different ways (Microsoft by direct sales; Google by giving away OS product for free in return for web services market share and by proxy search advertising revenue).
  • second scenario is that x86 and ARM are roughly tied, assuming a comparable process.
  • third scenario is that x86 is inferior to ARM at a comparable process, but comparable or superior to ARM when the x86 chip is built using a superior process.  From the benchmarks I've seen to date, I personally believe this is most likely.
  • fourth scenario is that x86 is so drastically inferior to ARM architecturally that a process lead by Intel can't make up for it.
  • This is perhaps the most interesting scenario, in the sense of thinking of how Intel would react, if not overly likely.  If Intel were faced with this scenario, I believe Intel would simply bite the bullet and start making ARM chips, leveraging its process lead to become the dominant ARM chipmaker.  To make up for the revenue it lost, paying licensing fees to ARM Holdings, it could focus its efforts in the OS space (it's Tizen Linux OS project with Samsung hints at that).  Or it could look to make up for lost revenue by expanding its production of other basic process-sensitive components (e.g. DRAM).  I think this would be Intel's best and most likely option in this scenario.
  • VI. Why Intel is Unlikely to Play Fab For ARM Chipmakers (Even if ARM is Better)
  • From Intel's point of view, there is an entrenched, but declining market for x86 chips because of Windows, and Intel will continue to support Atom chips (which will be required to run Windows 8 tablets), but growth on desktops will come from 64 bit desktop/server class non-Windows ARM devices - Chromebooks, Android laptops, possibly Apple's desktop products as well given they are going 64 bit ARM for their future iPhones. Even Windows has been trying to transition (unsuccessfully) to ARM. Again, the Windows server market is tied to x86, but Linux and FreeBSD servers will run on ARM as well, and ARM will take a chunk out of the server market when a decent 64bit ARM server chip is available as a result.
  •  
    Excellent article explaining the CPU war for the future of computing, as Intel and ARM square off.  Intel's x86 architecture dominates the era of client/server computing, with their famed WinTel alliance monopolizing desktop, notebook and server implementations.  But Microsoft was a no show with the merging mobile computing market, and now ARM is in position transition from their mobile dominance to challenge the desktop -notebook - server markets.  

    WinTel lost their shot at the mobile computing market, and now their legacy platforms are in play.  Good article!!! Well worth the read time 

    ................
Gary Edwards

XML Production Workflows? Start with the Web and XHTML - 1 views

  • Challenges: Some Ugly Truths

    The challenges of building—and living with—an XML workflow are clear enough. The return on investment is a long-term proposition.

    Regardless of the benefits XML may provide, the starting reality is that it represents a very different way of doing things than the one we are familiar with. The Word Processing and Desktop Publishing paradigm, based on the promise of onscreen, WYSIWYG layout, is so dominant as to be practically inescapable. It has proven really hard to get from here to there, no matter how attractive XML might be on paper.

    A considerable amount of organizational effort and labour must be expended up front in order to realize the benefits. This is why XML is often referred to as an “investment”: you sink a bunch of time and money up front, and realize the benefits—greater flexibility, multiple output options, searching and indexing, and general futureproofing—later, over the long haul. It is not a short-term return proposition.

    And, of course, the returns you are able to realize from your XML investment are commensurate with what you put in up front: fine-grained, semantically rich tagging is going to give you more potential for searchability and recombination than a looser, more general-purpose approach, but it sure costs more. For instance, the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) is the grand example of pouring enormous amounts of energy into the up-front tagging, with a very open-ended set of possibilities down the line. TEI helpfully defines a level to which most of us do not have to aspire.[5]

    But understanding this on a theoretical level is only part of the challenge. There are many practical issues that must be addressed. Software and labour are two of the most critical. How do you get the content into XML in the first place? Unfortunately, despite two decades of people doing SGML and XML,

  • Practical Challenges

    In 2009, there is still no truly likeable—let alone standard—editing and authoring software for XML. For many (myself included), the high-water mark here was Adobe’s FrameMaker, substantially developed by the late 1990s. With no substantial market for it, it is relegated today mostly to the tech writing industry, unavailable for the Mac, and just far enough afield from the kinds of tools we use today that its adoption represents a significant hurdle. And FrameMaker was the best of the breed; most of the other software in decent circulation are programmers’ tools—the sort of things that, as Michael Tamblyn pointed out, encourage editors to drink at their desks.

    The labour question represents a stumbling block as well. The skill-sets and mind-sets that effective XML editors need have limited overlap with those needed by literary and more traditional production editors. The need to think of documents as machine-readable databases is not something that comes naturally to folks steeped in literary culture. In combination with the sheer time and effort that rich tagging requires, many publishers simply outsource the tagging to India, drawing a division of labour that spans oceans, to put it mildly.

    Once you have XML content, then what do you do with it? How do you produce books from it? Presumably, you need to be able to produce print output as well as digital formats. But while the latter are new enough to be generally XML-friendly (e-book formats being largely XML based, for instance), there aren’t any straightforward, standard ways of moving XML content into the kind of print production environments we are used to seeing. This isn’t to say that there aren’t ways of getting print—even very high-quality print—output from XML, just that most of them involve replacing your prepress staff with Java programmers.

  • Why does this have to be so hard?

    It’s not that XML is new, or immature, or untested. Remember that the basics have been around, and in production, since the early 1980s at least. But we have to take account of a substantial and long-running cultural disconnect between traditional editorial and production processes (the ones most of us know intimately) and the ways computing people have approached things.

    Interestingly, this cultural divide looked rather different in the 1970s, when publishers were looking at how to move to digital typesetting. Back then, printers and software developers could speak the same language. But that was before the ascendancy of the Desktop Publishing paradigm, which computerized the publishing industry while at the same time isolating it culturally. Those of us who learned how to do things the Quark way or the Adobe way had little in common with people who programmed databases or document-management systems. Desktop publishing technology isolated us in a smooth, self-contained universe of toolbars, grid lines, and laser proofs.

    So, now that the reasons to get with this program, XML, loom large, how can we bridge this long-standing divide?

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  • Using the Web as a Production Platform

    The answer, I think, is right in front of you. The bridge is the Web, a technology and platform that is fundamentally based on XML, and which many publishers are by now comfortably familiar with. Perhaps not entirely comfortably, but at least most publishers are already working with the Web; they already either know or have on staff people who understand it and can work with it.

    The foundation of our argument is this: rather than looking at jumping to XML in its full, industrial complexity, which seems to be what the O'Reilly-backed StartWithXML initiative[6] is suggesting, publishers instead leverage existing tools and technologies—starting with the Web—as a means of getting XML workflows in place. This means making small investments and working with known tools rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars on XML software and rarefied consultants. It means re-thinking how the existing pieces of the production toolchain fit together; re-thinking the existing roles of software components already in use. It means, fundamentally, taking the Web seriously as a content platform, rather than thinking of it as something you need to get content out to, somehow. If nothing else, the Web represents an opportunity to think about editorial and production from outside the shrink-wrapped Desktop Publishing paradigm.

  • Is the Web made of Real XML?

    At this point some predictable objections can be heard: wait a moment, the Web isn’t really made out of XML; the HTML that makes up most of the Web is at best the bastard child of SGML, and it is far too flaky/unstructured/underpowered to be taken seriously.

    We counter by arguing that although HTML on the Web exists in a staggering array of different incarnations, and that the majority of it is indeed an unstructured mess, this does not undermine the general principle that basic, ubiquitous Web technologies can make a solid platform for content management, editorial process, and production workflow.

  • With the advent of a published XML standard in the late 1990s came the W3C’s adoption of XHTML: the realization of the Web’s native content markup as a proper XML document type. Today, its acceptance is almost ubiquitous, even while the majority of actual content out there may not be strictly conforming. The more important point is that most contemporary Web software, from browsers to authoring tools to content management systems (from blogs to enterprise systems), are capable of working with clean, valid XHTML. Or, to put the argument the other way around, clean, valid XHTML content plays absolutely seamlessly with everything else on the Web.[7]
  • The objection which follows, then, will be that even if we grant that XHTML is a real XML document type, that it is underpowered for “serious” content because it is almost entirely presentation (formatting) oriented; it lacks any semantic depth. In XHTML, a paragraph is a paragraph is a paragraph, as opposed to a section or an epigraph or a summary.
  • n contrast, more “serious” XML document types like DocBook[8] or DITA-derived schemas[9] are capable of making semantic distinctions about content chunks at a fine level of granularity and with a high degree of specificity.
  • So there is an argument for recalling the 80:20 rule here. If XHTML can provide 80% of the value with just 20% of the investment, then what exactly is the business case for spending the other 80% to achieve that last 20% of value? We suspect the ratio is actually quite a bit steeper than 80:20 for most publishers.
  • Furthermore, just to get technical for a moment, XHTML is extensible in a fairly straightforward way, through the common “class” attribute on each element. Web developers have long leveraged this kind of extensibility in the elaboration of “microformats” for semantic-web applications.[10] There is no reason why publishers shouldn’t think to use XHTML’s simple extensibility in a similar way for their own ends.
  • XHTML, on the other hand, is supported by a vast array of quotidian software, starting with the ubiquitous Web browser. For this very reason, XHTML is in fact employed as a component part of several more specialized document types (ONIX and ePub among them).
  • Why re-invent a general-purpose prose representation when XHTML already does the job?
  • It is worth pausing for a moment to consider the role of XHTML in the ePub standard for ebook content. An ePub file is, anatomically, a simply disguised zip archive. Inside the zip archive are a few standard component parts: there are specialized files that declare metadata about the book, and about the format of the book. And then there is the book’s content, represented in XHTML. An ePub book is a Web page in a wrapper.
      • To sum up the general argument: the Web as it already exists presents incredible value to publishers, as a platform for doing XML content management with existing (and often free) tools, and without having to go blindly into the unknown. At this point, we can offer a few design guidelines:

        • prefer existing and/or ubiquitous tools over specialized ones wherever possible;
        • prefer free software over proprietary systems where possible;
        • prefer simple tools controlled and coordinated by human beings over fully automated (and therefore complex) systems;
        • play to our strengths: use Web software for storing and managing content, use layout software for layout, and keep editors and production people in charge of their own domains.
  • Putting the Pieces Together: A Prototype
  • At the SFU Master of Publishing Program, we have been chipping away at this general line of thinking for a few years. Over that time, Web content management systems have been getting more and more sophisticated, all the while getting more streamlined and easier to use. (NB: if you have a blog, you have a Web content management system.) The Web is beginning to be recognized as a writing and editing environment used by millions of people. And the ways in which content is represented, stored, and exchanged online have become increasingly robust and standardized.
  • The missing piece of the puzzle has been print production: how can we move content from its malleable, fluid form on line into the kind of high-quality print production environments we’ve come to expect after two decades of Desktop Publishing?
  • Anyone who has tried to print Web content knows that the existing methods leave much to be desired (hyphenation and justification, for starters). In the absence of decent tools for this, most publishers quite naturally think of producing the print content first, and then think about how to get material onto the Web for various purposes. So we tend to export from Word, or from Adobe, as something of an afterthought.
  • While this sort of works, it isn’t elegant, and it completely ignores the considerable advantages of Web-based content management.
  • Content managed online is stored in one central location, accessible simultaneously to everyone in your firm, available anywhere you have an Internet connection, and usually exists in a much more fluid format than Word files. If only we could manage the editorial flow online, and then go to print formats at the end, instead of the other way around. At SFU, we made several attempts to make this work by way of the supposed “XML import” capabilities of various Desktop Publishing tools, without much success.[12]
  • In the winter of 2009, Adobe solved this part of the problem for us with the introduction of its Creative Suite 4. What CS4 offers is the option of a complete XML representation of an InDesign document: what Adobe calls IDML (InDesign Markup Language).
  • The IDML file format is—like ePub—a simply disguised zip archive that, when unpacked, reveals a cluster of XML files that represent all the different facets of an InDesign document: layout spreads, master pages, defined styles, colours, and of course, the content.
  • IDML is a well thought-out XML standard that achieves two very different goals simultaneously: it preserves all of the information that InDesign needs to do what it does; and it is broken up in a way that makes it possible for mere mortals (or at least our Master of Publishing students) to work with it.
  • What this represented to us in concrete terms was the ability to take Web-based content and move it into InDesign in a straightforward way, thus bridging Web and print production environments using existing tools and skillsets, with a little added help from free software.
  • We would take clean XHTML content, transform it to IDML-marked content, and merge that with nicely designed templates in InDesign.
  • The result is an almost push-button publication workflow, which results in a nice, familiar InDesign document that fits straight into the way publishers actually do production.
  • Tracing the steps

    To begin with, we worked backwards, moving the book content back to clean XHTML.

  • The simplest method for this conversion—and if you want to create Web content, this is an excellent route—was to use Adobe’s “Export to Digital Editions” option, which creates an ePub file.
  • Recall that ePub is just XHTML in a wrapper, so within the ePub file was a relatively clean XHTML document. It was somewhat cleaner (that is, the XHTML tagging was simpler and less cluttered) than InDesign’s other Web-oriented exports, possibly because Digital Editions is a well understood target, compared with somebody’s website.
  • In order to achieve our target of clean XHTML, we needed to do some editing; the XHTML produced by InDesign’s “Digital Editions” export was presentation-oriented. For instance, bulleted list items were tagged as paragraphs, with a class attribute identifying them as list items. Using the search-and-replace function, we converted such structures to proper XHTML list and list-item elements. Our guiding principle was to make the XHTML as straightforward as possible, not dependent on any particular software to interpret it.
  • We broke the book’s content into individual chapter files; each chapter could then carry its own basic metadata, and the pages conveniently fit our Web content management system (which is actually just a wiki). We assembled a dynamically generated table of contents for the 12 chapters, and created a cover page. Essentially, the book was entirely Web-based at this point.
  • When the book chapters are viewed online, they are formatted via a CSS2 stylesheet that defines a main column for content as well as dedicating screen real estate for navigational elements. We then created a second template to render the content for exporting; this was essentially a bare-bones version of the book with no navigation and minimal styling. Pages (or even the entire book) can be exported (via the “Save As...” function in a Web browser) for use in either print production or ebook conversion. At this point, we required no skills beyond those of any decent Web designer.
  • Integrating with CS4 for Print

    Adobe’s IDML language defines elements specific to InDesign; there is nothing in the language that looks remotely like XHTML. So a mechanical transformation step is needed to convert the XHTML content into something InDesign can use. This is not as hard as it might seem.

  • Both XHTML and IDML are composed of straightforward, well-documented structures, and so transformation from one to the other is, as they say, “trivial.” We chose to use XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transforms) to do the work. XSLT is part of the overall XML specification, and thus is very well supported in a wide variety of tools. Our prototype used a scripting engine called xsltproc, a nearly ubiquitous piece of software that we found already installed as part of Mac OS X (contemporary Linux distributions also have this as a standard tool), though any XSLT processor would work.
  • In other words, we don’t need to buy InCopy, because we just replaced it with the Web. Our wiki is now plugged directly into our InDesign layout. It even automatically updates the InDesign document when the content changes. Credit is due at this point to Adobe: this integration is possible because of the open file format in the Creative Suite 4.
  • We wrote an XSLT transformation script[18] that converted the XHTML content from the Web into an InCopy ICML file. The script itself is less than 500 lines long, and was written and debugged over a period of about a week by amateurs (again, the people named at the start of this article). The script runs in a couple of seconds, and the resulting .icml file can then be “placed” directly into an InDesign template. The ICML file references an InDesign stylesheet, so the template file can be set up with a house-styled layout, master pages, and stylesheet definitions for paragraphs and character ranges.
  • Rather than a public-facing website, our system relies on the Web as a content management platform—of course a public face could easily be added.
  • It should be noted that the Book Publishing 1 proof-of-concept was artificially complex; we began with a book laid out in InDesign and ended up with a look-alike book laid out in InDesign. But next time—for instance, when we publish Book Publishing 2—we can begin the process with the content on the Web, and keep it there throughout the editorial process. The book’s content could potentially be written and edited entirely online, as Web content, and then automatically poured into an InDesign template at proof time. “Just in time,” as they say.

    This represents an entirely new way of thinking of book production. With a Web-first orientation, it makes little sense to think of the book as “in print” or “out of print”—the book is simply available, in the first place online; in the second place in derivative digital formats; and third, but really not much more difficult, in print-ready format, via the usual InDesign CS print production system publishers are already familiar with.

  • Creating Ebook Files

    Creating electronic versions from XHTML source is vastly simpler than trying to generate these out of the existing print process. The ePub version is extremely easy to generate; so is online marketing copy or excerpts for the Web, since the content begins life Web-native.

  • Since an ePub file is essentially XHTML content in a special wrapper, all that is required is that we properly “wrap” our XHTML content. Ideally, the content in an ePub file is broken into chapters (as ours was) and a table of contents file is generated in order to allow easy navigation within an ebook reader. We used Julian Smart’s free tool eCub[19] to simply and automatically generate the ePub wrapper and the table of contents. The only custom development we did was to create a CSS stylesheet for the ebook so that headings and paragraph indents looked the way we wanted. Starting with XHTML content, creating ePub is almost too easy.
  • today, we are able to put the process together using nothing but standard, relatively ubiquitous Web tools: the Web itself as an editing and content management environment, standard Web scripting tools for the conversion process, and the well-documented IDML file format to integrate the layout tool.
  • Our project demonstrates that Web technologies are indeed good enough to use in an XML-oriented workflow; more specialized and expensive options are not necessarily required. For massive-scale enterprise publishing, this approach may not offer enough flexibility, and the challenge of adding and extracting extra semantic richness may prove more trouble than it's worth.
  • But for smaller firms who are looking at the straightforward benefits of XML-based processes—single source publishing, online content and workflow management, open and accessible archive formats, greater online discoverability—here is a way forward.
  • The result is very simple and easy to use. Our demonstration requires that a production editor run the XSLT transformation script manually, but there is no reason why this couldn’t be built directly into the Web content management system so that exporting the content to print ran the transformation automatically. The resulting file would then be “placed” in InDesign and proofed.
  • The final piece of our puzzle, the ability to integrate print production, was made possible by Adobe's release of InDesign with an open XML file format. Since the Web's XHTML is also XML, is can be easily and confidently transformed to the InDesign format.
  • Such a workflow—beginning with the Web and exporting to print—is surely more in line with the way we will do business in the 21st century, where the Web is the default platform for reaching audiences, developing content, and putting the pieces together. It is time, we suggest, for publishers to re-orient their operations and start with the Web.
  • Using the Web as a Production Platform
  •  
    I was looking for an answer to a problem Marbux had presented, and found this interesting article.  The issue was that of the upcoming conversion of the Note Case Pro (NCP) layout engine to the WebKit layout engine, and what to do about the NCP document format.

    My initial reaction was to encode the legacy NCP document format in XML, and run an XSLT to a universal pivot format like TEI-XML.  From there, the TEI-XML community would provide all the XSLT transformation routines for conversion to ODF, OOXML, XHTML, ePUB and HTML/CSS.

    Researching the problems one might encounter with this approach, I found this article.  Fascinating stuff.

    My take away is that TEI-XML would not be as effective a "universal pivot point" as XHTML.  Or perhaps, if NCP really wants to get aggressive; IDML - InDesign Markup Language.

    As an after thought, i was thinking that an alternative title to this article might have been, "Working with Web as the Center of Everything".
Paul Merrell

Leaked: ITU's secret Internet surveillance standard discussion draft - Boing Boing - 0 views

  • Yesterday morning, I wrote about the closed-door International Telecommunications Union meeting where they were working on standardizing "deep packet inspection" -- a technology crucial to mass Internet surveillance. Other standards bodies have refused to touch DPI because of the risk to Internet users that arises from making it easier to spy on them. But not the ITU.

    The ITU standardization effort has been conducted in secret, without public scrutiny. Now, Asher Wolf writes,

  • I publicly asked (via Twitter) if anyone could give me access to documents relating to the ITU's DPI recommendations, now endorsed by the U.N. The ITU's senior communications officer, Toby Johnson, emailed me a copy of their unpublished policy recommendations.

    OOOPS!

    5 hours later, they emailed, asking me not to publish it, in part or in whole, and that it was for my eyes only.

    Please publish it (credit me for sending it to you.)

    Also note:

    1. The recommendations *NEVER* discuss the impact of DPI.

  • 2. A FEW EXAMPLES OF POTENTIAL DPI USE CITED BY THE ITU:

    "I.9.2 DPI engine use case: Simple fixed string matching for BitTorrent"
    "II.3.4 Example “Forwarding copy right protected audio content”"
    "II.3.6 Example “Detection of a specific transferred file from a particular user”"
    "II.4.2 Example “Security check – Block SIP messages (across entire SIP traffic) with specific content types”"
    "II.4.5 Example “Identify particular host by evaluating all RTCP SDES packets”"
    "II.4.6 Example “Measure Spanish Jabber traffic”"
    "II.4.7 Example “Blocking of dedicated games”"
    "II.4.11 Example “Identify uploading BitTorrent users”"
    "II.4.13 Example “Blocking Peer-to-Peer VoIP telephony
    with proprietary end-to-end application control protocols”"
    "II.5.1 Example “Detecting a specific Peer-to-Peer VoIP telephony with proprietary end-to-end application control protocols”"

Paul Merrell

Hey ITU Member States: No More Secrecy, Release the Treaty Proposals | Electronic Front... - 0 views

  • ...4 more comments...
  •  
    The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will hold the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) in December in Dubai, an all-important treaty-writing event where ITU Member States will discuss the proposed revisions to the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR). The ITU is a United Nations agency responsible for international telecom regulation, a bureaucratic, slow-moving, closed regulatory organization that issues treaty-level provisions for international telecommunication networks and services.

    The ITR, a legally binding international treaty signed by 178 countries, defines the boundaries of ITU's regulatory authority and provides "general principles" on international telecommunications. However, media reports indicate that some proposed amendments to the ITR-a negotiation that is already well underway-could potentially expand the ITU's mandate to encompass the Internet.
  •  
    The ITU Member States should urgently lift restrictions on sharing the preparatory materials and ITR amendments, and release the documents. The current preparatory process lacks the transparency, openness of process, and inclusiveness of all relevant stakeholders that is the hallmark of Internet policy-making. A truly multi-stakeholder participation model requires equal footing for each relevant stakeholders including civil society, the private sector, the technical community, and participating governments. These principles are the minimum that one could expect following commitments made at the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS). The ITU Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré reiterated these commitments last year at the Internet Governance Forum in Kenya:

    In its own words, the "ITU remains firmly committed to the WSIS process," and it considers itself to have "made considerable progress in many areas in advancing the implementation of the WSIS outcomes."

    And in practice? Not likely. This is why EFF, European Digital Rights, CIPPIC and CDT and a coalition of civil society organizations from around the world are demanding that the ITU Secretary General, the WCIT-12 Council Working Group, and ITU Member States open up the WCIT-12 and the Council working group negotiations, by immediately releasing all the preparatory materials and Treaty proposals. If it affects the digital rights of citizens across the globe, the public needs to know what is going on and deserves to have a say. The Council Working Group is responsible for the preparatory work towards WCIT-12, setting the agenda for and consolidating input from participating governments and Sector Members.
  •  
    We demand full and meaningful participation for civil society in its own right, and without cost, at the Council Working Group meetings and the WCIT on equal footing with all other stakeholders, including participating governments. A transparent, open process that is inclusive of civil society at every stage is crucial to creating sound policy.

    Respect the multi-stakeholder process

    Civil society has good reason to be concerned regarding an expanded ITU policy-making role. To begin with, the institution does not appear to have high regard for the distributed multi-stakeholder decision making model that has been integral to the development of an innovative, successful and open Internet. In spite of commitments at WSIS to ensure Internet policy is based on input from all relevant stakeholders, the ITU has consistently put the interests of one stakeholder-Governments-above all others. This is discouraging, as some government interests are inconsistent with an open, innovative network. Indeed, the conditions which have made the Internet the powerful tool it is today emerged in an environment where the interests of all stakeholders are given equal footing, and existing Internet policy-making institutions at least aspire, with varying success, to emulate this equal footing. This formula is enshrined in the Tunis Agenda, which was committed to at WSIS in 2005:
  •  
    83. Building an inclusive development-oriented Information Society will require unremitting multi-stakeholder effort. We thus commit ourselves to remain fully engaged-nationally, regionally and internationally-to ensure sustainable implementation and follow-up of the outcomes and commitments reached during the WSIS process and its Geneva and Tunis phases of the Summit. Taking into account the multifaceted nature of building the Information Society, effective cooperation among governments, private sector, civil society and the United Nations and other international organizations, according to their different roles and responsibilities and leveraging on their expertise, is essential.

    84. Governments and other stakeholders should identify those areas where further effort and resources are required, and jointly identify, and where appropriate develop, implementation strategies, mechanisms and processes for WSIS outcomes at international, regional, national and local levels, paying particular attention to people and groups that are still marginalized in their access to, and utilization of, ICTs.
  •  
    Indeed, the ITU's current vision of Internet policy-making is less one of distributed decision-making, and more one of 'taking control.' For example, in an interview conducted last June with ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Touré, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin raised the suggestion that the union might take control of the Internet: "We are thankful to you for the ideas that you have proposed for discussion," Putin told Touré in that conversation. "One of them is establishing international control over the Internet using the monitoring and supervisory capabilities of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)."

    Rights to online expression are unlikely to fare much better than privacy under an ITU model. During last year's IGF in Kenya, a voluntary code of conduct was issued to further restrict free expression online. A group of nations (including China, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) released a Resolution for the UN General Assembly titled, "International Code of Conduct for Information Security." The Code seems to be designed to preserve and protect national powers in information and communication. In it, governments pledge to curb "the dissemination of information that incites terrorism, secessionism or extremism or that undermines other countries' political, economic and social stability, as well as their spiritual and cultural environment." This overly broad provision accords any state the right to censor or block international communications, for almost any reason.
  •  
    We urge the ITU Secretary General et al to ensure that the outcomes of the WCIT and its preparatory process truly represent the common interests of all who hold a stake in the future of our information society. If your government is a member of ITU, demand transparency and tell them to open the process and disclose the WCIT preparatory documents and Treaty amendments.
Paul Merrell

Internet powers flip the IPv6 switch (FAQ) | Business Tech - CNET News - 1 views

  • What began as a 24-hour test a year ago will become business as usual on Wednesday as a range of big-name Internet companies permanently switch on the next-generation IPv6 networking technology.

    And now there's no turning back.

    "IPv6 is being enabled and kept on by more than 1,500 Web sites and ISPs in 22 countries," said Arbor Networks, a company that monitors global Internet traffic closely.

Gary Edwards

The GPL Does Not Depend on the Copyrightability of APIs | Public Knowledge - 0 views

  •  
    Excellent legal piece explaining the options and methods of how software programs use licensed and copyrighted third party libraries through an API. Finally, some clear thinking about Google Android and the Oracle Java Law Suit.


    excerpt:
    Another option for a developer is to do what Google did when it created Android, and create replacement code libraries that are compatible with the existing code libraries, but which are new copyrighted works. Being "compatible" in this context means that the new libraries are called in the same way that the old libraries are--that is, using the same APIs. But the actual copyrighted code that is being called is a new work. As long as the new developer didn't actually copy code from the original libraries, the new libraries are not infringing. It does not infringe on the copyright of a piece of software to create a new piece of software that works the same way; copyright protects the actual expression (lines of code) but not the functionality of a program. The functionality of a program is protected by patent, or not at all.


    In the Oracle/Google case, no one is arguing that code libraries themselves are not copyrightable. Of course they are and this is why the Google/Oracle dispute has no bearing on the enforceability of the GPL. Instead, the argument is about whether the method of using a code library, the APIs, is subject to a copyright that is independent of the copyright of the code itself. If the argument that APIs are not copyrightable prevails, programs that are created by statically-linking GPL'd code libraries will still be considered derivative works of the code libraries and will still have to be released under the GPL.


    Though irrelevant to the enforceability of the GPL, the Oracle/Google dispute is still interesting. Oracle is claiming that Google, by creating compatible, replacement code libraries that are "called" in the same way as Oracle's code libraries (that is, using the same APIs), infringed
Gary Edwards

This Internet provider pledges to put your privacy first. Always. | Privacy Inc. - CNET... - 0 views

  •  
    Very informative article.  Kudos to Marbux.  Explains how warrantless (illegal) surveillance by Government works, including the un-Constitutional strong arm tactics they use on Internet Service Providers to access your Web communications and activities.  Marbux has it right about the Calyx Project; "Where do i sign up?"

    Good read!

    excerpt:
    Nicholas Merrill is planning to revolutionize online privacy with a concept as simple as it is ingenious: a telecommunications provider designed from its inception to shield its customers from surveillance.
    Merrill, 39, who previously ran a New York-based Internet provider, told CNET that he's raising funds to launch a national "non-profit telecommunications provider dedicated to privacy, using ubiquitous encryption" that will sell mobile phone service and, for as little as $20 a month, Internet connectivity.
    The ISP would not merely employ every technological means at its disposal, including encryption and limited logging, to protect its customers. It would also -- and in practice this is likely more important -- challenge government surveillance demands of dubious legality or constitutionality.
Gary Edwards

Goldilocks SEO | SEO Book.com - 3 views

  •  
    Funny graphic showing how to engineer and maneuver your web sites to get the most out of Google Search Engine.  Excellent advice positioned in a cute, but surprisingly effective and contrasting graphic format.  
Paul Merrell

Firefox Add-On Bypasses SOPA DNS Blocking | TorrentFreak - 1 views

  • The pending Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) continues to inspire opponents to come up with creative solutions to circumvent it.

    A new anti-SOPA add-on for Firefox, titled “DeSopa,” is such a counter measure.

    When installed, users can click a single button to resolve a blocked domain via foreign DNS servers, bypassing all domestic DNS blockades and allowing the user to browse the site though the bare IP-address (if supported).

  • “It could be that a few members of congress are just not tech savvy and don’t understand that it is technically not going to work, at all. So here’s some proof that I hope will help them err on the side of reason and vote SOPA down,” he adds.
  • If browsing a site through a single IP address is not supported, this other anti-SOPA plugin provides an alternative.
Gary Edwards

HTML5 Will Transform Mobile Business Intelligence and CRM - 0 views

  • "HTML5 is a big push forward, especially considering how it handles different media as well as cross-device portability," said Tiemo Winterkamp, senior vice president of global marketing at business intelligence (BI) vendor arcplan
  • one big benefit of HTML5 is that browsers will be able to integrate additional content like multimedia, mail and RIA with enhanced rendering capabilities. And plans have been made to allow future HTML5 browsers to securely access sensor and touch information, which makes HTML5 a viable alternative to native application development for such functions.
    • Gary Edwards
       
      The browser becomes the compound document container, but HTML5 is clearly the document format.  Any application or Office Suite capable of creating HTML5 documents, or connecting, linking and embedding information and application services in another apps HTML5 document would be cloud productivity platform ready.  Similar to a local Windows workgroup, the database and transaction processing servers can be in the cloud, connecting to browser based apps and interfaces where the essence of the new compound document is created or interactively expressed.  Kind of cool having GPS built into the information stream instead of having to type in a zip code, and refreshing a legacy compound document or compound chart.
  • With HTML5, nearly every piece of internet content we can envision today will be able to be coded in HTML, Javascript and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and therefore automatically portable to all environments and browsers supporting HTML5.
  • ...1 more annotation...
  • "This approach is very attractive for BI vendors who aim to provide business critical information anywhere, anytime and on any device," said Winterkamp. "The result is an attractive, multi-functional user interface with as little design and deployment effort as possible. And more importantly, you only need to develop these apps once for all devices."
  •  
    Good article on the increasing use of HTML5 for business apps.  The focus is on mobile devices, even though HTML5 clearly targets anything capable of running a WebKit class browser.  The article also demonstrates, albeit unwittingly, the use of HTML5 as a cloud platform "Compound Document" model.  Something far more important than the comparatively limited focus of BI and CRM mobility apps.  

    A Cloud Producitvity Platform will replace the legacy Desktop Productivity Platform anchored on Microsoft's Windows-MSOffice workgroup networking.  Just as Compound Documents were the fuel of desktop productivity apps and services, a new breed of compound documents will fuel cloud productivity based workgroups.  The article even demonstrates the basics of embedding charts, interactive feeds, media  and database streams in HTML5 document interfaces.  Still missing real time messaging between apps, but clearly the HTML5 cloud compound document model has arrived.

    excerpt: HTML5 will lead to richer mobile BI and CRM apps that can be used across browsers and devices.

    HTML has evolved considerably since it was first mapped out by Tim Berners-Lee more than 20 years ago. Now we're up to HTML 5.0, which could have a significant effect on the business intelligence and CRM landscape.

Gary Edwards

Web 2.0 Summit 2011 - Co-produced by UBM TechWeb & O'Reilly Conferences, October 17 - 1... - 1 views

  •  
    Web 2.0 Summit Is Underway.  Top notch list including Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Marc Benioff (Salesforce), Genevieve Bell (Intel), Charlie Cheever (Quora), Tony Conrad (About.me), Dick Costolo (Twitter), Frank Cooper (Pepsico), Dennis Crowley (Foursquare), Michael Dell (Dell), John Donahue (eBay) and more. Monday @ Palace Hotel, San Francisco, CA  

    The entire Web 2.0 Summit program will be live streamed from Monday, October 17 - Wednesday, October 19.
Gary Edwards

Five reasons why Microsoft can't compete (and Steve Ballmer isn't one of them) - 2 views

  • discontinued
  • 1. U.S. and European antitrust cases put lawyers and non-technologists in charge of important final product decisions.
  • The company long resisted releasing pertinent interoperability information in the United States. On the European Continent, this resistance led to huge fines. Meanwhile, Microsoft steered away from exclusive contracts and from pushing into adjacent markets.
  • ...11 more annotations...
  • Additionally, Microsoft curtailed development of the so-called middleware at the core of the U.S. case: E-mail, instant messaging, media playback and Web browsing:
  • Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates learned several important lessons from IBM. Among them: The value of controlling key technology endpoints. For IBM, it was control interfaces. For Microsoft: Computing standards and file formats
  • 2. Microsoft lost control of file formats.
      • Charles Simonyi, the father of Microsoft, and his team achieved two important goals by the mid 1990s:

        • Established format standards that resolved problems sharing documents created by disparate products.
    • nsured that Microsoft file formats would become the adopted desktop productivity standards.

    Format lock-in helped drive Office sales throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s -- and Windows along with it. However, the Web emerged as a potent threat, which Gates warned about in his May 1995 "Internet Tidal Wave" memo. Gates specifically identified HTML, HTTP and TCP/IP as formats outside Microsoft's control. "Browsing the Web, you find almost no Microsoft file formats," Gates wrote. He observed not seeing a single Microsoft file format "after 10 hours of browsing," but plenty of Apple QuickTime videos and Adobe PDF documents. He warned that "the Internet is the most important single development to come along since the IBM PC was introduced in 1981. It is even more important than the arrival of the graphical user interface (GUI)."

  • 3. Microsoft's senior leadership is middle-aging.
  • Google resembles Microsoft in the 1980s and 1990s:
  • Microsoft's middle-management structure is too large.
  • 5. Microsoft's corporate culture is risk adverse.
  • Microsoft's
  • .

    Microsoft was nimbler during the transition from mainframe to PC dominance. IBM had built up massive corporate infrastructure, large customer base and revenue streams attached to both. With few customers, Microsoft had little to lose but much to gain; the upstart took risks IBM wouldn't for fear of losing customers or jeopardizing existing revenue streams. Microsoft's role is similar today. Two product lines, Office and Windows, account for the majority of Microsoft products, and the majority of sales are to enterprises -- the same kind of customers IBM had during the mainframe era.

  •  
    Excellent summary and historical discussion about Microsoft and why they can't seem to compete.  Lot's of anti trust and monopolist swtuff - including file formats and interop lock ins (end points).  Microsoft's problems started with the World Wide Web and continue with mobile devices connected to cloud services.
Gary Edwards

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - Learning from our Mistakes: The Failure of OpenID, Ato... - 1 views

  •  
    The Failure of XML on the Web
    At the turn of the last decade, XML could do no wrong. There was no problem that couldn't be solved by applying XML to it and every technology was going to be replaced by it. XML was going to kill HTML. XML was going to kill CORBA, EJB and DCOM as we moved to web services. XML was a floor wax and a dessert topping. Unfortunately, after over a decade it is clear that XML has not and is unlikely to ever be the dominant way we create markup for consumption by browsers or how applications on the Web communicate.
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