Archive for June, 2006

Google Web Toolkit (GWT)

The recently released Google Web Toolkit (GWT) is a comprehensive set of APIs and tools that lets you create dynamic Web applications almost entirely in Java code. However, GWT is something of an all-or-nothing approach, targeted at a relatively small niche in Web application development market. This article shows you what GWT can do and will help you decide if it’s the best tool to use for your web development.

The End of the Internet!

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Ok kids. The Internet is in trouble. Big Trouble! Let me make this simple for your overly caffinated mind. Telecommunication companies want to charge websites different prices for moving different types of data across “their” lines. If you host videos and other “bandwidth intensive” content, your hosting bill will go up! The days of free vid content from the Google, YouTube, etc will be gone!

The problem is that if we allow the telecommunications companies to decide which data is more important and should be moved faster, they’re going to pick the data that they are getting PAID the most for. Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist.org explains where this will lead in this article on CNN.com:

Let’s say you call Joe’s Pizza and the first thing you hear is a message saying you’ll be connected in a minute or two, but if you want, you can be connected to Pizza Hut right away. That’s not fair, right? You called Joe’s and want some Joe’s pizza. Well, that’s how some telecommunications executives want the Internet to operate, with some Web sites easier to access than others. For them, this would be a money-making regime.

This issue and fight revolves around the concept of Net Neutrality. The concept is that everyone and every type of data gets equal access to the data pipes that make up the internet. As Craig Newmark says, “ When the Internet is neutral, everyone can use it, just like everyone can use public roads or airwaves. All businesses on the Internet get an equal shot at success.

The lobbyists for the telecommunication companies say that they’ll only charge extra for “premium routing”. Bullshit. Billy-Bob Smith, the CTO for BellSouth in Altanta told told the Washington Post he should be able to charge Yahoo extra so that it’s search engine would load faster than Google’s. In his own words, “ If I go to the airport, I can buy a coach standby ticket or a first-class ticket, ” Smith said. ” In the shipping business, I can get two-day air or six-day ground.

Also, don’t think I’m just talking about video files here! Anyone got a Vonage line? Yeah, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is F’ed if this goes through. Think about it, the companies pushing for these laws are the PHONE companies. They’d just love to force you back to paying ridiculous rates for local and long distance calling!

Te Internet was FOUNDED on the idea of equal access. It has thrived and pushed our economy on this principle. Do not think this is just some greedy grab of the Telco Industry that won’t get anywhere! It is hard to believe, but lawmakers in the House of Representatives have ALREADY passed a law (the COPE Act) allowing this. The Senate is now debating a similar law (The Consumer’s Choice and Broadband Deployment Act).

Time to get involved slackers! Do something to protect YOUR Internet! Look, I’m not saying you should spend any money. Just post on your blogs and ours, email your friends, let everyone know what’s going on! Also, HIT THIS LINK. If you never do anything else for any cause for the rest of your life, HIT THIS LINK! It’ll link you over to a page on SaveTheInternet.com with a list of seven things you can do to help the fight.

The first link is the easiest. It gives you a form to fill in that will email your representatives in Congress. Believe it or not, this stuff works. You tell these guys that you care about this and that you VOTE. Enough of us do this and they will actually listen. Not that they care about issues like internet access so much. But they damn sure want to get reelected!

For those looking for extra credit or who are actually interested, here’s some more useful links:

Fighting The Good Fight

-Don

BumpTop, Pushing the Desktop Metaphor

bumptop_th.jpgBumpTop is a new way of manipulating your GUI desktop with a graphics pen. Documents can be moved and piled (among other actions) as if they were real pieces of paper on a physical desktop. Simulated real physical interactions, such as documents pushing others out of the way as you move them around, are intended to increase the intuitiveness of the layout tool.

Given the messiness of my desks at work and home, I’m not so sure this will work for me, but it’s an interesting idea.

There’s a neat video demo linked from the site (and a ummm… GAY “hip-hop overview”) if you want to see BumpTop in action; unfortunately for Linux users, BumpTop seems to be Windows-only.

As I’ve seen it described on another blog, “not just another “me-too” alternative UI; a lot of effort and polish has been put into the (pen-based) interaction, resulting in a very natural way of interacting with collections of information. Less sci-fi than Minority Report, but far more likely to hit a desktop near you in the next few years.”

Also a visually similar project called lowfat, with an equally impressive video demo, is being developed — with enough sponsorship, the guys working on lowfat say it will go open source.

Browser Wars

browsers.jpgWith the continued evolution of the internet and more tools being developed or migrated online browsers are fighting to keep up. Wired has a quick look at the current status of the browser war and what different browsers are doing to try to stay ahead. From the article: ‘Already, IE has seen its U.S. market share on Windows computers drop to 90 percent from 97 percent two years ago, according to tracking by WebSideStory. Firefox’s share has steadily increased to 9 percent, with Opera’s negligible despite its innovations. WebSideStory analyst Geoff Johnston said Firefox must continue to improve just to maintain its share. Because IE automatically ships with Windows, he said, users satisfied with IE7 may not find enough reasons to download and install Firefox when they buy a new computer.’

Erik Spiekermann Speaks Out Against 2006 World Cup Design Concept

Erik Spiekermann, one of the founders of MetaDesign and one of Germany’s most respected designers, had no involvement in the design concept for the 2006 World Cup. He says “it’s just embarrassing,” and cites many reasons that have complicated the design process behind the current branding, including design by committee, trying to please everyone and lack of effective communication. Read the complete article here.




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