HTML Goes To 5

Just when I thought I knew something about HTML, they bring out HTML 5. That's the upcoming major revision of the HyperText Markup Language (HTML), which is the main method of making content (like this page) on the World Wide Web.

HTML's development stopped at HTML 4.01 in 1999, but web content has evolved so much since then that current HTML specs are inadequate for today's requirements.

Already, the new mobile version of Gmail running on the iPhone now and the new mobile version of Google Maps that will be available makes use of new features only available in HTML 5.

Who works on this HTML? The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the organization that oversees the web's standard protocols and guidelines. A draft of HTML 5 was first developed by the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG). That group formed in 2004 consisting of representatives of Apple, the Mozilla Foundation, and Opera Software. And the W3C HTML Working Group was formed in 2007 to develop the specifications of HTML 5.

How will it affect you if you're not someone who makes web pages using code? There are a number of differences from HTML 4 but you probably won't notice them because they will appear to you as something like a faster loading page and new options on web sites - but HTML is hiding behind all this. Just go up to the top of the browser you're using right now, select VIEW, and PAGE SOURCE and take a peek. Then, sit back and be glad that someone is watching out for all that code.

More info and links at wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML_5

Open Source Miro Video Player Version 2

Miro promo

The Miro open-source video player has a new version 2.0 that is pretty much a total new design. New interface, you can browse while you watch, pop out any video to an external window and it seems faster even though hey say it will use less memory.Miro can play virtually any type of video file - Quicktime, WMV, MPEG, AVI, XVID, and more.  For Windows and Mac.

You can add streaming sites (like Hulu) and download sites (like Archive.org) to the sidebar and then download them to Miro with a single click. With YouTube's new HD support, the video quality can be incredible.

And Miro is NOT a company but a non-profit creation with volunteers around the world who created it in the spirit of openness
Miro is created by the Participatory Culture Foundation (a non-profit organization) and a global community of volunteers: coders, translators, testers, community leaders, Miro Guide moderators, and more. We're all working together with a shared goal: to create a more open and democratic video space.

You can actually get involved. With only about 40% of Miro users in English-speaking countries, they need help translating their website, and the Miro Guide. Tech types can test and code. User help new users by answering questions in the Miro discussion forums.

Get open!

Content Creators Will Rule The World

Two recent reports that have been referenced by plenty of other bloggers recently are the Horizon 2009 report, and the Web Use Project's "The Participation Divide: Content Creation and Sharing in the Digital Age"

Of course, you should read them for yourself, but, just in case you don't, here are 8 takeaways that resonated for me.

1. From the Horizon report - No shock here: "Experience with and affinity for games as learning tools is an increasingly universal characteristic among those entering higher education and the workforce." That's something we have seen in other reports like the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Despite what educators generally continue to believe, the studies found that massively multiplayer and other online game experience (which is common among our students) is rich, varied and offers opportunities for increased social interaction and civic engagement among this group. Among this group - meaning for your students, not for you. When game-based learning strategies work, it's because there is active participation and interaction. I believe that those two are still desired results in the classroom.

2. What is on the horizon for EdTEch?  In the next year, mobile and cloud computing - and they blend pretty well. Looking ahead 2 to 3 years, Geo-Everything (as in GPS+) and the Personal Web.

3. If you want to start on your five year plan and budget, the suggestions would be "Semantic-Aware Applications" (read the report) and Smart Objects.

4. One thing that caught my eye in the trends section of the Horizon Report was the comment: "Increasingly, those who use technology in ways that expand their global connections are more likely to advance, while those who do not will find themselves on the sidelines." Increasing globalization continues to affect the way we work, collaborate, and communicate.

From the Web Use Project report abstract (my emphasis):
This paper looks at the prevalence of creative activity and sharing in an age when the barriers to disseminating material have been considerably lowered compared to earlier times. We use unique data to explore the extent to which young adults create video, music, writing and artistic photography, as well as the prevalence of sharing such material online. Findings suggest that despite new opportunities to engage in such distribution of content, relatively few people are taking advantage of these recent developments. Moreover, neither creation nor sharing is randomly distributed among a diverse group of young adults. Consistent with existing literature creative activity is related to a person's socioeconomic status as measured by parental schooling. The novel act of sharing online, however, is considerably different with men much more likely to engage in it. However, once we control for Internet user skill, men and women are equally likely to post their materials on the Web.
6. How do we explain that relatively few people are taking advantage of these recent developments? Do we need the classroom to be the place to introduce these new developments and technologies?

7. The findings show that students coming from an educated family (defined as at least one parent with a graduate degree) are much more likely to publish, and that “while it may be that digital media are leveling the playing field in terms of exposure to content, engaging in creative pursuits remains unequally distributed by social background.”

8. My favorite observation concerns yet another have/have-not gap with technology. There are clearly those creators who contribute to online content, and there are those (and they are the majority) who are still at Web 1.0 and remain consumers of content. According to the Web Use report, "Those who share their content publicly have the ability to set the agenda of public discussions and debates."

A New Business Model for Digital Music?

A relevant followup to my post about the demise of the Ruckus music service is this webinar from EDUCAUSE Live!

Choruss: A New Business Model for Digital Music with Jim Griffin, President
Choruss LLC. A one hour webinar on March 3, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Per-copy charges for music and other intellectual property made sense when copies were physical objects, but that business model is ill-suited to the digital world. The mismatch has led to thousands of lawsuits against students and other consumers, tens of thousands of infringement notices sent to campuses and commercial ISPs, and millions of wasted person-hours dealing with these issues. Recently an alternate approach has been gaining momentum: voluntary collective licensing.

In this model, endorsed by organizations as diverse as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Warner Music Group, a flat monthly fee is collected covering all music access by a group of participants, generally the subscribers of a particular network. The money is then distributed to copyright holders based on the relative frequency of access of each individual work.

Griffin will talk about promoting blanket licensing, describe the advantages of this model and his plans for a series of campus-based pilot projects starting this fall.
The event is free, but registration is required and virtual seating is limited. REGISTER NOW.

Early reports on the service say that a small music-royalty fee would be into tuition payments from students. This model could be expanded to make ISPs the collector of these micropayments. Payment for the use of music is probably the greatest obstacle to satisfying the music industry and its customers.

Those unable to watch the webinar live can visit the archives after the event or browse related EDUCAUSE resources on Campus or Subscription Music Services and Licensing.

EDUCAUSE Live! is a series of free, hour-long interactive web seminars on critical information technology topics in higher education. Each seminar is delivered live using online audio and video/image presentation technology, allowing you to interact directly with the host and guests through your web browser. Because enrollment in each live seminar is limited, register early. If a seminar you’re interested in is either filled or scheduled for an inconvenient time, you can access the seminar afterward in the EDUCAUSE Live! archives, where you’ll find recordings of all past seminars.

Free Television

Lately, I have surprised myself by watching more television programs online. As a long time film buff and child of television, I like a big screen. I decried watching video on small devices like mobile devices. Lawrence of Arabia on an iPhone? Ridiculous. 

Where's Lawrence?

My son gave me the first two seasons of 30 Rock on DVD for Christmas. He was surprised that I had never watched it and just knew I would like it. He was right. I have consuming episodes in small portions (not a 30 Rock marathon weekend which is just more of what is wrong with American consumption). I had avoided watching the current season because I wanted to catch up in the story arcs. Then I discovered that new episodes are available on Hulu.com.

What Hulu offers won't be a substitute for those DVDs, and it can only include "up to five trailing episodes of the current season for a limited time."  What I'm using the service for is catching up on missed episodes. If I was more media-crazed at home, I could set things up to show them on a bigger screen than my laptop, but I have surprised myself. I'm okay with watching it on the laptop. 30 Rock is not Lawrence of Arabia and that's part of it.

Hulu also offers other shows past and present. I can even set up a queue that will save and remind me of episodes that are available. So, there's House and Fringe, but I also found classics that I loved like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show, and shows that might not be classics but that I'm curious to revisit (Night Gallery and Time Tunnel) or that people keep telling me to try (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia).

Hulu also offers clips and other content (like tonight's first address to Congress by President Obama) and I can also embed many of the offerings.

TV.com is another big site. Hulu.com recently pulled its videos from TV.com and is removing their content from another site called Boxee. CNet owns TV.com and it was pretty boring when I first looked at it. But CBS bought CNet last year, and the site is turning into a Hulu type of video portal.

So, Hulu was early to start and seems to have more streaming videos from more shows, but the competitors are lining up. TV.com seems to be moving towards more emphasis on the social aspects of watching online videos as a way to distinguish their service. Of course, networks also offer some of this content on their own sites.

There is money to be made through advertising, though it certainly isn't what these networks are used to getting. According to AdAge, TV.com was getting 10% of the ad revenue from views that originated from TV.com and can probably negotiate its own content deals now.