Google debuted its open, royalty-free WebM video format last month. Based on the open-source V8 video codec, WebM is meant as a challenger to the propriety H.264 video codec, which threatens to saddle web video with hefty licensing fees and royalties.
Google, Opera and Mozilla are easily its most prominent backers, with the trio pledging WebM support in their respective browsers. As for the rival camp, Apple's weight is firmly behind H.264, whereas another important patron, Microsoft, has decided to support both H.264 and WebM beginning with IE9.
“Like every codec, WebM is not immune to change; the difference in our project is that the improvements are publicly visible, and compatibility and implementation issues can be worked through in an open forum,” Jim Bankoski, Google's Codec Engineering Manager, wrote in a blog post.
Oh Optenet, you were doing so well laying out interesting statistics from your latest study, which shows that pornographic websites now account for over a third of the Web (37 percent, for those of you who were wondering), but then you had to go and sully it all by adding in commentary out from left-field.
We were totally fine looking at the hard numbers culled from a sample of 4 million URLs, and were even disgusted, as you probably guessed we would be, to learn that illegal content such as child pornography and illegal drug purchases has increased by 17 percent in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. And sure, we'll admit to being surprised that websites related to online RPGs, like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, and Grand Theft Auto 4, have skyrocketed by 212 percent in the first three months of 2010, but with statistics on drug purchases, child porn, and even terrorism thrown into the mix, was it really necessary to single out videogames as the bane of the Web?
Hit the jump to find out what has us so flabbergasted.
Prepare thy hoses. The recent announcement of the Safari 5 Web browser got me thinking--just how much of Apple's latest software iteration is already replicated in Firefox? In Google? I've never been a fan of the Safari browser myself--even the few times I would ever let my pristine hands be blackened by an unholy Apple device. But one has to give the company credit, in that they sometimes do come up with some pretty neat ideas.
Has Apple managed to improve Safari 5 leaps and bounds beyond its chief rivals, Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome? In short, no. A number of the new tricks and tidbits are already a part of one browser, or both, in some capacity. Some, that is, but not all. Just to make sure that you're getting the best-in-class experience on the Web, I've put together a short list of ways that you can embed or mimic the spirit of some of Safari 5's features in either aforementioned alternative Web browser.
I realize this is a little bit different than the usual freeware software roundup. And, yes, I realize you're about to flame me to bits for suggesting that anything touched by Apple is, in even the smallest of ways, better than a PC-based piece of hardware or software. Let's head this off at the pass by agreeing that cool features are cool features regardless of platform; I'm out of iPhones to break to prove my loyalty, faithful readers!
Whoops! Closed that tab. Not to fear--you can immediately reopen tab after tab, in order of their departure, by merely holding down shift+control and tapping the "t" key on your keyboard within Google Chrome. Easy, right?
Now, what happens if you want suddenly want to reopen a tab that you closed a few iterations ago? It seems kind of pointless (and arduous) to open eight different tabs to get to the one you wanted, only to have to reclose the additional seven just to rid them from your browser tabs for good. Too much work, if you ask me! And that's just where the extension Sexy Undo Close Tab comes into play. Heck, with a name like that, it's just hard to resist this add-on's... appeal.
The tool was used to good effect to solicit video and text questions when YouTube interviewed President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper earlier this year. An early adopter, singer-songwriter Kina Grannis is using Moderator to crowdsource the lyrics of her next song.
“You set the parameters for the dialogue, including the topic, the type of submissions, and the length of the conversation. Watch as submissions get voted up or down by your audience, and then respond to the top-voted submissions by posting a video on your channel,” YouTube wrote on its official blog.
“The platform operates in real-time, and you can remove any content that you or your audience flag as inappropriate. You can also embed the platform on your own website or blog.”
The New York Times, Stanford and Howcast are among the 12 users YouTube invited to set the ball rolling.
I can't count the number of times that a Web site prompts me to have some kind of Eureka! moment. If I read a slammin' review, I have to tell myself to investigate said product at my local retailer of choice. If I read an awesome article, I have to remind myself to consider subscribing to the magazine at some point in the future. If I see a really funny cat, well, I want to make note of what I can do to make my own cat look just as silly.
It's not very fun to keep a running Word document open to collect all these thoughts. Nor--heaven forbid--would I ever turn to the archaic concept of a yellow sticky note or manual notepad. Blegh. Thankfully, the Google Chrome extension Note Anywhere keeps me away from the Stone Age of note-taking by dropping the digital equivalent of said sticky notes right into my browser. And, yes, these notes stay with the given Web page I stick them on. That's just plain cool.
I'm not old, but I often find that the print versions of certain websites--literally, the button you click on that would otherwise format and send said articles directly to your hardware printer--are a lot easier on the eyes than their link-filled, advertising-drenched, "normal" counterparts.
But to get to this most sacred and pleasant of pages for any given article, you physically have to click the "print" button for everything you're trying to read. And when you're done, you have to back out an extra step in your browser--once to take you back to the "normal" version of the page, and once more to return to where you were previously. That's a lot of work just to treat yourself to a more eye-friendly format for Web text.
Of course, I wouldn't mention a problem if I didn't have a solution. In this case, the Chrome Extension "...Fit to Print" is not only an excellent, automatic solution for jumping to any site's "print" version, but it's also a clever play on a common journalistic phrase. That's bonus points right there.
If you're a hardcore Web browsing fiend (no, not that kind of hardcore), then the kinds of add-ons that likely interest you are the ones that enable you surf as fast as humanly possible. But trawling site, after site, after site is often limited by both your connection speed and the speed of the site/server you're accessing, not to mention a few other little factors here and there.
I can't do much to help you with that via a simple Firefox add-on. However, I can assist you in finding information faster on the Web. Specifically, I can show you how to access previews for interesting links before you take the time (and resources) to open them up in a new tab, scan the page, and close them (or use them to continue about your way.) This might not sound like much of a benefit to one who's used to dumping a ton of new tabs based on links throughout a Web site. But hear me out--I've used CoolPreviews and it's a pretty sweet deal.
Don't be surprised if the next version of Drupal runs slower than what you're used to, that's by design. According to Drupal project founder Dries Buytaert, Drupal 7 will sacarifice a bit of speed in order to build on scalability.
"Unfortunately, Drupal 7 will be a little slower than Drupal 6, but it will be much more scalable," said Dries Buytaert.
While it will run slower out of the box, the open source CMS will be able to power bigger sites, Buytaert added. Version 7 will feature 70 modules, including an image API, and significantly more code. But despite all that's being added, Drupal 7 won't spend years in development.
"First of all, it's very important that we get it out as soon as possible," Buytaert said when stressing the importance of maintaining momentum.
Drupal, which began life without a "grand vision," has become a prominent fixture in website design and is used by a number of big name sites, including NASA, Ubuntu, Popular Science, WhiteHourse.gov, and right here at MaximumPC.com, among others.
In a time when just about everyone has his or her own free Web show, it only makes sense that you come to the table fully prepared to rock it... with a little help, that is. Or if you aren't the kind of multimedia, Web 2.0 junkie that I'm talking about, then you'll at least want to check out this awesome Web app the next time you have to give a presentation or otherwise impress people with your "impromptu" speaking skills.
I throw that word in quotes, because the Web app Cueprompter.com is akin to one giant cheat sheet for anything you want to type in. Input your text, select a few variables, and Cueprompter will transform your screen into a giant teleprompter--just like what you'd see as a news broadcaster. You can play and pause the scrolling text, alter the speed, and send it in reverse (or forward) to catch up to bits and pieces you might have accidentally missed (blame the assistant).