17. August 2009

HTML Video Tag

They did it again. 15 years after the img-tag, they invented a video-tag. I know, that native video makes the world better. I am totally pro-video. But to call the tag "video" is just plain wrong.

In HTTP, the server tells the content type of data. The client has no say. But if you call a tag "img" (or "video") then the browser expects a certain (subset) of content types. Ever tried to return an HTML from the URL of an img-tag: broken image. Even though it was valid HTML. Why doesn't the browser show an embedded HTML fragment instead? Why does it insist on an image? The browser requests a resource by URL to fill some screen space. If the server returns HTML, the client could show the HTML. This would have eliminated the need for frame and iframe.

One embed-tag would have been enough instead of img, iframe, and video. An embed-tag would simply tell: "here comes some screen space that is to be filled with the src-URL". And nobody would care if the content type is an image or PDF or video or HTML.

On the other hand, it's not really that bad.
Not really worth a rant.
Thanks for the native video, guys.
It's cool.
Especially combined with (the much too long ignored) SVG.

:-) It's not like embedded native video hasn't been postulated 13 years ago. I asked them at RTMW 96 (last century), if they would just add a video codec to the browser and a simple request/response. But back then, people wanted to make it complicated with RTSP, multimedia frameworks and such. In the meantime we had never-really-working-MPEG-plugins, a Microsoft video player disaster, a Flash workaround, because Macromedia just could not stand it anymore. Finally, the browser guys made it as simple as requested in 1996.


9. August 2009

The Fake Transition

Weblin does NOT transition to club cooee. Rather, club cooee uses the email addresses to advertise its own product. While both are avatar services, weblin is a layered virtual world on the web and cooee is not. We all know that there are many different avatar services. Cooee is NOT a functional replacement for weblin. RocketOn is the only system that could be called a similar service. Cooee is just another avatar system that desparately needs registered users. The general terms of weblin explicitly forbid the use of user data for this purpose.

But the management of cooee, the weblin liquidator Jörn Weitzmann, and the ex-CEO Jan Andresen conspired against the weblin founders to shut down weblin, primarily to make this fake "transition" press release possible. The founders tried to keep the service alive and the user data safe. We put up the general terms in the way we did to prevent this. We notified the liquidator several times. We are very sad, that the email addresses are used unlawfully for advertisements. This is an expression of a mind set that does not respect the written law, but only court orders. In other words: they hope to get away with it, because nobody sues. And even if someone sues, then they can handle a minor fine for a major press release.

Cooee and Jan Andresen outbid the founders in a blind bidding process by a very narrow margin, that raises suspicions on its own. Weblin could have survived. The founders offered to pay for operating and maintenance cost. It is now being terminated in order to shuffle users to cooee. The intention of cooee is understandable, only the means are unlawful. But what Jan Andresen and the offical liquidator gain from the termination is more dubious. For sure, the users are not gaining anything from the termination of weblin when the other option was a continuation.

There will be a real functional successor to weblin later this year. A layered virtual world on the web. It is being developed under the name Open Virtual World (currently: http://openvirtualworld.blogspot.com/). The blog has descriptions, feature lists, and a time line.


Note: the irony in all this is, that I opposed the collection of email addresses. Weblin did not need them for the technical operation and the marketing department profited only marginally. But Jan Andresen as marketing manager nonetheless insisted on it. Now we know the real purpose of all this email collection business.