Posts Tagged ‘adobe’

Comic Update: Ugly

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Today’s comic features the Internet in all its glory. It also guest stars Eric Meyer, and briefly addresses the topic of applesauce.

I’m tired of web-fed vitriol. I’m guessing that in the seventh century, people managed to find a lot of things to get really worked up over; but it seems that in the 21st century the Internet is providing an unparalleled opportunity for us to fight like wildcats over the most pointless of issues, like which of two different mega-rich corporations are the victim in a publicity battle.

I know for a fact that there’s a heaping dose of irony here, considering my own foray into the Apple vs. Adobe mega-battle that seems to have taken over my Twitter feed. But after some pretty reasonable tweets from some pretty reasonable people, the scales have fallen from my eyes.

Eric Meyer said it best a few days ago: I am, however, not very well equipped to hate a company nor the people who work for it. This will likely make me a bit of an outcast. Again.

This insight was followed up by the equally human insight from Jeff Croft: All one has to do is meet a few people who work for a company like Adobe or MS to realize how absurd it is to ‘hate’ them.

I disagree with certain actions on the part of either company in this “battle”, and in some cases, my opinion gets pretty strong. But I disagree even more with the increasingly acidic banter that this is fueling among developers, fanboys and media outlets. Everyone’s entitled to their two cents, but I’ve hit my fatigue point. I just don’t want to hear it anymore. Especially when it goes from reasoned discourse to saber-rattling antics.

So instead, let us meditate on the Internet’s true purpose: lolcats.

Comic Update: Larry Ate HTML5

Monday, February 15th, 2010

My grandfather, who unfortunately has been dead for several years, was a man fond of four-letter words to express his sentiments. Once a Navy sailor and a lumberjack, he’d adopted to a picturesque family life a little late in his years. Imagine a charming, smiling old fellow who’d be wearing a nice suit and tie as he shook your hand, then you’d notice “Lloyd” was tattooed on his knuckles. (Hidden under the nice suit was a much larger tattoo of a giant patriotic eagle on his chest.) Midway through a church picnic, he might let slip some colorful language during a tale.

My grandmother did her best to correct his language. One word she’d like to encourage him to use instead was “hooey.”

Today’s comic features hooey. It also features Ian “the Leviathan” Hickson, Google employee and HTML5 editor-for-life (nowadays, he’s more of a generic HTML editor-for-life, which is likely a much sweeter gig) as well as Larry Masinter, Principle Scientist at Adobe.

The hooey in the comic is hyperbole for the effect of comedy; Ian has not outed Larry as a cannibal.

However, Ian did perform some character assassination last Friday when he fired off this blog post accusing Adobe of “blocking” HTML5. He also took the opportunity to simultaneously claim he couldn’t reveal the author of a post for it being in a private list (he chose to use the word “secret”, likely for dramatic effect) while immediately revealing the author’s identity in the very following paragraph (which in this case was Larry.)

There’s a few issues here that point at the continuing mire that is the political process of HTML5, and the resulting decrease in public confidence in the resulting product. First, we’ll look at Ian’s charge: that somehow Adobe is blocking HTML5. This is an absurd statement from Hixie, who’s made it clear that the WHATWG controls HTML5 (in his view) and not the W3C. So for him to claim that a W3C action is impacting the adoption of a spec he adamantly states is in WHATWG’s hand is like saying that the mayor of Osaka, Japan is blocking the Washington state budget from being passed. It’s an act of dishonesty at worst, or emotional manipulation of his readership at best.

(I am not saying the W3C doesn’t have a leadership role in the HTML5 effort. Rather, I’m saying that according to many prior statements by Ian, it doesn’t.)

Regardless, several people caught this “story” and ran with it. Perhaps it’s the Apple/Adobe conflict spawning fanboys and lines drawn in the sand, but a lot of people are willing to demonize Adobe at the drop of a hat. So, rapidly, the word was tweeted throughout the digital realms: Adobe hates HTML. And kicks babies.

I wonder how many of those re-tweeters use Photoshop, Illustrator or Dreamweaver on a regular basis?

Fortunately, some non-partisan cowboys came riding into town and cleared the air with a thoughtful examination on the situation. In particular, I recommend reading Simon St. Laurent’s The Widening HTML5 Chasm and Thom Holwerda’s Teacup, Meet Storm, part IV. Please take the opportunity to peruse their posts for some perspective. Once you’ve received that enlightenment, continue.

Done? Ok. Onwards, then.

Ian Hickson is a Google employee. Which means he’s a smart man. His track record of work speaks to that effect, and it’s worth saying that despite my disagreements with his process, much of HTML5′s good parts have appeared thanks to his efforts as the spec’s editor.

Ian Hickson has a methodology for handling people. It’s documented at his website here. One section on discrediting has some lovely gems that seem to apply to the situation: “Discredit the man who produced the report, off the record.” and “Say that he is harbouring a grudge against your group.

Also, I’m going to propose that our dear Leviathan has been working on HTML5 for quite some time, and as such has been up to his eyeballs in the process for years. He knows how the process works, clearly, and has historically shown his willingness to ignore said process if that gave him the opportunity to do what he preferred over what the majority desired. (That’s also in his book on handling people: If you don’t agree with a rule you are told to follow, announce your agreement to it in a statement, and in that statement, assert that you intend to follow it in a manner consistent with some other set of rules; or that you will consider certain passages as merely being “advisory”.)

So he’s smart, follows a personal methodology of handling people that involves discrediting them, and he’s familiar with the W3C process. Right?

Very well then. Let me say it: Ian’s insinuations about Adobe were, as my grandmother would say, hooey. Intentional hooey. My grandfather would have used a stronger term. Ian deliberately publicized the identity of someone who posted in a private mailing list (immediately after claiming he could not). He used words like “secret” to provide a sense of conspiracy. He used Adobe as a scape-goat so that we’d all see that HTML5 was being blocked by W3C processes (despite his insistence that the W3C has nothing to do with the actual invention and progression of HTML5).

This is the man who doesn’t like HTML5 politics? This is the man who will be controlling HTML5 all versions of HTML for the remainder of his life?

Well, that’s just splendid.

Comic Update: Mr. Flash’s Very Bad Day

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Since we are living in the Year of Our Lord Twenty-Ten, today’s comic is so far behind the news cycle that I might as well be discussing the Wars of the Roses if I’m trying to be relevant to current events. Starring Adobe Flash and the Apple iPad, my illustration references a product announced an entire thirteen days in the past (gasp!).

If you can remember that far back into the past, you might recall that the iPad is something to the effect of an iPod Touch nega-Mini, being simultaneously some sort of multimedia super-nexus and entirely incapable of fitting into your pocket. I’m not sure yet if I have a need for a device guaranteed to break my neck while I try to watch adult action films on it. But I’m sure at this point that the iPad has for all extents and purposes killed Adobe Flash.

Right? I’m sure I read that in the Wall Street Journal somewhere.

No? My bad.

As it turns out, Flash shares that quality with Mark Twain wherein the reports of its death are doubtlessly greatly exaggerated. It remains to be seen if the iPad will sell like hotcakes (my bet: it will) but even if it does some people might have forgotten about these little devices we have around the house called desktop and laptop computers.

Remember those?

Well, they still have browsers that can install the Flash plug-in. And if the immortality that Internet Explorer 6 is experiencing is any guide, there’s no reason to believe that Flash is going anywhere anytime soon. Plenty of cartoons, online video, and video games are still being churned out onto the web via Flash.

I’m debating if that’s a pity or not.

When I first started tinkering on the web as a programming platform, my initial tenuous steps into interactive nonsense was with Flash. Over time, the shine of it dulled, and I found my way to the wonders of JavaScript. Thanks to the envelope-pushing features of HTML5, much of what once required Flash is now quite doable with no plug-in. But there are some tasks, including complicated animation, wherein Flash is still the idea authoring tool. I can’t help but feel sorry for the likes of the Brothers Chaps, who’ve toiled over products like Homestar Runner, only to have it not render on the coolest mobile devices since the portable toaster.

I’d rather not have a situation where a given browser decides for me what content I will or won’t view on the Internet. As a consenting adult, I’m pretty sure I have the decision-making power to do that myself. However, the fact is, Apple has made that decision, and likely won’t back down from it, and more devices like the iPad will continue the trend.

If I were Adobe, I’d be looking into how to transition the Flash authoring tool from something that outputs only SWF files into something that produces pre-generated Canvas/JS/CSS code. A sort of interactive Dreamweaver on steroids. That would allow the thousands of developers that use it to painlessly transition into a post-plugin era while still making use of their tool of choice.

Of course, until either Adobe cries uncle or all browsers get on the same page in regards to HTML5 feature adoption (like which video codec to use), all that devices like the iPad are doing for me personally is creating a situation where I have to stuff even more code into the same video on a page; if I want my clients’ videos to show on all available browsers and devices, that is.

That said, I’m not really attached to Flash. If I can get my videos and other rich content without it, then good riddance. Which is, allegedly, what the iPad’s move is leading us towards (or, more cynically, towards iTunes purchases of video content).