Need to post Powerpoint files online? Use FlashPaper!

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At work someone needed to be able to post Powerpoint files online that:

  • had fancy fonts embedded,
  • created a read-only file (as best we could)
  • didn't require any additional software for people to view it.

What did we choose? FlashPaper from Adobe! Poi-fect! In addition to being able to save a Flash (SWF) file it can also save out PDFs and works great. Lastly, just like Adobe Acrobat it installs a printer in the system that you can print to from any software you have installed and save the file to either SWF or PDF. Well worth the money.

HD-DVD has won the high-def media format war?

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It appears that HD-DVD will win the high-def media format war, if history is anything to go by.

History lesson: In the 1980's Sony's Betamax tape standard lost out to JVC's competing and technically inferior VHS tape standard primarily due to the adult entertainment industry's backing of the latter's lower production and media & equipment costs.

While Las Vegas's played host to 2007's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), down the street was the adult entertainment industry's annual convention where many studios announced support for the more affordable of the two new high-definition media standards: Microsoft's HD-DVD. While Sony's Blu-Ray is admittedly a superior technology, as Betamax was versus VHS, it is the media costs, production costs, playback-equipment costs and popularity of the players (in part due to Microsoft's XBox360's popularity, which has a HD-DVD player available for it, versus Sony's Playstation 3 with its Blu-Ray player) that has sold them.

iPhone spam, after less than 24 hours?

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You can tell the world is a-buzz about something when you start receiving spam about it less than 24 hours after its unveiling. That's right, at 4am this morning I received an email telling me that my iPhone was ready to ship. While I have to 100% agree that I'd utterly love one, a) they're not going to ship until June, and b) nobody's going to send me an email out of the blue saying that they're shipping me one - I just ain't that lucky. That said, if anyone did want to send me one, how about one for my wife too? ;-)

Irish government considering license fees for Internet usage

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According to a report in RTE News, Ireland's government is considering expanding their current mandatory TV license to also cover:

anything that is made visually available to the consumer, including developments such as Internet-based television stations and video blogging

according to "Technology expert Ronan Coy". Should this be enacted as quotd (which tends to be how things play out) it would mean that licenses would be required for any computer with Internet access. So much for watching The Show with Ze Frank for free.

The part I find at fault is that the original purpose of the TV license was to funnel money into the country's national TV and radio statios, i.e. to pay for the costs of running these services and development of future services. If they believe they should be receiving funds for internet broadcasting then they should set up a micropayments system to cover *their* costs. If someone is viewing or listening to broadcasts other than the state's national services then the state has no incurred expenses therefore has no right to demand fees. Lets make this clear, this is a license fee for Internet usage, and depending on how they word it, potentially for *any* digital media playback.

Reasons why Microsoft's OpenXML standard is junk

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Here's a wonderful explanation of why Microsoft's "open" OpenXML "standard" is a wolf in sheep's clothing:

In short, the specification is littered with little tidbits which say that to properly display a file you must understand details of how 12 year old software (Word 95) worked, or reverse engineer it. So here's a wonderful schematic on how to build a new house, but the kitchen won't fit unless you know how to arrange atoms at the quantum level, meagre saws won't work. And that, folks, is why I don't use Microsoft software and stopped buying their junk several years ago.

Update: Just to better explain why this is a problem, there is no guarantee that Microsoft is using its own specifications in its own software, namely Office 2007. In fact current reports state that they are doing their old tricks of using a mix of the current specifications with chunks of the older (undocumented) formats thrown in for good measure. Given this you'll have a slim chance of being able to use their published specifications and generate the same output that their own software creates. That is why people should use software that supports the internationally recognized OpenDocument format in either KDE's KOffice, Openoffice.org, StarOffice or the other programs that support it.

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