File formats

The world wisens up about OOXML

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The world is finally realizing that Microsoft's OOXML "format" is the old dog's usual tricks - incomplete, relies heavily on undocumented tricks to work, which puts full control back in their hands. This week both Brazil and India have decided to vote "no" at the upcoming ISO meeting where OOXML's fate will be decided. Good to see that, despite Microsoft's attempts, some countries can't be bought off.

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.

MSFT's new Zune incompatible with Plays For Sure

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In 2005 (IIRC) Microsoft released a media initiative called Plays For Sure along with a number of both device manufacturers and online music stores. The idea was that you would be able to buy any number of devices from different companies, then buy music from different stores and be sure the music would work with the player. Well, it seems Microsoft has had enough of this idealistic "partnership" or "play nice for the consumers" thing and is going back to their old practice of locking everyone out: their new Zune players are incompatible with music bought for the old stores and the old players will not be compatible with music from the new Zune store. Yeah, that's why people still buy Microsoft products / services, they like having to re-buy everything every two years. Good on you, MSFT!

Now, lets compare that to Apple's iPod and iTunes Store: every single iPod sold since the beginning is still able to play music from the store today, and every new iPod is still able to play music bought from the store on day 1. Yes, it is vendor lock-in, but at least they tend not to give their customers the shaft quite as often. And they have BSG ;-)

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