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Recent ZDnet blog posts

We're still blogging away over at ZDnet. In fact, some of our posts over there are getting quite long. Some are also more than a little silly. Here are three more recent entries, on odd naming choices, on unusual places to find multi-touch technologies, and on the Apple/Adobe HTML5/Flash wars. There's a lot of fun stuff happening in the world of technology at the moment, and we're really enjoying finding out about it and sharing it with the world.

So, without further ado, the first couple of paragraphs of each piece, along with a link to the rest.

When product naming clashes with H.P. Lovecraft
H.P Lovecraft's dark, weird fantastic fiction has become the first open source literature, where other writers have taken his mythos and his nihilistic view of human life in a dark and hostile universe and run with it.

Perhaps it is a vision of a dark and hostile mobile future, dominated by uncaring monstrosities that has driven Intel and Nokia to give their new mobile OS joint venture a name that comes straight from the pages of Lovecraft (or near enough for most purposes). It's just that the name they've chosen, MeeGo, is far too close to that of an animated, intelligent, malevolent fungus, the Mi-Go.
Read more.

Touch me somewhere else for a change
Multi-touch isn’t just for tablets. It’s soon going to be everywhere, as the underlying technologies (whether resistive, capacitive or optical) solve many complex user interface problems. Take the humble keyboard for example.

You’d think it was a simple piece of work, and something that couldn’t be made any better. However gamers and CAD users will tell you something quite different. It turns out that there’s a problem with the matrix of connections that connect each keyswitch together. Press too many at once and the keyboard controller can’t detect which keys are pressed. That’s why there’s anti-ghosting controls in your keyboard, tools that block certain key combinations from occurring. That complex combination of keys you need to finish a CAD model or to take down a gang of zombies? Sorry. It’s impossible. And what’s more annoying, different keyboards have different matrix layouts, and different key combinations locked out by anti-ghosting – even the wonderful classic IBM microswitch keyboards.
Read more.

Flash Fried?
The biggest problem with the Adobe/Apple Flash spat is that it’s being fought on the wrong ground.

Flash isn’t just about video on web pages, or animated adverts, or even about plugins versus HTML 5. As soon as you get into talking about those things, Adobe is bound to come off worst. After all, we all love open standards, and above all, we all love the open web. We don’t want to load extra applications to watch video, and we don’t want to have garish adverts thrust at us while we trying to read the news.

If you look at it in those terms, then Apple’s right to not put Flash on the iPhone and the iPad. Why burden users with code they don’t need? Web standards do everything the iPhone’s users want, and if they don’t, well, there’s an app for that.

The trouble is: that’s Flash nearly five years ago.
Read more.

Feel free to comment over at ZDnet!



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 15th, 2010 08:04 pm (UTC)
First open source literature?!

Try King Arthur, el Cid, Troy.... Olympus.... Gilgamesh, Krishna....
Feb. 15th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
Correcting you to be polite -- the "classic IBM microswitch keyboards" of which you speak (the Model Ms) didn't use microswitches. Their genius was a buckling spring system that felt real good to type on; at the beginning of the stroke there was resistance that disappeared as the spring under the keycap buckled with the key seeming to drop away under the finger. The nearest thing to a microswitch keyboard would be the Cherry designs with knife-contacts, later used in Northgate and other higher-end computer keyboards.

As for multi-touch, I see it as a transitional technology. Why do you have to make contact with the display surface, obscuring the content you are trying to manipulate to provide control inputs, leaving smeary fingermarks on what you're trying to read ? Stick a number (four, maybe more) of small cheap IR webcams in the frame of the tablet/phone and make your control gestures a few centimetres above the surface instead. If you think MS are developing Natal just for their Xbox division and nothing else then I think you may be in for a surprise in a year or two's time.
Feb. 16th, 2010 12:51 am (UTC)
that's how HP's touchsmart pcs work - and surface too
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )