Mozilla nudged Firefox 3.6.4 one step closer to its official release by pushing out the first release candidate version of the browser. Meanwhile, Weave Sync has been re-branded Firefox Sync in anticipation of its eventual inclusion in the Mozilla product. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Firefox 3.6.4 Release Candidate 1 began rolling out to Firefox beta users on May 28th and is notable for locking down the features and fixes the browser maker has been working on since January. For its part, add-on Firefox Sync 1.3 introduces a menu option under History for automatically … Read more
Google has begun answering concerns that VP8, the compression technology it hopes will invigorate and liberate Web video, isn't as good as a rival.
Nobody questions that VP8 is superior to Theora, the encoding-decoding "codec" that also has been available without royalties. But some have concluded that it's not as good as H.264, aka AVC, today's dominant but definitely not royalty-free codec.
VP8, combined with the Vorbis audio codec, form the guts of the open-source, royalty-free WebM project Google launched two weeks ago. Google attracted many allies for the project, but it's got … Read more
In mid-May, Google launched an ambitious effort called WebM to make it as easy and cheap to put video on the Web as it is to put photos there today.
At the heart of WebM is Google's new royalty-free, open-source technology called VP8 that combines modern streaming-video features with a price tag of zero. But almost immediately after Google allies made their jubilant statements, a more sober question arose: does Google's gift actually come with strings attached?
The Flash Player may be banned from the iPad, but that's not keeping Adobe Systems from other efforts to leave its mark on the Apple devices. The latest development: new viewer software announced Monday that lets publishers create splashy digital versions of their magazines.
With the software, publishers can use Adobe's new InDesign CS5 layout software to create the digital version, then distribute the content packaged with the viewer. The showcase example: Conde Nast's iPad version of Wired, available through Apple's App Store.
The software hasn't been launched yet. "We aim to make our … Read more
Google's Chrome browser continued to carve away share of worldwide browser usage from rivals in May, new statistics show.
Chrome rose 0.3 percentage points to 7.1 percent of share, said Net Applications, which monitors browser usage on a network of Web sites.
The statistics reflect activity, not the number of people using a browser, as people load up about 160 million pages each month on sites Net Applications monitors. Because Web usage is increasing, the absolute number of people using a browser can increase even as its fractional share of usage drops.
The share losses came from … Read more
The appeal of Apple products in Japan isn't noticed much in the U.S. But it should be, considering the history of U.S. consumer electronics products in that country.
First, some background. I lived in Japan at a time when its companies were the global consumer electronics oligarchs--1983 through 1993. I was there long enough to witness the peak of their power and the inevitable descent.
The hubris of the Japanese at that time was astounding, though the Japanese saw it as simple, hard-earned pride. I witnessed it every day in Japanese industrial newspapers (which I translated, as … Read more
Alternative free PDF readers have become something of a cottage industry in software, and Nitro just rewrote the instruction manual. A company known for its trialware-only versions of PDF readers, the new Nitro PDF Reader (32-bit | 64-bit) does just about everything the consumer could want in a free reader.
The company not only includes essential PDF reading and editing features at no cost to users, but there are no hidden tricks. There's no watermarking, no toolbars to install to get added functionality, no restricted saving. Combine the lack of limitations with Nitro's smart interface and smooth performance, and … Read more
It was with delight that I read these words on Thursday: "The proposed IndexedDB standard, which provides a local database store for Web applications, will be supported by Firefox 4."
The statement appears on Mozilla's new Firefox 4 for developers site, boding well for those of us who use the Web a lot: the IndexedDB interface gives Web applications a way to work even without a network connection.
The proposed IndexedDB addition to the HTML standard is one of a collection of technologies opening new horizons for Web programmers and putting competitive pressure on Adobe Systems' Flash … Read more
Opera, ever scrappy in its effort to promote its browser over larger rivals, is poking fun at Google's recent video boasting about the speed of its Chrome browser.
"The Opera browser is much faster than a potato," concludes Opera's low-budget video, which features herring-obsessed caricatured Scandinavians rolling the tubers into a pot of water at the same time Opera loads a Web page.
The video is a not-so-subtle dig at Google, which promoted Chrome's speed using elaborately staged stunts recorded with high-speed videography. The first example: involved shooting a potato through a grid to make … Read more