Steve Jobs Labels Adobe’s Flash a Dying Technology, But Is It?

Steve Jobs has been bad-mouthing Adobe’s Flash once again, according to a recent Business Insider report. The Apple head honcho recently visited the Wall Street Journal to demonstrate the iPad. During his stay he allegedly criticized Adobe’s (s adbe) Flash technology, with the intent to move the popular broadsheet newspaper away from using the web display technology.

The report details that Apple’s CEO attempted to convince the Journal by downplaying Flash, describing it as a “CPU hog” that has “security holes.” He then added that Apple (s aapl) does not “spend a lot of energy on old technology” comparing Flash to other dead technologies, including Floppies, Firewire and even the humble CD. This continued dislike for Flash comes after Jobs downplayed Adobe’s technology at a town hall meeting with Apple employees earlier this month. Read More about Steve Jobs Labels Adobe’s Flash a Dying Technology, But Is It?

Good News for HTML5: H.264 Streaming Will Remain Free

Good news for HTML5 proponents: MPEG LA has announced that it will extend its royalty-free license of the H.264 video streaming format for an additional five years. In doing so, the license holder has agreed not to charge for use of the near-ubiquitous H.264 encoding format through 2016.

The move comes after YouTube (s GOOG) and Vimeo (s IACI) rolled out implementations of HTML5 video last month, both of which took advantage of H.264.

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Wikipedia Is Finally Gearing Up For Video

This week, it almost happened. The servers hosting all of Wikipedia’s media were ready to burst, filled up to the max with almost six million files totaling close to eight terabytes of data. Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia, was able to install a new server with tons of new space just in time this Tuesday, but Wikimedia’s deputy director Eric Moeller admitted in a blog post: “It’s been a much closer call this time than we would like.”

Part of the reason why Wikimedia has to deal with a huge influx of data is that volunteers are increasingly uploading videos, and content partnerships with museums and archives have brought in hundreds of hours of additional footage. Wikimedia announced two years ago already that it was getting ready to include more of this content into Wikipedia. Little of this has materialized so far, but now it finally seems like video on Wikipedia is actually going to happen soon. So how is the free encyclopedia going to use moving images, and why has this taken so long?
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Vimeo Jumps on the HTML5 Bandwagon

Just one day after YouTube (s GOOG) made it so that (some of) its users could begin watching (some of) its videos using HTML5 as opposed to Adobe (s ADBE) Flash, Vimeo (s IACI) has announced that it will also support the new web standard. With its new HTML5 player, Vimeo says users should have faster loading times and smoother playback of its videos. But just like the YouTube implementation, Vimeo’s HTML5 player has some limitations.

Specifically, Vimeo says the player will only work for about 25 percent of its users — those that are browsing the site with Safari, Chrome or Internet Explorer (s msft) with Google’s (s goog) Chrome Frame installed. Because videos are encoded using H.264, other browsers, such as Firefox or Opera, won’t support the player. Also, not all videos on the site will be playable in the HTML5 player; the company says about 10 percent of videos uploaded in the past year, and some 35 percent of all videos it hosts, won’t be compatible.

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Don’t Expect HTML5 to Overtake Flash Anytime Soon

YouTube (s GOOG) made a bit of noise yesterday with the introduction of a new video player that uses HTML5 standard, which (in theory) could enable browsers to render video without an installed plugin like Adobe’s (s ADBE) Flash player. With the largest Flash video site in the universe now playing around with an open standard, one might think that the end is nigh for the video plugin. But the inherent limitations of YouTube’s implementation just go to show why HTML5 won’t reach mainstream adoption anytime soon.

For one thing, there’s the question of ubiquity. Due to standards issues, not all browsers support YouTube’s HTML5 videos. Users could only test the player out if they were using Chrome, Safari, or Internet Explorer with Google’s ChromeFrame installed, because its HTML5 videos are encoded using H.264, which isn’t supported by Firefox and Opera. Standards around things like video codecs are slow to develop, and until they do, so an HTML5-only YouTube probably won’t be viable across all browsers anytime soon.

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YouTube Stumbles Into the Era of HTML5

YouTube (s GOOG) announced the launch of an HTML5 video test on its blog last evening, but had some trouble delivering on its promise. The test only went live hours after the blog post, leaving many users wondering what all the fuzz was about.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that the current test is limited to subset of YouTube’s videos as well as new versions of Safari and Chrome. Firefox users won’t be able to play any videos with the new, Flash-free HTML5 video player because their browser doesn’t support Google’s video format of choice, H.264. The decision to go with a proprietary rather than an open video codec immediately enraged the very open source user base that has been advocating for YouTube to drop Adobe (s ADBE) Flash.

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YouTube Wants To Know How To Improve

YouTube has announced that it is going to implement a lot of changes to its UI in the coming months, a process that the video sharing platform has called “spring cleaning.” Some of these changes are based on usage data and usability tests, but YouTube is also directly soliciting suggestions from its visitors on how to improve the end-user experience. Google (s GOOG) is utilizing its Product Ideas app to collect ideas and filter them through collaborative voting.

The resulting list, which currently totals around 450 ideas, is so far dominated by numerous demands to ditch Flash in favor of HTML5 web video, with the most popular one receiving more than 4,300 votes of support. Why is open video so popular, surpassing even the suggestion to reorganize the cluttered YouTube home page? Because the idea got championed by an open source advocate, who rallied people up on Reddit .com. Still, the notion to support HTML5 isn’t completely lost on Google: YouTube started to experiment with playing video sans Flash directly in modern browsers last spring.

Other suggestions made by users include changes to YouTube’s ratings system, better protection against unwarranted DMCA take-down notices and an option to buy and sell downloads of clips streamed on YouTube. Users of the site have another two weeks to add their own ideas and vote on other people’s suggestions.

Safari 3.2 Adds Anti-Phishing and Other Security Enhancements

Yesterday, Apple released Safari 3.2 for both Windows and Mac (Tiger and Leopard). As usual, Apple’s normal update announcements are a little short on details.

This update is recommended for all Safari users and features protection from fraudulent phishing websites and better identification of online businesses. This update also includes the latest security updates. For detailed information on the security content of this update, please visit this site: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

The KnowledgeBase article about the security content of the update takes you to Apple’s main security page, which links to the Safari 3.2 security fixes. Most of the fixes are about arbitrary code execution but some are more subtle fixes to make sure that web pages don’t have access to local files.
The anti-phishing updates are two-fold. If you visit a malicious web site, Safari will warn you with the following dialog box:

Clicking on the “Learn more about phishing scams” link takes you to a web page that explains Strange Behavior and Malicious Software: Phishing attacks. Interestingly enough, this explanation is on Google.com rather than on Apple’s web site. I assume this means that Apple is using Google’s list of sites that they have identified as potentially dangerous, like you might see on some search results.
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