HTML 5 expanding on YouTube?

Following up on my previous post on the matter, we already know that HTML 5 has the potential to replace any need for Flash and with the support of Firefox 3.5 and Midori, boost open media standards.
The Silent Number
Look's like YouTube might be gearing up to either expand their HTML 5 demo, and/or allow video downloads. If you go to your "My Videos" page, there is now a new "Download MP4" button on each of your uploads. YouTube uses MP4 for the video in the HTML 5 demo, and i encourage everyone to keep pressuring them to adopt Ogg Theora/Vorbis (check off "I have another idea" at the bottom). Bonus points for mentioning this Googler's false claim on the WhatWG mailing list: "If [youtube] were to switch to theora and maintain even a semblance of the current youtube quality it would take up most available bandwidth across the Internet." --Chris DiBona
Keep in mind that this will not mean that all YouTube videos will no longer be in Flash. It will just mean that Flash will no longer be the only option. There was been a lot of confusion over that.
P.S. Did you know that SVG can replace much of the interactivity that Flash provides? It's true!

Empathy will replace Pidgin and Ekiga in Karmic, so hug it!

Silly me-- I had heard that Empathy was discussed at UDS, but i didn't realize that, as pointed out on my last post as well as the forum thread, the decision had already been made to include Empathy instead of Pidgin and Ekiga in Ubuntu Karmic 9.10. This is great! Karmic will be shipping with Empathy so that testing and fixing can be done, and if it's not satisfactory, it can be pulled for the final release.

The discussion so far has been people arguing about why they prefer Empathy or Pidgin, but at UDS it was already decided that Empathy would ship with Karmic. I humbly request that we all stop bickering about any problems we may currently have with it, and start testing it and filing bug reports so that it will ready for Karmic. I encourage everyone to participate in the upcoming Hug Day for Empathy on June 18th. 14 pages of discussion about the current state of things does nothing.

The consensus is that Empathy, by using the Telepathy framework and integrating with the GNOME desktop, is superior to Pidgin and should be included with Ubuntu by default eventually. Almost everyone who opposes it does so on the grounds that some bugs make it premature for such a thing to happen in Karmic, but since Karmic already has so many other major changes planned anyways and Karmic +1 will be an LTS, the decision has already been made for us. So let's make the best of it!

Have you ever considered a 4 Day Work Week?

Now, there's a lot to be said about a 4 day work week, and this time, rather than sum it all up for you, i'm going to rely mostly on a few links that i hope you'll investigate. Basically, a 4 day work week has a lot of environmental and economic benefits. Less pollution, less traffic congestion (one extra day without a rush hour!), less accidents, all the while increasing productivity and decreasing absenteeism as well as labor costs, and more. [The Oil Drum via Groovy Green]
The idea has caught on and as always, schools would make a great catalyst! [Groovy Green via Reuters]

Utah did it and it's worked out great! Why aren't we all following along? [The Boston Globe]

If you're self-employed, you should give it a try. [A List Apart]

Empathy in Ubuntu Karmic 9.10 or Karmic +1 10.04 LTS?

There has been lots of support as well as backlash for replacing Pidgin with Empathy in Ubuntu. Discussion has been going acruss multiple mailing lists and forum threads. Although Empathy has improved so much since Jaunty, it isn't perfect, and the pressure is even stronger now that we're approaching our next Long Term Support (LTS) release. 
We should include Empathy in Karmic or Karmic +1 and we should make and announce the decision of which now
If we do not include Empathy in Karmic, but plan on including it in Karmic +1 (and announce this) it will still give Empathy the attention it needs from developers to fix the bugs that would be considered regressions during the switch without actually replacing Pidgin before they're fixed. 
On the other hand, it might still be preferable to include Empathy in Karmic to have more of a guarantee that bugs will be fixed in time for the 10.04 LTS release and many of the existing bugs could be fixed before the final release of Karmic. As someone commented on my last post: 

Empathy has been the top active project in Gnome for the last few weeks, with about 100 commits a week on average. The pace of development is astounding. Once the move to Empathy is the default, Ubuntu can start depending on it for other applications' communication needs (using Tubes). Gnome Games are getting Tubes support. Vino just got Tubes support, meaning that you can share your desktop with your contacts in Empathy.
I understand why 8.04 didn't ship with Empathy, but the change needs to happen. Empathy is 95% there. The needed changes can be made before Karmic if Ubuntu (and Canonical) commits to it. If 9.10 ships with Empathy, all the major bugs will be worked out by 10.04. Who wants to add yet ANOTHER new technology to another LTS.
So whether we include it in Karmic, or we hold off until the LTS, let's make and announce the decision now.

Why Google Should Learn Lojban

Lojban is designed to be perfectly logical and allow for exact specificity of meaning. Why does this matter for Google? Well, it has huge potential, not only for computer applications based on the language since it's structure can be processed by computers easily, but also more prominently as an intermediate language in automatic machine translation of natural languages. Currently, Google uses English which often yeilds some funny results.

It would be incorrect for me to say that Google needs to use a language like lojban instead of English because their translations are actually pretty great. The issue is that lojban has much more potential for this purpose and English is holding them back. If lojban were used instead of English as Google's intermediate language for automatic translation, it would be much easier to extract the exact meaning of a word used in some context in one language, and translate it into another language. Instead of using a language which does not have a perfectly regular and logical structure, exact meaning, and completely unambiguous grammar, they currently rely on English which doesn't function well to preserve meaning while carrying it from one language and then into another. Lojban, on the other hand, was designed with this in mind.

This isn't to say that Lojban is perfect, or even ready to be used like that on such a large scale yet. Many terms, like computer-related technical terms have not been created yet, and the language needs further development, not to mention the lack of widespread adoption. For this reason, it would be unwise for Google to just go ahead with using lojban and unreasonable for me to request that.

Like many of my ideas, this requires a bit of an investment for the future. Something may not be entirely practical now, but adopting it to a reasonable level will payoff later. For now, it would be safe for Google to simply hire some lojbanana's to work on a lojban translation for Google Translate. If Google is worried about the language being dead and never developing or spreading, this move would get a lot of coverage and get a lot of people interested in it. If Google really wanted to, they could sponsor lojban. I doubt that would happen, but damn it would be cool!

At the very least, they could add lojban to the Google in Your Language program to allow users to translate Google services into lojban for them. We should ask them for it:

Replace Pidgin With Empathy in Karmic?

It's that time again-- how could i have forgotten! Since Karmic, the new release of Ubuntu, is in development, it is once again time to talk about Empathy replacing Pidgin. This discussion will keep coming up until it finally happens. [Forum link]
Empathy is great for most users, especially new ones, and it can replace poth Pidgin and Ekiga. It is now the default IM application in GNOME and Fedora plans to make the switch as well. It only lacks a few basic features outlined by Nicolò Chieffo on the mailing list:

  • Rich text messages
  • Msn chat with invisible users
  • Msn send and receive offline messages
  • Msn file transfers
These are certainly not showstoppers and including it in Karmic would pretty much guarantee that they would be resolved within the release cycle.
Empathy is simple and integrates well, and we want to make Ubuntu friendly for new users. Old users who prefer the clutter and feature madness of Pidgin will simply install it from Add/Remove (or not even have to if they run an upgrade). If Ubuntu switched to Empathy, it's development is going to get a big boost so the feature gap will close and eventaully reverse. Some people disagree with this reasoning but i also weigh the pragmatic benefits and disadvantages. In this case, perhaps this message posted by Rick Spencer says it best:
I think switching to empathy is a fairly substantial change, and people
in good faith will and should question that change.

However, given Danny's points, the fact that pidgin will stay available
and supported, the responsiveness of the empathy developers, indeed all
the factors discussed at UDS, I see no reason to back off from the
decision made there.

Are people really defending Pidgin for the future of Ubuntu or just as their pet IM client?

Hey YouTube, we want Open Video too!

URL: my YouTube:
Please subscribe!
HTML 5 supports embedding videos with a simple tag, and Firefox 3.5 adds support for Ogg Theora and Vorbis for video and audio, respectively (Midori already supports this as well). Dailymotion has taken advantage of this to create their new Open Video site where all of their users' content will be automatically transcoded into Ogg. They expect to have around 300,000 videos there and they have set up this demo site (requires Firefox 3.5 or Midori using the Firefox 3.5 user agent string) to show a few cool things that can be done without the constraints of Flash. YouTube has their own HTML 5 demo site but it does not (yet?) use Ogg, and since Theora is ahead of H.264 in objective quality, there really is no downside. I hope YouTube will follow in Dailymotion's footsteps, and it's very disappointing that they weren't the leaders here. This is a great direction for the futue of videos online, and YouTube could be a big boost for it. If only P2P streaming could have such significant developments. I'm sure it helps if you will join me in requesting Google uses Ogg for YouTube with HTML5 (Check off "I have another idea" at the bottom).

Update: The test showing that Theora is ahead of H.264 turned out to be flawed but Theora isn't far behind and is actually better than YouTube's videos (although HD was not tested).

Update 2: Theora has now been tested with HD videos and it equals what YouTube currently uses.

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