Elpub buttonEP Topic News: 21st September 2001

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IBC news and awards

The International Broadcasters Convention has just finished in Amsterdam (September 14-18). The occasion was used by many companies to make service or product announcements. In all there are over 500 company announcements in the press section of the web site, from MPEG2 software encoders and MPEG4 streamers to broadband hotel services and virtual sets. Amongst the awards was the John Tucker IBC Award conferred on someone whose work has made a notable contribution to the development of technology. This award went to Roderick Snell President and research director of Snell & Wilcox "Presented to Roderick Snell for his lifetime's work in breaking down the barriers due to the different standards for television and helping the world's broadcasting community to communicate with itself". Snell & Wilcox are the coordinators of IEP project GFORS. 21/9/01

URL: http://www.ibc.org/
URL: http://www.g-fors.com/

Embedded systems development tools

ARM, the industry's leading provider of 16/32-bit embedded RISC microprocessor solutions, and The MathWorks GmbH, the German subsidiary of the leading supplier of technical computing software for engineers and scientists, have announced a collaborative project aimed at combining the ARM Developer Suite™ (ADS) code development toolchain, the ARMulator™ instruction set simulator, and the MATLAB/Simulink system simulation and code generation toolchain. This innovative environment provides designers with a software emulation and simulation of their final product that enables the development and validation of embedded systems before the actual hardware is available on silicon. This allows early detection of design and coding faults thus reducing time-to-market and, therefore, saves on system development costs. 21/9/01

URL: http://www.arm.com/news/MathWorks?OpenDocument

Linux/Unix OpenGL speed up

Xi Graphics Inc., a privately held firm that specializes in premium graphics support software for Linux and UNIX systems, announced today the Beta release of Version 2.0 of their Accelerated-X 3D Linux Graphics Drivers (LGDs). The most sophisticated upgrade thus far, Version 2.0 offers an accelerated and redesigned OpenGL pipeline, delivering exceptional desktop and laptop graphics performance on more than 30 popular graphics cards. A free trial download for testing the 3D Beta's capabilities is available at their web site.21/9/01

URL: http://www.xig.com/

Envivio launch

Envivio has introduced EnvivioTV™, the world's first ISO/MPEG-4 complete media player, supporting streaming, local playback and digital rights protection of MPEG-4 audio, video and mixed media streams for the Internet and broadcast networks. The EnvivioTV player is available today for download on the Envivio.com web site. EnvivioTV is the first MPEG-4 player available implementing the MPEG-4 Advanced2D graphics profile, providing content designers with the ability to create standards-based mixed media content. Standards-based mixed media provides content providers with the capability to stream or locally play rich media content based on the ISO/MPEG-4 open standard. Existing content such as audio, video, graphics, text and 2D animations (such as Macromedia Flash) can be easily converted into a single MPEG-4 file with the software solution Envivio sells today for production and distribution of MPEG-4 content. 21/9/01

URL: http://www.envivio.com/

Mobile Internet toolkit update

Nokia has introduced a new version of the Nokia Mobile Internet Toolkit 3.0 for application developers. The new toolkit provides developers with a realistic, PC-based testing and simulation environment for creating XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and WAP applications. The new Nokia toolkit is available at Forum Nokia's website free of charge. 21/9/01

URL: http://www.nokia.com/

Increased bandwidth for cable modems

Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs®) will create a new version of the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS™) this year that will incorporate advanced physical layer modulation techniques. The next version of the specification, to be called DOCSIS 2.0, will significantly increase cable bandwidth for data transmissions without requiring any physical rebuilding of cable networks. DOCSIS 2.0 will provide up to 30 Mbps of upstream per 6 MHz. Regular readers of El.pub on this topic will know that you need to divide the rate by the number of effective simultaneous users to arrive at the bandwidth per user and that oversubscribing users can push this down to unacceptable levels (in common with ADSL, satellite and many other broadband configurations). 21/9/01

URL: http://www.cablelabs.com/news_room/PR/01_pr_adv_phy_083101.html

More doubts expressed on 3G mobile services

The Financial Times recently ran a story on British Telecomms listing documents for its forthcoming mobile division demerger, claiming that "The BT document warns that UMTS - universal mobile telecommunications service - the 3G standard used across Europe, "may not prove superior to existing technologies".". Problems with upgrading masts from 2G to 3G may run into planning permission problems. A similar story about Vodaphone led to an immediate press notice from the company essentially denying the rumours about problems with 3G. However the interpretation of the situation seems to depend critically on whether the lower bandwidth limit of 64 kbps or the higher limit of 384 kbps at rollout (2nd half of 2002) and 2Mbps later, is what most users will receive and the services will be designed around. At about the same time Nokia put out a press notice related to GPRS and mobile futures that included the statement "Much of what we envisage of the 3G services and applications is already possible today with the Nokia 9210 Communicator, which we are delivering at full capacity.". A visit to their web site will enable you to see what those services and applications are. 21/9/01

URL: http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3CEF3HJRC&live=true&

URL: http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT32VWIXARC&live=true&

URL: http://www.vodafone.com/media/press_releases/1000299529.htm
URL: http://press.nokia.com/PR/200109/833256_5.html


Cloaking is becoming a hot topic for search engine experts (on both sides of the interface). Here is Google's definition from their FAQ "When "cloaking," a website returns altered web pages to a search engine accessing the site. That is, the webserver is programmed to return different content to Google than it returns to regular users, usually in an attempt to distort search engine rankings. This can mislead users about what they will find when they click on a search result. To preserve the accuracy and quality of our search results, Google may permanently ban from our index any sites or authors who engage in cloaking to distort their search rankings." and here is the WebmasterWorld version "Cloaking: Delivering one version of a page to a search engine spider while serving users another version. The benefit is intellectual property protection, copyright protection, and aiding your sites ability to be indexed.". Search engine watch has published a report on the discussion at the Search Engines Strategies 2001 conference (which has the links to Google and WebmasterWorld, and others). The report also links to a white paper "Relevancy, Spam, Technology, Cloaking and Ranking : The Ethical Guide" from ebrandmanagement which goes into more detail. 21/9/01

URL: http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd0913-ses-cloaking.html
URL: http://www.ebrandmanagement.com/whitepapers/spam1.htm

Web usability basics

Web developers virtual library has just released a new article on web usability basics by Andrew Starling. If you are an expert this is an interesting article with a good checklist type of approach (it made me look at our source to make sure we had not missed one or two points - we hadn't), but if you are a beginner or think Flash is a must, then you really need to read this and follow up its links. Did you know that "...an increasing number of visitors disable JavaScript to avoid the annoyance of pop-up windows." and that may affect your page size solution? 21/9/01

URL: http://wdvl.internet.com/Authoring/Design/Basics/

MPEG update

There have been a number of developments in MPEG this summer. Both MPEG-7 and MPEG-21 documents have been released. MPEG-7, formally named “Multimedia Content Description Interface”, aims to create a standard for describing the multimedia content data that will support some degree of interpretation of the information’s meaning, which can be passed onto, or accessed by, a device or a computer code. MPEG-7 is not aimed at any one application in particular; rather, the elements that MPEG-7 standardises shall support as broad a range of applications as possible. MPEG-7 is currently in the application development stage and some experimental versions implementations are available for download. The vision for MPEG-21 is to define a multimedia framework to enable transparent and augmented use of multimedia resources across a wide range of networks and devices used by different communities. Digital item identification and IPR aspects are a current focus of the group. 21/9/01

URL: http://www.cselt.it/mpeg/ MPEG home page
URL: http://www.cselt.it/mpeg/standards/mpeg-7/mpeg-7.htm overview
URL: http://www.mpeg-industry.com/ MPEG-7 news and events
URL: http://www.ima.umn.edu/talks/workshops/2-26-3-2.2001/day/day.htm presentation .ppt
URL: http://www.cselt.it/mpeg/standards/mpeg-21/mpeg-21.htm overview

e-learning on a global basis

The growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web is transforming teaching and learning at all levels of education, in the workplace, and at home. IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc. (IMS) is developing and promoting open specifications for facilitating online distributed learning activities such as locating and using educational content, tracking learner progress, reporting learner performance, and exchanging student records between administrative systems. IMS is a global consortium with members from educational, commercial, and government organizations. Funding comes from membership fees, with organizations choosing to join as either Contributing Members or Developers Network Subscribers. A number of European groups are involved in IMS including a number of EU funded IST projects. A leading Euroopean member is Giunti Interactive Labs who are sponsoring two specific courses on IMS that are open to the public and that are organised in Florence on September 26th and 27th. Giunti ILABS is also actively participate in the definition of SCORM (Shareable Content Objects Reference Model) standards, expressed by ADL (a principally US government sponsored e-learning standards group). 21/9/01

URL: http://www.imsglobal.org/ IMS and course registration
URL: http://www.imsglobal.org/eurdprojects.html
URL: http://www.giuntilabs.com
URL: http://www.adlnet.org

About topic news
We now publish topic news twice a week with a separate page for each week, ensuring that links (particularly from El.pub Weekly) continue to remain current. To view news from other weeks, please use the navigation buttons below.
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