Mini DisplayPort to Get Some HDMI Competition

Back in 2008, Apple introduced the new Mini DisplayPort standard as the only video output method on the new MacBooks and LCDs. Mini DisplayPort is a freely-licensed VESA standard [1] and has now been adopted by a number of other display manufacturers, and is a miniaturized version of the original DisplayPort interface.

This week, the fourth revision of the HDMI high-definition video output connector was revealed in the form of HDMI D, weighing in at a mere fraction of the original HDMI connector size and intended for use with mobile and embedded high-definition video devices [2]. The new HDMI connector is expected to ship later this year, and is in direct competition with VESA’s Mini DisplayPort interface.

VESA is the international governing body for computer graphics standards, and has been designing video output standards since its conception in the late 80’s [3]. HDMI is a private group formed in 2002, and licenses its interfaces out to manufacturers at four cents a device + a $10,000 yearly fee.

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Google Abandons Standards, Forks OpenID

A couple of hours ago, the Google Security Team posted an article claiming that Google’s made the switch to OpenID, joining Yahoo! and Microsoft in the ranks OpenID providers.

But it looks like someone may have been a bit to hasty to pull that switch (perhaps itching to get some of the limelight Microsoft has been receiving for adding OpenID to all Live ID accounts just the day before yesterday)… because whatever it is that Google has released support for, it sure as hell isn’t OpenID, as they even so kindly point out in their OpenID developer documentation (that media outlets certainly won’t be reading):

  1. The web application asks the end user to log in by offering a set of log-in options, including Google.
  2. The user selects the "Sign in with Google" option.
  3. The web application sends a "discovery" request to Google to get information on the Google authentication endpoint. This is a departure from the process outlined in OpenID 1.0. [Emphasis added]
  4. Google returns an XRDS document, which contains endpoint address.
  5. The web application sends a login authentication request to the Google endpoint address.
  6. This action redirects the user to a Google Federated Login page.

As Google points out, this isn’t OpenID. This is something that Google cooked up that resembles OpenID masquerading as OpenID since that’s what people want to see – and that’s what Microsoft announced just the day before.

It’s not just a “departure” from OpenID, it’s a whole new standard.

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Creating a (Unified!) Vendor-Neutral Markup Standard

Take a look at any blog, wiki, forum, etc. Specifically, look at how posts are created, filtered, and displayed. There are dozens of different ways for authors to specify the formatting and content of their articles/posts, and hundreds of ways to render the results. Some blogs rely on now-famous 3rd-party markup implementations like Textile and Markdown, some use bbCode, and quite a few still rely on plain old HTML. Then you have vendor-specific proprietary implementations and many more, popping up as the need arises.

We’re not trying to standardize markup formats, on the contrary, there is no real benefit – and the web can always do with a bit more diversity. But what does need standardization is how post-markup data (the article text) is stored in the database and later rendered. In the past, this wasn’t a problem: each “platform” had its markup format, and stored the output straight in the database. Then the platform triggered the markup language’s bundled HTML renderer and converted the database contents to HTML for display.

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The Difference Between an Acronym and an Abbreviation

Ten to one, if you’re posting an article, creating a web page, or just coding some HTML; and you’re about to code in a <abbr> tag to let people not “in the know” get what exactly it is that you’re talking about, you actually should be using the <acronym> tag instead. Maybe you’re not even doing it for the people, and you’re actually just a benevolent person that cares about a truly semantic web and wants the bots to also grasp just what it is that’s being said.

Either way, it’s good to know when to use an <abbr> tag and when to use an <acronym> tag. At face value, <abbr> is for abbreviations, and <acronym> is for, well, acronyms. ‘But what’s the difference?’ Joe Blogg asks…

NASA is an acronym. BBC is another. But gov’t and Mr. aren’t – they’re abbreviations. In Grammar 101 it was easy to tell the difference, but in real life, it can get kind of confusing. But the general rule is, if it’s pronounced by spelling it out, it’s an acronym. If it doesn’t have a period, it’s an acronym. But most importantly, if you can spell it another way, chances are it’s an abbreviation.

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The Need for Creating Tag Standards

Web 2.0, blogging, and tags all go together, hand-in-hand. However, while RPC standards exist for blogs and the pinheads boggle over the true definition of a “blog,” no one has a cast-in-iron standard for tags. Depending on where you go and who you ask, tags are implemented differently, and even defined in their own unique way. Even more importantly, tags were meant to be universal and compatible: a medium of sharing and conveying info across the internet — the very embodiment of a semantic web. Unfortunately, they’re not. Far from it, tags create more discord and confusion than they do minimize it.

To Space or Not to Space, that is the Question

This one is probably the most obvious obstacle and the most destructive when it comes to tallying tag popularity or making those pretty tag clouds: Can tags have spaces in them or not?! If tags don’t/shouldn’t have spaces, then what do you do with multi-word tags that you just can’t shorten? Do you replace the spaces with underscores, dashes, or just take ’em out? Does it matter?

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