by Stephen Downes
Nov 17, 2016
Could we be about to see technological innovations in email? According to this article, email vendors are beginning to awaken to the possibility. "The email industry itself is in a state of reinvention," writes Jason Rodriguez. "The web is leaking into the inbox." We're looking at responsive layouts, animation and interactivity, semantic elements, and tooling and frameworks. Significantly, Microsoft (which has never supported HTML email properly) is taking more of an interest.
David Wiley comments on the role of commercial actors in the open space in light of yesterday’s revelation that Microsoft has joined the Linux Foundation. He writes, "The open source software side of the open house has absolutely no issue with commercial entities using or contributing to open source software." That's not exactly true, but the dissenting voices have long since been drowned out. Anyhow, it's not the same in the content world, but the fear of educators, he writes, is unjustified. "There’s no excuse for judging an organization based on whether it was incorporated as a for-profit or non-profit entity." Maybe, but that's not how commercial use is defined. It's when you slap a pricetag on a learning resource and prevent them from accessing it otherwise that people begin to question the practice. And remember, in most countries, education, unlike software development, is a public good. Which is why we resist the commercialization of learning resources.
As reported by the W3C: "A couple weeks ago the W3C Web Platform Working Group published HTML 5.1 as a Standard. It was merely days after the second anniversary of the advent of the 5th major version of the core language of the World Wide Web (you may read the press release we put out when HTML 5 became a W3C recommendation)." Best line of the day is from Ben Werdmuller: "According to software precedent, the next version should be HTML 7."
I don't think anyone has seriously suggested that all books will be replaced by audio. It's far more plausible to suggests that all paper versions of books will be transferred to a digital format. Audio as a medium has its limitations. But it is a terrific medium to help occupy the mind while doing other things, like cooking, driving or trying to sleep. Hence the continuing popularity of radio and the recent rediscovery of podcasts. This article looks at the history of audio books - aka 'talking books' - from its origin in the 1930s. Audio books have always had their criticisms, as though they were some form of cheating. But there's also a sense in which audio is more. “Listening to authors read their own memoirs introduces an intimacy that cannot be achieved without the audio,” writes Amy Harmon.
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