Alisdair McDiarmid's Kill Sticky Headers bookmarklet banishes all fixed-position CSS elements, like navigation bars, cookie consent popups, email list subscription solicitations, and so on -- these are an annoyance at best and an accessibility problem at worst; if you have low vision like me and habitually scale up the type on the pages you browse, these elements grow to completely eclipse the type, making you choose between eyestrain and access. Drag this Kill Sticky to your toolbar and click it whenever you want to get rid of these annoyances.
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A year ago, the news that the world's biggest video site was abandoning proprietary software would have been incredible, but thanks to the World Wide Web Consortium's Netflix-driven DRM work, this changes very little. Read the rest
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The work at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on adding DRM to HTML5 is one of the most disturbing developments in the recent history of technology. The W3C's mailing lists have been full of controversy about this ever since the decision was announced.
Most recently, a thread in the restricted media list asked about the requirements for DRM from the studios -- who have pushed for DRM, largely through their partner Netflix -- and discoverd that these requirements are secret.
It's hard to overstate how weird this is.
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Swedish Pirate Party Member of the European Parliament Amelia Andersdotter sez, "I'm organising a panel in the European parliament on the topic of DRM in
the HTML5 standards because it's clearly a politically contentious
issue. I see no way in which DRM in HTML5 will not worsen the
lives of individuals and technology users in the EU: we are
already in an extremely bad place with respect to cross-border access to
culture, licensing, libraries, services and individuals. So that is a
political mess that I think it is our political and democratic
prerogative to be sorting out in the law, and through politics, before
some technical people with, granted, strong financial backing, start
mucking about with the users' primary tool to reach the internet. There
are some discussions political people should be taking, and other
decisions that technical people should be taking." Read the rest
An excellent editorial by Simon St. Laurent on O'Reilly Programming asks what the open Web has gained from the World Wide Web Consortium's terrible decision to add DRM to Web-standards. As St Laurent points out, the decision means that programmers are now under threat of fines or imprisonment for making and improving Web-browsers in ways that displease Hollywood -- and in return, the W3C has extracted exactly zero promises of a better Web for users or programmers. Read the rest
Chris Sherlock has filed a bug against Firefox in Mozilla's bugzilla bug-tracker, entitled "Pledge never to implement HTML5 DRM." It's an interesting way of using the open/transparent development protest to allow Web developers to voice their opinion on the World Wide Web's terrible, awful decision to standardize DRM for browsers. As the W3C's overseer for HTML5 has written, the only reason for DRM in HTML5 is to prevent legal innovation, not to stop piracy. Read the rest
I've written before here about the move to get the World Wide Web consortium (W3C) to cram digital rights management (DRM) into the next version of HTML, called HTML5. This week, EFF filed a formal objection with the group, setting out some of the risks to the open Web from standardizing DRM in the Web's core technical specs.
Now, writing in the Guardian, W3C staffer Dr Harry Halpin makes an important, well-thought-through case for keeping DRM out of the HTML5 standard. Haplin's got an invaluable insider view of the "crisis of representation" that let a few giant companies shift the most open, most vital standards body involved with the Web into the position of standardizing ways to have your computer and browser take control away from you, and to set the stage for a ban on free and open source software in Web browsers and computers.
The most important part is what you can do to help shift the direction of the W3C back towards the open Web:
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The Advisory Committee of the W3C is composed of companies as well as universities and non-profits. If your employer is a W3C member, now is the time to open the discussion internally with your management. Questions over whether DRM should be part of the HTML Working Group or part of another Working Group - or outside of W3C entirely! - are dealt with in the review of charters by Advisory Committee representatives. It's at this level that the EFF objected to EME in HTML.
The Mozilla Foundation is on a kick to show people just how amazing HTML5 can be, and to that end, they're releasing a series of free, open, ambitious in-browser apps to inspire developers and users. The latest of these is BrowserQuest, a multiplayer online role-playing game built completely out of native HTML, with no plugins, and with sourcecode for your learning, tweaking, and repurposing pleasure.
BrowserQuest can be played by thousands of simultaneous players, distributed across different instances of the in-game world. Click on the population counter at any time to know exactly how many total players are currently online.
Players can see and interact with each other by using an in-game chat system. They can also team up and fight enemies together.
BrowserQuest – a massively multiplayer HTML5 (WebSocket + Canvas) game experiment
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Bastion, the popular action RPG noted for its fantastic art and narration, is now available to play in-browser through the Chrome web store. It's built
as a HTML5 app with the Native Client SDK, so Flash is not required—even if a browser that automatically installs it is. Read the rest