Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Adobe and Macromedia merger - affects SVG?

Wired runs an article about the merger of Macromedia and Adobe.

Adobe and Macromedia certainly do make different products. I’ve used Photoshop for 10 years and Fireworks/Dreamweaver for about 5 years. Photoshop CS is great for publishing images. I still use it for print – and will alternate between Freehand and Illustrator for vector stuff, depending on the requirements of the job. I’ve even used Flash for vector tracing because it does better than any of the print applications. Fireworks’ integration with Dreamweaver means you can edit the images you’re arranging in a web page on the fly, even inserting html via FW that shows up immediately in DW (I work with both applications open at one time).

I’m neither excited nor completely disappointed about the merger. It could mean good things. But one bad thing I see as almost a certainty is that they will drop SVG. If Adobe and Macromedia have an equal stake in Flash, there’s probably little motivation for them to pursue W3C standards and creative development for web-based vector graphics. Until now, Adobe has worked actively to develop SVG. But I’m afraid this merger could mean SVG will continue to languish in obscurity. We need an alternative to Flash that doesn’t require special scripting – or more importantly, special plug-ins.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Copyright Office Considers Reforms

Wired has posted an article concerning Copyright Reform. The U.S. Copyright office is accepting comments on the topic through May 9, 2005. The Office hopes to promote reforms in copyright law, to better accomodate the use of orphan works - and other works which under previous law would have been public domain by now.

This is an important topic. In some cases of the last 10 years even Fair-Use reference to copyright works, such as reviews and journalist commentaries, have been challenged in the courts. This is not the way the founders intended for copyright to be used. The U.S. Constitution references author protection in this way:

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;" [Ref: U.S. Senate]

Copyright was supposed to *promote* the dissemination of creative works and inspire further works - it was not supposed to restrict it for decades or even for more than a century. Tying up old postcards and abandoned magazines for centuries is not what the framers had in mind.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Neil Armstrong

Space Ref has an article up concerning Neil Armstrong earning the ACEC's Distinguished Award of Merit for 2005. This is one of countless awards and recognitions for which he has been recognized in the last 35 years. I've always been of the opinion that one reason this hero deserves so much respect is that he doesn't really like for people to make a big deal over him.

It was by coincidence yesterday that my youngest daughter came home from school to tell me she had chosen Neil Armstrong as the subject of a research paper. I asked her why she had picked him "Is it because you want to write about him or is it because you know I admire him?" She gave me the standard little kid response "He was the first man on the moon, and he's cool."

Well, he *is* cool. He's cool because to earn the commander's seat of Apollo 11, he had to spend the first part of his life working hard on that American path to success. But to me he is doubly cool, because after Apollo 11 he did not seek to capitalize on that success in a shameless or self-promotional way. Neil Armstrong's post adventure desire was to become a college professor. From there he went on to serve on the boards of several businesses, where I have no doubt he just kept plugging away in the quiet competent manner to which he is accustomed. But in today's America where people of no accomplishment whatsoever become celebrities for engaging in nothing more than unbridled hedonism or shameless self-promotion; Neil Armstrong is the quiet man. He did what we asked him to do. He did it well. And then he went quietly home to his Ohio farm.

There's a town in Ohio called Cincinnati. It is named in honor of Quinctius Cincinnatus a Roman citizen-soldier who served his country, and like Neil returned to his farm to live quietly. That's the way it is supposed to be. I hope someday my daughter understands that.