Why do we still have video rental stores?

I’m home with my family for the holidays and thought maybe we all could go see National Treasure 2 which opened in the theater this week.   It lucks like a fun movie but I mainly wanna see it because the Library of Congress is featured in it.  Neither of my parents have seen the first National Treasure movie so we thought we’d rent the dvd.

So we go to one of the video rental stores in Lansing, MI but of course they don’t have it because I’m sure every family who wants to see National Treasure 2 who hasn’t seen the first one is probably having the same thought this weekend.

I guess I just ask myself.  Why do we still have video rental stores?

No… Netflix isn’t the answer.  The desire to have this video wasn’t planned out it was on an impluse so I don’t wanna wait the 2 days it takes to get dvd in the mail from them.

Why are we still dealing with the pains of physical media like dvds anyhow?

You could get the first National Treasure off of the Apple iTunes store but my family isn’t going to sit around my 13 inch MacBook and watch it.

I’m sure I could download it illegally from bittorrent (and probably the 2nd one too) but I’m not going to do that… it’s illegal and you’d still be watching the movie from a computer.

If we had an Apple TV, that wouldn’t help.  Apple TV’s only work with fancy high def tv’s.

It’s just frustrating.  There is media out there that we want to consume on a television.  We’re willing to pay money to consume it but we can’t get ahold of the media in a satisfactory way for this to happen.

Someone is losing money here. How can we fix this? There needs to be a solution to this problem.

Here’s hoping that Steve Jobs will announce a better Apple TV at the Macworld Expo.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 Passes the Acid 2 Test… Hooray!

Even though plenty of people have already written about this, I wanted to pass on my congratulations to the Microsoft Internet Explorer team for passing the Acid2 test on their recent internal build of Internet Explorer 8.  I realize that is a big achievement and they should be congratulated.

Google’s Matt Cutts Explains Why Your Web Site Images Should Have Alternative (Alt) Text

Google’s rockstar search engineer and public figure Matt Cutts has recently posted a really great video that gives an overview of how you can add alternative (alt) text to the images in your HTML web page, how it helps Google, and accessibility for people with disabilities.

Check out the video and then pass it around to your friends.

Be Transparent So Your Fans Can Advocate For You

WordPress software rockstar Matt Mullenweg wrote something in a recent blog post at WordPress.com which I thought was worth calling out:

We haven’t done as good a job as we used to about blogging the constant improvements being made to the site. (We deploy changes to the site anywhere from 5 to 20 times a day!) It’s something I think we can do better in the rest of December, and hopefully keep up the good habit through 2008.

I’m a big BIG fan of WordPress and all the things they’re doing.  Generally, when companies I like do cool things, I like to tell people I know.  I’ll blog about, pownce about, tweet about it, and talk about it.  I’m a cheerleader for companies that have served me well.

I think WordPress realized something BIG.  If they’re not transparent with what’s going on in their company and their product, when they do cool things, their cheerleaders and fanboys can’t advocate for them, which is exactly what they want.

I wonder how many companies work really hard and wonder why no one notices.  Could it be that you’re not telling people about what you’re doing?

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be Transparent.

Complacency – One of the biggest enemies of HTML 5 (and I guess standards development in general)

I have been on the W3C HTML Working group for about a month now.  The big initiative we’re working on is the development of HTML 5.

Since I joined the working group, I’ve been out there talking with people, listening to folks, reading comments, and reading blogs.  Noted JavaScript expert Jeremy Keith summed up a common collective feeling that i’ve heard so much from people…

The present isn’t that bad. HTML is good enough.

I really think that complacency is one of the biggest enemies of HTML 5.

People generally don’t know what’s wrong with HTML 4 or why HTML 5 is better so they don’t pay attention or get involved.

The thing is we need HTML 5.  The Web and how the world uses the Web has changed a lot since HTML 4.  More on this later…

CNET Shows Leadership By Providing Captions For Their Online Video

CNET TV has recently shown a great deal of leadership in the online video space by starting to provide captions for their video. This is great news! I know it’s not easy to caption video… this is a big move for them. I hope more video shops (like Revision 3) will follow their move and start providing captions.

There is a chunk of the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 that deals with captioning. Success Criteria 1.2.1 says…

1.2.1 Captions (Prerecorded): Captions are provided for prerecorded synchronized media, except if the synchronized media is an alternative to text and is clearly labeled as such . (Level A)

Let’s Advance WCAG 2.0

Shawn Henry of the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative recently wrote a blog post entitled “Is WCAG 2.0 almost done?!” Well after reading the document, I say let’s advance the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to it’s next stage.

Like Shawn, I’ve been following the development of WCAG 2.0 for a while and I think that this is one of the working group strongest drafts yet.

I’m going to start using WCAG 2.0 when making Web sites.  Will you join me?

Where to find me when I’m not blogging…

Every once and a while you’ll notice that i’ve gone a day or two without blogging.  This doesn’t mean that i’ve gone completely off the grid.  It just means that I’ve probably gotten really busy between my work and after work lifes.

Chances are that during a lull you can probably find some type of my activity on a number of different Web 2.0 applications…

If you wanna keep up on my various comings and goings when I’m not blogging, by all means please add me as a contact or friend on one of these services.

If it’s possible to put in a message with your “friend request”, just say that you read my blog.

How do you consume the news?

I have tried lots and lots of different Web applications.  There are some that I think that are pretty cool but there are very few that I use often.   They key is that I have to be able to integrate that Web applications or products into my life.  It  has to be part of some type of repetitive behavior otherwise it will slowly fade off my radar.

One thing that’s been rattling around in my brain is that I don’t do enough to stay up with what’s going on in the world.  I don’t spend enough time reading the news.

The thing is… it seems like I’ve tried every way of consuming the news and none have integrated really well into my life.

I used to get the Washington Post delivered to my door or I’d pick it up at a news stand by work but all too often I’d get home or wake up the next morning and then unread paper newspaper would still be in my bag from the previous day.  I’d try and get up early in the morning to read the paper… that didn’t work.  I’d try reading the physical newspaper at lunch time but I do eat lunch consistently one way.

I’ve tried using the online edition of the newspaper but I keep on forgetting to check it.  I could go two or three days without looking at a news Web site.

When I would look at the news sites, it always felt like I was missing something… like there was relevant news stories buried down deep in there that I wasn’t reading.

A lot of these news sites have  RSS feeds but they will often update them so often that they become not useful.  It’s not practical to read over 50 news items a day from one source.

I guess what I’m saying is that when I have time to read it… I really love the physical newspaper.  It gives me a finite set of news.  It gives the news to me at a pace which feels very palatable (only as fast as I can flip the pages.)

I just haven’t seen online news done that well.

Something feels not right about it and I can’t put my finger on it….

Any of this making sense?  Thoughts?

W3C Publishes Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as a Last Call Working Draft

Well today the World Wide Web Consortium has just published the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as a Last Call Working Draft. For those of us who’ve followed the development of WCAG 2.0, getting things to this stage is definitely a long time coming and we’re all very excited to see what the WCAG Working Group has come up with.

According to the WAI document “How WAI Develops Accessibility Guidelines through the W3C Process…“, Last Call Working Draft means the following:

When a Working Group believes it has addressed all comments and technical requirements, it provides the complete document for community review and announces the Last Call. For example, see the WCAG 2.0 Last Call Announcement and Extention e-mail. (Note that after the Last Call comment period, it can take weeks or months for a Working Group to formally address all comments, document the resolutions, and make necessary changes.) If there are substantive changes, the technical report would go through another Last Call Working Draft before moving to the next stage.

According to the Call for Review, “The WCAG Working Group hopes that it has resolved all substantive issues with this draft, and looks forward to progressing to the next stages in completing WCAG 2.0.”


If you’re going to review WCAG 2.0, make sure that you also check out the following updated documents…

I’m going to be doing a detailed review of WCAG 2.0. I’ll be publishing my thoughts here as soon as I get time to sit down with the document.

Stay tuned…