A New Professionalism And New Amateurs

Found this excellent disscussion on this blog it writes “There are now so many web sites, blogs or publications devoted to helping people learn standards and accessible techniques that there are now no excuses not to work with semantic code or CSS. Those people still delivering nested table layout, spacer gifs or ignoring accessibility can no longer call themselves web professionals.“ Andy Clarke”

So wanted to know what you all thought about it! And if someone wanted to start a list of great sites that one must visit to learn web standards.

Web Standards Group

The Web Standards Group is for web designers & developers who are interested in web standards (HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, XSLT etc.) and best practices (accessible sites using valid and semantically correct code). We aim to:

* Provide web developers and designers with a forum to discuss issues and share knowledge (via our discussion list and regular meetings)
* Provide web standards information and assistance to developers
* Promote “web standards” within the development community

We currently have 2816 members from 99 countries.

Adobe Completes Acquisition of Macromedia

Adobe
Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) recently announced the completion of its acquisition of Macromedia, Inc. The transaction was finalized on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2005. As a result of the acquisition, Macromedia common stock is no longer being traded and shares of Macromedia common stock were converted into the right to receive 1.38 shares of Adobe common stock.
The combination of Adobe and Macromedia creates one of the worlds largest, most innovative and diversified software companies. The acquisition brings together some of the industries strongest software brands and most ubiquitous technologies for creating, managing and delivering compelling content and experiences across multiple operating systems, devices and media. The move also accelerates Adobe’s strategic initiative to advance a powerful software platform, based on PDF and Macromedia Flash technologies, that scales from mobile devices to high-end servers.
The explosion of digital content, combined with the accelerating proliferation of mobile phones, wireless devices and the growth of broadband are transforming the way the world engages with information, said Bruce Chizen, chief executive officer of Adobe. Adobe and Macromedia are at the center of this trend, and together we will build on our combined heritage to redefine the way people and businesses communicate. The company will shortly begin executing the planned integration of the two companies operations, networks and customer care organizations to ensure a smooth transition and immediate value for customers, partners and investors. As part of the initial integration of product portfolios, Adobe recently announced three new product bundles that combine the design and publishing power of Adobe® Creative Suite 2 and Adobe video tools with the interactive strength of just-released Macromedia Flash Professional 8 and Macromedia Studio 8 software.
Management of the combined company includes executives and board members from both organizations. Bruce Chizen continues as chief executive officer and Shantanu Narayen remains as president and chief operating officer. Macromedias Stephen Elop has joined Adobe as president of worldwide field operations. Murray Demo remains executive vice president and chief financial officer. Dr. John Warnock and Dr. Charles Geschke remain co-chairmen of the Board of Directors of the combined company and Macromedias chairman, Rob Burgess, has joined the Adobe Board.

New 360 Backwards Compatibility

Gamespot is reporting that a new update to the 360’s backwards compatibility has been issued … and just as promptly recalled. From the article: “Late last night, Microsoft updated the backwards-compatibility list with eight games from the trio of Tom Clancy-inspired series. Software emulators for Ghost Recon, Ghost Recon 2, Ghost Recon 2 Summit Strike, Rainbow Six 3, Rainbow Six 3 Black Arrow, Splinter Cell, Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow, and Splinter Cell Chaos Theory all became available for download. However, within hours of the new update’s release, reports began to circulate that it was causing problems with Halo 2. ”

W3C Moves Forward on New Extensions for Voice Technologies and the Web

W3C Moves Forward on New Extensions for Voice Technologies and the Web

Wednesday, December 07 2005 @ 04:21 PM CST
Contributed by: ByteEnable

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced new work on extensions to components of the Speech Interface Framework which will both extend Speech Synthesis Markup Language functionality to Asian and other languages, and include speaker verification features into the next version of VoiceXML, version 3.0. Addressing both areas expands both the reach and functionality of the framework.

Working Group Internationalizing SSML

The Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML), a W3C Recommendation since 2004, is designed to provide a rich, XML-based markup language for assisting the generation of synthetic speech in Web and other applications. The essential role of the markup language is to provide authors of synthesizable content a standard way to control aspects of speech such as pronunciation, volume, pitch, rate, etc. across different synthesis-capable platforms.

While these attributes are critical, additional attributes may be even more important to specific languages. For example, Mandarin Chinese, the most widely spoken language in the world today, also has the notion of tones – the same written character can have multiple pronunciations and meanings based on the tone used. Given the profusion of cellphones in China – some estimate as high as over one billion – the case for extending SSML for Mandarin is clear in terms of sheer market forces. Including extensions for Japanese, Korean and other languages will ensure that a fuller participation possible of the world on the Web.

Speaker Verification Extension to Be Included in VoiceXML 3.0

Another feature users are demanding of telephony services and the Web is speaker verification.

“Identity theft, fraud, phishing, terrorism, and even the high cost of resetting passwords have heightened interest in deploying biometric security for all communication channels, including the telephone,” said Ken Rehor of Vocalocity, newly elected Chairman of the VoiceXML Forum and participant in the W3C Voice Browser Working Group. “Speaker verification and identification is not only the best biometric for securing telephone transactions and communications, it can work seamlessly with speech recognition and speech synthesis in VoiceXML deployments.”

Until now, most vendors have compensated for this missing feature by making a custom fix for their services. The result has been a set of divergent technologies that do not interoperate. Thanks to requirements contributions from the VoiceXML Forum’s Speaker Biometrics Committee, the W3C Voice Browser Working Group has been able to identify the features needed for a standardized speech verification module. The Working Group is now beginning to address these requirements.

Timing Perfect for New Participants

Given the depth and breadth of the announced new work, as well as plans for additional features for VoiceXML 3.0, this is a perfect time for new companies, researchers and other interested parties to join W3C and participate in the latest developments for voice technologies and the Web. Among potential critical contributors are those from the research and industrial sectors throughout Asia in the areas of Asian languages and speaker verification, to allow for the best possible expertise in the development of standards that truly serve the needs of Web users worldwide. More information on the W3C Voice Browser Activity and on joining W3C is on the W3C Web site.