Elpub buttonEP Topic News: 1st August 2002

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Contents
 
Character animation from Oxford
Recent PEW studies
Interactive TV research project
The Semantic Grid
Arakne - open hypermedia
W3C editor/browser Amaya
SVG package from JASC
New York Times goes MM
Betting on technological outcomes
Where did e-mail come from?
Navigating Telecom Turbulence
Invention,play and the web
New EC DOI project
DOI plug-in for ADOBE
Web service toolkit update
FP6 - European parliament papers
Nielsen looks for Flash examples
Open Knowledge Initiative

New character animation from Oxford

An Oxford University spin-out, NaturalMotion Ltd was founded in November 2001 by Torsten Reil, Colm Massey and David Raubenheimer. The core of NaturalMotion's IP is its Active Character Technology (A.C.T.), a break-through in 3D character animation which is based on Oxford University research on the control of body movements. They have just demonstrated their system at SIGRAPH.

URL: http://www.naturalmotion.com/

Recent PEW studies

The Pew Internet & American Life project studies the impact of the Internet on families,communities, health care, education, civic and political life and the work place. In addition to large studies they now regularly post short reports on their web site. Recent subjects include online job hunting and search engines.

The search engine report notes that 25% of Internet users have typed in their own name and 24% were surprised by the amount of information they found about themselves.

The most recent long report 'The broadband difference' looked at how Americans' behaviour changes with high-speed Internet connections to the home. The broadband report shows that high-speed access alters the way people use the Web. 82% of broadband users are online on a given day compared with 58% of dial-up users. They also spend more time online and are more likely to be doing several tasks simultaneously. These observations confirm the fact that slow dial-up speeds are a deterrant to online activity as usability research has shown. Since the first Pew report on home connection the number of home broadband users has quadrupled from 6 million to 24 million Americans.

URL: http://www.pewinternet.org/reports/

Interactive television research project

The iTV Research web site is produced by undergraduate students in the Dowden Centre for Emerging Media Research, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication to serve as the launch point for their inquiries into interactive television. Their mission is to study the current and future impacts of emerging iTV technologies on our world thereby enabling students to shape the interactive media of the future. The site contains news items, background information, interviews in QuickTime and links to articles.

URL: http://itv.grady.uga.edu/

The Semantic Grid

e-Science offers a promising vision of how computer and communication technology can support and enhance the scientific process. It does this by enabling scientists to generate, analyse, share and discuss their insights, experiments and results in a more effective manner. The underlying computer infrastructure that provides these facilities is commonly referred to as the Grid. At this time, there are a number of grid applications being developed and there is a whole raft of computer technologies that provide fragments of the necessary functionality.

However there is currently a major gap between these endeavours and the vision of e-Science in which there is a high degree of easy-to-use and seamless automation and in which there are flexible collaborations and computations on a global scale. To bridge this practice–aspiration divide, this report presents a research agenda whose aim is to move from the current state of the art in e-Science infrastructure, to the future infrastructure that is needed to support the full richness of the e-Science vision. Here the future e-Science research infrastructure is termed the Semantic Grid (Semantic Grid to Grid is meant to connote a similar relationship to the one that exists between the Semantic Web and the Web).

URL: http://www.semanticgrid.org/

Arakne environment - open hypermedia

The Arakne Environment is a system for augmenting Web pages with an open set of open hypermedia structures. Currently, Arakne supports navigational, compositional (in the form of guided tours), and spatial hypermedia. In addition to creating links between or otherwise associating Web pages, annotations can be added to Web pages. The Arakne Environment utilises the Microsoft Internet Explorer to show Web pages. By controlling the Internet Explorer, the Arakne Environment can modify the Web page currently shown in the Web browser, and thus links and annotations are added to the page. Download version 2.1 from the web site that also links to papers on the Arakne project.

URL: http://www.daimi.aau.dk/~bouvin/Arakne/

W3C editor/browser Amaya

Amaya is W3C's own versatile editor/browser. With the extremely fast moving nature of Web technology, Amaya plays a central role at the Consortium. Easily extended to integrate new ideas into its design, Amaya provides developers with many specialized features including multiple views, where the internal structural model of the document can be displayed alongside the browser's view of how it should be presented on the screen. Amaya has a counterpart called Jigsaw which plays a similar role on the server side.

Amaya is a complete Web browsing and authoring environment and comes equipped with a WYSIWYG style of interface, similar to that of the more popular commercial browsers. The current public release is Amaya 6.2 (8 July 2002) and is available both in source code and ready to use forms. The Amaya software is written in C and is available for Windows, Unix platforms and Mac OS X. It can be freely downloaded from the W3C site.

URL: http://www.w3.org/Amaya/

SVG package from JASC

JASC the producers of the popular PaintShop Pro package have a new product WebDraw that implements SVG (scalable vector graphics). Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is a new Web graphics format and technology based on XML. SVG allows Web designers and developers to easily integrate vector graphics and text with XML, HTML, CSS and JavaScript to create high quality, interactive user interfaces and online applications that can be delivered to any viewing device. A complete SVG authoring solution, WebDraw delivers a robust set of graphics design and source code editing tools for faster, more flexible SVG design and development.

URL: http://www.jasc.com/products/webdraw/

New York Times goes MM

The New York Times web site nytimes.com has recently started a multimedia section with photo slide shows, audio, interactive graphics and video. Slide shows of current affairs, audio interviews and music, interactive science and architecture, educational video; all figure in the new section.

URL: http://www.nytimes.com/pages/multimedia/index.html

Betting on technological outcomes

Longbets.com is a foundation that promotes interpersonal bets on the future, mainly but not exclusively technological outcomes. Two examples are: a bet between Ray Kurzweil and Mitchell Kapor that 'A computer - or "machine intelligence" - will pass the Turing Test by 2029' and a bet between Jason Epstein and Vint Cerf that 'By 2010, more than 50 percent of books sold worldwide will be printed on demand at the point of sale in the form of library-quality paperbacks'. The most interesting part of the site is the discussion forums that have grown around each bet. Finally, one might say of some of the bets, the AI community is finally putting its money where its mouth is!

URL: http://www.longbets.org/

Where did e-mail come from?

If you have ever wondered where e-mail started then visit The 13th Annual Discover Magazine Awards for Innovation in Science and Technology. The inventor of e-mail Ray Tomlinson won the computing award and there is an article on his contribution and ideas. Brad Parkinson creator of the Global Positioning System won the communications award.


URL: http://www.discover.com/awards/02_awards/computing.html

Navigating Telecom Turbulence

is the title of a briefing from META Group web resource centre. The article and links cover topics such as strategies for minimizing exposure to adverse consequences stemming from existing telecom contracts with financially troubled carriers. There are extensive links to coverage of the WorldCom and KPNQWest problems and as they say "As the post-boom worldwide telecom shakeout continues to disrupt major carrier services, user organizations must augment their carrier management strategies to ensure they receive ongoing low-cost, high-reliability network services." (may require free registration for access).

URL: http://www.metagroup.com/costcutting/telecom.html

Invention, play and the web

A web site devoted to invention and play has been created to accompagny a travelling exhibition funded by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. The exhibition is at the Smithsonian in Washington USA at present. The web site is hignly interactive and multimedia with games, puzzles and sound effects in addition to more serious material on what sparks creation and experiences of inventors.


The site has some links and a particularly interesting one, points to the MIT Media Lab Lifetime Kindergarten site. The Lifelong Kindergarten group aims to re-invent learning and education in a digital society. They develop new technologies that, in the spirit of the blocks and fingerpaint of kindergarten, expand the range of what people design and create -- and what they learn in the process. Their ultimate goal is a world of playfully creative people, who are constantly inventing new possibilities for themselves and their communities. The projects include new computer languages like StarLogo (downloadable) that has been used in simulation studies by the Brookings Institute.


URL: Invention and play http://www.si.edu/lemelson/centerpieces/iap/index.html
URL: Lifetime Kindergarten http://llk.media.mit.edu/

New EC DOI project

INTERPARTY will design and specify a framework for the unique identification of parties (natural and corporate names) in the Intellectual Property e-commerce chain. This is essential to the effective trading of intellectual property relating to cultural and information goods. Two main questions need to be answered when a content producer, bibliographic agency, licensing agency, library or any other kind of participant in the IP commerce chain is confronted with a new name which requires to be uniquely identified. These are: “Does the name have a registered identifier? If not, how can one be registered?”

URL: http://www.doi.org/topics/InterpartyFactSheet020530.pdf

Digital Object Identifier plug-in for ADOBE

At the recent International DOI Foundation Annual Members' Meeting, held in Redmond, Washington, USA, the IDF demonstrated advanced DOI functionality with the release of a simple plug-in which can be customised to deliver numerous applications with Adobe products such as pdf files. These can include adding menu items and tool bar icons to Acrobat or Acrobat Reader, opening dialog boxes, and initiating processes. Among applications demonstrated were alerting the user to the existence of a newer version of a document, showing up-to-date related links specific to the document in hand, creating a citation for the document in hand, and initiating a rights transaction.

URL: http://www.doi.org/

Web service toolkit update

IBM has recently updated its Web Service Toolkit to Version 3.2. Web Services Tool Kit (WSTK) for dynamic e-business is a software development kit that includes demos and examples to aid in designing and executing Web service applications that can automatically find one another and collaborate in business transactions without additional programming or human intervention. Simple examples of Web services are provided, as well as demonstrations of how some of the emerging technology standards, such as SOAP, UDDI, and WSDL, work together. "Web Services Tool Kit can be used with any operating system that supports Java 1.3 or above; it has been tested on Windows and Linux", they say.


URL: http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/webservicestoolkit

European parliament papers on FP6

STOA is responsible for the assessment of scientific and technological policy options for the European Parliament. They have recently published two papers related to FP6: 'Analysis of the Special Programmes of the Framework Programme 2002-2006 - COM(2001) 279 final and COM(2002) 43 final', and 'Legal, technical and policy differences between the new framework programme RDT 2002-2006 and previous programmes - with particular reference to the fifth framework programme'. The second paper was prepared by the University of Oviedo in 2001.

URL: http://www.europarl.eu.int/stoa/publi/default_en.htm

Nielsen looks for German, Japanese Flash

Jakob Nielsen, the usability expert who has attacked Flash use in the past, is currently working with Macromedia to create guidelines for better Flash use. So far the research has used Flash examples from US sites, but they are now soliciting examples of Flash use in German and Japanese for evaluation.

URL: http://www.useit.com/


Open Knowledge Initiative

The Open Knowledge Initiative is defining an open architectural specification to be used for the development of educational related software. The core OKI deliverable is an architectural specification for educational application development. Its design is founded on several features which will ensure its continued viability in step with diverse and evolving technology and pedagogical systems. It's comprised of two service layers defined by a series of implementation independent Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). The bottom layer, Common Services, provides fundamental services, such as Authentication and File Management. This layer is designed to allow smooth integration with enterprise infrastructure. The second layer, Educational Services, will provide a set of services specific to educational applications, such as Course Management or Assessment tools.

URL: http://web.mit.edu/oki/


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