* Posts by Grant Gibson

5 publicly visible posts • joined 10 May 2007

1TB USB stick shoved into Swiss Army knife

Grant Gibson

Re the rambling bit in the middle of the article about "could you fit a PC into a matchbox... could it have a soft keyboard?... etc".

You've just described the last decade of mobile phone evolution. Small computers do exist. In matchbox sizes. With or without soft keyboards.

Steve Jobs Flash rant put to the test

Grant Gibson

Ok, to all the haters - lets discuss this sensibly for once

Ok, lets start with a simple agreement - all commercial sites need to run display ads to survive (even the mighty Reg).

Next, advertisers demand animation. Outside of Google Adwords this is non-negotiable. It's a brand building exersise, and static / text ads ain't gonna cut it.

So, lets kill Flash because Steve says so. Now what? Two options:

1) Have animated ads that run 30fps video in an HTML5 container.

Pros: No Flash.


- Massive bandwidth consumption (min 1MB per 15 sec ad)

- Massive CPU usage once you've got 2, 3 or 4 of these running on a page.

- AdBlock now needs to disable the HTML5 video element, so we're back to where we started.

2) Animate ads using Javascript.

Pros: No Flash.


- Hugely inefficient as the client runtime libraries (that were a one-time, 1MB download from Adobe) are now using different technologies (JQuery, YUI, etc) and having to download those for every ad view on every page.

- The optimisations are less efficient (e.g. you need to deliver a PNG24 to do Alpha transparency, whereas you can give a JPEG alpha trasparency in Flash).

- There's no potential for efficiency through compiled code or hardware acceleration -- every frame of movement is being calculated from complex math functions and rendered at runtime (This is a huge deal for eased, tweened animations which all professional ads use. Flash calculates these at SWF compile time for much greater efficiency.)

In short, whatever way you do animation in HTML5 it's guaranteed to be: Higher bandwidth; more CPU intensive; harder to disable as it's built into the fabric of the page, not via an easily disabled plug-in.

Why does Steve hate Flash? Yes, there are performance concerns, but those could be addressed. The real reason is that it takes away Apple's gatekeeper status. Want to play a game on the iPhone? Go to the App Store. If Flash was there, anyone could make iPhone games, apps, etc of equal quality to most App Store apps but without the Steve approval process.

Popcap games on your iPhone? Say goodbye to 50%+ of those 59p game downloads that make up so much of App Store sales.

Grant Gibson


@Philip Webster: Interesting point. Can you direct me to the games sites that are based on Java or .NET please? You know, those equivalents to Popcap or Miniclip that you're obviously referring to...

BBC iPlayer launches, but with limited viewer reach

Grant Gibson

How does PDC help prevent copying?

To everyone who has pointed out that the BBC must take reasonable steps to prevent copying / piracy....

Why do they broadcast PDC (Programme Delivery Control) signals that actively control your VCR or DVR to get a perfect end-to-end rip of a programme?

For the past twenty years, TV companies have been actively looking for ways to help you achieve a perfect home recording. Now, bizarrely, they've done a complete u-turn and will only provide content through channels which are locked down and time-limited.

The TV companies should remember that DRM doesn't work -- until we get DRM chips in our eyes and ears, content needs to be decrypted at the point of consumption. The only thing it harms is user acceptance and uptake.

Downing Street rejects Vista petition

Grant Gibson

If you edit text for a living, use Linux. For anything else, get a PC or Mac...

Linux is fine as an OS, and some variants offer nice eye candy. But ultimately most Linux users end up editing text -- either code, config files or wordprocessor docs.

If you're working in any creative field (illustration, photography, animation, game design, etc, etc) you need pro tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash, none of which are available for Linux. The open source alternatives just aren't up to pro use.

Linux may be a robust OS, but with limited software support it just isn't an option for most people I know.