cel4145's blog

Flash News Flash: It's Accessible

Macromedia Flash developer Jason Smith has created a tool which uses captions written in XML to make Flash more accessible to the visual and hearing impaired. Macromedia has purchased this tool from the developer and has plans to include it as a free Flash download.

From Wired.

"Intelligent" Tutor Aids Science Students Online

Publisher Holt, Rinehart and Winston has created the Quantum Intelligent Tutor for helping students with their science homework. Instead of a FAQ base of problems and solutions, the artificial intelligence program works off an expert system principle of rules and principles and is meant to be used as a supplement to a variety of the publisher's texts.

From eSchool News Online

No More Cables, No More Phone Lines: Using Lasers for Broadband

In The Invisible Lightness of Beams The LA Times reports today that a Seattle-based company called Terabeams will begin setting up relay hubs using lasers for transmitting data through the air in downtown LA. Back in February, CNN.com reported that Terabeams has already been installing the system in Seattle.

The advantage? "The lasers are designed to be efficient and ultra-fast, with speeds as high as 1,000 megabits per second. A dial-up service like AOL or Earthlink usually carries data as fast as 56 kilobits per second. A commercial T-1 line carries data up to 1.5 megabits per second. Terabeam's lasers can race along at speeds as fast as fiber optic cable" (from CNN).

Also, "Terabeam allowed us to get up within two to three weeks, versus traditional companies when we want bandwith, which takes somewhere between 90 and 180 days" (from CNN).

Cyberspace and Race

This article in the April 2002 issues of MIT's Technology Review by Henry Jenkins talks about how white Internet users assume that race is not an issue in cyberspace, where is a reality is that "people simply assumed that all participants in an online discussion were white unless they identified themselves otherwise." He concludes that "in the end, we will need to give up any lingering fantasies of a color-blind Web and focus on building a space wehre we recognize, discuss and celebrate racial and cultural diversity."

The New Mac: Not a Good Tool for Surfing the Web

A number of sources are reporting on the poor performance of the new iMac for using the Internet and other applications. In Wired's Why Do New iMacs Surf So Slowly?, one user commented, "I spent $1,800 on a computer that's slower than the $400 eMachine it replaced." Tests in the report indicate that " a new 800 MHz iMac takes an average of twice as long to render Web pages as a comparable or cheaper PC running Windows XP." Wired also comments on the performance gap, in favor of the PC, between a $1500 Dell laptop and a $3,000 Powerbook G4. Their report concludes that it's not the hardware, but OSX causing the problem.

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