Category Archives: Links

Charles Stross on Microsoft Word

Not many people are brilliant writers and also have the technical knowledge to comment on file formats intelligently. When it does happen, it’s worth reading. So I recommend to you Why Microsoft Word Must Die by Charles Stross.

I’ve been on a digital preservation panel with Stross, and he can talk as expertly on the subject as I can. When it comes to Word, he knows a lot more about the format than I do, and he can demolish it more eloquently than I could even if I had the same level of knowledge.

Streaming protocols

Last week I was doing some consulting work on Wowza Media Server for the Harvard Library, and I noticed there are some issues about streaming protocols which often aren’t well understood. To help clarify them in my own mind, and hopefully provide a useful resource for others, I’ve put a page on Basics of Streaming Protocols on my business website.

If you notice anything that’s wrong or confusing, please let me know.

Slide show on FITS progress

Last Friday’s CURATEcamp AVpres was a collaboration between several physical sites, using Google Hangout and IRC. I’d been asked if I could do a lightning presentation online on my work on FITS, but I had a commitment on the 19th, so Andrea Goethals at the Harvard Library said she’d do one.

That, unfortunately, was the day the Tsarnaev brothers went on their spree in Cambridge, and Harvard was closed for the day. Paul Wheatley picked up the job on short notice and did a presentation; the slide show is online. Paul suggested people should look at the work I’m putting on the Github repository after I’m finished at the end of April, but I wouldn’t mind if people tried it out now, while I’m still devoting my time to the project.

Digital preservation song

My daily update on the Files that Last blog includes a new song about digital preservation. It’s to promote my Kickstarter campaign for Files that Last and shares the book’s title, but you might find it fun in its own right. Naturally there’s a WAVE file in addition to the MP3. Links are appreciated.

JHOVE format notes

New on my business website: JHOVE format notes.

iPRES 2012

iPRES 2012 now has real information on its website.

State of HTML5 video

Long Tail Video has an interesting page on the state of HTML5 video. Their view is filtered through their own product, but it’s still a nice job of covering current trends.

A history of character encodings

Here’s a nice little history of character encodings, from ASCII through UTF-8.

It doesn’t really “date back to the earliest days of computers”; before ASCII there was a jumble of incompatible character encodings, some using as few as 5 bits. Even afterward, a bizarre IBM encoding called EBCDIC hung on for many years. But the path from ASCII to its descendants is fascinating enough by itself.

Thanks to Andy Jackson for the link.

PDF 1.7 and beyond

A paradox from Euan Cochrane: PDF 1.7 may follow the ISO standard, but not all PDF 1.7 files follow the same standard.

Conversations about data on CDL site

The California Digital Library has launched a new site, Data Pub, “to explore the landscape of digital data.” Suggested topics for discussion are data publication, data sharing, data archiving, data citation, open data, and open science.

Although the invitation to discussion is general, there doesn’t seem to be a way for non-CDL people to register so they can comment. This may be because they’re still getting things started.