NDP online viewing only for Windows users?


[This is sent to STForum ]

Dear Editor –

I am baffled as to why it is that those of us who want to view the 42nd National Day celebrations online have to have Microsoft Windows to do so?

I was trying to view http://www.ndp.org.sg/infocomm/livecelebration/ and it says:

“1. You may need to install ActiveX* components for viewing the
“Live Celebrations” if prompted.
* ActiveX is built on Microsoft’s Component Object Model (COM),
and is used primarily to develop interactive content for the World
Wide Web.

2. The live coverage is best viewed using Internet Explorer”

I run Firefox and use Linux exclusively. When there are plenty of totally cross platform, free and open streaming video technologies, like for example Theora (www.theora.org), it seems that the technology decision makers decided on a closed, platform-restricted and proprietary format as the way forward.

Spending tax payers money on proprietary products that in turn forces the citizens to have to acquire even more proprietary products to participate is not smart and downright offensive.

So, while it may be “We Are Singapore” on the parade square, it is more like “We Are [Microsoft] Singapore” on the net.

Majulah Singapura! Happy National Day, Singapore!

=======================================================
[August 9th update; the letter got printed on August 8th 2007]

I am including it here because ST in all of their twisted wisdom, will not make this thread any more available soon.

———————————————————-

DSTA_87
Default Yesterday, 07:46 AM
Isn’t there a flash version by Cachelogic?

Link here: http://www.cachelogic.com/home/pages…_Day/index.php

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DSTA_87
Default Yesterday, 07:48 AM
Forgot to add that it works in Firefox, so there should be no problem in running it in any system with flash support installed. Linux has flash support so does OS X.

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everythingiseventual
Default Yesterday, 09:06 AM
btw, i’ll be watching the NDP online from the mainlands…what’s the best source?

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sanjivmn
Default Yesterday, 09:15 AM
everythingiseventual: This morning, ST ran an article highlighting some places from which you can catch the NDP action.

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harishpillay
Default Yesterday, 11:47 AM
Unfortunately, the edited version is sparse on the details. See the original at: http://harishpillay.livejournal.com/60606.html. The issue is not the flash on the first page, but the live streaming component – http://www.ndp.org.sg/infocomm/livecelebration/.

Harish
———————————————————-

Leon
Default Yesterday, 04:20 PM
Majority wins mah…
How many Windows users vs how many Linux users?
If the streaming is to be done for the open source player on Linux. Then majority will have problem viewing them.
Perharps you can offer your help to the NDP team to create another stream for Linux users.

———————————————————-

clang123
Yesterday, 05:12 PM
agree with Leon…it makes economic sense to develop for the needs of majority…in any case, internet is not the only channel to watch parade

———————————————————-

sanjaymn
Yesterday, 05:50 PM
Market share of Firefox is in excess of 10% (closer to 15%).

Market share of Mac users is hovering at just about 5%.

I’m guessing that significant resources will have to be expended to make the streams Mac-compatible, but the few Mac users make this unjustifiable. In any case, if your Mac is recent enough, download Bootcamp (free) and boot up in Windows.

———————————————————-

harishpillay
Default Yesterday, 06:06 PM
Leon –

> Majority wins mah…
> How many Windows users vs how many Linux users?
> If the streaming is to be done for the open source player on Linux. Then
> majority will have problem viewing them.

I think you are missing the point. You can still have a ogg theora and
ogg vorbis player for any platform that will allow view it. The Linux and
Open Source world has always been accomodating to each and every
one – not like the proprietary Microsoft-minded world view.

> Perharps you can offer your help to the NDP team to create another stream
> for Linux users.

Yes, we will have to. Not only are Linux users marginalized, Mac users as well.

Thanks.

Harish

———————————————————-

harishpillay
Default Yesterday, 06:11 PM
clang123 –

>agree with Leon…it makes economic sense to develop for the needs
>of majority…

If all we had was to cater for the majority, Singapore would not be where
it is today.

Mediacorp is the one providing the streaming. There is really NOTHING to
develop. All that needs to be done has been developed. It is the way
Microsoft has locked in Mediacorp (or should I say, how Microsoft has
been able to sandbox Mediacorp) that we aree in this state.

Since I do not own Windows, how are we able to bridge the digital divide?
Will mediacorp supply a copy of windows to let me watch the stream? Or
should I just get the $1 copy of Windows from the pasar malam?

>in any case, internet is not the only channel to watch parade

but that is not the point. The official, tax payer funded site excludes some
tax payers from benefiting from it. There is a bigger social issue here
that both the media and a large number of IT companies have chosen
to ignore (or perhaps are clueless about).

Harish

———————————————————-

harishpillay
Default Yesterday, 06:13 PM
sanjaymn –

> Market share of Firefox is in excess of 10% (closer to 15%).
>
> Market share of Mac users is hovering at just about 5%.

all true. In Europe, FF is closer to 50%.

> I’m guessing that significant resources will have to be expended to make
> the streams Mac-compatible, but the few Mac users make this unjustifiable.
> In any case, if your Mac is recent enough, download Bootcamp (free) and
> boot up in Windows.

Streaming is not platform specific. That bit of information seems to be
missing here. Run Ogg Theora and all is well – on all platforms. “We
are Singapore” on the parade square, but “We are Microsoft Singapore”
on the net.

Harish

———————————————————-

DSTA_87
Default Yesterday, 06:56 PM
Harish, you missed the point of my post. I am not talking about the ndp website at all.

If you check here: http://www.ndp.org.sg/multimedia/webcast/index.html you will see 3 different options for live streaming and the third one is a flash version which works in firefox.

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DSTA_87
Default Yesterday, 07:04 PM
Also, if you want to stream the live camera from linux/OSX you can use mplayer and point to the following url:

mms://ndpwmedia.staging.qala.com.sg/stream03

Do note that you will need to install the binary codecs as the stream is based on windows media video 9.

Yes it is not user-friendly to people who are not into the technical aspects of computers however.

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DSTA_87
Default Yesterday, 07:15 PM
Also this link might be useful for those Linux people out there:
http://mplayerplug-in.sourceforge.net/

Again I need to emphasize you will need the binary codec packages which can be found here: http://www.mplayerhq.hu/design7/dloa…#binary_codecs

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vision3001
Default Yesterday, 11:19 PM
Harish should learn to be not so quick to bash Windows whenever opportunity seems to arise. Instead to see for constructive solutions, eg. mplayer plugin, etc.

———————————————————-

harishpillay
Default Yesterday, 11:54 PM
DSTA_87 –

Hi.

>Harish, you missed the point of my post. I am not talking about the ndp
>website at all.

OK, but I was. I was talking about that http://www.ndp.org.sg/infocomm/
then click on Live Celebration. All that the website designer needed to say is that if you are not running Windows go to some other URL.

> If you check here: http://www.ndp.org.sg/multimedia/webcast/index.html
> you will see 3 different options for live streaming and the third one is a flash
> version which works in firefox.

And that is what I would have expected them to point out. Not doing so is
plain unthoughtful.

Harish

———————————————————-

harishpillay
Default Yesterday, 11:56 PM
DSTA_87 –

>Also, if you want to stream the live camera from linux/OSX you can use
> mplayer and point to the following url:
>
> mms://ndpwmedia.staging.qala.com.sg/stream03
>
> Do note that you will need to install the binary codecs as the stream is
> based on windows media video 9.
>
> Yes it is not user-friendly to people who are not into the technical aspects
> of computers however.

If only the organizers had listened to the website designers. I am told by
the designers that the streaming entity (mediacorp) was not willing to listen.
Perhaps the website designers should have taken the initiative and listed
alternative viewing options as well. Sigh.

———————————————————-

harishpillay
Default Today, 12:00 AM
vision3001 –

Hi.

>Harish should learn to be not so quick to bash Windows whenever opportunity
>seems to arise. Instead to see for constructive solutions, eg. mplayer plugin,
>etc.

I am not doing windows bashing per se. I am asking the designers of the
National Day website to provide options for non windows users to be able
to consume the content. Having said that, windows bashing is a old tired
thing that does not deserve any more air time. I don’t use it so why should
I care. I care more about how sites that are national in nature are set up
to only cater to windows users. That is money that comes from yours and
my tax that I cannot then benefit from.

I have the proprietary codecs from mplayerhq and I can indeed watch
the wvm and other proprietary contents on both my Fedora 7 and RHEL
desktops, so that is not the key issue.

Harish

———————————————————-

vision3001
Default Today, 09:09 AM
>I am asking the designers of the
>National Day website to provide options for non windows
>users to be able to consume the content.

View N-Day Parade on various platforms
http://www.straitstimes.com/ST%2BFor…ry_146896.html

That’s an example of a constructive reply.
———————————————————-

vision3001
Default Yesterday, 09:10 AM
>That is money that comes from yours and
>my tax that I cannot then benefit from.

Precisely.

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everythingiseventual
Default Yesterday, 09:15 AM
thks sanjivmn!

———————————————————-
harishpillay
Default Today, 12:00 AM
vision3001 –

>>I am asking the designers of the
>>National Day website to provide options for non windows
>>users to be able to consume the content.
>
>View N-Day Parade on various platforms
>http://www.straitstimes.com/ST%2BFor…ry_146896.html
>
>That’s an example of a constructive reply.

Indeed the reply from IDA is positive. All I would have wanted them is to put the link in the page I mentioned.

Harish
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17 thoughts on “NDP online viewing only for Windows users?

  1. Can you raise this as an issue internally?
    Since you are a civil servant, should this not be something that can be raised from within? Perhaps we need to get the Cabinet to review all the public facing websites to see what is broken. I am sure that Cabinet will be appalled with the sorry state of affairs.

  2. So is many of our places of higher learning
    Seems like this is NOT an isolated case.
    Understand that several websites for student login (Singapore Polytechnic, NTU) also have the IE only policy.
    My little ones have to hand in their project PPT (Microsoft Office) while ODP (OpenOffice) isn’t accepted.
    Funny isn’t it?
    I was hoping to get a Eee-PC for my kids as personnel computers; but it only comes with Linux which is not “compatible” with MOE’s direction, LOL.

    1. Re: So is many of our places of higher learning
      Yes, and local academic tertiary schools are using blackboard elearning tools also. Blackboard Backpack, which is an offline program for blackboard server, is a windows-only software.
      And also accompanying software are used, such as online elearning video recordings, is fully workable only on windows with IE and Windows Media Player.
      And the non-IT students will tend to save their documents as default formats in Microsoft Office 2007, which is OOXML. It will cause trouble to people who don’t use Microsoft Office.
      Sooner or later, OOXML will take grounds in tertiary schools eventually if they don’t care much.
      Now their notes and slides are in doc, ppt format. Luckily there’s no pptx or docx yet, but maybe soon.
      As some are using Microsoft Exchange Server, you don’t have premium features on browsers other than IE? Non-IE don’t get premium features …
      If PPT is accepted why not ODP?
      If possible, please bring this issue upwards. Maybe to upper management level if all the lecturers do not accept ODP.
      ODF is essential for good cross-platform, cross-application document exchange.

      1. Re: So is many of our places of higher learning
        I am a part time faculty at NTU School of Computer Engineering and have taught a course on open source tools and techniques in 2006 and 2007. Like you say, NTU is indeed locked in hook line and sinker into a MS world view, naturally, it would not be something I can conceivably use. I therefore had the luxury of doing my own thing and ran the entire class out of a wiki. Blackboard is completely irrelevant for my purposes. I would have agreed to use a Blackboard environment provided it ran on a Linux environment, but alas, that was not the case which was perfectly fine with me.
        Harish

    2. Re: So is many of our places of higher learning
      Download from http://www.theopencd.org a CD image, burn it on to CDs and give it away to the school. Show them that there are viable and functional ways to teach without a single copy of Microsoft’s tools (apart from running on windows).
      If my sons have to create and submit document with a .doc or .ppt or some m$ centric format, I will just have then submit a pdf instead. I have told the primary school that they attend that the school should be running free software but it has thus far not fallen on willing ears.
      The problem is because the school does not pay for the m$ licenses. It comes out of yours and my tax dollars that the MOE has happily agreed to hand over to Microsoft in return for a national license. There is no accountability at the school level. The school administration and faculty are kept in a cocoon like state with this form of shielding and therefore you do not see anyone there giving a hoot about free software.
      Just ask the school to supply you with Windows and MS office tools because the MOE sanctioned national license to use these tools ends at the school gate. I would encourage you to acquire the unofficial copies of windows and microsoft office as there really is no functional need to have either one if all the child needs to do is to learn to use a word processor. Open Office works plently well and in many instances is much better than m$ stuff (caveat – I have not used m$ stuff since about 1997, so I could be wrong, but who cares).

  3. Re: So is many of our places of higher learning
    Oh, there are lecturers in both NTU and NUS who are frustrated with the MSification of their schools. In the lecture theatre I was teaching the open source class in June this year, I was boothing the desktop machine there with a Fedora 7 liveCD but eventually decided that running from a CDROM was not representative of what the OS can do, so I zapped the machine to run Fedora. My students found it amusing that I was “abusing” the school property, which I think I was and was not setting a good example, but then again, sometimes, one has to break the mold to make progress.
    Thanks for the link to the reply from IDA. They could have very easily placed the requisite info on the website and all would have been fine, but instead hid the relevant info. I would attribute this to sloppy design.

    1. Re: So is many of our places of higher learning
      Maybe you want to try out totem and confirm if the feeds are indeed supported. If not, maybe you can feedback to them again.

      1. You will get a confirmation box up asking if you want to bind the pet to you if you click it accidentally, the trick here is to click ‘No’ Once you have the pet, hie thee hence to an Auction House.

      2. You will get a confirmation box up asking if you want to bind the pet to you if you click it accidentally, the trick here is to click ‘No’ Once you have the pet, hie thee hence to an Auction House.

  4. Re: So is many of our places of higher learning
    Is there any hope to get them make their notes available in ODF also?
    One of the problem in NTU is that, if they hold major lessons for large lecture halls, they will most likely to do video recording.
    They will need to use this, preseNTUr’s acuStudio
    acuStudio is currently used by Schools’ Club in the Lecture Recording Project.
    https://equinox.ntu.edu.sg/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemid=38
    And for LT PC
    https://equinox.ntu.edu.sg/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=255&Itemid=38
    They have Office 2007 compatibility package, does it symbolise that ooxml is coming soon? Shouldn’t be ODF compatibility be built-in too? By plugin or OpenOffice.org installed along in the OS also?
    The video recording playback is a problematic one.
    There’s lots of limitation for mac users, and no support for linux.
    https://equinox.ntu.edu.sg/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=258&Itemid=38

      1. Re: So is many of our places of higher learning
        It’s a pity I’m a student and not a lecturer.
        By the way, it will be good to post the slides to be opened in an office suite if possible, probably in odf format. PDF is okay, but if there is some overlapping text or animations in presentation slides, it’ll be good to view in an office suite.
        I believe it’s not up to the lecturers and students to change the system as the decisions are made not by them.
        But if they do use OOXML before other office suites implemented it widely and freely, I shall send them feedback. Now they are using pdf and also traditional formats, such as xls, ppt, and doc.

      2. Re: So is many of our places of higher learning
        Whether you are a student or faculty, there really is no distinction. You should just insist that you will be submitting your documents in either a PDF or a ODF format. That should force the organization to start thinking. By not forcing the issue, the status quo begs to continue. You need to start rocking the boat. You would not be the first though.

  5. Re: Management is the problem
    Daniel –
    Indeed, it is management that is the issue. As soon as they can see that their business model as defined by their lock-in stance is not tenable in the long term, they will continue to waste their monies and others in wild goose chases like the ooxml. I have long since disposed all my MSFT shares so I cannot even ask them as a shareholder.
    Good to hear from you.
    Harish

    1. No activex
      I am not sure why I am replying to you, but I will give it a benefit of doubt that you are not a spammer.
      ActiveX is 100% windows-only and will never see it run natively on a Linux
      environment. ActiveX is highly insecure and not what you should be running
      anyway. If your brother is stuck with a need to have activeX, try to find a way around that application.

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