Can HTML5 FutureProof Your Mobile Strategy

first_imgIn terms of dovetailing HTML5 development with standard app product development, Weinberg says the two are separate, but related, operations. “The apps are done in a separate group, but they’re aware of what we’re doing and we’re aware of what they’re doing. We all have shared but slightly different missions in this. For instance, an app in the future can be designed to link to the Web site for certain information or slideshows or content that the user wouldn’t have wanted to download as part of the native app. What’s really cool about that is it gives us a seamless consumer flow opportunity for delivering whatever content wherever they are whenever they need it through whatever device they have. My only issue right now is if we can go faster to implement more of the HTML5 products more comprehensively across all of the brands my life would be much better.”Next StepsGoing forward, Christie says HTML5 Web apps will be built on a case by case basis. The trigger will depend on the brand’s business model. “We are looking at HTML5 for some of the other FT Group titles. They’re more pure b-to-b titles. For some of them we are probably going to come out with more native apps. Some we might do Web apps. We’re looking at the business model for each of those and being quite pragmatic about it because for titles that have no registration, no subscription and are completely ad-based, you don’t have to do a Web app, you can do a native app. It just depends on where you see the future of each of the titles.”As an example, Christie cites the release of FT’s native How to Spend It app, which is available in Apple’s App Store. “From a business model point of view we don’t require registration or subscription and it’s completely advertising-based. It wasn’t going to compromise our business model to launch it in iTunes because we didn’t have an issue with the subscription process.”As for Weinberg, he sees HTML5 as a way to position the brands for whatever new features become available in the near future. “I’m looking down the road and saying this is going to create new creative capabilities that we haven’t had before and to the extent that it’s possible now, great. To the extent that it’s going to become possible later, all the better. But it does start to chart a new course for what the digital desktop is and how it works.” In the case of Hearst, the company is doing both. In September, the company announced that it was beginning the process of converting all of its magazine Web sites to HTML5. The plan was to build out specific components within the sites optimized with the new standard starting in the fourth quarter of this year and continue into 2012. The first to get the treatment was GoodHousekeeping.com, which went live in September and became compatible with the majority of mobile devices—meaning rich media elements were touch and swipe enabled, among other features.“This project forms the basis for the kind of site structure that we expect to roll out to the rest of the network over the next six to 18 months,” Mark Weinberg, vice president of programming and product strategy for Hearst Digital Media, said at the time. “We have a number of sites that we’re in the process of redesigning and relaunching now and they will be relaunched fundamentally on the same kind of code base of HTML5 and they will be designed to be multi-platform. The kind of innovations we’ve baked into the Good Housekeeping relaunch will drive where we go with the rest of the network sites.”Going All-inThe decision to go all-in with the entire stable of Web sites was largely influenced by the belief that mobile is going to be a huge influence on digital content access in the near term. “The major motivator for us was both the recognition that it would create a more future-oriented programming and content delivery approach, given that it is an evolutionary step for the Web as a whole, but also, very importantly, that it was an evolutionary step that would allows us to have a functional site on iOS devices,” says Weinberg. “That’s what really got us started down the road—looking at the iOS devices and the clarity that had about not adopting Flash. Continuing down the road using Flash was not a good idea. While we’re still using Flash in some places, it was very clear that we needed to be compatible.”As the strategy got underway, Weinberg realized that ditching Flash was not the only benefit. Consumers, as they use their devices more often, are expecting to have the same functionality wherever they go on the Web. “Once we got going it became clear that it would allow us to do a number of other things, not the least of which was to be functional on touch-screen devices. And that I think is one of the really future-oriented aspects of this—that people are beginning to expect that. So this really meets consumer expectations. It makes us flexible and functional on all devices and it gives us the functionality that you get with HTML5 that its predecessor didn’t have,” he says.That freedom from the confines of proprietary formats and the ability to give customers what they expect were similar motivators for the Financial Times when it developed its Web app and snubbed Apple’s App Store. But fundamentally, it’s about the explosion in mobile usage. “An obvious trend is device proliferation,” says MB Christie, online product manager for the Financial Times. “Users expect to get everything everywhere. Everything they have on the desktop they are absolutely expecting to get on the phone and on the tablet. They just expect it to be there and don’t think about the fact that there’s a different transition, a different screen size and there will be different interactions [with the content].”Yet with that proliferation of devices comes a proliferation of formats and operating systems, each having unique access requirements. “So as publishers we have to think about how to do this quickly and get on all of the devices without breaking the bank,” says Christie. “Because you’ve got to make sure you’re on all the different sized tablets, all the different sized small screens and still on the desktop—all with an optimal user experience. Otherwise, your users will think, ‘They have a really nice Web site, but I can’t use it when I’m on the go.’ And then they’ll stop using you altogether. It will hurt your brand.”Christie notes that in order to cover the bases in terms of device coverage, HTML5 was the clear path. “You have to think about how you can do it across the board, which is what prompted us to start looking at an HTML5 solution very early on.”Is It Ready Yet? For now, publishers are taking one of two paths. They’re either rebuilding their Web sites with the HTML5 standard that lets users view them from a mobile or desktop machine, or they’re building HTML5 sites designed specifically for mobile devices as a separate option from providing apps through the app store. Now that the early enthusiasm behind generating magazine apps for tablet and smart phone devices has settled into a more or less pragmatic approach for publishers, a nagging question is bubbling ever closer to the top of digital content development efforts for the mobile platform: HTML5 or native apps? A concern from the start for Weinberg and Christie was HTML5’s readiness. The standard was essentially still under development and certainly not as established as HTML4 and there wasn’t yet a large base of developers skilled in the standard. “It does take some skilled developers, but I think the speciality is improving. The more demand there is in the market the more people will pick up the skills needed to do this,” says Christie. And then around that time Apple and the FT bumped heads on App store subscription terms and customer data. “That’s when we decided to seriously focus attention on the Web app,” says Christie. “What was great was we could sell the idea because we already had it in front of us. We weren’t scared, it didn’t feel like such a big leap for us because we had a working prototype.”According to Christie, an early challenge was figuring out how to make offline caching a smoother experience. Mobile browsers limit file sizes for downloading and in order to read the Financial Times offline, users had to take the semi-technical and extra step of boosting the database size to 50 MB. “We had to come up with a way for us to allow people to store a fairly large amount of data. They had to go through an extra step of saving a larger database than the browser would normally allow them to. Making the message user-friendly and not scary was challenging.”The step allows the user to save the file to their homescreen, enabling them to open the FT and read it whenever they want to.That local caching on the device is a critical feature, and one that differentiates a Web app from standard mobile sites, such as FT’s m.ft.com. “The Web app has a lot more advantages. It allows for a lot more richness than the pure mobile site, m.ft.com. We can have videos, images and most importantly, you can read it offline. That is a huge advantage of an app over a straight old mobile site. It’s more like a newspaper. You can take it on the train and read it,” says Christie.Where a reader is directed to depends on the device they’re using. “We can look at your device and the we serve you the right site, whether it’s m.ft.com or the Web app. We look at how smart your phone is and then we serve you the right thing based on that,” adds Christie.center_img At Hearst, the process of rebuilding the sites took a templated approach. Specific components were optimized for HTML5, such as promo players and other features, and then repeated throughout the rest of the sites. “We’re creating products, which are essentially features or functionality that can then be cascaded into all the sights in our network. It’s a build once, use many approach,” says Weinberg.For example, the promo player, which is basically a rotating slideshow that graphically features the top stories on the site, was one of the first to get the HTML5 treatment. “Historically, those were all Flash-based and after we developed the HTML5 promo player for Good Housekeeping, we cascaded that to all of our brands. Now, when you open any of the sites on an iPhone you will have a touch/swipe-enabled promo player that you can actually see. In the old version you couldn’t even see it because it was Flash. And it works on all phones, all devices,” says Weinberg.In all, Weinberg says the process of rolling out HTML5 is more of a design process than a technical one, and the templated approach as made it easier to apply the new features across the Hearst network of sites. “The team has made it very modular, so that the areas where we need to make these kinds of improvements in the near term we can make them in a more seamless way. The implementation of HTML5 is relatively easy. For example, we’re about to roll out our slideshow, or what we call a Flipbook, so there’s an HTML5 version of that that we’re cascading across the network. So by January almost all of the rest of our sites will have it. That’s how quickly it can cascade out. It’s much more of a design iteration than it is a technical challenge.”The FT began experimenting with an HTML5 Web app in the summer of 2010, says Christie. “We worked with one of our development partners and gave them time to play, really. It was just a few months after we’d launched the iPad app. We didn’t do anything really formal, and by January/February we had a pretty nice proof of concept going.” Browser compatibility had been one hurdle, but that has since been resolved says Weinberg. “So we weren’t really as worried at the time we were doing this work as those who came before us that people wouldn’t be able to see it or use it. In fact, we looked at it as the opposite, that this would increase the usability and increase the good functional behavior across more platforms and for more consumers in more circumstances. That actually proved out to be the bigger idea.”Another key motivator is the fragility of print revenues. As a stark reminder, consumer magazine ad pages fell 5.6 percent in the third quarter of this year, erasing the growth from the first six months of the year, per PIB numbers. Prior to the third quarter, consumer magazines enjoyed a run of growth for five consecutive quarters.“Print advertising money is no longer as easy to get as it used to be,” says Christie. “So that means that we all have to look for other solutions and digital is an obvious way. So we need to make sure that we are selling things on digital, whether it be ads, subscriptions or a combination. But in order to pay for the content, to pay our journalists, we absolutely need to make sure that we have a clear and strong digital strategy that will succeed and bring in the revenue needed to do so.”For the FT, the strategy is proving out, as is the theory that mobile is becoming a larger and larger component of media access. According to reports, the FT’s online operation now accounts for 30 percent of its revenues. Digital subscriptions were up 34 percent in the first half of 2011 and FT’s Web app reached the one millionth registrant milestone mid-November.Execution The latest Web standard has opened up new opportunities for building mobile-optimized content that, on the surface, frees it from the constraints of proprietary formats, such as Adobe’s Flash, and Apple’s onerous control of the app store retail environment and customer information. The Flash problem has largely been answered now that Adobe is no longer supporting it for mobile, but some publishers have been moving quickly to optimize both their sites in HTML5 and build products based on the standard to head off what they think is an inevitability: Mobile is going to be core to any content publisher’s product strategy going forward, and HTML5 is promising a seamless access standard that makes it easy for customers to view content on any mobile platform. “It did take a bit of a leap of faith,” adds Weinberg. “From what I understand there was a reluctance for people to move down this road for two pretty obvious reasons. One was it was not yet fully developed and so there were some concerns that people had about how the behaviors would work and what the issues might be; and there wasn’t as full of an understanding as there was with HTML4.”last_img read more

Xbox Game Pass for PC pricing game lineup revealed

first_imgThe Xbox Game Pass for PC will launch at a $1 introductory monthly price. Microsoft Microsoft revealed the pricing and initial game release for its Xbox Game Pass for PC ahead of its Xbox press conference at E3 on Sunday. Gamers can join the beta for the subscription-based service gaming for $5 per month for a limited time. Members will receive a 30-day notice before this introductory period ends and Xbox Game Pass for PC reverts to its standard price of $9.99 per month.The service will include access to at least 10 games during its beta phase, including Halo: The Master Chef Collection and Gears 5, each of which is listed as “coming soon.”Microsoft has slowly been making Xbox more integrated with Windows, and support for Game Pass on PC is yet another example. Microsoft is expected to discuss a wide range of new games and initiatives during its Xbox press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo at 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET). But perhaps the most anticipated news will be about Microsoft’s next upcoming Xbox — codenamed Scarlett according to a report from 2018 — of which the company’s offered few details so far.Other games listed on the page include Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, We Happy Few, Ark Survival Evolved and Ori and the Will of Wisps, which is listed as coming soon. Share your voice Post a comment Microsoft Xbox’s next-gen console ahead, two Uber execs depart See All Tags • 1:22 16 Photos Aug 3 • E3 journalists see their personal info exposed by security flaw Now playing: Watch this: Jul 26 • Doom Eternal: QuakeCon ‘Year of Doom’ keynote shows more ‘Battlemode’ action Aug 19 • Borderlands 3: FL4K, new endgame content and everything else we know Microsoft shows off Xbox trailers, hardware, services at E3 reading • Xbox Game Pass for PC pricing, game lineup revealed E3 2019 0 Aug 28 • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order trailer, gameplay footage and everything we know Gaming E3 2019last_img read more

Padma Bridges 2 km visible

first_imgPadma BridgeThe 14th span of the much-hyped Padma Bridge was installed on Saturday afternoon making 2,100 metres of the mega structure visible, reports UNB.The ‘3-C’ span was set up on pillars 15 and 16, said an engineer of Padma Bridge Project.Earlier, the 150-meter long span, weighing 3,140 tonnes, was taken near the pillar by a floating yard from Mawa Kumarbhog Contruction Yard on Thursday but it could not be installed due to inclement weather.The 13thn span of the bridge was installed on 25 May on pillars number 14 and 15.Work on the country’s largest bridge till date started in December 2015. The structure started becoming visible with the installation of 150-metre span on pillars 37 and 38 on 30 October 2017.The 6.15-kilometre bridge will have 41 spans, each 150 metres long.last_img read more

Analysis 10 Ways We Can Prevent School Shootings Right Now

first_img Share Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawllins/ReutersA woman holds a placard during a candlelight vigil for victims of yesterday’s shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida.After a shooter killed 17 people at a Florida high school, many have expressed frustration at the political hand-wringing over gun control and calls for prayer.As a parent, I understand the desire for practical responses to school shootings. I also absolutely believe the government should do more to prevent such incidents. But the gun control debate has proven so divisive and ineffective that I am weary of waiting for politicians to act.I study the kind of aggressive childhood behavior that often predates school shootings. That research suggests what communities and families can start doing today to better protect children.Here are 10 actions we can all take while the federal government drags its heels.What schools can doBecause educators observe students’ emotional and behavioral development daily, they are best positioned to detect troubled behaviors and intervene. In Los Angeles, for example, schools have successfully used outreach and training to identify potentially violent students before problems occur.1. Teach social and emotional skillsChildren learn social skills from everyday interactions with each other. Playtime teaches young people how to control their emotions, recognize others’ feelings and to negotiate. Neighborhood “kick the can” games, for example, require cooperation to have fun – all without adult supervision.Today, frequent social media use and a decrease in free play time has reduced children’s opportunities to learn these basic social skills.But social and emotional skills can – and should – be taught in school as a way to prevent student violence. Students with more fluent social skills connect better with others and may be more able to recognize troubled peers who need help.2. Hire more counselors and school resource officersDue to budget cuts, many schools have few or no trained school psychologists, social workers or adjustment counselors on staff. These mental health professionals are society’s first line of defense against troubled students – especially with the current increase in adolescent depression and anxiety.In my opinion, school resource officers – trained police officers who work with children – are also helpful for students. While untrained officers may pose a threat to students, well-trained school resource officers can connect with kids who have few other relationships, acting as a support system. They are also on hand to respond quickly if crime or violence erupts.Putting trained school resource officers and counselors in every school will cost money, but I believe it will save lives.3. Use technology to identify troubled studentsTechnology may challenge kids’ social development, but it can also be harnessed for good. Anonymous reporting systems – perhaps text-message based – can make it easier for parents and students to alert law enforcement and school counselors to kids who seem disconnected or disturbed. That enables early intervention.In Steamboat Springs, Colorado, one such tip appeared to prevent extreme violence in May 2017. Police took a young man who’d threatened to harm his peers into protective custody before he could act on his words.What communities can doCommunities also help raise children. With many eyes and ears, they can detect often smaller problems before young people grow into violence.4. Doctors should conduct standard mental health screeningsExtreme violence is almost always preceded by certain behavioral problems. These typically include a propensity toward aggression, a marked lack of social connectedness, indications of serious mental illness and a fascination with violence and guns.Doctors could detect these problems early on with a standardized screening at health checkups. If concerns arise, referrals to counseling or other mental health professionals might follow.5. Enlist social media companies in the effort to detect threatsMost young people today use social media to express their feelings and aspirations. In the case of school shooters, these posts are often violent. A single violent post is hardly a guarantee of homicidal acts, of course. But evidence strongly indicates that repeated expressions of this nature can be a sign of trouble.I would like to see companies like Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat create algorithms that identify repeated online threats and automatically alert local law enforcement.What parents can doParents and guardians are often the first to detect their child’s emotional struggles. Here are some tips for monitoring and promoting healthy emotional development at home.6. Think critically about your child’s social media useFrom virtual war games to cruel trolls, the internet is full of violence. The relationship between violent content and aggression hasn’t been consistent in research: Some studies see no relationship at all, while others find some correlation between violent video games and violent behavior.This mixed evidence suggests that online content affects children differently, so parents must assess how well their child handles it. If your daughter likes “Assassin’s Creed” but is gentle, socially successful and happy, the onscreen violence may not be strongly impacting her.But if your child is drawn to violent games and tends to be aggressive or troubled, discuss the situation with your pediatrician or school counselor.7. Consider what your child is missing out onIs your child sleeping properly? Do your kids socialize with other young people? These two behaviors are linked to mental health in children, and excessive screen time can reduce or diminish the quality of both.Make sure digital devices aren’t disrupting your kids’ sleep, and schedule play dates if your kids don’t make plans on their own.8. Assess your child’s relationshipsLike adults, children need confidants to feel invested in and connected with their community. The trusted person can be parent, a family member or a friend – just make sure someone’s playing that role.For children who struggle to make friends and build relationships, there are programsthat can help them learn how.9. Fret productively about screen timeResearch shows that excessive screen time can damage kids’ brains. That’s alarming in part because parents can’t realistically keep kids entirely off devices.So rather than just fret over screen time, focus instead on how children can benefit from a variety of activities. Evidence shows that children who experience different pursuits over the course of their day – from sports and music to an after-school job – are happier and healthier for it.10. Talk with your childThis is both the easiest and hardest way to make sure your kids are doing OK. Children, especially teenagers, don’t always want to talk about how life is going. Ask anyway.My research shows that simply asking children about their friends, their technology use and their day is an important way to show you care. Even if they don’t respond, your interest demonstrates that you’re there for them.Try this one now. Ask your children what they’re thinking about the shooting in Florida and how they like their friends and school. Then listen.Elizabeth Englander, Professor of Psychology, and the Director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC), Bridgewater State UniversityThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.last_img read more

DC AllBoys High School Set to Open in Fall 2016

first_imgWashington, D.C.’s only all-male, college preparatory high school is set to open in the fall. And, its principal, Dr. Benjamin Williams, can’t wait for the premiere of the Empowering Males High School, located on the campus of the former Ronald Brown Middle School in Northeast D.C.“For 15 years, I have thought about leading a school that catered to young men,” he said. “I wanted a place where young men could come and be comfortable with who they are. That dream came true last year.”On Jan. 21, 2015, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced the implementation of an all-male public high school. This was part of an initiative to improve the academic performance of boys of color in the District’s public school system. Bowser’s actions are a complement to President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper,” an effort to improve the lives of young men of color.Despite concerns by D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and the local chapter of the ACLU that an all-male public school may be unconstitutional, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine (D) ruled that the school is on solid legal ground.Williams said the school is open to all males of any color and every economic class. “We want to create a climate of academic success that will prepare young men for success in the post-high school world,” Williams said.In a break from the educational norm of focusing academically on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), the school will specialize in the humanities, including modern and classical languages such as Spanish and Latin as well as studying literature and writing.“This is not a STEM school,” William said. “We will have a STEM component in terms of math and science but we want our students to focus on the liberal arts and such disciplines as music. We want our students to be college ready with the ability to think critically.”For example, Williams said his students are taking Latin – considered a “dead” language because it is no longer spoken or written – because it can help them break down the meaning of words that they might not initially recognize.“I learned the value of Latin while teaching at the School Without Walls (a grade school in Northwest D.C.),” he said. “Latin is the basis of English and other languages and if you understand Latin, you can pick up the other languages easier.”There is a belief among some educators that all-male institutions must be disciplinarily harsh in practice. Williams rejects that theory. “I believe in disciplining young men and I think the way to reach them is to set high expectations,” he said. “I find that if the young man sees that he can trust you, he will strive harder to be a better student. You may see instances that the young men will police themselves if the trust is there.“We will also emphasize young men talking through situations instead of dealing with problems through confrontations.”Williams said he wants a racially and gender diverse staff to work at the school including teachers who want to work with young men. He said it didn’t matter whether the teacher is a graduate of a historically Black college or university or a Teach for America recruit, “they must be at the school for the right reasons.”“We will support teachers who want young men to be successful and will provide professional development to that end,” Williams said.Teaching has been a central part of Williams’s life. He received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Virginia and started as a high school social studies teacher in Charlottesville, Va. His most recent position was as the associate principal at the elementary school-middle school portion of the School Without Walls at the Francis-Stevens Education Campus in Northwest D.C.Tierra Jolly, Ward 8 D.C. Board of Education member, is scheduled to meet with Williams in the near future and is looking forward to the interaction. “The Empowering Males of Color initiative is a good starting point for our young men to become achievers in the classroom,” she said.Jolly hopes the District school system will work on a similar program for young women soon.The school will start classes in August with just ninth-graders and will add a grade each year. The first graduating class is expected in 2020.last_img read more

Bidhannagar Police inaugurates kiosk at airport arrival point

first_imgKolkata: The Bidhannagar City Police on Monday inaugurated a police kiosk at the airport arrival point near gate 2B.”It will work round-the-clock as an assistance booth, along with prepaid taxi booking facility. The kiosk’s construction has been in accordance with the aesthetics of the airport,” a senior police official of Bidhannagar Commissionerate said. The programme was attended by Commissioner of Police, Bidhannagar, Gyanwant Singh, Airport director Atul Dikshit and senior CISF officials. The police are hopeful that the kiosk will play an important role to facilitate the passengers in availing taxi from the airport. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe Airports Authority of India (AAI) has recently urged Bidhannagar City Police to regulate and streamline the movement of the yellow taxis and the app cabs to reduce the waiting time of passengers, after they land at Kolkata Airport, at the Airport Advisory Committee (AAC) meeting. “The drivers of yellow taxis have a tendency to take over the entire pick up lane at the airport arrival level, resulting in congestion and passengers booking app cabs have to wait for a long time. These yellow taxis flout rules and invade the portion of the lane meant for Uber and Ola cabs, to block their way,” a senior AAI official said.last_img read more