HTML 5 Is The New Flash : Wait Its Way Better

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This is a post by Anuj Srivastava, a systems engineer based out of NCR, India. Anuj is a frequent blogger and owns Blog To Bollywood, he is a WordPress geek and a Passionate Techie on STL.

Is HTML5 a graveyard for Flash ?

Remember the days when you saw something in Flash and thought – “wow, that’s just stunning”, while HTML was like a classic plain dish without any extra offerings? But things have changed dramatically over the years.

How was Flash able to conquer our web experience? Apart from being a design success, Flash was chosen over HTML in and around 2006 because of being more stable, better with performance, and browser independence. And the once ” loading… ” phase of a flash site was over, we were presented with a graphically advanced interface with embedded videos, audios and text with animations. Adobe’s flagship product Photoshop brought Adobe fame and Flash took Adobe to the masses.

So, how was HTML5 able to make the cut in 2011? Well first and foremost HTML is free and open source. When features like embedded video/audio capabilities and simplicity of implementation surfaced with HTML5, those looking for a more optimized web interface that could load in almost no-time with features that flash offers, were the first to make a transition.

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HTML5 based content.

HTML5’s compatibility with mobile and tablets was like the last nail in the coffin for Flash, this was when Flash had refused to extend support to the mobile platform. The more a website is cluttered with plugins the slower it goes and HTML5 provided all the features built-in thus reducing the demand for flash plugins. One more interesting thing is that HTML5 provided compatibility to Flash content (i.e. the .swf format) through simple plugins such as the Google swiffy.

In the present scenario, Flash won’t perish as it is still the best offering for creative websites that carry a certain theme and demand some time from visitors in exploration. Some examples are website solutions for movies, games, educational content and interfaces.

HTML5 was able to upgrade the classic look and feel of web content that non-flash websites carried and paved the way for web based solutions on educational content, personal blogging, news, content management systems and a whole lot more. HTML5 is popular with almost all kinds of web interfaces available today.

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Flash based content.

HTML5 based websites are performing well in a domain where flash was the only player a few years ago. In terms of features I would say that both are highly competitive and feature rich. Flash is here to stay but slowly its presence is decreasing and we will see HTML5 being explored more due to the reason that it provides a simplified web solution and is a cost effective way for SMEs to choose a web presence.

If you are looking for a solution to your web based needs, consider exploring HTML5 and let us know in the comments, how it went for you.

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.Net For Beginners – Desktop Activity Recorder [Problem Definition And A Mentored Solution]

Microsoft.Net

This is a post by Kavitha Krishnan – a Passionate Techie (PT), a friend of STL and an IBM-er.

After a little mentoring session with the S in STL, Kavitha decided to put her own skills to test and stitched up a blog dedicated to .Net development and guidance. The views expressed in the blog and all the information provided are Kavitha’s own and are endorsed by the STL team as a definitive online guide for learning .Net from a beginners point of view. The blog was created by Kavitha exclusively for STL’s tutorial audiences.

Presented below is an overview of a Desktop Activity Recorder a .net project which Kavitha had worked upon a while back.

Desktop Activity Recorder

Desktop Activity Recorder records screen activity from the Windows Desktop into standard WMV movie files.This advanced screen capture tool can record anything on the computer screen, including the entire desktop, windows, menus, cursors, and even video with sound.

Whatever the user is doing on the PC – whether it’s using secret email accounts, chatting, accessing secret My Space profiles, shopping online or accessing private records can be recorded.The recorder generates the video file using encoder. Using encoder a video file is generated which occupies less memory compare to the other files which are generated by other software’s like AVI format.

Desktop Activity Recorder uses a standard Windows Media Encoder for encoding screen shots. A set of functionality is imported from Encoder like PLAY, PAUSE, STOP and EXIT.
A Working Model
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The desktop activity recorder records the screen activity into a video format, according to this diagram the program checks the presence of encoder, if yes then it checks the status of the encoder if the encoder status is in stop state then it converts into pause state after that it change into resume state, before  encoding the screen shots it creates a temp video file and temp text file , encoder dumps all the screen shot into temporary video file and related information into text file respectively. After completion of the video recording it going to store the video file into memory as a permanent file, if any exception occurs it stores automatically and exits the application.
To read more about the DAR and to get a hands-on experience of basic .net please refer Kavitha’s Blog. She intends to add more as and when her time permits her.
If you need a mentor to help you learn the nuances of .net or need help with .net projects such as the DAR you are welcome to use the request a mentor feature from STL.
Attention Grabber: If you are a PT (Passionate Techie) like Kavitha, like helping other techies and want your content to reach a wide and diverse tech community, you can ping STL here and join the ever expanding STL tech-nicolor umbrella.

Java Vulnerability Is A Possible Threat To 800 million Plus Computers

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There is a vulnerability in the Java 7 Update 10 that is allowing hackers to take unprecedented control over computers running that version of Java. This security lapse on the part of Oracle has left the worldwide Java community baffled to say the least. Why this has become a real potential threat is because it wasn’t Oracle who identified and released information about this first, it was – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security which issued a warning

Oracle finally accepted there was a problem on their Facebook page and issued a statement saying they recognized the problem at hand and will provide a fix for it shortly.

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Oracle’s Statement on their FB page.

Here’s the problem as explained by the U.S. Department of Homeland security –

Description

The Oracle Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 1.7 allows users to run Java applications in a browser or as standalone programs. Oracle has made the JRE available for multiple operating systems. OpenJDK is an open-source implementation of the Java platform, and the IcedTea project aims to make it easier to deploy OpenJDK, including a web browser plugin.The Java JRE plug-in provides its own Security Manager. Typically, a web applet runs with a security manager provided by the browser or Java Web Start plugin. Oracle’s document states“If there is a security manager already installed, this method first calls the security manager’s checkPermission method with aRuntimePermission("setSecurityManager") permission to ensure it’s safe to replace the existing security manager. This may result in throwing a SecurityException".

By leveraging a vulnerability in the Java Management Extensions (JMX) MBean components, unprivileged Java code can access restricted classes. By using that vulnerability in conjunction with a second vulnerability involving recursive use of the Reflection API via the invokeWithArguments method of the MethodHandle class, an untrusted Java applet can escalate its privileges by calling the the setSecurityManager() function to allow full privileges, without requiring code signing. Oracle Java 7 update 10 and earlier Java 7 versions are affected. OpenJDK 7, and subsequently IcedTea, are also affected. The invokeWithArguments method was introduced with Java 7, so therefore Java 6 is not affected.

This vulnerability is being attacked in the wild, and is reported to be incorporated into exploit kits. Exploit code for this vulnerability is also publicly available. We have confirmed that Oracle Java 7 installed on Windows, OS X, and Linux platforms are affected. Other platforms that use Oracle Java 7 may also be affected.


Impact

By convincing a user to visit a specially crafted HTML document, a remote attacker may be able to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system. Note that applications that use the Internet Explorer web content rendering components, such as Microsoft Office or Windows Desktop Search, may also be used as an attack vector for this vulnerability.


This was last week, and since then Oracle have provided an update – the Java 7 update 11. But there are reports that this vulnerability has been effecting all updates of Java 7 starting from the very first, we therefore request users to uninstall Java 7 and roll back to Java 6 for the time being.

End User Warning :   This is a serious issue and should not be ignored, especially because Java experts from around the world are urging users to uninstall Java 7 until Oracle confirms a permanent fix instead of a dummy update.