Tuesday, March 18, 2008

HTML ona Prim

For those who are not following it, this is the situation. Quicktime can render more than just videos. Recently the 1.19 release of Second Life added the ability to wrap an HTML page through quicktime on to a single prim. This is done the same way setting a movie is done, and with the same results. It's a static representation of an HTML page on a prim.

The problems with this implementation are many. First, by linking it to the exploitable, and pointless, parcel system, it denies agents access to setting their own media without work arounds. Second, it is one HTML page per client. All media textures on that client will be replaced with the same page, though there are work arounds for this as well, at the cost of bandwidth.

The last problem is the IP exposure problem. For this reason it is important to repeat the reminder: never have media on on any SIM that you don't know for a fact that every aprcel is controlled by reliable people, and which does not restrict rezzing of prims to group members or the owner. Never. This means virtually every mainland sim must be considered "unsafe."

As far as what this does, it does reduce load on the asset server, which would otherwise have to house textures, and it does open the capability of displaying things to a wider audience of people. Using some technology commonly available people can display HTML on prims now, merely that there are limitations to how many can view it and so on.

This is then neither salvation nor damnation. It is an exploitable problem, and people who have reasons to worry about their anonymity will merely have even more of a reason to keep media off.

What would be better for the community would be to make the inclient browser more functional, because that would allow individual users to set their own information, and edit web pages. Also, more people should learn to use WikiHUD. Another useful thing rather than static HTML streaming, would then be to have a browser that rasterizes and wraps. This would get us away from Quicktime and its limitations, and away from parcel control of information sources.

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