Tuesday, May 25, 2010

HTML5 - its support in Dreamweaver CS5, Internet Explorer 9 and elsewhere

With HTML5, an open Web standard, the browser becomes a first class RIA citizen.

HTML5 is being developed as the next major revision of HTML (HyperText Markup Language), the core markup language of the World Wide Web. HTML5 is the proposed next standard for HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0 and DOM Level 2 HTML. It aims to reduce the need for proprietary plug-in-based rich internet application (RIA) technologies such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight.

The HTML5 video tag is a markup language tag, introduced in the HTML5 draft specification, that adds support for embedding video in an HTML page.

The Adobe Flash Player has been and continues to be widely used to embed video on web sites such as YouTube, since the majority of web browsers have Adobe's Flash Player installed (with controversial exceptions such as the browser on the Apple iPhone and iPad). Now, however, HTML5 video is intended by its creators to become the new standard way to show video online, but has been hampered by lack of agreement as to which video formats should be supported in the video tag.

Rather than relying on the browser plug-in Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards. Apple’s mobile devices now ship with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards.

Not to be left out, Adobe has recently added HTML5 support to Dreamweaver CS5. This move should not be viewed only in light of the company's war of words with Apple regarding Flash, but in the other reality that HTML5 is reaching critical mass as evidenced by long-time holdout Microsoft adding HTML5 support to Internet Explorer 9 and a slew of HTML5 books being published by leading houses this summer. I've pictured the covers of a few of them at the end of this post.

These developments come despite the fact that HTML5 is still a work in progress. Even so, HTML5 in Dreamweaver CS5 makes for a mighty application development tool, as shown in the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEXrd8CR5AY

The HTML5 compatibility pack for Dreamweaver CS5 lets you author CSS3 and HTML5 compatible Web pages for modern browsers. And, of course, it supports the audio and video tags.

Note: The HTML5 extension will work only with Dreamweaver CS5 and not with any of the previous versions.

For more on this new Dreamweaver HTML5 support, check out labs.adobe.com and the following videos:

HTML5 Fundamentals with Dreamweaver CS5 - Semantic Structural Tags - Part 1

HTML5 Fundamentals with Dreamweaver CS5 - Semantic Structural Tags - Part 2

Readers of this blog who are interested in the Semantic Web may find the Part 2 video of particular interest.

HTML5 Fundamentals with Dreamweaver CS5 - Using the Video Tag

Finally, Microsoft will support HTML5 and CSS3 in Internet Explorer 9.0. A developer preview of their next browser can be downloaded from


and click here for a discussion of I.E. 9's
support for video content.

Note: There has been a lot of interest and debate about HTML5 and its support for video tags. This release of Internet Explorer provides such support, with tags available for H.264/MPEG4 and MP3/AAC codecs, leaving out support for the open source Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora video codecs.

A final note: HTML5 is not likely to displace Adobe Flash videos any time soon. As evidence of this, consider the latest news from Dell: Dell Inc. yesterday unveiled plans for a computer tablet based on Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

Called Streak, the tablet will have a 5-inch screen, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and work on a 3G network. Users can download music; interact with social-networking sites; send e-mail, text and instant messages; and make phone calls. It has turn-by-turn navigation with Google Maps, a 5-megapixel camera with flash, and a removable battery.

Streak will have 2 gigabytes of internal storage. Memory can be expanded up to 32 gigabytes allowing it to store as many as 42 movies or 16,000 songs.

Later in the year, the tablet will support Adobe Flash 10.1 — something Apple Inc.’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices do not. Flash is widely used for online video.

The Streak is designed to be larger than a smartphone but more portable than a laptop. It is 6 inches wide, nearly 3 inches high, and half an inch thick.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tim O'Reilly on State of the Internet Operating System

Click on the image below to watch a talk given by Tim O'Reilly at Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco 2010.

"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." -Archilochus

Note: Tim graduated from Harvard College in 1975 with a B.A. in Classics. His honors thesis explored the tension between mysticism and logic in Plato's dialogues.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Adobe's Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) as used with DICOM images - Photoshop, MathWorks and Oracle Multimedia

Healthcare-related images (e.g., those that conform to the DICOM standard) can be moved from place-to-place within a local organization over a network and, with help from HL7, moved from place-to-place globally (and interoperably).

DICOM and HL7 are about program to program communication between computers, not a standard file format, and not information retrieval for use by humans.

The DICOM Upper Layer protocol (DUL) is the language used to make connections, compose, send, receive and decode messages.

• DICOM Services are the operations DICOM programs can do, e.g., send, store, look up information.

• DICOM Objects are the data that programs can send and receive, e.g., patient data, CT, MR and other images, radiation beams, anatomic structure contours.

This post will be concerned with the last of these: i.e., DICOM Objects.

These images can be imported into Adobe Photoshop for a great deal of manipulation and, from there, accessed by Mathlab, which has powerful image analysis capabilities, and finally stored and managed (with search and much else) in Oracle Multimedia. Throughout, Adobe's Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) - a labeling technology that allows you to embed data about a file, known as metadata, into the file itself - plays an important role.

Click here for more information on XMP.

Click here for an example of medical image processing with Photoshop

Click here for an introduction to medical image processing with MathWorks

Click here for an overview of Oracle Multimedia

and here for the first of several in-depth pages on Mutimedia DICOM

The figure below illustrates the architecture of typical DICOM Web application. Shown only as "Third-Party Media Processors" are Adobe Photoshop and MathLab Medical Imaging.

Click here for an example of a Photoshop and Mathlab collaboration before the advent of XMP

and here for how Mathlab can read XMP metadata today.

Click here for info on work with metadata (Dicom, XMP, etc.) in Photoshop

Finally, click here for another introduction to using Photoshop for processing DICOM files.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Speech transcription with Adobe Soundbooth CS5 and Dragon Naturally Speaking 10

Nuance Communications’ voice recognition software – Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 – is the industry-leading speech recognition software. In the healthcare space, the software eliminates physicians’ need to rely on typing, clicking and scrolling, something that a high percent of doctors surveyed cited as a usability concern. Using Dragon Medical 10 gives physicians more time to allocate toward patient care instead of reporting. And, because most doctors speak three times faster than they type, Dragon Medical speech recognition software can improve productivity by up to 25%. For more on this product, see my May 30, 2009 and May 1, 2009 posts below.

Meanwhile, Adobe Soundbooth CS5 is normally used in entirely different environments. For example, you can jump directly into Soundbooth from within other Adobe Creative Suite components to create, clean up, or enhance your audio. The nondestructive ASND file format shares audio files easily with Flash Professional, Adobe Premiere Pro, or After Effects, and the ability to export cue markers as FLV or XML files makes coordinating sound to your project easier than ever. Click here for more on the Soundbooth CS5 application.

Nonetheless, Naturally Speaking and Soundbooth have this in common: both can perform speech-to-text translation and then synchronize the playing audio file and its transcript during deferred playback, thus enabling a third party to correct errors easily. To demonstrate this, I had them both perform a speech-to-text transformation on a single, randomly-selected mp3 file named Checkers.mp3. This audio file and its transcriptions by Naturally Speaking and Soundbooth are downloadable:

Click here for Checkers.mp3

Click here for CheckersDragon.txt

Click here for CheckersSoundbooth.txt

What follows is not a scientific (i.e., statistically rigorous) analysis. It's simply a quick look at how the two products performed at end-to-end transcription during an elementary test. As a matter of fact, I examined only part of a single sentence. Here are the results:

An excerpt from the actual speech (see Dragon.mp3): "- charges are made against you is to -"

An excerpt from the Dragon Medical 10's transcription (see CheckersDragon.txt): "- charges were made against is to -"

An excerpt from the Soundbooth CS5's transcription (see CheckersSoundbooth.txt): "- charges are made against him is to -"

As you can see, Dragon dropped the word "you" entirely and Soundbooth got the word "you" wrong. But, Soundbooth got the verb "are" correct while Dragon did not.

Keeping score is not the point here. The point is that they both (like all speech-to-text engines) make mistakes that have to be corrected. So, they both provide for error correction. I made no effort to optimize either tool. The results outlined above were produced after doing nothing more than installing the two products side-by-side on the same 32-bit PC and loading the same mp3 source into each product. Note: Both products have 64-bit versions but only Soundbooth runs on a Mac.

The figure below shows Sooundbooth CS5 simultaneously playing the audio and highlighting the text -- word-by-word -- as the speech progresses. The play/stop button allows you to stop the progression at any point and to edit the text before continuing. Dragon has similar functionality.

{click on image above for a larger view}

Again, these are not competing products. They each serve different populations. However, there are organizations in which Soundbooth is available and Dragon is not, where a Mac is available and a PC is not, etc. In these cases, one should consider the sometimes much less expensive Soundbooth for the automatic transcribing of audio into text.

Click here for a video that demonstrates turning spoken dialogue into searchable metadata with Soundbooth CS5.

The searching of metadata for a specific word is also shown in the following figure.

{click on image above for a larger view}

I want to conclude by noting that Dragon Medical 10 is the industry-leading speech recognition software in the healthcare space because, for among other reasons, it includes medical vocabularies covering nearly 80 medical specialties and subspecialties, as well as the tools to further customize vocabularies for a specific medical practice, which Soundbooth does not. But, Soundbooth has unique integration with the Adobe suite of applications, which Dragon Naturally Speaking does not. So, in a way, I've been comparing apples with oranges.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Lens Correction Filter in Adobe Photoshop CS5

If you take a photograph with a digital camera and load your picture into Photoshop CS5, its lens correction filter can automatically detect the manufacturer, model and lens settings that you had used, using the image file’s EXIF data.

When it doesn't have the additional information needed to correct any changes your camera and settings might introduce, Photoshop CS5 presents a button that lets you search the Web for this information in a trouble-free way. In either case, it automatically corrects lens distortions and fixes chromatic aberration and vignetting.

However, there are other scenarios: In another blog, The North Country Chronicles, I posted the photograph (jpg file) that is shown in the figure below.

This image was created by scanning a century-old picture that had very obvious distortions. Just take a look at the flagpole and the corners of the main building.

So, I spent about 10 seconds to manually straighten the flag pole and corners of the main building by dragging the Vertical Perspective slider in the Lens Correction Filter of Photoshop CS5 a little to the left as shown in the figure below.

{click on image above for a larger view}

and was immediately presented with the compensated – to a visually acceptable level - image shown in the next figure.

This manual intervention was required because no digital photography was available in 1917, when this particular photograph was taken with the Kodak Junior, Model A camera shown below, nor was digital photography used in any of the steps taken in my correcting of this photograph.

Note: The North Country Chronicles post where the original photograph appears is about the early 20th century. So, I chose to leave the original – that is, uncorrected - scanned image there.

The final figure below presents an overview of the flagpole (and other objects) correction process for the case where a digital camera is involved.

While I’m stopping here, I encourage you to watch the following easy-to-understand videos that demonstrate a good deal of additional functionality provided in this extremely handy Photoshop CS5 tool.

Click here for Video 1
Click here for Video 2
Click here for Video 3