This week: Gmail makes retrieving email more expensive, the HTML5 spec advances, and Microsoft's naming confuses.
HTML5 is done
The W3C announced that it has wrapped up development work on the HTML5 and Canvas 2D specs and moved into a period of compatibility and performance testing before they are published as Recommendations in 2014. The milestone means that developers can now be pretty sure the specs will stand still at last. Corporate planners especially, those whom Gartner cites in believing HTML5 adoption to be 5 to 10 years out, may take notice that the spec now provides "a stable target for implementation and planning," as the W3C puts it.
Gmail drops self-signed certificates
Without any advance warning to its users, Google has started rejecting self-signed security certificates for POP3 access to Gmail. Many smaller ISPs, as well as individuals running their own servers, use self-signed certs because they are free. Google accepts only SSL certificates from paid providers that the company has approved.
Google's support page, linked above, states that Gmail users can go to the Accounts and Import tab in Gmail settings and uncheck the "Always use a secure connection (SSL) when retrieving mail" option. But doing so guarantees that user names and passwords will travel over the Net unencrypted.
A token of Microsoft's confusion over Windows naming
Computerworld blogger Michael Horowitz notes a new low in the swamp of brand and naming confusion Microsoft has engendered with Windows 8 / RT: the gadget reviewer for a major American newspaper got it wrong. We have recently learned that a Dell executive urged Steve Ballmer not to call the new touch-oriented OS "Windows" anything, but Ballmer insisted on tying the radically different environment -- the one NY Times consumer tech columnist David Pogue refers to as "Tileworld" -- to the venerable Windows brand, however poor the fit.
Some weeks back Horowitz riffed on the Abbott & Costello Who's on First comedy routine in discussing how the names fell out in Windows 8. He counted eight names for The Interface Formerly Known As Metro (besides "TIFKAM" itself):
Metro (legacy) Modern TileWorld (David Pogue's term) Modern UI-style Windows 8 Apps (from Microsoft) Windows 8-style Windows 8 Store apps (from Microsoft) Windows store apps
Horowitz concluded, "To avoid living in a 70 year old comedy routine, new PCs should be available with Windows 7 pre-installed for the next couple years."
This new service aims to fill the considerable void left a couple of years back when the venerable free DNS site EasyDNS was sold to Dyn and promptly killed off. A service like this is essential to those who host domains whose registrars either don't provide DNS, or to which one doesn't have access.
In this early release of the EntryDNS service you can create DNS records for any number of domain names using record types A, AAAA, CNAME, MX, NS, SOA, SRV, and TXT. Dynamic DNS is supported. There's a simple API and complete REST API for programmatic access. EntryDNS is built and maintained by a couple of Linux guys from Europe. The website design is responsive and mobile-friendly.
The Friday Four gives a hat tip each week to Ron Miller, whose collection of five links for developers and IT pros runs weekly on Ness.com.