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  1. #26
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    Oooh, no, not the evil profit monster again!

    Are the RSS standard sets ready yet? Are Tool Tips cross browser? Is there any solution which is STANDARD and CROSS-BROWSER that exists RIGHT NOW?

    Not that I know of. Thus, they are free to innovate. Innovation is what drives new things. Is acrobat a standard? Is flash? No. Innovation breeds creativity.

    Thus, what CAN you do with ST, not what stops you should be the question we are asking each other. It's a whole new opportunity to present information to users in a clear and concise format.

    And, since it's not an addition to the HTML spec just a new subset that utitilizes the <> (not even same syntax beyond that), you can't say they've extended HTML or that it isn't cross browser, ST has been on the table and open to critique or adaptation for over a year now and NS could have taken it up (source code freely available) but they chose not to.

    I'm not defending MS because they have added a new toy, however most of the new toys MS have done have added to the internet or inspired better things.

    I don't say bravo but I am definitely not going to toss away the opportunity to give my users more for less without the threat of other browsers not displaying stuff properly.
    Last edited by Jeremy W.; Jun 26, 2001 at 12:40.
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  2. #27
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    1. You CAN turn off (contrary to the above info) on the designer end and there is no "turn them on even if you think the designer is being a dink about it".
    How do you reconcile the comments in the developer docs with the shipping version of Internet Explorer 6 that includes this dialogue:
    http://members.home.net/prowsej/dumb_tag.gif

    The text reads:
    Always have Web pages display available smart tags ... even on Web pages where the Web page owner has chosen to hide them

    As a "Web page owner" the only way that I know of hiding a smart tag is to use the Microsoft-suggested meta tag. Author-specified smart tags will always display no matter what, even if you include the don't display meta tag - that only controls Microsoft-specified smart tags.

    They're giving users the last word on this one rather than web site operators - *ahem* - owners.

    [I can get somewhat impassioned as well - hence that name of that image ]

  3. #28
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    Some users, such as studiococo will want to use this technology. Fine.

    As someone who doesn't want to use this technology I'd like to be able to turn it off.

    What I'm going to use instead will be:
    - title="" attribute

    I don't think that smart tags are a very good idea. If I did think that they were a good idea (perhaps after I see a good implementation of them - I don't think they're good because the information that they provide isn't specific enough to the context of an article) I would use a backend solution to capture every instance of a word and then add a smart tag-equivalent popup with DHTML so that it would be cross browser.

    I looked at the xLink specs and I didn't see something in them that was similar to smart tags. However they seem like a pretty good idea. (too bad I don't use XML (
    Last edited by prowsej; Jun 26, 2001 at 13:06.

  4. #29
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    Until I see it in action I will withhold my final judgement.

    But, how will this affect page formatting? Will the minimized tooltip be a part of the paragraph?

    - Will it "hover" just over the word in question?
    - If it becomes part of the paragraph, how will that affect my page design.
    - Can I change the color of it?
    - Can I change the background of it?
    - Can I change the font that the text is in?
    - Can I create my own Smart Tags for a quick reference sort of thing?

    When I have full control over the appearance and functionality of something that is "on my page" then I will be ok with this. At the very least MS could have it turned OFF by default.

    As for your "evil profit monster" comment coco, I think you are missing prowsej's point. Making money is not bad. I like money, as a matter of fact, I like fat sacks of cash money (I have never seen them in person so I can't say if they really DO exist). BUT there is a difference between making a product to make a profit, and making a product which no one has asked for, didn't want and are already complaining about just to make a profit.

    What would happen if I invented a car that burst into flames every time I drove up to a stop sign. Then, to top that off, I want the police report to list the other cars that were in the same area. I also want the report to tell the reader what restaurants are right around the scene of the accident too.
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  5. #30
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    What it's like is having a company selling advertising, which they're placing on your walls, collecting money for it and not only don't you get paid, you don't even get to say whether you want it there. How is that justifiable in anyone's mind?

  6. #31
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    Originally posted by creole
    Until I see it in action I will withhold my final judgement.

    But, how will this affect page formatting? Will the minimized tooltip be a part of the paragraph?

    - Will it "hover" just over the word in question?
    - If it becomes part of the paragraph, how will that affect my page design.
    - Can I change the color of it?
    - Can I change the background of it?
    - Can I change the font that the text is in?
    - Can I create my own Smart Tags for a quick reference sort of thing?

    When I have full control over the appearance and functionality of something that is "on my page" then I will be ok with this. At the very least MS could have it turned OFF by default.
    The implementation is just like in Offixe XP. Why couldn't they have copied a good feature from Office like red underlining for misspelled words in text-input boxes?

    It will hover over your text. If you want a visual description of how it will work, go to the Microsoft web page about Smart tags (link available above above a link to The Register). Just ignore the giant cursor

    Yes, you can create your own tags. Since the tags are stored locally, in theory users could add to the list of smart tags as well.

    You can't control the look of the of the smart tags, as far as I know - that' left up to the user. For instance, with Office XP users can control the color of any underlining (so they can change the underline color of a smart tag. I'm not sure if those settings also apply to IE. )

  7. #32
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    fear is soooo fun to me...

    prowsej: I have IE6BR open right now and do not see this. Where is it? Either way, if a user DOES click that it's because they as a user want relevant info no matter what.


    Further, yes a backend solution would be better as a developer but are you really going to take all that time? I don't think so otherwise you would have by now.

    creole: It hovers. You can change all properties. You can create your own smart tags as well as your own smart tag dll's (for custom apps outside webpages, such as in word (if someone downloaded your resume you could automatically include extra details) or excel or whatever that supports ST). Which also brings us to the fact that it isn't really an internet technology, it just has an IE implementation. This is part of Office and WinXP so users will not only get used to it but probabl demand it.

    psalzer: As I said, who else should maintain a 12 million record database? Also, since as of now the ST's aren't being sold they are being shown as encyclopedia like information brackets there isn't really any advertising involved. This is the beginning of the truly interrelated web, something all users want.
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  8. #33
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    Originally posted by prowsej
    They're giving users the last word on this one rather than web site operators - *ahem* - owners.
    What's wrong with that? Isn't the Web supposed to be about the dissemination of information? These Smart Tags are not about Microsoft rewriting your HTML code with their ads, or putting conflicting content on your site. They are about giving the user what they want to see, whether it is more information about a company, sports scores for a specific team, a definition for a term, or prices for a product.

    When you design Web pages, you must know that HTML defines the content, not the presentation, of your page. There is no guarantee that your page will be shown a specific way...you have to live with it. You can't expect that your complicated CSS layers design will render perfectly in Netscape 1.0, and you also can't expect to have complete control over what the users see and learn about your site or your site's content. Get over it--this is the Web. It's about information, not presentation...and these Smart Tags are just another way to present your page to the visitor.

  9. #34
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    At the moment I don't care what it does to the way a page looks. I care very much about having links to things placed on my sites, or anyone's sites without consent of the site owner or developer. And I certainly don't trust Microsoft or any other business entity to be the judge of who gets linked from what. I mean..the web isn't becoming commercial enough for everyone as it is? I don't think that small, quirky but informative sites are going to have a shot with this. If I'm wrong, I'll be very happy to admit it, but Microsoft has wanted control of the web viewing habits of people since it deemed the web worth worrying about.

  10. #35
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    Originally posted by qslack
    When you design Web pages, you must know that HTML defines the content, not the presentation, of your page. There is no guarantee that your page will be shown a specific way...you have to live with it. You can't expect that your complicated CSS layers design will render perfectly in Netscape 1.0, and you also can't expect to have complete control over what the users see and learn about your site or your site's content. Get over it--this is the Web. It's about information, not presentation...and these Smart Tags are just another way to present your page to the visitor.
    Exactly, the web is about the dissemination of information. It is the HTML that specifies the information. This is a case of the browser altering that information.

    There are other forums for altering information that is distributed - RSS and XML. There is an expectation on the part of the user that the conent delivered in an HTML document is determined by the author, or at the very least consented to by the author (as is the case with advertisementes from the likes of geocities).

    It's not about presentation, it's about content.

    Nobody has ever clamored for smart tags before - this could easily be done with a database and some JavaScript - nobody's ever done it. Not even Microsoft. That's because it's not a good idea. It's a method of driving hits to Microsoft pages so that they can supercede AOL as the site with more hits. It's about creating a "closed garden" interenet where there are billions of pages but users only visit those pages that are created by media conglomerates.

    It's the first step in a long line of moves. This is the first domino.

    Or, maybe it won't be. I don't know.

    I just think that Microsoft has done a terrible job with the PR relating to smart tags and that a better solution would have been to start with an opt-in system. Maybe a year from now when people are comfortable with the tags they could have changed to opt-out.

    I think that a better solution for smart tags would have been to make then an option component of Internet Explorer that a user had to choose to install rather than something tied to every release of the browser.

    smart tags are to Internet Explorer as Internet Explorer was to Windows. They are tying a new product to an established one. If the market for smart tag-like products were larger they could afford to petition the DoJ

  11. #36
    SitePoint Wizard dominique's Avatar
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    I would laugh the day I saw a Smart Tag on www.microsoft.com provide a link to www.redhat.com!

    Not endorsing the links in the Smart Tags that show up on your site is one thing, but how do you prevent competitors' addresses from showing up?

    The above example may put a smile on most users faces, but what if I own a small bookstore with 500 something books and a Smart Tag showed up on my site with a link to Amazon.com?!?

  12. #37
    SitePoint Zealot strangealienmagic's Avatar
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    This is really very simple.

    You put a link on your site to access information YOU feel is valuable to the viewer.

    YOU get to make that decision because it's YOUR presentation. It is YOUR truth.

    Now, MS is going to put links on your site to information you likely have never seen, may not agree with if you had seen it, and may not want to promote in any way, shape, or form.

    You may not want to even be associated with the link THEY place on YOUR site. YOU may be in direct opposition to the information MS chooses to force your site to link to.

    This is not about how the information is presented (style sheets, etc.), but rather about the FREEDOM to control the information presented on your own site.

    MS is not paying my web hosting bill, and I sure as hell don't want them manipulating ANY of the content on MY site without MY permission.

    NO, studiococo, I'm not fearful, I'm angry! Unfettered freedom of expression is serious business.

  13. #38
    SitePoint Zealot nflicanada's Avatar
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    From http://scobleizer.manilasites.com/

    We have learned that future versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6.0 will have new SmartTag features that answer most, if not all, of the concerns of Web site owners that have been expressed about SmartTags over the past few days. We learned these things from a leak from a "well-placed" Microsoft developer. These three changes are going to be made in future versions of IE 6.0

    • SmartTags will be off by default. (Users will be able to toggle them on or off using a toolbar button),
    • Web masters will be able to turn off SmartTags. They will do that by using a metatag and users will no longer be able to override the "turn off SmartTag" metatag,
    • No recognizers will ship by default. This answers our biggest concern that Microsoft would use SmartTags as "free advertising" and take folks off of sites without asking the site manager (and without the site manager having any control over the issue).


    I can verify that this is corect, I'm running IE 6 build 2488 which has the Smart Tags toolbar and it is off by default. So while they may be around in the refreshed preview I don't think there is much to worry about in the shipping version.

  14. #39
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    That DOES address some of my concerns, but I still don't think their implementaion is a good idea.
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  15. #40
    SitePoint Zealot strangealienmagic's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris. It seems as if enough people see the negative points of Smart Tags to make MS back down for the moment.

    Gates didn't make a fortune by backing down thought. Likely not the last we've heard of Smart Tags.

    Seems like the standard way to present new technology is with a blind eye to it's many possible missuses. GPS in your cell phone and car in case you have an emergency, subdermal chips with ID, medical info, financial info, etc. for your convenience and protection. Nothing to be concerned about there...

  16. #41
    will code HTML for food Michel V's Avatar
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    I am not angry because of the technology in itself, I'm angry because this places an obligation for web-designers to include an extraneous tag in ALL their pages just so that there aren't smart tags on their page.
    It would be OK if I had to place a custom tag to enable Smart Tags, that way I know what I'm doing.

    And about "protecting users from underlinked sites": pure BS. I run a journal/weblog, there are always links there, links that I chose to put there because they're somehow relevant to what I'm talking about.
    About what's good for the users, BS too: if I wanted to put links to MS's partners, I'd just put up a page with them, or whatever.

    It's surprising that none of us has talked about copyright violations, because that's all I see there.
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  17. #42
    will code HTML for food Michel V's Avatar
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    Oh by the way, I'd be OK for Smart Tags on my site... if MS and their partners paid for the advertising space they'd be using on my pages.
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  18. #43
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    Okay, it's not advertising. If you mention a brand name in reality you could be charged for mentioning that name at all, and you aren't being...

    If nobody here has seen the future of the internet and the dissemination and distribution it provides then I think we are being a bit shortsighted. You own teh page. You own teh content you put there. You do not own the browsing experience.

    This can easily be exemplified by the options users have to turn images on and off (damn those users), change font sizes with accessibility options (what, they wanna see my text different than I intended?!), turning javascript off or having browsing companions which do exactly what smart tags will do.

    The future of the internet means people can follow the path they as users choose, not the limiting 2-3 we as developers provide them and this is the perfect step towards it because we don't need to do anything extra, unless of course we want our site to be quarantined from the rest of the internet.

    It isn't advertising because advertising means things like marketing divisions, campaigns, etc. It is simply an encyclopedia-like listing.

    Though I applaud the changes to the implementation of smart tags by microsoft I loathe the day that developers run the internet. It means the net will be too cautious, too "my site" centered, etc. The reality is that the internet should be about community and sharing FOR THE USER.

    For the record, I don't think MS is the company to do this long term, HOWEVER as it is a good first step, who cares? Generally on the net things have a way of smoothing over no matter who makes them (where is JScript? ActiveX? These are MS technologies that they tried damn hard to shove down our throats and they have been relegated to where they belong and where they are strong, the same will happen with ST).

    So, synopsis?

    You don't own the browsing experience, the user does and as such if it was possible to enable smart tags even when you turned them off that is their prerogative as the experiencer. You provide the framework, they allow your site to "live" within that framework.

    MS Isn't the right company to manage any database like this.

    We are all way too paranoid
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  19. #44
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    Originally posted by studiococo
    fear is soooo fun to me...

    ...

    psalzer: As I said, who else should maintain a 12 million record database? Also, since as of now the ST's aren't being sold they are being shown as encyclopedia like information brackets there isn't really any advertising involved. This is the beginning of the truly interrelated web, something all users want.
    I think there might just be a correlation with Smart Tags and Microsoft purchasing the majority of RealNames Internet Keywords. There is a database there that is being sold, that microsoft has supported in the past(by adding it to the URL bar and msn searches), and is supposed to be non general, etc. Still, I'd rather not see Internet Keywords popping up on my site.

  20. #45
    will code HTML for food Michel V's Avatar
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    Just installed the "everyday use" smart-tags, and the only words that got underlined on this page were "Micros0ft" and "Amaz0n.com".

    Wow, such an encyclopedia we got there !
    I'm sure that in this sentence: "Today I'm cleaning the office.", the word Office will get underlined. Let's try.
    (edit: oh, it didn't.)
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  21. #46
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    Exactly... It's not like every word on your page would be underlined, just the biggies, the every day words that, if you mention, why not provide a link to anyways.

    Actually, I think it would be really helpful for people of non-american cultures that don't konw many of our everyday words:

    "So, I grabbed a kleenex, had some tylenol and went to bed"

    Would have kleenex and tylenol underlined.

    Though I agree that specifying your own is obviously better, and the ability to turn it off (and have it off by default) is a necessity my piont is that it is a good thing.
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  22. #47
    SitePoint Zealot strangealienmagic's Avatar
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    Originally posted by studiococo
    If nobody here has seen the future of the internet and the dissemination and distribution it provides then I think we are being a bit shortsighted. You own teh page. You own teh content you put there. You do not own the browsing experience.

    This can easily be exemplified by the options users have to turn images on and off (damn those users), change font sizes with accessibility options (what, they wanna see my text different than I intended?!), turning javascript off or having browsing companions which do exactly what smart tags will do.
    You're missing the point. Those elements are NOT related to content, but rather design and presentation. Also, the number of people who surf the net with images and javascript turned off has to be a very small percentage, otherwise we could go back to black text on grey pages.

    When you speak of "dissemination and distribution." I agree, WE are doing that now. I do not want MS doing it FOR everyone in the future.

    We don't own the browsing experience, but we (webmasters/designers/developers) certainly create it. Smart Tags, controlled by MS, would allow them to manipulate our creations, thereby exerting a degree of control over everyone's browsing experience.


    The future of the internet means people can follow the path they as users choose, not the limiting 2-3 we as developers provide them and this is the perfect step towards it because we don't need to do anything extra, unless of course we want our site to be quarantined from the rest of the internet.
    Actually, they would be following the path MS chooses for them. I would rather have my choice of paths (as a user) determined by a great number of individuals with differing points of view than one corporation with an ax to grind.

    You don't own the browsing experience, the user does and as such if it was possible to enable smart tags even when you turned them off that is their prerogative as the experiencer. You provide the framework, they allow your site to "live" within that framework.

    MS Isn't the right company to manage any database like this.

    We are all way too paranoid
    I'm actually not sure I agree with your concept of "owning the browsing experience." When I go out on the web, I am presented with choices predetermined by what exists. I can not "create" my own experience without using what exists.

    If you've ever searched for info on something and were unable to find it, you know that your "browsing experience" is determined by what others choose to present. Therefore, I would say that the only thing the user "owns" is their acceptence ot rejection of what already exists.

    I don't consider myself paranoid, but I certainly would be if I thought my choices of content were determined by MS - or ANY OTHER single entity. (It would be nearly impossible to avoid some sort of bias.) That's what makes the web great - it's a collaboration of MANY individuals on a relatively even playing field (arguable, yes - but I said relatively) with no dominating power, like MS and it's Smart Tags. At least not yet.

  23. #48
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    As was already stated the current release of ST is from the public domain, not "by microsoft" or any other single corporation.

    The thing is that this is just hte first ST release. ANYONE can write one! And, if this catches on there will be thousands floating around and people will eventually settle on a dozen or so they like. If they happen to be by MS, that is because people will choose that as better, if not, that is fine.

    This also nullifies the "any single entity" argument.

    We as developers CURRENTLY create the experience but that isn't what will happen in teh future, autolinking through common use of user-controlled spiders to build a personal "web" is where the internet is heading. The rise and fall of gophers that keep coming back, of news-hounds, etc shows that people want the information they want the way they want it. That's just a fact. If a person could customize the way a page looked exactly they'd be happier than their experience being "controlled by a 14-year old".

    "I'm actually not sure I agree with your concept of "owning the browsing experience." When I go out on the web, I am presented with choices predetermined by what exists"

    Yes, and your webpage will begin to become bigger than itself very soon... I'm actually surprised it has taken this long for this to happen.
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  24. #49
    SitePoint Zealot nflicanada's Avatar
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    Like I said in my previous post with the latest builds of IE and RC1 of WinXP (which should have the latest IE build) shipping with Smart Tags disabled by default, I don't think they are that big of an issue.

    About the only thing I've seen Smart Tags highlight is publically traded companies and provides stock quotes and news which I think could actually be helpful to both publically traded companies and companies that have partnerships with traded companies as people can become better informed on the companies practices and finances.

    I'd be much more concerned with IE's P3P setting shipping at medium which blocks cookies from 3rd parties without a P3P based privacy policy. While the major ad companies say they should be caught up by the time IE6/Win XP ship that is no guarantee smaller ad agencies and partner sites will be compliant in time.
    Last edited by nflicanada; Jun 27, 2001 at 06:52.

  25. #50
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    sitepoint doesn't conform, had to turn them on specifically...
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