SVG and Macromedia

SVG is a vector graphics format backed up by W3C. It’s all XML and is quite a nice technology. At the moment native browser support is pretty much non-existant (Mozilla has a special build with SVG support). Adobe has a decent SVG plugin, but it’s still a plugin. I think it’ll take years to get native SVG support for browsers.

Some people consider SVG and Macromedia’s Flash format to be competitors. To me they’re not really competitors since Flash has superior scripting and animation features. SVG has a few other advantages; It’s clean, indexable XML and you can use a normal CSS file to determine fonts, colors and such.

I wish Macromedia would jump on the SVG bandwagon. This way SVG could be used for graphs, etc. and Flash for more complex things. I don’t know how people at Macromedia see it, but I’d really like to see SVG support in the next version of it’s widespread plugin.

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Safari 1.0

Apple released Safari 1.0 at WWDC. To me it seems it should have been delayed. I’ve heard reports of it crashing more than the betas. It also introduced at least one new problem with CSS. I made a quick mock-up page of a quirk 1.0 brought with it. Read my article.

In general I’m really loving this browser, but it still has bugs to iron out. Mark Pilgrim has a good site on the problems with Safari at the moment. I’m sure they’ll fix this rendering bug soon, but I could have lived with the latest beta for a while longer.

Now for something not related to Safari.. Marc Andreessen (Mr. Netscape) is complaining that browser development is standing still and that they had better ideas for browsing a decade ago.. Read the article here. I’m just wondering what kind of wild ideas they had back then? 3D-browsing? Remember VRML? (yuck! 🙂

Apple blurb, June 2003

After years of struggling with Motorola G4 processors Apple finally announced the use of a new processor and architecture in Power Macs yesterday at WWDC. And it really is quite a leap from the G4 Power Macs (which basically are derivatives of the older G3 machines, same limited bus protocol, etc.).

The magic bag: Power Mac G5 & Panther

So the G5 has a whole new architecture behind it. To me it seems quite decent, future wise. They made some good choices there: HyperTransport, SATA, AGP8X, etc. The whopping 8GB limit (the board probably supports more when larger chips are available) on the high-end models should be enough for pretty much anything done on a desktop for quite a while. If IBM keeps it’s commitment and provides a good CPU roadmap and this should be a good foundation for the future.

With Apple products the exterior design is always a subject for discussion and speculation. In the first shot from the MacNN IRC chat the case looked quite awkward. “Surprisingly” the official marketing materials made it look a lot more desirable. I’m still hoping to see the case in real life, but at the moment I do like the simplicity of it. But in the end it’s just another box, a quiet aluminum box to be specific. Design wise I like the iMac more. It’s still something different.

Performance has been a tender spot for Apple for quite a few years. The PC counterparts have been putting in new technologies as Apple has struggled with the poorly scaling G4 and the limited motherboard architecture. Adobe even openly promoted the use of PCs last March. Now the page has been removed and an Adobe exec was on stage praising about the G5 performance. Go figure 🙂

The benchmarks themselves immediately spawned critic. It’s best to be critical when you’re listening to marketing statements, especially with Apple 🙂 To me the benchmarks seem quite reasonable, but I just don’t like labeling any product to be “The world’s fastest personal computer in the world”. Intel just released a 3.2GHz P4 yesterday and Apple has totally forgotten AMD’s Opteron. Where do they stand in raw performance against the G5?

In the end having the fastest processor does not even matter to most of us. Pricing, now there’s an issue. In the US the low-end model is going out the doors for $1999. It’s not a bad price for a workstation with some unique features. It is still a lot of money for a computer if you’re planning to do word processing or other basic tasks. I know the PMs are not targeted for such crowds, but there are personal users that insist on having options for expansion (PCI, use of several monitors) and thus disregard the iMacs. The Cube (RIP) could have been a computer for such people, let’s see if Apple tries that again.

copyrights Apple Computer

Steve also did a preview of Panther, the next version of OS X. It seems to pack a bunch of new features. iChat AV and iSight seem nice, but to me they’re really not that revolutionary. Trouble free video conferencing is nice, but the camera is a bit too expensive for me. The thing I missed from the keynote was Panthers performance. With Jaguar they always underlined more features, more performance. I’m just wondering could they still improve Panther performance with older Macs? Jaguar sold a s**t load because of the speed increase. On my iBook 10.0 was horrid and 10.1 was OK for occasional use. With 10.2 (Jaguar) the performance and features became acceptable for everyday use. What are Panthers requirements and will it take advantage of the 64-bit G5 or will it remain completely 32-bit?

More notes from the fruit market

I also wonder how long will it take Apple to build a PowerBook with a G5 in them? Earlier this year Steve claimed this year to be the year of the portable, but so far we’ve seen the 12″ & 17″ PowerBook and a 100MHz bump to the iBook. It’s now been six months since the PB bumps, so I hope they have something in store. I figure they want to use the motherboards of the 12″ and 17″ for more than six months, so they’ll probably drop in slightly faster G4s.

The infamous switch campaign has been running for a while now. I’ve no idea how successful it has been, but with the price drops (cheap iBooks and eMacs) they might have a chance of increasing market share and get people hooked on using Macs. They should, however, increase the base RAM because it’s cheap and OS X is terrible with only 128MB.

It’s funny how things change in the computer world. A few paragraphs above I told about the Adobe incident, but it’s also funny how the relationship with IBM has changed. IBM used to be the archenemy, but right now Steve must be so in love with IBM… If you don’t know about the history I suggest you read a book about Apple or see this movie.

There were quite a few other things in the keynote. If you’re interested I suggest you see the stream for full coverage.

Year 1999: Icon Medialab is the only Internet Consultancy represented in all four of the larger Nordic countries

In early 1999 Icon Medialab enters Norway through an acquisition of the Norwegian Internet Company Neo Interaktiv AS. The acquisition means that Icon Medialab is the only interactive Media Company represented in all four of the larger Nordic countries.

Icon Medialab’s subsidiary in Belgium signs a contract with the EU-Directorates DG 3 and 14 concerning the development of a system for communication between the European Commission and the member countries. The agreement is a framework contract that extends over aperiod of three years and is worth SEK 10 million. SEK 5 million have already been contracted for 1999.

Adweek Magazine, the American industry leader for news and information in advertising, marketing and media, ranks Icon Medialab as one of the Top 50 interactive agencies in the world. Icon Medialab is the only non-American agency to make the list.

Icon Medialab acquires Norwegian Arakno AS and Intergate AS. Together with earlier acquired Neo Interaktiv AS, Icon Medialab becomes the second largest Internet consulting company in Norway with 50 employees.

In April Icon Medialab acquires the French Internet agency Web Concept, one of France’s leading Internet service companies. Web Concept was founded early in 1996 and worldwide clients include L’Oréal (Cacharel and Le Club des Créateurs de Beauté). Local clients include, among others, Canal Satellite, Arte/La Cinq, EMI/Virgin,The French Post Office and BPB Placo.

At the same time Icon Medialab also acquires the Milan-based Internet agency I.Com. I.Com is one of Italy’s three leading Internet service providers and will with its competence and experience, further strengthen Icon Medialab’s position on the European market. I.Com was founded in 1995 and clients include Alitalia, Banca Popolare di Milano, FIAT, KPMG, Roche and Sergio Tacchini.

The British Internet market is growing extremely fast and in early May Icon Medialab expanded its operation in the UK through the acquisition of the London-based new media agency IN.form. Through the acquisition Icon Medialab’s London office has a total of 70 employees. IN.form has more than 15 years’ experience in working with new media, and through the agency’s experience and wide range Icon Medialab will strengthen its position as the most prominent and fast growing Internet consultancy on the European market. Clients include American Express, BT, Lloyds TSB, Royal & Sun Alliance, Sainsburys andDisney.

In September 1999, Ulf Dahlsten is appointed new CEO and Franco Fedeli leaves Icon Medialab. Ulf Dahlsten brings considerable leadership and Internet experience to the position. He has served on the Board of Icon Medialab since 1998, and was President and CEO of the 40,000-employee Sweden Post, acclaimed as one the world’s best postal organizations, for eleven years.

Ulf Dahlsten engineered a strategic reorientation of the the Sweden Post that embraced the Internet as a vital channel for communication and commerce, resulting in the portal site http://www.torget.se, one of Scandinavia’s most popular Web destinations and most successful online marketplaces. With his extensive international experience Ulf Dahlsten will help Icon Medialab to move Icon Medialab to the next level and to manage its rapid global expansion in service of our increasingly multinational client base.

In November we move even closer towards our goal of becoming a global leader in Internet development by acquiring the award winning and highly regarded Nicholson NY, which was founded in 1987 as one of the first firms in New York´s famed Silicon Alley. The New York office will be known as Icon Nicholson, and Tom Nicholson will become Chief Creative Officer of Icon Medialab and a member of our Board of Directors.

To help our clients integrate digital and traditional media to succeed in the new economy, we close the year in December by acquiring MetaDesign London, a world leader in Interactive Media Branding.

Year 1998: Icon Medialab passes the 200 employee limit

In June 1998 Icon Medialab passes the 200 employee limit, Icon Medialab Finland opens up a new office in Helsinki, Oscar Bjers joins the Swedish Medialab as MD. The Icon Medialab share is listed at the Stockholm Börsinformation stock exchange and ends the first day at +24%.

Major new clients for Sweden are world-leading packaging companyTetra Pak, leading banker/insurer SEB and state owned lottery/gambling company Svenska Spel. At the same time, London signs an agreement with Fujitsu to develop their European e-commerce site.

In August Thor Birkmand joins Icon Medialab Copenhagen as MD, and in September Icon Medialab Hamburg open its doors with Frank Roessner as MD. The same month Icon Medialab Hamburg acquires Cologne-based web designers killikanu. Icon Knowledge Management is launched, and will develop solutions for web-based education and knowledge management.

In October, Forbes magazine lists Icon Medialab as one of the world’s 300 most interesting small companies (and the only Internet company among the 300). The Industry Standard lists Icon Medialab as one of the world’s 24 leading web consultancies, among companies like iXL, Microsoft, USWeb/CKS, Andersen Consulting and EDS.

In November, Sweden Post’s president and CEO Ulf Dahlsten and Sifo Management Group partner and CEO Elisabet Annell joins the Icon Medialab board.

The Icon Medialab stock premieres at the Stockholm Stock Exchange O-list November 18.

In December 1998 SAS chose Icon Medialab in Sweden as Nordic partner for strategic business solutions on the Internet. The agreement extends over a longer period. During this period Icon Medialab has the status of preferred provider for SAS. This is so far the largest engagement in Icon Medialab’s history.

Icon Medialab and Bonnierförlagen AB introduce WebCat AB, a company that will offer solutions and content for computer-based education. WebCat is the result of the merger of Bonnier Icon Publishing and Icon Knowledge Management.

Year 1997: Icon Publishing was founded

In January 1997 Icon Publishing was founded as a joint venture with media entrepreneurs Erik Hörnfeldt and Mattias Hansson. It was conceived as a print publishing house with a focus on Internet-related information on paper. Later the same year, in June, Sweden’s leading publishing house Bonnier bought a majority stake in the company that became Bonnier Icon Publishing.

In January, Icon Content launched TheAlps, Europe’s leading portal site for skiing information.

In April, Gonzalo de la Cierva, former VP for sales and marketing at Telecinco, Spain, becomes MD of Icon Medialab Madrid.

In May, ChannelSeven and DoubleClick votes Icon Medialab one of the world’s top 100 Internet companies, the Icon Medialab Group breaks the 100-employee barrier, and Icon Publishing produces its first TV show for Swedish TV5.

In August 1997 Franco Fedeli joins the parent company Icon Medialab International as CEO, and the Swedish Medialab as MD. He is an IBM veteran and was recruited from Tele2, which he built into Scandinavia’s biggest private telephone, mobile telephone, and ISP company. He brings CLO Ola Silberman and CFO Liia Nõu with him.

At the same time, Icon Medialab London opens in Wired Magazine’s former office on the South Bank and David King is recruited as MD.

In September Icon Medialab opens in Kuala Lumpur and is awarded MSC status to take part in the Malaysian government’s ambitious IT projects. Later, as the local economy collapses, the Kuala Lumpur office is put on hold.

In October, Alapi.com, a website for reusable DHTML object technology powered by JavaScript, is launched. In January 1998 Macromedia licenses Alapi technology for inclusions in their editor Dreamweaver. The Alapi technology also leads to a development agreement between Icon Medialab and Netscape and in October 1998 Alapi Inc is launched to further commercialize this technology.

In October, TheAlps merges with Skiin of France to form the world’s largest winter sport portal.

In November 1997, Icon Medialab Copenhagen is launched and Finland’s leading web bureau The Works in Tampere is acquired and becomes Icon Medialab Finland. The Works’ founder Alex Nimeninen is appointed MD.

Year 1996: Four friends found Icon Medialab

Johan Staël von Holstein, Erik Wikström and Jesper Jos Olsson came from the Kinnevik group with backgrounds in media, marketing and interactive television. Magnus Lindahl came from the banking sector.

Together, they had a vision of creating an Internet company that was a little bit more corporate and had a more grown up approach than the “cool” design shops that dominated the business at this time. From the beginning, Icon Medialab was conceived as a one stop shop for Internet development bringing together strategy, design and technology skills.

Johan Staël von Holstein calls this approach “the Cube”. A traditional IT consultancy is very good at technology, an ad agency excels in communication. Most design shops try to fuse these two competencies, but Icon Medialab adds a third “human” dimension to create the full cube: behavioural sciences, copywriting skills, management consulting, interface design, analysis of site statistics. All the ingredients that are necessary for creating a truly functioning web business.

Since day one, this is what Icon Medialab does: We build cube-based web solutions that actually deliver.

In March 1996 four hopeful entrepreneurs moved in at a former garment company’s office in Stockholm Harbour. They had five employees, some seed money and Björn Nordstrand, a former CEO for Sweden’s biggest private TV-channel as chairman of the board. The cube-building was about to begin.

The first clients were stockbrokerage Erik Penser Fondkomission, Canon and Sweden Post, which still is one of Icon Medialab’s most important clients. In April Icon Education was founded and in July, Icon Content was launched with a mission to build and run content-based websites.

From day one, expansion outside Sweden was a top priority. The opportunities were too good to be missed. The Internet market in Sweden was almost as mature as the markets in New York and The San Francisco Bay area. The idea was to use this opportunity by taking a dominating position in the important European markets as they matured, and reusing knowledge and experience from Sweden.

In August 1996, Icon Medialab Madrid was established, and in December the same year Icon Medialab opened an office in San Francisco.