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Re: Baby Steps or Backwards Steps?

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>
Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2007 14:03:52 -0400
To: HTML Working Group <public-html@w3.org>, wai-xtech@w3.org, scott lewis <sfl@scotfl.ca>
Message-Id: <20070816175359.M65015@hicom.net>

scott lewis wrote, quote:
For example, what is the following image of? 

File Name: IMG20674.JPG 
Size: 1024 x 768 pixels 
Title: This was awesome! 
Tags: vacation06 
Automatically generated @alt: "This was awesome! - IMG20674.JPG" 

I can't imagine anyone presented with that would be able to determine   
that the image is a picture of a humpback whale breaching the surface   
off the coast of California. Not even in the vaguest terms. 

The @alt takes up space in the document, adding to the bandwidth   
required to transfer the document, the space required to store the   
document, and the time required to process the document. I would   
suggest that the @alt should provide some value that justifies its   
presence in the document 
unquote

then why don't those who complain about microsoft having "broken" 
object formally ask the microsoft Advisory Council rep to make 
MSIE standards compliant, so that we could use OBJECT and avoid 
the code bloat of VIDEO, AUDIO, etc. -- to argue that alt text adds 
to page bloat is a very strange position to take, especially when 
the footprint of alt text is VERY small, compared to the footprint 
of the object being described as well as the chrome manipulation so 
common on commercial, portal and social networking sites adds FAR 
more code bloat than "A humpbacked whale, surfacing in a plume of 
ocean spray."

how many bytes does that simple descriptor take compared to the 
picture itself?

the charge that ALT is code bloat is a straw man, whose ashes have been
cold for 10 years now -- just because something is encased in an IMG 
element doesn't tell me anything other than "here is something you can 
do absolutely nothing with yourself, except save it and ask someone 
to describe it to you, and given the state of web security, downloading 
an arbitrary binary file is NOT a good idea, nor should it be forced 
upon an individual user as merely step 1 of the process...  anyone can 
put any type of binary file in an IMG element, and even when used 
correctly, certain binary image filetypes are known to have security 
issues and to have the unintended capacity to release an unknown, 
unwanted, and probably mallicious bit of code which can bring the 
user -- and the network he or she is connected to -- to a halting, 
and jarring crash...

gregory.
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SELF-EVIDENT, adj.  Evident to one's self and to nobody else.
                    -- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
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    Gregory J. Rosmaita: oedipus@hicom.net
         Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/
Oedipus' Online Complex: http://my.opera.com/oedipus
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Received on Thursday, 16 August 2007 18:04:09 GMT

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