Technological Improvement

Dear Readers,
Your Gilbert would love to fill you in on the last city council meeting, but to our annoyance we find that somebody somewhere on the city website or with the video feed provider has “updated” their technology. Instead of being able to view the city council meetings online, we get a box containing the following message, “Get Microsoft Silverlight.”
We click, as instructed, and are informed that the necessary update is available only to persons with the latest, greatest operating system. This class of person does not include Your Gilbert.
So, alas, there will be no granolapark report on the last city council meeting. Hurrah for technology!


A reader asked if the problem might be at our end, seeing as how this reader had no problem accessing the city council videos with using Windows XP.
We are using Macintosh computers with operating system X 3 and have changed nothing in the last month that would cause this. The “Get Microsolft Silverlight” box popping up instead of the video stream is a new phenomenon. It definately says it requires Macintosh operating system X 4.8. So we conclude the changes are at the other end.

A news release (below) on Silverlight’s site touts it as a wonderful cross-platform tool. Note that the release date was Sept. 5. Up until this week we had few troubles accessing the pre-Silverlight version on our Macs. Our Mac version of Windows Media Player has been perfectly adequate. The cross-platform hpye is just that as far as Macs are concerned . Each new operating system for Macs has been increasingly accomodating to PC software, so this is not a case of Microsoft making Silverlight more Mac-friendly, they just waited for Mac to be more PC-friendly.

The system requirements are for Mac operating system 4.8. Not many Mac users will have this one. In fact, a quick survy of the Mac site and the Macconnections computer store show that the most recent operating system for home use sale is 4.6! (cost $125). A commercial OS X 4.7 version is available for $500. Microsoft/Silverlight has apparently built a “cross platform” tool for use with a future Mac platform. Meanwhile most Mac users are locked out.

We don’t consider that an “improvement”, do you?”


PS. The link to download a (Windows or Apple) Windows Media Player plug in on the city website leads to an “error 404” message.


Download the Final Release of Silverlight 1.0!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Today Microsoft announced the release of Silverlight 1.0, the fully supported version of its cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of media and rich experiences on the Web.

Microsoft and Novell Partner to Deliver Silverlight on Linux
Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Microsoft is committed to making Silverlight a Web client that runs on all major browsers, and the commitment extends to Linux. Microsoft and Novell have announced they are working together on Moonlight, a Silverlight implementation for Linux.

About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.

2 Comments on "Technological Improvement"

  1. Hello Gilbert,
    I am writing as a representative of the service provider that streams Takoma Park’s videos. I wanted to respond to your experience and posting about how the Silverlight upgrade has affected you.
    Before we introduced Silverlight, many Mac viewers had troubles viewing content from the municipalities we represent. Video would be inconsistent in playback with grainy quality or poor audio. Many of the features that Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer users could benefit from on our site – like index points, closed captioning, and more – were not available to Mac Users.
    Silverlight allows those features and much higher quality video content all in one software upgrade. While we did not foresee the issue you are experiencing – the 10.4.8 requirement in OS, we are working quickly to fix it.
    Soon, you won’t be prompted to download Silverlight as a Mac OR Windows user unless you are using an operating system that is compatible.
    Gilbert, I offer you my apologies for missing out on that meeting. I am hoping that you will be able to benefit from the public transparency of Takoma Park government by the next meeting.
    Thank you for your understanding,
    Jay Kilian
    Director of Customer Advocacy
    Granicus, Inc

  2. Ms. Kilian,
    Thank you for the response, and for restoring the site to the old settings. That is much appreciated. We understand that you were trying to improve the service for Mac users and did not foresee the problems that the 10.4.8 system requirement would present to most of us.
    The old settings were not optimal for Mac users, it is true. Some of the controls did not work for us and the council agenda pdfs automatically downloaded whether they were wanted or not. However the video stream was viewable, which is the important thing.
    Unfortunately, this sort of thing is an old story. We Mac owners have endured decades of neglect and abuse at the hands of Microsoft. Many times features that were cross-platform have been updated for PCs with no plans to make them work for Macs or with vague promises that eventually there will be a Mac version – usually meaning that eventually Mac will make an operating system that accommodates _them_. This, of course, only leaves Mac users with older systems in the dust. We can only sigh and persevere – taking solace in the fact that we are virus free.

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