If you haven’t already realized, Firefox 10 is now available, and we definitely recommend that you upgrade. As far as the UI is concerned, the most notable change is to the “forward” button. That is that there isn’t one, at least unless you hit the “back” button first. New APIs allow for Anti-aliased WebGL graphics, full screen viewing of apps, and a few other nifty features. CSS 3D transitions are now supported as well.
Of course with all new things there are bound to be a few problems, and with Firefox 10 on OS X, Silverlight videos don't load and there are some jerky Gmail scrolling problems (as well as general trackpad scrolling issues) that Mozilla needs to get sorted out.
Silverlight has been Microsoft's "Flash killer" for many years now, and as a web-centric platform, it's had very little traction. Most sites stuck with Flash, and those who didn't, moved onto HTML5, not Silverlight. Now, after neglecting the platform for a while now, Microsoft officially said that the focus for Silverlight is shifting to other areas.
In the words of Microsoft's Bob Muglia “Silverlight is our development platform for Windows Phone.” The platform is indeed the way developers are making apps for the mobile platform, but for those developers who had been building web based apps based on the technology, it may come as a bit of a cold shower. Still, this seems like the right move, as it's clear the web is moving on to the open HTML5, and away from proprietary technologies like Silverlight.
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Microsoft Silverlight 3 is live, and you can go ahead and update your browsers now over at Microsoft’s Silverlight page. Silverlight 3.0.40624.0 weighs in at 4.7MB, and works with Internet Explorer, Firefox 2 and 3, and Safari 3 and 4. Here’s a look at some of the major new features:
- Media: GPU hardware acceleration, new codec support (H.264, AAC, MPEG-4), raw bitstream Audio/Video API, and improved logging for media analytics
- Graphics: GPU Acceleration and hardware compositing, perspective 3D, bitmap and pixel API, pixel shader effects, and Deep Zoom improvements
- Application development: Deep linking, navigation and SEO, improved text quality, multi-touch support, 60+ controls available, and library caching support
- Data-binding improvements, validation error templates, server data push improvements, binary XML networking support, and multi-tier REST data support
Also, remember that Xbox 360 Instant-on 1080p stuff? That’s all powered by Silverlight 3 as well (yes, Silverlight is coming to your Xbox 360 dashboard.) It’s a solid upgrade, and the installation is pretty much immediate if you are on any sort of respectable broadband connection. Definitely worth a look, and you can bet that Microsoft will be pushing hard for a few big Silverlight exclusives, like they did with the Beijing Olympics.
Netflix continues their push for dominance today with their integration into Windows Media Center on PCs running either Windows Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate. If your Windows machine runs either of those operating systems, all you have to do is pull up Media Center, and in the TV + Movies section, you’ll now see a Netflix tile, powered by Silverlight. The cool thing here is that, unlike on some other devices, you can browse and search the entire Netflix library, manage both your Instant and DVD Queues, and even sort search results to just show titles available to watch instantly. I must say, we are loving how aggressive Netflix is being about getting their Watch Instantly service on more and more platforms. Wanna bet they soon appear on Apple TV?