If anyone out there has not had an opportunity to use the NY Times Reader to read the NY Times, you're missing out on a great experience! The Times Reader is a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) application that let's you read the paper on or offline in a rich format. It's been available for over a year now, but you do have to pay a subscription fee to use it. I really enjoyed reading the paper using this tool and wish some of the local papers here in Jersey would build a similar tool! (APP.com, NJ.com and the Star-Ledger folks... come on and check this out!)
The NY Times has now released a beta edition of the Times Reader for the Mac. What's interesting about this version is that it is built using Silverlight in combination with Cocoa (the native Mac programming language), and the Safari WebKit. The application runs as a stand alone desktop application on the Mac and is very similar to the WPF PC version. Tim Heuer posted about it on his blog. The NY Times folks have shared some technical details over on their blog.
The cool thing about it right now is that the beta version on the Mac is free to use for the length of the beta. When the final release comes out, it will be available for a subscription fee like the PC version. In the meantime, I have a spare Mac machine I use for Silverlight demos. I've been running the Times Reader for a while now (through a secret internal beta :)). It works great and I'm excited that I'll be able to read the paper in the reader for free again!
Anyway, after reading some of the press Friday about the reader, I was surprised to see some negative reactions to Silverlight in the comments from Mac users. Most of the comments reveal that the writers have never tried Silverlight. That's too bad for them, as I've seen Silverlight provide some great experiences on my spare Mac.
Some of the comments contain false or misleading statements regarding the support of Silverlight on the Mac OS. FYI, Silverlight 1.0 is fully supported on the Mac OS versions 10.4.8 and above. That includes both Power PC and Intel-based Macs. Silverlight 2.0 is currently available only on Intel-based Macs. If Mac users have any issues installing Silverlight, you should reach out to Microsoft Support for help. You can view the full system requirements for Silverlight here (as borrowed from the Silverlight.net website):
Silverlight System Requirements
Compatible Operating Systems and Browsers
Operating System Windows Internet Explorer 7 Internet Explorer 6 Firefox 1.5 Firefox 2 Safari Windows Vista Yes - Yes Yes - Windows XP SP2 Yes Yes Yes Yes - Windows 2000 - Yes** No No - Windows Server 2003 (excluding IA-64) Yes Yes Yes Yes - Mac OS 10.4.8+ (PowerPC) - - Yes* Yes* Yes* Mac OS 10.4.8+ (Intel-based) - - Yes Yes Yes* Silverlight 1.0 Only ; ** Silverlight 2 OnlyMinimal Requirements
Components Requirement Personal Computer running Windows X86 or x64 500-megahertz (MHz) or higher processor with 128-megabytes (MB) of RAM Mac OS 10.4.8+ (PowerPC) PowerPC G4 800-MHz or higher processor with 128-MB of RAM Mac OS 10.4.8+ (Intel-based) Intel Core Duo 1.83-gigahertz (GHz) or higher processor with 128-MB of RAMRECOMMENDED: Use Silverlight in the 32-bit Internet Explorer process on x64 systems. Most browser plug-ins (including Silverlight, Flash, Java and almost all ActiveX controls) only work in 32-bit browsers currently.