Microsoft has this “Silverlight” thingie which is more or less but mainly more a clone of Flash. A fair number of pundits hyperbloviated over it, which reverse-impressed me. Somebody is going to land a punch on Flash eventually, but it’s not likely to be Microsoft.

But Silverlight could well have a significant impact by expanding the toolchest of APIs available to AJAX apps. The way this will work is that Silverlight will expose some potent and obscure new features and then Javascript programmers will write wrappers to make these features optional upgrades to the user experience.

A whacky Silverlight-only upgrade might be the ability to use the LAPACK linear algebra package in Javascript; this would speed math up for users who had Silverlight and otherwise leave them going along at a poky but survivable rate. If faster math was useful enough, it would eventually lead to the feature becoming broadly available. Maybe Firefox would start including LAPACK, for example.

This was the adoption curve for XMLHTTPRequest, which started out as an proprietary Internet Explorer feature and ended up being implemented by every browser.

The key thing is that Silverlight-specific abilities have to be optional upgrades to the user experience, so that the system has graceful degradation in the absence of Silverlight.

LA talk 11/11

I’ll do a short presentation at the Creative Commons LA salon on November 11. More about the event:

on the CC blog;
on the CC wiki;
on Upcoming;
on Facebook.

I’m going to extend my comments on music biz / internet economics, e.g. on RCRD LBL, on the Myspace music / Amazon deal, on ad-supported music as a whole.

I don’t get a huge amount of time but I think I can pull off a good conversation starter. I hope that people will take my comments as a cue to engage with the large-scale fiscal realities and possibilities of internet music. I want people on both the internet and music biz side to put their arguments on the table. I want less bloviating and hating, and more constructive engagement.

I’ll probably play a bit of music as part of the talk.