BBC iPlayer for the Mac!

Now this is what I call good news! The BBC have a download service called iPlayer - and up till now, used horrible proprietary Microsoft DRM techniques to make sure that you werent being naughty. Even on a brand new XP machine or (god forbid!) Vista, it was a complete PITA to set up. And of course, you'd have to be insane to stick a windows machine under your TV as a PVR ("Sorry Darling, we couldnt tape Coronation Street, as the PVR Crashed"). So I have a Mac Mini. Till now, iPlayer meant 'Watch in choppy Real Time'.

Today, the BBC finally released a beta (available here) of the new BBC iPlayer running on Adobe Air. What on earth is Air, I hear you ask ? Its basically an off-line/on-line machine and OS independent rich internet application environment. So this wil run on PC's, Macs, Linux, whatever.

How on earth do you code in Air ? Well, you can use Adobe Flex - the new cool RIA tool that we're using to create Rich Internet Applciations. Applications that run as Flash movies, and are therefore browser and platform independent. That can use Web Services. That are compiled, and can allow an eclipse-based debugger to snoop on running executables. Personally I love it.

So the BBC - who wil lhave millions of subscribers to iPlayer - needed something that would run on just about any piece of shonky microsoft virus ridden crapware out there. As well as all those hair-shirt self-build and hack it up Linux boxes. And all those epensive-but-worth-it shiny Macs. And they chose Air.

Recently, the UK's largest selling newspaper - the Sun - decided that they also wanted an on-desktop presence. Given that their newspaper specialises in tabliod news (no long words, boobies), they also recognised that the level of computer literacy among their readers would be low. So they also released their Desktop Keeley (one of their 'Page 3' girls as an on desk push news gadget) on Air. (Note to Americans, Children and Prudes: Although Keeley is not actually wearing much, there's no actual nudity)

So how do you integrate Flash/Air with Notes ? We used Web Services - which as you know from endless posts here, are easier than Lotus Marketings' to-do list ("Do Nothing").