Thursday, August 20, 2009


Two handy FireFox extensions for vids

Ever go to a webpage that has videos and the video you want to watch is only available in .mov format? It really sucks if you're on a PC or Linux computer, doesn't it? Sure it's easiest way for the guy producing it on a Mac, but for the rest of us - this is a problem. On the PC, QuickTime is a crash-happy bug-laden P.O.S., and that's putting it politely. And it'll happily crash your browser every time a .mov tries to play. On the Linux side, you'll probably get some scripty thing that whinges about not having Quicktime or some related B.S. So if you're like me and you like mplayer or VLC, the handy FireFox extension known as MediaPlayerConnectivity comes to the rescue. After this exension installs, it'll bring up two screens (iirc). The first one lets you change file player associations in the browser, this one you'll want to change. The next one has some kind of play-mode detection thingy, which is probably best to leave to the default. Once plugged in, bada-bing bada-boom! No more QuickTime crashyness when watching .mov based videos on something that isn't a Mac.

The next one is an extension that overcomes a problem that may come up in the first situation. You finally get your media player of choice (in my case it's VLC) to work, and that it does fine. However, some file formats get a tad "constipated" when it comes to streaming to third party media players. So you get buffering, one sec of play, buffering, one sec of play... On and on. Annoying, isn't it? Apparently the file just doesn't want to go through smoothly. So you bring it over locally with this handy extension, DownloadHelper. (Yeah, some people may bitch that you're leeching or whatever. The way I look at it is: First of all, you're giving away the video for free already. It's not costing you anything in comparable bandwidth if I download it. Second of all, I'm not planning on rehosting your file - thus you'll still be getting your traffic and unique page views for other people wanting to see your content. Grabbing the file overcomes a technical hurdle, and your current way of providing the content just doesn't work 100%. So this is a workaround.) After grabbing a file with DownloadHelper that doesn't stream nicely, you'll be able to play it just fine 99.9% of the time without the buffering nuisance.

So there you go, a way to play browsable videos the way you want to, and in a way that actually works. Problems solved, and easy peasy. Firefox and other free software is great, isn't it?

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