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It Done Broke.

ClickToFlash For Safari

ClickToFlash is a nice little Flashblock-type plugin for Safari with one big problem.  Two, actually.

  1. you can’t leave feedback for the developer without creating a (free) account on the project website.  Dude, I just wanted to tell you about #2…
  2. the only way I could find to get into the whitelist and preferences for the plugin is via a page with Flash that isn’t already blocked (there’s a little control on the blocker that gets you in).  However, if you’ve already whitelisted the page there’s no way to get back in and un-whitelist it without going to another site with Flash.  Worse, if you’ve whitelisted it in Fluid (a single-site browser application instance of Safari) there’s no hope at all of making any changes.  You are stuck.

You need to get a preference pane in the main application fast.

One thing about ClickToFlash compared to Flashblock: as I’ve cranked about a few months ago, the Flash media player on MySpace doesn’t load properly in Firefox when you tell Flashblock to unblock.  However, with ClickToFlash in Safari there’s no such problem.  You click, it appears.  Flashblock developers say this is a known bug in the Mozilla code which I should point out nobody seems to be working on.  The Flashblock bug was logged October 2008, the Mozilla bug March 2009 and the feedback comments run in circles.  It’s also suggested that the problem is with the Flash player but ClickToFlash on Safari doesn’t have the same issue.

Score one more for Safari.

Flashblock & MySpace

Flashblock 1.5.8
Firefox 3.x+
MySpace

I find MySpace is only tolerable if you have the Flashblock add-on in Firefox.  My primary complaint is the preponderance of Flash media players assaulting your senses all on auto-play.  Some clowns have auto-play on all the media on their page and the hilarious cacophony of their favourite Daily Show clip blasting along side a Slipknot/SystemOfADown/Gwar medley is just sometimes too much.  My secondary complaint is with the Flash Player in Firefox 3.x+ on a Mac which, for some reason seems to wind up the CPU making any other activity on your computer a chore.  So Flashblock allows me to whip around the site without slowing down unless I really want to hear MGMT again (which seems to be inserted into every second page) .

Recently, MySpace’s media player started doing something strange with Flashblock on Firefox.  If you click on the Flashblock placeholder icon, the <div> where the media player should re-appear goes blank and nothing fills the space.  However…music will start playing (if it’s on auto-play).  So you can’t stop it, nor can you change songs.  Whitelisting myspace.com in Flashblock works…but that’s not a solution.  MySpace is the whole reason I installed Flashblock in the first place.

It’s not Flash dependent: I’ve tried it with Flash 9 & 10 and on Windows and OSX.  I haven’t tried it with many versions of Firefox – just 3.0.5 and 3.1b2.

A related issue has been flagged as a bug in the Camino Bugzilla database.

There is some speculation that there is some code in the new MySpace player that can be addressed by the MediaWrap plugin. This didn’t solve anything for me.

Update: One of the Flashblock developers, Philip Chee, has gotten back to me about this and they’re looking into it.  They’re not pointing fingers since it’s not obvious who’s side of the court this ball is in.  However, if anybody knows how to actually get ahold of the MySpace admins it would probably help to get to the bottom of this (do you just send Tom a message on the site?  After all, he’s “friend”, right?).  The Flashblock Bugzilla report is filed here, but Philip recommends tracking the bug on the Camino site.

Update 2: I’m running AdBlock Plus as well, as I’m sure a lot of people are who don’t like noise in their browser.   I tried disabling AdBlock Plus for that page and the player reappeared when I refreshed the page.  However, it doesn’t behave consistently and sometimes loads, sometimes doesn’t.

Update 3: Seems like Philip may have found a solution described on the Mozdev site.  The Flash player settings manager has a tab called “Global Storage Settings”.  Follow Philip’s instructions but if your “Allow 3rd party…” checkbox is already checked (like mine was), toggle it off and then on again.

Social Networking Charting

aGkz4XFcZkgqb8fbHMHLvLkCo1 500 Social Networking Charting

The only problem with this chart is the fact there’s significant overlap between some of these, e.g. “People who can’t afford Match.com” and “Proud ownever of butterfly tramp stamps”.

Dear MySpace Stranger

Dear MySpace Stranger,

If you try to add me as a friend and I send you a polite email requesting further information, please at least have the courtesy of responding.  If you do not, I regret I will have to decline adding you.

Sincerely,
Not Actually Your Friend

Google Gears for Firefox 3.1

Firefox 3.1b2
Google Gears 0.5.4.2

You know what would be really faboo? If the devs for Google Gears figured out it was worthwhile looking at the non-compatibility issue with Firefox 3.1 and Google Gears. I know, I know, it’s free software and there are a million other things to get to. And they’ve said (unofficially) that by the time Firefox 3.1 gets out of beta they’ll be ready. The only reason I’m asking is this:

There are now a preponderance of sites out there now that are JavaScript heavy. All Google products, Facebook, MySpace, and yeah, WordPress – especially the admin backend which is now AJAX supercharged. So when you’re dealing with these sites a lot it really makes a big difference having a browser that can crank through the JS routines and render the damn page already. This is why I’m working with the beta version of Firefox 3.1 (actually, now the OSX optimized version, Shiretoko – there are Windows versions out there too) which has the Tracemonkey JavaScript engine enabled. It’s quite fast; incidentally I’m also testing WebKit, the Safari engine development version which is right up there too.

Anyway, FF 3.1 makes a big difference in shaving off my waiting time, especially here in WordPress-land. And incidentally, the kind folks at WordPress have incorporated Google Gears functionality to offload the download…load. Works great on WebKit/Safari, but since the Gears guys haven’t worked out the FF 3.1 compatibility yet, we’re still waiting.

Not a big rush, really…but it’s Valentine’s Day. Blow me a kiss, boys.