NOTE: This is a fairly old problem that has been resolved by revisions of the various pieces of software involved. This page is kept here for reference in case some people may find it useful.
If you have a problem playing Flash video
and your browser is Firefox, click here.
For Linux, Unix, and other problems viewing
WMV videos, read on.
Because: (1) Windows comes with free video editing software (Windows Movie Maker or WMM), (2) The wmv (Windows Media Video) format used by WMM is widely viewable, and (3) The wmv format is efficient at compressing video while maintaining quality (thus lowering our bandwidth costs and the time required for viewers to download and play the videos on their computers), we used the wmv format for most of the video on this site.
However, there are problems with the wmv format. (1) It is widely but not universally available/viewable; Flash video of the type used by YouTube is more compatible with more browsers and users' computers, (2) There are inconsistencies and incompatibilities in its implementation in different browsers (e.g., IE versus Firefox), (3) An embedded Windows Media Player (with the appropriate acronym of WMP) downloads videos automatically even though the visitor may never click on the player or actually try to watch the video; this is a tremendous waste of bandwidth and it can slow loading of our pages with more than one or a large embedded video to a crawl, and (4) The wmv format plays into M$'s monopoly.
Problems with the "YouTube Solution"
Using YouTube (or other similar, "free" videohosting services) as an alternative was also problematic. YouTube videos have time constraints (10 minutes). We cannot control the resolution of YouTube videos (which can be but isn't usually a problem). Viewers don't have the ability to switch to fullscreen without leaving our site and viewing the video over at YouTube. It tends to take viewers away from our pages by displaying supposedly "related" videos and by transporting the visitor over to YouTube (BTW, both of these problems are surmountable by modifying the code used to embed the YouTube video).
More problematic was that YouTube would sometimes arbitrarily enforce its copyright rules, sometimes removing videos and closing our account for material that we felt was "fair use" and not a copyright infringement. In such situations, not only would the supposedly infringing video be removed, but the entire account could be closed and all the videos in that account that were embedded on our site would stop functioning. There are literally MILLIONS of embedded YouTube videos on the Internet that, when clicked, only produce "We're sorry, this video is no longer available." And most important, YouTube was suprisingly often unable to deliver the video smoothly and was surprisingly often completely down/unavailable. Dependency on embedded YouTube videos was not a satisfactory solution.
So we looked far and wide for a solution that would match YouTube's more universal access based on Flash video.
The JW FLV Media Player Solution
A recent version of Adobe Flash Player is needed to view many of the videos on this site.
After a rather long search and attempts to implement numerous solutions, a young, computer savvy scientist/skeptic (David Schwarz) provided and helped implement a solution. The solution is the JW FLV MEDIA PLAYER (a small example is on the right) developed by Jeroen Wijering. Jeroen provides the player free and his website also provides detailed instructions on how to implement and use the player. He has debugged it and it works beautifully. We recommend it to you if you are searching for a similar solution that provides the ability to embed and control your own videos on your website.
If you have fairly decent web design and html skills, you should be able to implement the JW FLV player. If you run into problems or need help understanding how to create and convert video and how to use this Flash solution, and if your problem is fairly straightforward, you should be able to find answers on his website or in links from it.
If you can't find answers to your questions on Jeroen's website, our webmasters can help out. (NOTE: You will probably have to pay for their time at a rate that you would negotiate with the individual, i.e., Yoism, Inc. has nothing to do with any such financial arrangements. As a service to you and to our volunteers, who also need paying work, you can contact us and we will try to put you in touch with an appropriate person.)
Other examples of our implementation of this Flash solution can be seen in the links below. We will slowly be implementing the solution across the website, but that will take some time. (To go to Jeroen's website, right-click on any of the existing JW FLV Media Players on our site.)
Please be patient :-)
Meanwhile . . .
Meanwhile, there are at least two free, opensource video players (MPlayer and xine) that appear to be able to handle embedded wmv videos in Linux and/or to be able to play the videos when downloaded to your computer. Here are some links to these resources. (Please let us know about other resources that can help with this problem.)
A problem playing Flash video using the Firefox browser in Windows
|Upgrading to Firefox 18.104.22.168 and Adobe Flash Player version 10.x finally seems to have solved the problem described below. If, on your system, the problem persists after making these upgrades, please notify us.|
In implementing the JW Flash player solution, it came to our attention that there is a general bug that causes Flash videos to malfunction when using recent versions of Adobe Flash (Version 9.X) and Firefox. In the most common form of the problem, the video starts in silence and plays for 2 to 4 seconds and then it stops playing altogether, though the video appears to continue to load. The problem is intermittent and sometimes everything works fine or can be temporarily alleviated by restarting your computer. But the problem returns and it is common enough so that many people using Firefox have noted it.
One of the difficulties with an intermittent problem is that almost any change may APPEAR to have fixed the problem simply because the problem is intermittent and it may just happen to be in its working phase when tested after an ineffective fix is attempted. Thus there are bound to be zillions of APPARENT solutions experienced that the user later finds out didn't really work. Because discussion forums of bugs gather together the experience of large numbers of users, if only a small percentage of the apparent pseudo-solutions are posted before they are found to be ineffective, the result is that many false solutions appear on the Internet. Thus, we had to wade through all sorts of illusory solutions we found on the Internet in addition to the apparent solutions we created by experimenting.
Note: This means that most of the solutions you will find posted elsewhere will only work for a period of time and then the problem will resurface. If you find a solution that seems to work, please test it for a few days. You can test your solution on this page, which seems to generate the problem with greater frequency. If after a few days of testing (including visits to that problematic page), your solution still works, please let us know. (Post a comment on this page or email us.)
Here we offer two solutions that actually work. If they do not work for you, please let us know. As Yoans committed to empirical responsibility, we don't want to offer up another false reality ;-)
The two solutions to the Flash/Firefox bug.
One is to use Internet Explorer to view pages with Flash video. Unfortunately, this option may be anathema to some Firefox users. So the other option that works is to roll back the Adobe Flash Player plugin for Firefox from version 9 to the last iteration of version 8 (8r42). If you also have IE installed, you can keep it using the latest version of the Flash plugin for IE (see below).
How to roll back the Adobe Flash plugin.
Note that there are at least two versions of each revision of Flash for Windows, the flashplayer#r##_win.exe which is the plugin for Firefox and flashplaye#r##_winax.exe which is the Active X version for IE. Here's how to roll back the plugin for Firefox.
- Download this zip file and unzip it. (If the link doesn't work, click here.)
- Run FlashplayerUninstallerforWindows.exe. This will uninstall your Flash plugins for both IE and Firefox. Don't worry, reinstallation of Flash is VERY fast and easy. After running the uninstaller, check the details it offers to see if your computer needs a reboot to finish the uninstallation. If it does, or if you just want to be on the safe side, reboot your computer.
- Run Flashplaye8forFF-Version8r42.exe, which will install the Flash Player plugin for Firefox.
- To stop Adobe Flash from constantly offering to update itself to the latest version, click this link and on the fourth tab, uncheck "Notify me when an update to Adobe Flash is available."
- If you also have IE installed, run Flashplayer9forIE-Version9r124.exe, which will install the Version 9.x of Flash Player for IE.
- Check back here every now and then to see if there is a new Adobe Flash Player that doesn't cause the problem.
|Upgrading to Firefox 22.214.171.124 and Adobe Flash Player version 10.x finally seems to have solved the problem described above. The workaround (i.e., rolling back to Flash version 8r42) described above appears to be no longer necessary. If, on your system, the problem persists after making the upgrades to the newest version of Flash and Firefox, please notify us.|