I’m a huge fan of CoolIris, the browser plugin that turns media content into an amazing flowing virtual wall. It is hands down one of the best ways to explore flickr or YouTube searches, since results are not limited to one page, it becomes endless flow.
Since February, I have been crafting a lot of my presentations in the CoolIris format, using the form of RSS to drive the content I pick- see my documentation on Tricking Out CoolIris as a Presentation Tool as well as the step by step instructions posted by Doug Belshaw.
The reason it works for me is the way I can associate “slides” with a URL so I can jump out to a web page and easily return to the presentation- or it is seamless to jump around.
I pretty much modeled my work using the example CoolIris has for Enabling Your Site with RSS which again I have used for a strings presentations since February 2009, and in most of them I had embedded FLV video which worked flawlessly… until sometime in late May.
It was about the time I upgraded to Flash 10 that I noticed (and was told by Dean Shareski) that the embedded videos no longer worked. They status icon just pun endlessly and the video never played. Video for YouTube played fine. Dean had sent a link acknowledging this on the CoolIris Bug page which has since been removed. The CoolIris discussion forums had a number of people asking about this with a whole range of suggested work arounds that never worked.
In testing I I have confirmed that it fails on:
- Mac OSX with Flash 10 in Safari (3 and 4) Firefox (3 and 3,5)
- Windows Vista with Flash 10 in Internet Explorer 7
However, it does work in
- Windows Vista with Flash 9 in Firefox 3.0
For my most recent presentation, I did an end around by linking out to a web page to play flash video, which works, but is not optimum.
Tonight, I nailed and squashed the bug to the wall. I outlined this in fill detail to email@example.com. Let’s see if they acknowledge it.
I had modeled my MediaRSS for embedding FLV content after their example listed under step 1:
As their example suggests and their documentation states
Note: The URLS can be relative (i.e. images/photo.jpg) or absolute (i.e. http://anysite/images/photo.jpg).
So I started looking at their sample RSS test feed where the FLV video did work, and first was baffled since the format they used was nowhere near the example; the XML structure was different and text was encoded in CDATA format.
So I first copied this into my own MediaRSS and replicated the format. Nope video still worked.
In a whim, I wrote the URL path for the FLV content as a full URL.
Bingo it worked.
Bug found- relative path URLs do not work in the MediaRSS file.
My original MediaRSS was the same as the basic
<item> <title>Their Generation</title> <media:description>stick around for the smashing end.. </media:description> <link>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqfFrCUrEbY</link> <media:thumbnail url="pl_thumbs/zimmers.jpg"/> <media:content type="video/x-flv" url="pl_video/zimmers.flv"/> </item>
which is the format that fails to load. However, if I recoded it:
<item> <title>Their Generation</title> <media:description>stick around for the smashing end.. </media:description> <link>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqfFrCUrEbY</link> <media:thumbnail url="pl_thumbs/zimmers.jpg" <media:content type="video/x-flv" url="http://cogdogblog.com/stuff/salemstate08/pl_video/zimmers.flv"/> </item>
My videos now work.
So for the final proof, I have two versions that can be tested:
This version with relative links to FLV video FAILS:
http://cogdogblog.com/stuff/salemstate09/index.html with feed http://cogdogblog.com/stuff/salemstate09/show.rss
This version with FULL links to FLV video works:
http://cogdogblog.com/stuff/salemstate09/index2.html with feed http://cogdogblog.com/stuff/salemstate09/show2.rss
If you do test this, be sure to also confirm your version of Flash as the bug does not show for Flash 9 but is there if you have Flash 10.
So, the skeptic says, “Stop crying and use full URLs, will ya?”
Here is why I dont want to. First of all, I often replicate my shows for a different audience, moving the presentation to a new directory. I don’t want to have hard coded URLs.
But more importantly, I run my live presentations from a web server running locally on my laptop, so I can be free if the vagaries of hotel internet, so actually my shows run from a “fake” URL — http://www.cogdogblog.loc/ which is set to localhost on my Mac.
But even more importantly, this bug has been out there for months, and they have not done anything to even acknowledge it. And that si the reason for this long bug post.
C’mon CoolIris, step up, list the bug, and fix it, will ya? Thanks!
Update: CoolIris is listening! They’ve responded to my reports- new versions (or documentation) will fix the full URL for video, plus they will fix another problem I notced that clicks on the open in page link blow out the cool Iris content (command-click is the short term fix).
Nice to know they are listening!
The Hey CoolIris- I Got yer Bug Right Here by CogDogBlog, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.