Friday, June 10, 2011

Why Not Use Flash?

My last post was a bit whiny, but I'd like to expound on the usage of flash in Google Music, and why it gives choppy music on many of my machines.  This is something of a study in why you should avoid flash at all costs...

And really, an oft-quoted reason, the lack of flash support on iOS is not all that good a reason by itself unless the website is targeting mobile platforms.  iOS accounts for about two percent of web traffic, so it is entirely possible to ignore them.

I can give you a much better reason.  Just read this.  That's the reason flash is choppy on some of my machines (and there's a workaround I have been too lazy to use everywhere).  The gist is that there is a bug in the 64-bit flash plugin having to do with playing audio (uncovered because other things became less lenient), and resulting in choppy audio.  Even though this is a closed product, some very smart people figured out exactly what the problem was, created a workaround, and reported the problem to Adobe.  The true fix is literally is as simple as replacing one function call with another similar one.

That was in November 2010.  Adobe still has not fixed it.  What does that say to website developers?  Yes, you are presenting what is at best an irritating experience to people unfortunate enough to come to your site.  And yes, someone else already did the work to figure out why.  And yes, we can fix it easily.  But we won't.

On a more positive note, the workaround does fix it completely.  :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Google Music, More Disappointment

Time for more bitching about Google Music.

The first and biggest complaint about Google Music Beta was obviously the crappy desktop app that doesn't support Linux, or for that matter Google's own ChromeOS. I guess users must not want to store music locally on a Chromebook.

The second complaint is that some enterprising person figured out how the uploading is done and fixed Google's own problem, only to have the underlying protocol changed out from under him breaking his extension.

But I soldiered on. The Google Music Manager runs under Wine. See this forum. Specifically, download the files, unzip the file, get a recent version of wine:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wine1.3
and finally run from the unzipped directory:
wine1.3 MusicManager.exe

Now I can upload music. This gives me a whole host of new things to complain about, but let's call them feature requests:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Huge Oversight, Google

Yay, I just got an invitation to Music Beta.

However, they don't support Linux, so I can't use it.1

I can see the logic behind not supporting Linux. It is only 1-5% of the desktop market. But it is announced at a developer conference, where I'm sure the Linux market share was a bit higher. And among new technology adopters, I'm sure Linux market share is a bit higher. New products need adoption, and you don't really want to prevent that because of what seems to be an oversight.

Google makes plenty of good web apps (and a handful of crappy desktop apps). They couldn't have done this in Chrome?

Their inability to come to an agreement with music labels and their poor choices in implementation do not bode all that well for the service. A lesson for us all.

1Without fuss.