Reason #66 why this iPhone will be my last, or how I learned to stop worrying and play my .ogg files

cannot play file

Really sick of this.

Tired of seeing this “Cannot play audio file” message in iOS? I know I am. Some folks have taken to blaming Wikipedia for this. Others blame the .ogg file itself while others blame the entire open source philosophy for this conundrum. I lay the blame squarely where it belongs – at Apple’s feet (Microsoft doesn’t get a pass here, it’s just that I don’t use the Windows operating system, Microsoft Office, or Internet Explorer at all anymore so I rarely have to be directly burdened by their practices).

Soon I will also be saying goodbye to Apple’s iOS for good. This lack of compatibility with common file types is rapidly showing itself to be a lack of common sense. No Flash? No problem for me really. I never miss it on my iPhone and eagerly await the day HTML5 obliterates any and all need for Flash in websites. But .ogg files, in addition to being more prevalent today than ever, are of superior audio quality when compared with their ubiquitous cousin, the mp3. Being someone who creates music as well as consumes it, I appreciate the combination of good quality sound and small compact file size, and have been using the .ogg file format to share my music for some years now. Of course, on the desktop this presents little to no difficulty for those with whom I share music to play the files, but playing these .ogg files on an iPhone or iPad is not possible “out of the box”. To me this makes no sense whatsoever. For devices which exist almost exclusively as content consumption devices to be so restrictive in what types of content can be consumed reeks – the stench of decomposition surely the result of the rotting vegetal matter in a certain garden cut off from the outside world by strangling walls…

Anywho, onward and forward.

VLC icon

God bless the VLC

The VLC player is available in the App Store, and it will play .ogg files received via email. Now, for those inaccessible Wikipedia sounds:

Puffin icon

The Puffin to the rescue.

The first step in accessing these sounds (N.B. at this point I should mention there may very well be easier ways to do this, I just haven’t come across them yet) is to download Puffin web browser from the App Store. (This method of accessing the Wikipedia .ogg files may work in other [NON-Safari] browsers as well, but this is not a scientific experiment – if you’re interested enough to check them all go right ahead.) There is a free trial version of Puffin, but I’ve found that I use it enough to justify its (at the time I bought it – things change and I’m not going to even bother looking up the price now because it might change again between me writing this and you reading it) relatively low price (I paid about $3.00 or so). For the record this is not a sponsored post – I do not receive any benefit from promoting any product or service and this information is for educational purposes only.

Wikipedia in Puffin

Lo and behold the file is now accessible.

We’re almost there. It would be great if we could just play the sound file in the Puffin web browser, but, alas, this is not possible. So we click (press) on the sound file icon and are presented with this dialog:

Puffin download dialog

Decisions, decisions

From here my limited exploration seems to have found the best thing to do is press “Cancel”. That brings us here:

The URL for the .ogg file

The URL for the .ogg file

Press and hold in the URL area and choose “Select All” followed by “Copy”.

Copy the URL

Copy the URL

Now open the VLC app and select Downloads. (You can see below I had already gone through this process when I took the screenshot, hence the file “White noise…” being present at right already.)

Select Downloads in the VLC menu

Select Downloads in the VLC menu

Paste the URL in VLC Downloads

Paste the URL in VLC Downloads

Paste the URL and press Download.

The file is now available for play in VLC.

The file is now available for play in VLC.

The file is now available. Select it and enjoy!

The Glory of playing .ogg files in iOS

The Glory of playing .ogg files in iOS

This is an awful lot of work to hear an audio sample on Wikipedia. So much for Apple being the purveyor of simplistic devices. My next phone will play .ogg files with the press of a finger – I guarantee that!

Flags & Food

Steve:

Now this is cool!

Originally posted on the bippity boppity beautiful blog:

Flags & Food

NATIONAL FLAGS MADE FROM EACH COUNTRY’S TRADITIONAL FOODS

Italy

basil, pasta and tomatoes 

India 
curry chicken, rice, cheera thoran and papadum wafer

Brazil 
banana leaf, limes, pineapple and passion fruit

China 
dragon fruit and star fruit

United States 
hot dogs, ketchup and mustard

Greece 
olives and feta cheese

Japan 
tuna and rice

Lebanon 
tomatoes, pita bread and parsley

Vietnam 
rambutan, lychee and starfruit

Australia 
meat pie and sauce

South Korea 
kimbap and sauces

France 
blue cheese, brie cheese and grapes

United Kingdom 
scone, cream and jams

Turkey 
Turkish Delight

Spain 
chorizo and rice

Indonesia 
spicy curries and rice

Thailand 
sweet chilli sauce, shredded coconut and blue swimmer crab

Switzerland 
charcuteries and swiss cheese

 

Credits
Client: Sydney International Food Festival
Advertising Agency: WHYBINTBWA, Sydney, Australia
Executive Creative Director: Garry…

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Icebergs

Steve:

This is profound.

Originally posted on Alexander Pseudonym:

Blank faces, flecked with snow,
Gliding coolly along a wintry high street;
Icebergs in a stream.
There are so many things I’ll never tell anyone;
Failures I’ll never admit to;
Embarrassments I’ll never repeat;
Splinters of experience, snagged in my memory,
Shapers of my contours
- Too trivial to share.
The greater part of me will never be known.
And I’ll never know the greater part of my friends,
girlfriends, father, mother, brother;
- We’re just islands of ice, melting through life.

Copyright © Alexander Pseudonym

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What Part of You is Free?

Originally posted on Linda Stone:

This post was written several years ago.  I’m feeling great these days and ready to post some of the things written in darker moments…

From January 2010

I’m lying in bed and the right side of my body is frozen.  I’m right-handed.  I want to get up and the thought alone isn’t getting me there.  I remember something my doctor said, “When you wake up, pay attention to what is working.  Put all your attention on that.” 

I scan my body.   My left arm is great.   Okay, left arm, show me what you can do.  I reach to grab one of the headboard spindles, and use my left arm to roll over and hoist myself up.  My left leg is working pretty well, too.  I lean against the wall and drag myself into the bathroom.  Home run.  I may be right-handed, but my left arm rules.

A few…

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The Time We Have (in Jelly Beans)

Steve:

Do something!

Originally posted on Linda Stone:

http://ashow.zefrank.com/episodes/128

My friend’s 16 year old son stopped playing video games. Cold turkey. From hours a day in front of the screen one day to those same hours spent with friends ever after.

“Why did you stop?” his mother asked.

“Jelly Beans. My life in jelly beans.”

Thanks to Ze Frank for creating this powerful video!

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What do you mean it’s not real news?

This:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/it-almost-as-if-rite-aid-cashier-doesnt-care-about,34562/

It’s just as informative and thought provoking as anything in the NY TImes or the Wall Street Journal…

Customer Writes Negative Review After Never Receiving Order, Site Fines Her $3.5K

Steve:

This is insanity.

Originally posted on Consumerist:

UPDATE 11/18: We’ve been in touch with Jen after numerous readers reached out to Consumerist saying they wanted to help with her case. She’s going to keep us in the loop about her situation, but wanted share a message with those who’ve been supporting her and her husband. “If you could just convey to everyone how much we deeply appreciate all the support the internet has generated, that would be wonderful,” Jen writes. Our readers are the best.

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