Category Archives: Computers and Technology

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!

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

This is insanity.

Another tech news story

We’re all familiar with the Adobe scandal by now. I received some emails from various companies stating my passwords had been reset. I have no problem with extra caution on the part of these companies – I even appreciate it. But this article from the BBC causes me some concern. Whereas the non-adobe company which reset my password stated people sometimes reuse passwords across different sites as the reasoning behind their policy decision to reset passwords of accounts with emails matching those found in the adobe booty stash, the above linked article states Facebook is specifically resetting passwords found to match email/password combos determined to have been compromised. The article then states the same actions are occurring at other companies. Something is wrong here. I never use the same password twice, yet my password for an undisclosed website was reset, so I figure one of three things is happening here:

  1. The article is mistaken. Facebook may be actively matching passwords from the stash to their active users’ accounts, but other companies are finding email addresses found in the adobe dump and resetting passwords for accounts using the same email address regardless of password match. I think this is the most likely.
  2. The article is mistaken, but deliberately so in an effort to bring awareness of the dangers of reusing passwords, especially online. Thanks big brother, what would we do without you?
  3. Alternately, and most disheartening, the article is drummed up fear mongering with the set intent of selling commercial password managers. I don’t know about this, because I would never even so much as research the existence of any potential commercial password manager, much less purchase or use one, but the paranoid in me has to mention it as a possibility.

So in closing, don’t reuse passwords, close your Facebook account, use open source software alternatives to adobe products, and don’t drink the water 😉

Yahoo sucks worse than ever

Trying to create a Yahoo account but they insist on a valid mobile number to create an account. I do not have a mobile number and wouldn’t give it to them if I did. Guess they’re not overly concerned with gaining new users… Yahoo, you JOKE! do you really think you’re relevant as it is? Thanks for nothing.

IDIOT

Intelligent Devices, the Internet Of Things. Oh so futuristic. Oh so potentially worrisome… I only hope our dreams are fulfilled and not our nightmares.

The 20 Most Useless Websites Ever

Best websites ever!

Funk's House of Geekery

A List of Useless Webpages by APPA THE GYPSY

Believe it or not, Appa found ANOTHER 20 Useless Websites! PART TWO!!

Ok, so you are going to get to the end of this post and seriously wonder how I found all of these webpages. Some of them I just knew about. I asked people about pointless webpages, and they told me about some that they knew about. And at some point I just started googling random stuff, and that’s how I got the rest. But, believe me, the internet is full of way more useless stuff than this.

1. Is It Christmas?

http://www.isitchristmas.com/

You can see what got me onto the train of thought that led me to this post, can’t you? This website tells you if it’s Christmas or not. One day a year, the website says “YES”, every other day, it says “NO”. Useful if you’re Santa…

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Journey Home

Near the beginning there was Darkness. Owned Shadows.

When I first looked past the windows and saw the light,

I noticed some sweet looking fruit hanging in the walled garden nearby.

I observed this fruit and thought it sweet,

and I ate of this fruit.

And it was sweet.

When I realized the fruit which grew in the walled garden was no longer sweet,

but rather was sour and rotten,

I set sail for the Icy shores where Penguins play

in old Crimson hats

and have never looked back since.

The End.