Tag Archives: iOS

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!

Why I’m frustrated with the current state of computerLand

There are two main reasons I’m currently pissed off with the current state of affairs in computer land. The first is that Apple is starting to suck, and it’s getting worse every day. And the second reason is that, somehow, Apple is still better than all the rest. I sincerely hope either Apple starts to get back on track, or else that someone else will pick up the slack and start putting out some good products and services. And don’t give me that shareholder crap: yes Apple’s decisions have made it a very strong company and there is currently only a smidgen of dark cloud on the horizon, but look carefully at the big picture and the long view, if you can without throwing up or glazing over in a catatonic state from fear, and tell me truthfully that what you see is good, for Apple or society.

Now, here’s a breakdown of just what I’m ranting about today:

First off:

Even long dead dictators are pissed about Apple removing the “Save As” feature from OSX. Despite all the justification and explanation given by those in whose eyes Apple can do no wrong, this is a bone headed move. Duplicate is a longer, more convoluted way of doing something very basic and in effect fixes (or fails to fix) what was not broken. I know this is old news for many of you, but it is yet another reason I refuse to upgrade to the newer versions of OSX (I’ll keep my Snow Leopard until this Mac dies, at which point I may have to buy a dreaded non-Apple computer just to make a point – Apple, I will not continue to buy your increasingly inferior products out of loyalty: make them great again!). And I don’t need all these mobile device specific “non-improvements” on my desktop computer. Reminders? Notifications? Why would I want these when I’m hard at work on a project? That is called distraction, and it is bad for you. I can receive these much more usefully on my mobile device thank you.

While I don’t agree 100% with everything the creator of this video says, I feel he hits the mark pretty squarely with what feels so wrong about Apple abandoning their pro users:

Now, as for mobile devices, I ran into a strange thing today. I keep a tally of my current balance on my laundry card in my Notes app on the iPhone. For some reason, today when I wanted to edit the text in the Notes app, I could not insert the carat. I could only type over selected text… The dreaded insert vs. type-over debate! When and why did this happen? I could not find anything online and called Apple to inquire. After finally reaching a customer service agent (AKA human being) and describing the problem, he asked for the serial number of my device whist simultaneously hanging up on me. The phone did not say dropped call, as it does when a call is dropped, it went back to the number pad as it does when a call is terminated by the other party. I may be paranoid: maybe it was an accident? My gut tells me no. I am refraining from destroying your screen with all bold caps here, but I was pissed! Beyond words (well okay, I’m finding a few…). Fuck You Apple.

Going all the way back the the iPod, I bought one about six or seven years ago to listen to my CDs on the go. Worked great for a few months until they stopped playing. Brought the iPod back to Apple since I bought their expensive warranty plan. They replaced it. New device had the same problem. Fuck you Apple, I’m never buying another iPod again. Fast forward several years, I get an email (excerpted here, emphasis added by yours truly):

United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Case No. C-05-00037-JW
NOTICE OF PENDENCY OF CLASS ACTION
TO: All Persons or Entities in the United States Who Purchased One of the Listed Ipod Models Directly from Apple Between September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009 (the “Class”).
Please Read this Notice Carefully and in its Entirety.
Your Rights May Be Affected by Proceedings in this Litigation.
This Notice has been sent to you pursuant to an Order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The purpose of this Notice is to inform you that you have been identified as a potential member of the Class described above so that you can decide whether to remain a Class Member or to exclude yourself or your company from the Class. If you want to stay in this Class Action, you need not do anything now, and you will be bound by the Court’s rulings in the lawsuit. If you do not want to participate in this Class Action or have your rights affected by it, you must request exclusion as described in this Notice by July 30, 2012.
This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.
This Notice is not an expression of any opinion by the Court about the merits of any of the claims or defenses asserted by any party to this litigation. The Court has not decided whether Defendant Apple Inc. (“Apple”) has done anything wrong. Apple has not been ordered to pay any money. There has been no settlement.
I.    SUMMARY OF THE LITIGATION
Apple sells iPods directly to customers through its online and retail stores and directly to Apple authorized resellers. The lawsuit claims that Apple violated federal and state laws by issuing software updates in 2006 for its iPod that prevented iPods from playing songs not purchased on iTunes. The lawsuit claims that the software updates caused iPod prices to be higher than they otherwise would have been. Apple denies that it did anything wrong and asserts that the software updates challenged by Plaintiffs improved its products, were good for consumers, and had no effect on iPod prices. The Court has not yet decided whether Plaintiffs or Apple is correct.
On November 22, 2011, the Court allowed the case to proceed as a class action for all persons and entities that purchased certain iPod models between September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009. The specific models of iPods covered by the Class Definition can be found at www.ipodlawsuit.com.
The Court appointed Plaintiffs as Class representatives, appointed Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP as Class Counsel, and directed that this Notice be sent to potential Class Members informing them of the pending litigation. […]
So at least now I know why my CDs no longer played back on my iPod… Fuck YOU Apple.  Reading from the above again: the updates were good for consumers… Oh really?
FUCK YOU Apple!!!! FUCK YOU!!!!
Sorry folks, had to let that out. Now, as for the rest? I haven’t had too much experience with those other phones out there yet. Truthfully, the few times my coworkers have asked me to help them with their Google phones, it was a real head scratching experience. Not very user friendly they seemed to me (pardon the Yoda-speak). But I’m looking. Because when I’m ready (hopefully I’ve got at least a few years left out of my phone and computer) my next purchases may very well be from Sony and Google if Apple doesn’t cut the crap, and all indications are they are going forward, full crap ahead 😦