Friday, November 15, 2013

The MacTubes Enabler. Because we loved all those damn System Enablers back in the day.

H.264 is still several cycles away -- IonMonkey and Australis have highest priority for new development. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't look for shortcuts, like the QuickTime Enabler, which has gradually evolved over time into a general purpose tool for pushing video to QuickTime for external decoding (where possible, of course, and it isn't always).

In that vein many of you have explored and used MacTubes, which is a delightful tool for direct playback of YouTube videos. It's kept up to date with Google's frequent screwings around on the backend, it has a variety of playback methods including Flash, WebKit and QuickTime, and it's probably the highest performance way to play YouTube videos on a Power Mac (even HD is possible with sufficient grunt). I downloaded the source to play with and discovered it can be fed a URL through Launch Services, so I tried that, and it worked -- it figured out the video location and automatically started playing it.

Thus, may I present the MacTubes Enabler for your consideration. The MTE reuses a bit of the Carbon-CoreFoundation-JavaScript glue from the QTE, but is far simpler: it just pushes the YouTube page you're on to MacTubes, and MacTubes does the heavy lifting and starts playing it. Piece of cake.

The MTE also has a trick that the QTE doesn't yet: you can direct it to start playing in MacTubes and close the tab in one step. One big irritation involving the QTE, and with YouTube in particular, is that YouTube will start streaming the WebM video while the QTE is trying to load the H.264 version at the same time (this can be bad enough on a slow link to make QuickTime think there's no data and give up). There used to be browser addons that would defeat YouTube's autoplay feature, but none of them work anymore and Google seems to be trying to bust these techniques also, thus this feature (that will always work): now the full bandwidth is devoted to streaming the video through MacTubes. If people like this feature, I'll add it to the QTE. (Another idea might be to back up to the previous page, or if there is none, then close it. What do you think?)

The MTE does not replace the QTE (and, for that matter, the MTE is completely independent of the QTE; you can have both of them installed simultaneously, even): you'll still need the QTE to play non-YouTube HTML5 video, which MacTubes doesn't handle, and if MacTubes becomes unsupported one day we'll still need QuickTime. (However, I'm able to build MacTubes from source on my G5 independently, so that's a solveable problem if its author someday decides to hang up his hat.) I'm also not planning to merge the MTE and the QTE for the foreseeable future because it's nice to have a playback alternative, and saving video and getting to HD formats is a little easier in QuickTime Player.

Consider the MTE a beta and give it a spin. Download it from its wiki page. The MTE requires TenFourFox 24. Test it out on Jean-Claude Van Damme injuring himself, or maybe some of MTV's finest cartoons when they actually played music.

17.0.11 is live. I'm going to make one tiny change to garbage collection scheduling to help intermittent stalls prior to release of 24.2.0, which should be the first public release. It looks like we will have a mostly full set of langpacks, too, so a "great work, guys" to Chris and all the localizers.

13 comments:

  1. When I tried to install it it attempted to launch 17.0.10 though I was running 24.1.0

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    2. Okay, I had to drag and drop. Normally after downloading an add-on it automatically asks if I want to install and all I do is click install. After checking at the link I saw where it said to drag and drop, which I did and it installed.

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    3. I figured as much, but wanted to check. If you double-click, the OS chooses which app, which may be unexpected because all versions of TenFourFox have the same ID/creator code. So I always put drag'n'drop into the instructions.

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  2. Works very well. Going back in history is probably better than closing the tab (i.e. the window, disturbingly, if it has only one tab).
    Regarding QTE: Is it necessary to display "Going to open… (stream url)" every time? It's always an extra alert you have to click away before you can watch the video.

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    1. OK, that's one vote for backing up.

      Puzzlingly, yes, it does seem to be necessary. An early version had it turned off and it didn't work right. There appears to be some side effect that I haven't figured out yet. MTE is also using a slightly different way of finding the host application that I'm going to adapt QTE to, since it's more flexible.

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    2. I'd like to see a cancel choice when you know the link isn't going to work as soon as you see it.

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    3. That should be possible; I just have to teach the Carbon-JavaScript bridge a bit more about StandardAlert().

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  3. Should it work like QTE? I'm not getting the choice in the menu after installing the extension. G4+ 10.4.11 and 24.1.0

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    1. It should. Are you using it on a YouTube page?

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  4. Any suggestions on this page? I got both enablers & still nothing. Maybe this can help you improve both.

    http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/video?id=9332789&cmp=fb-wpvi-video-9332789

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    1. That's Flash video. There is no YouTube for MTE to visit, and no HTML5 for QTE to access. I can't do anything with that right now.

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