Fixing Flash Video Split Screen in Firefox

Recently, after an upgrade to Adobe Flash (10.2, I believe), all of the videos that I would want to watch in Firefox would exhibit the following problem:

As you can see, the screen was split vertically with a nice green bar across the middle.  In both, the picture is distorted.  Even at full screen, it was very much unbearable.

In resolving the issue, I tried the old standby of reinstalling the software.  Full uninstall, full reinstall.  No change.  Several searches proved fruitless as well.  But, I think I may have been searching with the wrong search terms.  My first searches, I was searching for “flash broken firefox”, “video broken firefox”, and the like.

Finally, today, I did  a search for “flash split video firefox” and happened upon a result in the [H]ardOCP forums that mentioned something that sounded similar to what I was experiencing.  The fix?  A simple setting in Flash.

  • To fix the problem, right click on the video while it is playing.
  • Click on settings
  • Uncheck the “Hardware Acceleration” check box (like you see in the picture at right)
  • Reload the page.

That’s it.  Video works perfectly for me now.

IE Security Risk Prompts Calls to Switch Browsers

My first question would have been, Why haven’t you switched already?  ;)  Seriously, for all my readers who use Internet Explorer, there was a major security flaw exposed recently.  A security advisor at Trend Micro suggests that, until it is fixed, you switch to another browser.  I would suggest you give Firefox a try, but there are others such as Opera, Chrome, and Safari.

Richard Cox, chief information officer of anti-spam body The Spamhaus Project and an expert on privacy and cyber security, echoed Trend Micro’s warning.

“It won’t be long before someone reverse engineers this exploit for more fraudulent purposes. Trend Mico’s advice [of switching to an alternative web browser] is very sensible,” he said.

Microsoft is working on an emergency patch to fix the vulnerability, but until then, it is suggested that you don’t use the IE browser at all.

New Pirate Bay Amazon Plugin for Firefox

There’s a new plugin for firefox on the market.  And it’s a bit of a bad apple.  It’s purpose is to take the product that you are looking at on Amazon and giving you the link to the torrent to download the file off of Pirate Bay.  Useful?  Perhaps for you pirates out there.

When the add-on is installed, it integrates a new “download 4 free” button into the Amazon product page when the same article is also available via The Pirate Bay. It works for CDs, DVDs, games, books and basically all products that can be converted to a digital format.

So, when you go searching for the new Guns and Roses album, you see a link to the download for that album on Pirate Bay for free.  Despite the moral implications to pirating these things rather than paying for them, it is an interesting usage of technology.  In fact, if you wanted to, you could think of it as a comparison shopping engine where the site being compared always loses to the site being compared to.

Also, if you follow the link above and then through to the site where the plugin is supposed to be, it isn’t anymore.  Whether it was taken down by traffic or through other reasons is unclear.  A 403 is all that’s left at the moment.

Reflections on Twitter

Not too very long ago, I began using twitter.  At the time, I didn’t think that I would be using it much and that it wouldn’t hold much value for me.

I anticipate having issues with keeping updated with it.  I don’t use SMS much, so updates via cell are pretty much out.  I may have it open in a tab from time to time, but my fault there would be that I have a horrible memory for things like opening that tab to begin with.

A couple of things have happened that have mostly proven that wrong.  I still don’t use SMS much and I still don’t update much by cell.  For the most part, that is because I hate having to use the phone pad to type messages.  It takes me way too long and ends up annoying me.  But Twitter has also made me wish I had a blackberry or similar on several occasions over the last few weeks.

I must say though, that I have found myself using twitter much more than I expected. I’m up over 100 twits (twitters?) now. I added a little plugin called twitterfox to my firefox install and that has made it much easier to keep updated and use the service.  I’m aware that there are some desktop applications available to use twitter with, but about 80% of the time that I’ll be using twitter, I’ll be at work, so I don’t want to install any extraneous programs.  I may give a few of them a try at home however.  Twitterfox does right well with it and makes it fairly easy to keep updated as long as firefox is open, which it usually is.

Twitter is somewhat addictive.  It’s way more conversational than a blog or any other website.  It’s the closest thing to a IM client that there is currently available.  The nice thing is that you can “follow” several conversations at once without a separate window open for each and also, without the clutter that having all those conversations would be in one place.  They are still in one “stream” but, with the @ reply function, it makes it much easier to find the twits that are aimed at you and those that belong to a different conversation.

I also see the potential for using twitter (in fact it’s suggested by many of the pros) to grow your blog audience.  Twitter is a much more personal conversation than the blog because of it’s IM properties.  Because of that, readers and other bloggers can grow a relationship much quicker and also have that relationship be much stronger through the interation that they get on Twitter.

So far, I’m impressed with Twitter and will be looking for some more ways to make it even more useful to me and you.

If you’d like to have a conversation with me, you can follow me on twitter at