Sunday, November 21, 2010

"RTL Gemist" kijken op Linux

Update: Sinds 20 januari 2011 werkt deze truuk niet meer. RTL XL is overgeschakeld op een speciale iPad applicatie.

Sinds de overgang naar RTL XL kunnen Linux gebruikers geen video's meer bekijken van de RTL site. "RTL Gemist" is met een truukje echter wel te gebruiken. Daarvoor hoeft geen Moonlight geinstalleerd te worden!

Als je naar de iPad site surft, wordt je automatisch doorgelinkt naar RTL XL. Dat komt doordat de site de "User agent" bekijkt, die iedere browser ongemerkt doorstuurt. Daardoor heeft de site door dat hij eigenlijk met de Linux versie van Firefox benaderd wordt en reageert overeenkomstig.

Die "User agent" is echter te wijzigen. Download eerst deze add-on, de "User agent switcher". Herstart Firefox en ga naar het menu "Tools". Daar is nu een optie bijgekomen, namelijk de "Default User Agent". Kies "Edit User Agent" en druk op "New". Vul daarna het formulier als volgt in:
User AgentMozilla/5.0 (iPad; U; CPU OS 3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.21.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.4 Mobile/7B334b Safari/531.21.10
App Code NameMozilla
App NameNetscape
App Version5.0 (iPad; U; CPU OS 3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.21.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.4 Mobile/7B334b Safari/531.21.10
VendorApple Computer, Inc.

Laat Vendor Sub gewoon leeg. We zijn nu klaar om "RTL Gemist" te bekijken. Kies "Tools", "Default User Agent", "iPad" en surf naar Als je nu bij RTL XL terecht komt, is er iets mis gegaan. Zie je het scherm in de afbeelding, veel plezier!

Overigens werkt dit truukje ook perfect op "Uitzending gemist" van de publieke omroep. Je Linux bak wordt nu herkend als iPad.

Update: Deze site geeft de video's ook door, ongeveer in gelijke vorm als de iPad versie hierboven, maar dan zonder de hack. Voor zolang als het duurt, uiteraard!

Update: "De Pers brengt vanmiddag een web app uit voor de iPad: (werkt alleen op iPads)". Nee hoor!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dutch treat: RTL XL's major FAIL

Recently RTL (a Dutch commercial television network) relaunched their website, moving entirely from classical Windows media to Microsoft Silverlight. On this site, you can not only play clips, but also watch their news reports and various other selections of their programs. Very handy and consequently quite popular. More so because with Firefox and a few additions you could watch it on almost every platform - or even every browser.

Silverlight, on the contrary, poses many problems. Few Linux users are able to play anything at all, even after installing the patent-infested Moonlight plugin. But also Windows users are experiencing problems, especially with Firefox and Chrome. The only combination that seems to work reasonably is Internet Explorer 8 with Silverlight 4.0. RTL has acknowledged this, but for the time being, there is no fix in sight.

Since the use of Internet Explorer has fallen below to the 50% mark, they should experience a drop in the number of visitors. That should explain why they are advertising that much. Yes, RTL, I'd love to visit, but don't limit yourself to IE8/SL4 users. They are slowly becoming a minority.

But your troubles are not over. Microsoft's strategy is changing. They are quickly moving from Silverlight to HTML5. So all that money you invested in a top notch website is simply wasted!

Following the "market leader" is not a safe choice anymore, deal with it, you dummy RTL CIO's. Do your own research and look where the market is going. One thing is for sure, it is not going to be Microsoft. Microsoft is already a niche platform where tablets, cell phones and MP3 players are concerned. Microsoft was never a real player on the web. Apache rules and that is the way it has always been.

Microsoft is in trouble. The man that should have given it a new direction has left. The CEO sells 2 billion in stock (remember WorldOnline?). Getting the message? A company in trouble is going to make strange moves. And making your whole technology strategy dependent on it is not a safe bet.

Update: I just found the "dummy" in question: Arno Otto, Managing Director Digital Media of RTL Nederland.

Update: From the RTL XL FAQ:
Dear viewer, at this moment we're experiencing some problems with RTL XL, which is not compatible with Google Chrome at the time being. There are problems with the Silverlight plugin. We do our best to fix this error as soon as possible. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Update: I've found a way to watch "RTL Gemist" without installing Moonlight. You can get instructions here (Dutch).

Update: Confirmed: "Due to a technical problem there are temporarily no statistics collected from the RTL streams". If there is a problem that's bad enough, but maybe RTL doesn't want to be bothered with statistics right now. Go figure, if there is a sharp drop in the number of visitors that means their expensive project has failed miserably. Admitting that in the boardroom is hard enough, try admitting that in public..

Update: Another indication that I'm on to something. What does Google suggest when you're searching for RTL XL?

Which translates to "RTL XL doesn't work".

Update: RTL XL now sells a dedicated iPad application for only 79 eurocents. That's not very expensive. But what do the customers think?
I relied on all the rave reviews but it is a setback with a vengeance. Probably the entire RTL editors left a positive review. E.g. a huge picture with just three lines of text, stating: "Click here to view video". You can click all you want, but no video pops up. It seems that the application is still in testing. The live stream is of a very low quality. All in all a waste of money, even for 79 cents. There are plenty of better alternatives to see the news.

It seems my fellow countryman is wrong: it may take some time before my workaround is defeated.