Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Flash, Video, Music, and Linux!

This post is gonna be kind of all over the place, but here it goes:

  • First, I recently read that Adobe released a new version of their flash player with H.264 support. This isn't so amazing in itself, but what's really amazing is that they released the Linux version at the same time they released the Windows and OSX versions! I think this displays that Adobe is pretty dedicated to supporting Linux. I know there are plenty of people out there who won't be happy until Flash is open sourced, but for the time being, I'll take what I can get. I haven't installed the new version yet, but I will soon, and I'll probably try to post a quick how to for Ubuntu here. (Strangely, Adobe has an rpm package and a YUM repo definition available but no .deb).
  • Secondly, I've been a user of NPR's podcasts and streams for a while now. They even list an xmms option when choosing a stream method! The xmms streams open fine with rhythmbox, which remembers them for easy access later. I also recently stumbled across NPR's nprmusic, which has all sorts of great content available all free, using a nifty flash player. They have concerts, random songs and studio sessions with some pretty mainstream artists all available on demand. So thats a lot of really good content available in a DRM-free medium easily accessible from Linux, thanks to Adobe's Linux support. Granted, I haven't been able to see a way to download (without hijinks...) any of the music available through their flash player, but I take what I can get.
  • Finally, I was just invited to join Hulu's private beta. If you don't know what Hulu is, its a site where a bunch of Studios and Networks have joined up to put a bunch of their content online for free. It has a bunch of full episodes of shows I like (Simpsons and Family guy in particular). I think it puts up something like the last 5 new episodes in their entirety and then a bunch of random clips. Upon signing up, I saw several episodes of the Simpsons I must have missed what with being so busy over the holidays and not having a TV. There are short (3@~10sec) commercials during an episode, much less then you would encounter on a TV. You might be able to skip pass them or something, but I didn't bother trying because they are so short. Its an easy price to pay for all this content. Another cool feature is they let you share or embed complete shows like this: (did you notice the Sox shout out?) The video on the site is the same size as that embedded clip, they have a fullscreen option, which doesn't seem to work for me, but compiz's zoom makes it easy to watch from across the room on my 24"ws monitor. They are also offering up som HD content, which I've got to get the new version of flash installed to see.
So anyways, looks like theres some pretty good alternatives to buying cable and a tv coming up, even for us linux users. ABC and their windows only player can eat it!

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