This article is, by necessity, aimed at Windows users. I used to have Ubuntu
too as well, but lack of hard-disk space led to me deleting it, so I can't check stuff out on there any more.
If you're a Firefox user, you might have noticed that there's been a problem, of late, with that browser and videos. The commonest symptom seems to be that the audio track stutters if you scroll the page—even on a separate tab—whilst playing a video, but I've seen reports of page-freezes, stuttering of the page-scroll itself, and other things, too, whilst playing video.
Personally, I put much of it down to Mozilla's newish policy of fast roll-outs of updates and new versions. It took seven years, from February 2004 to April 2011, to get up to version 5. In the fifteen months since, we've gone from that to version 14. While it can, and probably should, be argued that the old schedule was possibly a little too relaxed, it could also be said that the new one has swung too far in the opposite direction. With a new version rolling out every month and a half, or near as damn it, on average, you can't tell me that things are being checked anywhere near as thoroughly as they should be. The word 'frenetic' springs to mind.
So, anyway, regarding the video problem, we have three options. 1: Do nothing, and put up with it. 2: Change browsers. 3: Try to find a work-around.
If you prefer option 1, then you may as well stop reading; or maybe check out 2 and 3 first, before deciding. Either way, there's nothing to discuss.
Option 2: Change browsers.
Of the five major browsers, (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari), Firefox is still my preferred choice, but here's my own opinion of the others, for what it's worth.
Chrome's faster, if you're into counting microseconds, but (a) it's made by Google, which instantly raises my hackles, and (b), from a more practical standpoint, I dislike the lack of a menu-bar (the bar with the File, Edit, View and so on drop-downs). If that makes me old-fashioned, so be it, but I use those menus a lot, and I don't want to have to click half a dozen fancy icons, or have to remember a set of sequences of keyboard shortcuts to get to their functions—many of which are actually lacking in Chrome anyway.
Opera would, I suppose, be my next choice, but it's not as easily customisable. On the plus side, I'd recommend it to anyone with eyesight problems which aren't so bad as to need a specialist browser or screen reader; it has an excellent range of options available under the View menu. And for those with slow connections, the Opera Turbo function might be very useful.
Internet Explorer. Don't make me laugh. If, like me, you're still using the perfectly serviceable Windows XP (some of us have neither the money to update, nor the keep-up-with-the-Joneses attitude that throws away perfectly good things just because they're not the latest things), you can't get the latest version anyway—but I've seen the latest version, and it's still shite. The only reasons it's on my machine are that it's an integral part of Windows, and that I can't manually access the Microsoft Update site without it. Oh and, amazingly, one still runs across the occasional non-Microsoft online resource that won't work properly in any other browser.
Safari. I can't speak for the Mac version, but Safari for Windows is pretty well useless for anyone who wants user-customisations and add-ons. If all you want is a basic browser I can't fault it; but, then, Chrome and Opera work just as well straight out of the box. Still, it's worth a gander if you're shopping around.
If, like me, you still want to stick with Firefox, you're left with…
Option 3: Find A Workaround
Which means, in effect, using an older version of the browser, or an older version of Flash.
I went with the latter, but if you prefer the idea of the former, then you'll first need to use a program like Mozbackup to save your bookmarks, user-names and passwords, and so on. Then uninstall Firefox, and then re-install an older version. Some searching found this page, which links to the Windows-installers for old versions. I wouldn't recommend this method, though, as many browser-updates are security-related, and you'll be deliberately rolling back to a less-secure version of the entire browser, because of a problem relating to one extension; the Flash. Which seems a little arse-about-face, to me.
So here's (what I think is) the sensible method. [Edit: At some point between versions 14 and 23 of Firefox, this method stopped working. The later versions simply refuse to work with the older version of Flash. You may have to settle for a combination of this method and (by trial and error) rolling back to the newest Firefox version which you find works with it. If anyone does this, please comment below and let me know which is the newest version of Firefox it can be applied to, and I’ll update this edit accordingly.]
- Download and run Adobe's Flash uninstaller.
- If you have a junk-file cleaner like CCleaner, close any open browsers (copy this post to a text-file or bookmark it first!) and run that to be on the safe side. This is a good habit to follow after any uninstall operation, although Flash does seem to uninstall pretty cleanly, so it's not a vital step.
- Download this zip archive. (That's a direct link to Adobe's archive of Flash Player 10.3.181.22 from this page.)
- When it's downloaded, unzip it, close all open browsers, and open the folder with the catchy name of '10_3r181_22' inside the unzipped folder.
- Run (double-click) the files named 'flashplayer10_3r181_23_winax.exe' and 'flashplayer10_3r181_22_win.exe'. (Depending on your system settings, you might not see the '.exe' part of the names.)
And that's it. You should now find that videos play properly, stutter-free, in Firefox. It'd be a good idea to save the files you downloaded and try updating to the latest version of Flash (found here) every month or so to see if the problem's been solved, either by Mozilla or by Adobe. If not, just roll Flash back to the old version again using the saved files (you might want to copy the above instructions into a text document and save them in the same folder), and leave it for another month.
Hope that helped.
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