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Your thoughts on embedded WMVs with progress bars

Let me reach out to the community for a moment. I’m trying to deliver a movie to be played in a web browser. The movie must play in Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8, Firefox and Safari. The movie sits on a LAMP box. The movie is roughly 35MB windows media (WMV). jQuery is available. The challenge: Deliver the movie to the client without the client impatiently clicking the play button repeatedly (elevator syndrome), reloading the page, or giving up and leaving. This implies some sort of progress bar or loading spinner. I can’t seem to get a loader to work to save my life.

I’ve tried:

  • Various attributes on the object and embed tags
  • Using jQuery plugins like jQuery Media plugin and jMedia
  • Looked into other players and ruled out Flowplayer and SWFObject2
  • Tried getting Ajaxy but the document finishes before the movie completely downloads and the spinner quits too early.
  • I’m testing WVX streaming right now but it’s not looking good.
  • Some other stuff

The goal is simple: Take a large wmv movie and present a loading indicator until the movie is cached in the user’s browser. This one is giving me a real hard way to go.

Posted on 4 Comments

Star Trek – JJ Abrams Hits a Homerun!

Spoiler free!

My wife had but one request for her birthday (this coming Tuesday–she’ll be 21!) and that was a date to see J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek on opening night. A little luck, a babysitter and some Fandango magic later and Cathy and I had a date tonight! Star Trek officially opens tomorrow, the 8th, which with any other movie means the first showing is at midnight. Apparently, Hollywood recognized us old guys have jobs and families and did pre-release showings as early as 7:00pm. We hit the 7:30pm and us old guys it was! At first there didn’t appear to be anyone under 30 in the theater. For that matter, our theater closely resembled a Star Trek convention. We had munchkins, a blind lady, an albino (whom I went to college with and haven’t seen for like 15 years), grandparents supervising the 30 year olds, and a couple of guys who sounded like regulars for voice overs of Star Trek convention spoof videos spouting off Trek trivia.

The actual movie

Cathy said it first but I agree: Fans of the original Star Trek are going to absolutely LOVE this movie! It is packed full of references to the original TV series including one character that I wanted to reach out to and scream, "But don’t you understand! You’re wearing a red shirt!" People not familiar with the Star Trek franchise will see a technically good movie and should enjoy it but will miss the subtle inside jokes and references except for when the audience cheers at a few trademark lines. Live long and prosper!