Full Screen Playback of a Whole YouTube Playlist

This information is very old and out of date, please see this new post for up to date information.

Recently  Richard Carter, FCD had a post at The Red Notebook pointing me to YouTube videos of James Burke’s wonderful series “The Day the Universe Changed“. This led me to the JamesBurkeFan’s Channel on YouTube, a fantastic resource, I am thankful he took the time to record, cut up and post all the James Burke video series. JamesBurkeFan even took the extra steps to make playlists for each episode from all of the series. (Note: JamesBurkeFan’s TDTUC episode 4 playlist is backwards, here’s a corrected playlist The Day the Universe Changed Episode 4 Playlist [Update 1/6/08 the JamesBurkeFan channel is no longer available details here.

Using playlists to watch these and other shows cut up to fit YouTube’s 10 minute limit is nice but I did find one annoyance. The problem is that the full screen view always terminates at the end of each video clip. I like to kick back with the Media Center remote for volume and watch the playlists just like regular TV. Having to get up and click the mouse to re-activate full screen mode every ten minutes wrecks the experience for me.

I went searching to find out if it was possible to work around this annoyance. Everything I found was saying, sorry your out of luck until YouTube changes their system. Then I found this post on the I learned something new today blog with a great idea. You take the embed URL from the playlist page, place it in a local HTML file with a few modifications and presto the whole playlist runs while staying in full screen mode. The embed code from that blog post seemed to have a lot more parameters than should be needed so I read the YouTube Embedded Player Parameters from the YouTube APIs and Tools pages @ Google Code. Sure enough the actual requirements are less, all you need to add are these parameters in the right spots.

&fs=1 (gives full screen button on player)

allowfullscreen=”true” (Enables full screen operation)

You also probably need to have an up to date version flash in your browser, I have 9.0 r124. I’ve created a small HTML file on my desktop that I simply modify using the playlist ID from the YouTube provided playlist embed code. When I want to watch a playlist uninterrupted in full screen I simply edit the file and start watching. Here’s the source code for my local HTML file.

Replace the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX parts of the following URL's with the values from the YouTube embeddable URL.
[1/6/08 Ugh, the code plugin has stopped working for HTML comment lines in HTML code]


That’s all there is to it, now I’m gonna kick back and watch another episode of Connections.


Update Nov. 4th, commenter Mary got this working on a Blogger hosted blog using this code snippet:


Thank you for the code Mary.

Firefox 3 news, comments and tips

This is mostly old news but I’ve been so busy with other things lately I never got around to publishing this. Now that I’ve got some time I figured I should post this even though it may be old news to my one or two regular readers. 😉

Firefox has officially set the Guinness World Record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours, read about it at the Spread Firefox Download Day 2008 page. The record now stands at just over 8 million downloads and as of this writing the total download count is over 28 million.

I am very pleased with the latest release of my favorite browser, it feels quicker and according to process explorer it now has the same memory usage as IE7 (~20M). The Firefox team has managed to plug the memory leaks while reducing the base memory footprint.

Only one of my essential add-on’s, Copy Plain Text, hasn’t been updated for Firefox 3 yet. So I went to the all versions page and downloaded the v 0.3.3 installer by right clicking the button and choosing “Save Link As …”. But when I tried to install it I saw:

“Copy Plain Text” will not be installed because it does not provide secure updates

On the add-on’s reviews page Firefox user ervee posted a link to a pre-modified version for those who don’t want to hack the installer. Of course I just had to be a geek and roll my own so, I headed over to the the Mozilla Wiki to read about the new add-on security system. It turns out to be easy to patch the installer for this too. The warning is do to the update source not being an SSL server (HTTPS). I simply removed the update source and it installed fine.

A couple of non-essential extensions that I like are still not updated for V3,  Download Manager Tweak get a Firefox 3 hacked version here and MozCC which I may hack myself some day when I have some free time.

I have also started using a couple new extensions, Interclue and Foxmarks both are very handy and Foxmarks is a perfect example of using cloud computing for convenience in a safe way (you have copies of all data locally as well as in the cloud).

A good tip for increasing your privacy on the web without major inconvenience is to disable third party cookies. You’ll find this option in Tools-Options-Privacy of Firefox, simply uncheck the “Accept third-party cookies” checkbox. You may need to add exceptions for some web sites/services. So far I have only needed to add one exception, Foxmarks.com.

Since I’m likely to need this link when I upgrade Firefox for friends and family I’m adding it here. Microsoft Windows Media Player Firefox Plug-in, you can download it from Port 25: The Open Source Community at Microsoft.

Finally some fun Firefox stuff, to see the latest chapter and verse from The Book of Mozilla enter about:mozilla in the address bar. There is also a new Easter Egg in Firefox 3 check it out by entering about:robots in the address bar.

Backup & Synchronization utility for Windows

By now everyone should know that backing up your data is an essential part of computing. All the important data I use is maintained in multiple storage media types in multiple physical locations. One application I find very useful in maintaining my backup policies is Backer by Leanware. I’ve been using it for many years to backup and synchronize my data with excellent results. My most frequent use is to synchronize the data between locations via compact flash cards. Recently I upgraded my CF transfer cards to 2Gig as my previous 1G cards where getting close to 80% full. When I upgraded I also added substantially to the quantity of data involved in this process, this slowed down the operation enough that it became inconvenient. I had know for quite some time that the later versions of Backer had speed improvements so, I purchased an upgrade and was blown away with the speed improvements.

For reference my most used backup/synch operation has 521 directories with 10,531 files and on Backer 5.1 it was taking 8:21 to finish comparing the source and destination. The new version, Backer 6.7 performs the same operation in only 0:44 a 10X increase in speed, wow! Now that’s what I call a very worthwhile upgrade.

While you’re visiting there also check out the free Leanware Window Sizer I find it very useful.