I have finally finished my relationship with Flixter and moved all my films to Google Play.
When I first started buying Blu-Rays I would purchase what the trade call, triple play movies these sets contain a copy of the film on Blu-Ray, a copy on DVD and a digital copy for your mobile device. Though more expensive than just buying the Blu-Ray what I did like about it was I could watch the film on my TV and then if I wanted to watch it again I could watch it on my laptop or on my iPad. With most of the films I bought the digital copy was in an iTunes format. This was fine with me as I already used the iTunes ecosystem for music and video.
So I was not happy when the film distributers changed from iTunes to Ultraviolet. I blogged about this dissatisfaction with the Ultraviolet process for getting hold of the digital copies of the films I had bought, back in 2013. The process was convoluted and initially didn’t even work for me. You didn’t even use Ultraviolet to play the video files, you needed another service (and app) to do that and that’s where Flixter came in.
I never liked the Flixter app for watching films, it crashed way too often. It never remembered where you got into a film, so you had to either start watching it again, or try and fast forward to where you had left off. In theory you could download and watch the film offline, but I found that even then the app would try and authenticate online.
In January 2018 I blogged about how I was expecting to use Ultraviolet to access the digital copy, but was pleasantly surprised to find that I got an iTunes digital copy.
I got e-mails in early 2019 informing me that the Ultraviloet service was going to shut down in July 2019. In June I got e-mails about how Flixter was going to shut down too. I was quite pleased to see the end of both Ultraviolet and Flixter.
I wasn’t going top lose my films though, as they would be migrated to another service. This has always been a concern of mine about digital copies of films, especially those with DRM, what would happen to my collection if the service stopped working? I was slightly disappointed I didn’t have any choice in which service they were to be transferred to, as I usually either use iTunes or Amazon Video. The solution Flixter had chosen was Google Play, I have a few films on that service, but I usually don’t use it.
This week I got an e-mail from Flixter which described how I would migrate my collection from Flixter to Google Play. It was a pretty seamless process and now I have a large collection of films in my Google Play Library.
I recently changed hosting for my WordPress blogs. My main reasons for changing were, my host was unable to update the version of PHP which would result in being unable to update to the most recent version of WordPress. They did offer me a new hosting contract, but I would then have to migrate my blogs across, so I decided that if I needed to do that I might as well review new hosts. I had had reliability issues with my existing host. I was also concerned about upgrading to SSL (https). Both Chrome and Safari were marking non-https sites as “non-secure”.
It’s not as though I was doing e-commerce on my blogs, but it looked like Google would drop non-https sites down in their search results. I also thought the “non-secure” identification might worry people.
There were a few challenges, mainly as I took the opportunity to move a couple of my blogs to a domain of their own. I say opportunity I wasn’t sure I could recreate the same setup with the new host that I had with the old one.
This isn’t news, but I was reminded this week that a service I used in 2007 was no longer around and this was having a negative impact on one of my blog sites.
Back in 2007 I had a Nokia N73 and I used a now defunct application to upload photographs I had taken automatically to the blog. This application was called ShoZu, which had being launched in 2001 and was able to upload photographs to Flickr automatically. This was really useful, as I was on Vodafone and at that time Flickr was blocked by their content filters, so I couldn’t upload automatically. With ShoZu I was able to upload the image to the ShoZu servers and then it would upload a copy to Flickr. You could also use Shozu to post to Twitter and one function I liked was being able to upload automatically to a WordPress blog. Well it didn’t upload directly to WordPress, it merely adding HTML code and embedding the images hosted on the ShoZu server.
With ShoZu now defunct, there were no images, just dead links. So the blog posts consisted of a title and some dead HTML coding.
I have no recollection of when ShoZu went down, there was a news item in 2010 when they got taken over by Critical Path, but by then I was no longer actively using the service, having moved to an iPhone by then and having direct access to Flicker through the Flickr iOS app.
So it’s only when looking through archives of my old blog posts that I realised something may be missing.
Luckily I had copies of the images on Flickr (and on Amazon photos) so I updated the old blog posts and added copies of the images.
This wasn’t as simple as you may think as the blog post titles weren’t always clear about what the image was. However as the blog post link had the image file name in it, I could search Amazon photos for that file name and find the image.
It reminds me that embedding externally hosted content can be problematic, what happens when that service dies or is shut down. Just because something is free, doesn’t mean it will last forever.
I haven’t been on a CrossCountry train for a while now, so on a recent trip to Cheltenham Spa from Bristol Temple Meads I was interested to see how the 3G connectivity issues I’ve always had on that route would be like, especially as I now have 4G with Three.
Well same old problems, dipping in and out from 4G to 3G as well as periods of No Service.
I would like to blame the train, but the reality is that there is poor phone signal connectivity on that route. As there is no incentive for mobile network providers to improve connectivity.
If I do go to Cheltenham again, I think I will take a book!
I was in London today, at a venue on Southwark Street and I was surprised to have connectivity issues, not just with my home iPhone on the Three network, but also with my work phone on Vodafone.
I don’t know why the connections were so poor, certainly both phones had high signal bars. We were on the seventh floor, which I have found isn’t usually an issue, but today, poor bandwidth or sometimes non-existent bandwidth.
It didn’t help matters that the guest wifi wasn’t working either.
On this day ten years ago I was trying really hard to read the this QR Code chocolate from that Andy Ramsden, who back then was working at the University of Bath. I think the chocolate was from a QR Codes workshop that Andy was running as part of a JISC programme. Doing a Google search unearthed this paper that he presented at the ALT Conference that same year.
Back then I failed miserably to read the code, despite using lots of different QR Code readers….
So I took a photograph instead and then ate the chocolate.
I even mentioned this in a blog post a few years ago about QR Codes on Cadbury chocolate bars.
It took a while to scan in the code as the foil packing and colours used on the QR Code made it difficult to capture the code. It reminded me of the chocolate QR Codes that the University of Bath made for the QR Codes project we did a few years back.
I think the issue back then was the contrast between the dark and white chocolate.
Today I wondered a bit….
So I used the in-built QR code reader in my iPhone and checked if it could read the QR code. Years ago you needed a unique app to read QR codes, today the iPhone camera has that feature built in, as do many Android phones.
So could my iPhone read this ten year old QR code, it could…
Alas…. Though the QR Code works the website link it had encoded inside it is now dead and gone….
My first experience of Windows was some time later with Windows 3.0 and remembering the big advance that Windows 3.1 brought to computing. It was probably Windows 3.1 that really made me appreciate the affordances that technology could bring to teaching.
I remember the huge fanfare that was Windows 95 and what a step change it was from 3.1. We even had video now on Windows, though it was quite small.
I never really moved to Windows 98 and moved straight to Windows 2000 when I started a new job in 2001. Well the laptop I was provided with did use Windows Me, but I soon moved over to 2000. I liked Windows XP and thought it was a huge improvement over previous versions of Windows.
After that I was more of a Mac person and rarely used Windows. I did have to use Windows 7 for a while, but found it confusing as I hadn’t used Windows for a long time. Today I have been known to use Windows 10, but my main computing platform these days is still OS X.