No more Flixter

I have never been a fan of the Ultraviolet process for the digital copies of films.

I blogged in 2013 about my dissatisfaction with the Ultraviolet process for getting hold of the digital copies of the films I had bought.

You didn’t even use Ultraviolet to watch the films, you needed to use a different service, in the UK that meant using Flixter.

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. I didn’t think that would be too much on an issue as it was indicated that I would still be able to access my movie collection through Flixter regardless of the demise of Ultraviolet.

Now it would appear that with the demise of Ultraviolet that Flixter has also decided to shut up shop.

In theory I won’t lose my digital films as they will be transferred to Google Play.

I am slightly disappointed I didn’t have any choice in which service they will be transferred to, as I usually either use iTunes or Amazon Video. I have a few films on Google Play, but I usually don’t use it. Looks like I will be using it more now.

Top Ten Blog Posts 2018

Over the last twelve months I have published 19 posts.

The post at number ten was from ten years ago, and contained a (now deleted) YouTube video on the new Skyfire browser for your Windows smartphone or PDA. Skyfire discontinued its Skyfire Web Browser in 2014.

The post at nine was now a rather dated post from ten years ago about how Scrabble’s owners were going to sue Scrabulous.

The eight most popular post was another ten year old post which was about when Apple was offering some free TV shows on iTunes.

The seventh post was from 2012 when my HP Photosmart printer died. My printer is dead! was a sorry tale about how replacing the ink cartridges on the HP B110a resulted it in destroying the print head.

The post at number six was Comic Book Fonts which was about the amazing comic book fonts from Comic Book Fonts.

The post at number five was wondering Where are my Comic Life Styles? I found them.

The fourth most popular post was about the free wifi (or lack of) on my holiday, Haven no wifi.

Polaroid Pogo printer

The post at three was about Dusting off the Pogo my old Polaroid Bluetooth pocket printer. Still going strong.

The second post was about when my iMac Fusion Drive Failed and had to have it replaced.

So the most popular post on the blog was my post about QR codes on chocolate bars, Cadbury QR Coding and Twirling was published in 2015 and was one of many posts I published on the use of QR codes back then.

Cadbury Twirl Bites QR Code

Well that’s a surprise!

War for the Planet of the Apes

Back in 2010 or thereabouts when buying movies, I would generally go for the what the trade called 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.

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. Since December 2011, I noticed that the trend was to use Ultraviolet DRM.

I blogged about the challenges I had with this back in 2013. Eventually I did manage to get the login processes sorted out with Ultraviolet and Flixter. Over the years I have built up a collection of films on Flixter. However compared to the user experience in iTunes it was never a smooth journey.

I had major challenges with my version of Edge of Tomorrow, resulting in being unable to play the downloaded film on my iPad. This was sorted out after numerous e-mails to Flixter support.

Another annoyance for me was that the Flixter app wouldn’t remember where I had got to in a film, if I had not finished watching. I would then need to work out where I was.

I also found it frustrating that I couldn’t play my Flixter films through an HDMI cable (via an adapter) to my TV or use Airplay. I suppose they thought if you wanted to watch on the big screen you would use the Blu-Ray disc.

The end result was that, I generally stopped specifically buying versions with a digital copy so would buy the Blu-Ray only. Also many studios appeared to stop selling the triple play format. I often found it easier to buy films from iTunes direct or more recently using Amazon Video after a good experience with Amazon Prime Video.

For Christmas this year I got War for the Planet of the Apes, which came with a Blu-Ray and a Digital Copy. It reminded me I had Dawn of the Planet of the Apes also on Blu-Ray with a digital copy. Now this had been a Christmas present in 2014 and hadn’t worked on my Blu-Ray player.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [Blu-ray + UV Copy]

I had gone out and bought the DVD version of the film and had stored the Blu-Ray version of the film aiming to sell it at some point. However feeling guilty that the Blu-Ray disc may be “corrupted” I had never actually done this, I didn’t want to sell a dud disc to anyone, so was wanting to check that it wasn’t a dud disc by using someone else’s Blu-Ray player. This I never got round to. This Christmas though, the family present was the XBox One S which can play Blu-Ray discs. Receiving the new Planet of the Apes film reminded me that I had Dawn of the Planet of the Apes so tried it out and it worked. I then decided now I had both discs out to redeem the digital codes.

So I started Flixter on the iPad, followed the instructions, which meant searching for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in the Flixter library and entering the redemption code (a much simpler process than it was back in 2013). I then checked the code for War for the Planet of the Apes. I followed the same instructions I had done for Dawn, but I couldn’t find War for the Planet of the Apes. Okay lets read the instructions… it said to go foxredeem.com and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could download War for the Planet of the Apes in an iTunes format (which I did).

Now I am not sure when 20th Century Fox stopped using Ultraviolet, but though still DRM, the iTunes format has worked much better for me than Ultraviolet.

So what about War for the Planet of the Apes, well I’ve not watched it yet…

Tech Stuff – Top Ten Blog Posts of 2015

Not too many posts on the tech blog this year,  surprised though that the post  Google Glass is Dead, or is it… didn’t make the top ten!

Looking at fonts especially those designed for comic strips was the tenth most popular posting in 2015. Written in 2010 it was about the excellent Comic Book Fonts available. Read the post Comic Book Fonts.

Thinking about the Apple TV back in 2012 was the ninth most popular post on the blog. Apple TV Thoughts was quite a long post on my reflection on the Apple device.

apple_tv-q410-angled-lg

The eighth post is from 2008 when Apple added free episodes to the iTunes Store. The high ranking for this post is probably down the blog post title: Free iTunes TV Shows (on UK iTunes Store).

A few years ago my HP printer died when I replaced the inks. The seventh most read post is about my dead printer. My printer is dead!.

HP PhotoSmart B110a

I haven’t done a podcast choice for a while now, but the sixth most popular post on the blog was the second in the series, Podcast Choice #02 – Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4. Quite a popular post as people seem to keep wanting to have my copies of the shows I have downloaded over the years through iTunes.

Comic Life is one of my favourite apps on the Mac, but once I lost my styles and that is at number five. Where are my Comic Life Styles?

Wifi makes an appearance at number four, with my experiences at a Haven Holiday Camp. Haven no wifi.

More Wifi this time with my experiences with BT Wifi networks resulted in the third most read post, called I don’t like BT FON.

In November 2014, we finally got free wifi on First Great Western trains, and my post about this, Finally, free FGW wifi on the train was the second most popular blog post in 2015.

Cadbury Twirl Bites QR Code

I use to post a lot of posts on QR Codes and the most popular post the year was this one from January 2015 about the ones you found on Cadbury chocolate bars. Cadbury QR Coding and Twirling.

Happy New Year and all the best for 2016.

Ultravioleting

In recent years I have been buying, 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 (or just the DVD) 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.

More recently, well since December 2011, I have noticed is that the trend now is to use Ultraviolet.

UltraViolet (UV) is a digital rights authentication and cloud-based licensing system that allows users of digital home entertainment content to stream and download purchased content to multiple platforms and devices. UltraViolet adheres to a “buy once, play anywhere” approach that allows users to store digital proof-of-purchases under one account to enable playback of content that is platform- and point-of-sale-agnostic.

In theory what you do (in the UK) is sign up to Flixster and then you can redeem your Ultraviolet code and watch or download your movie.

I say “in theory” as I haven’t actually managed to do this process. The first time I signed up, I think I some how managed to sign myself up as an American. This would have been pointless as I wouldn’t have been able to access my “UK only” films. There was also no way to change your country. this is obviously to stop regional piracy. I do think that these “piracy” measures are short-sighted, as what they are actually doing is stopping me, an actual customer who has paid for the film, from watching the film; whilst the actual pirates wouldn’t even worry about such things, probably using a copy from the film studio or similar…

I have to say that is one thing that does annoy me after spending my hard earned cash on a DVD or Blu-Ray the first thing I see (and usually you can’t fast forward or skip it) is a clip telling me not to pirate films… Hello? I bought the film, I didn’t pirate it, I bought it, why tell me something I already know and do. If I pirated a film, I wouldn’t see that clip would I, so why show customers who are honest, want to watch the film, a stupid clip telling them to buy films… they did. I wouldn’t mind so much, but half the time you are “forced” to watch the clip, as they have restricted the capability to skip or fast forward the clip. Why don’t they put that clip on pirated films?

So back to Ultraviolet, so of course I tried to sign up again, and it wouldn’t let me, as I had already signed up… When I tried a different e-mail address, that didn’t work it timed out. In the end I gave up.

I think part of the problem was that I was trying to do all this on my iPad. Why the iPad, well I wanted to watch the film on the iPad.

I think the best option will be to do it all on a PC and then hopefully, if Ultraviolet will allow it, then it will let me access the films on the iPad.

iTunes failed to sync…

Sometimes after synching my iPhone (and occassionally my iPad) with iTunes I find that the sync has failed and various apps have not been updated.

As a result various apps can not be opened in the usual way.

iPhone Home Screen

The usual solution is to resync with iTunes. Sometimes though this isn’t possible, you may not have noticed the error message on the front of the phone.

The various apps that failed to update, will then fail to start, either by tapping it on the home screen, or through the multitasking bar.

iPhone Home Screen

You can tell which apps have failed to update as they will be in shadow and have an empty installation bar. In the above screenshot you can see that Podcasts and Flipboard did not update correctly.

In the past I have had to delete the app and reinstall it. Fine for some apps, but if you are on 3G or have configured the app then this may not be an option. With really large apps, it might not be possible to redownload it on a 3G connection.

As a result you probably think you can’t use the app. I have found a workaround that will work until you get a chance to resync with iTunes.

Search for the app in Spotlight. Swipe right from your first Home screen. Enter text in the search field. In this example I have typed Flip for Flipboard.

I have typed Flip for Flipboard.

This will allow you to run the app, even though you can’t access it through the home screen.

Should point out that if you do a hard reboot of the device, you won’t be able to do this.

Annoying Sonix SN9C201 Webcam iTunes Error

I’ve been having the following iTunes error for a while now.

Generally I ignore it and reopen iTunes. It’s not as though I even have a Sonix SN9C201 Webcam anyway….

After a little bit of internet research it would appear that the problem is when installing Skype that app throws a Sonix SN9C201 Webcam file into ~/Library/Quicktime and if you delete that file, that fixes the problem.

Making iPhone ringtones

There are various apps you can buy for making ringtones for your iPhone, however if you have a Mac, you can very easily use Garageband to do exactly this, it will also very easily move the ringtone from Garageband to iTunes and then it can be synced to your iPhone.

First create your ringtone in Garageband. I have used music from my iTunes collection by dragging it in and cropping the track to the piece that I want to use as a ringtone. You could of course record a ringtone, use Apple loops to compose a ringtone, or even use the different iLife effects to create a soundeffect ringtone.

Once you are happy with your ringtone, from the menu

Share -> Send Ringtone to iTunes

Basically that’s it.

Simple.

Of course it can much easier on other phones that allow you to use music tracks or mp3 files straight off as ringtones!

Problems with Apple TV

Last night I was trying to watch a TV Show that I had downloaded from iTunes onto my iMac through my Apple TV. It was Jeeves And Wooster if you are interested.

However the Apple TV couldn’t find my iTunes library on my iMac. I knew that iTunes was running, as I had just plugged in my iPad to sync and charge. However as far as the Apple TV was concerned, it wasn’t there and it couldn’t find it.

After a lot of running about between office and the TV I found that the issue was that iTunes had a dialogue box open, asking me if I wanted to update the iPad, and that was stopping iTunes from sharing it’s content to the Apple TV.

After unplugging the iPad and restarting iTunes, everything worked and we could sit down and watch Jeeves and Wooster.

Interestingly, though I can buy Jeeves and Wooster from Amazon for just £11.17 I have been buying it by the season from the iTunes Store. Yes it is costing me more in the long run, but when I bought season one I wasn’t sure I wanted the rest of the other series and spending £3.99 on something you don’t want is much better value than spending £11.17 on it. Yes it will cost me more in the long run, but I quite like how I can choose how much to spend.

I will also say how much I prefer streaming content from the iMac then fiddling around with DVDs, probably me just getting lazy!

Beatles on iTunes?

So this afternoon Apple have an iTunes announcement.

Rumours indicate that this is probably going to be an announcement that the Beatles will now be available in the iTunes Store.

Another rumour indicates that Apple will announce live streaming for iTunes.

I wonder if the wording of the “invitation” is significant? It does say iTunes and not iTunes Store. Does that make a difference?