Monday, January 11, 2016

Tech Note: Facebook issues, streaming problems, and other things that go bump on your device!

It's only a little over a month before the Decorah Eagles usually start laying eggs, so it seems like a good time to blog about some technical issues and solutions before the season gets going!

Facebook Issues

I followed you on Facebook, but I'm not getting your notifications and posts...
We're hearing from Facebook fans whose news feed is not showing our Facebook page, even though they liked it. Make sure per the image at right that you are signed up to receive notifications in your newsfeed. If you are, comment on one of our threads - even with just one word! - and we'll be back in your news feed. Keep commenting and sharing pictures and posts to keep seeing us. Facebook algorithms no longer show content that people don't interact with, as documented here: http://bit.ly/1JLx5D5 and here: http://slate.me/1ReLjWx. Of course, the articles don't talk about Facebook's dirty little secret - bots that pretend to be real people. Limiting your news feed to things you are interested makes your feed more rewarding and reduces your changes of interacting with a bot that scams you, gives you malware, or locks up your hard drive.

This SUPER-ANNOYING Facebook pop-up won't let me see your page unless I have a Facebook page too! It didn't used to be that way...
The all-caps annoyed person is me. I am ALL-CAPS ANNOYED that Facebook is spamming people with a register screen if they aren't logged into Facebook. This is a new thing and not something we have control over, although we did file a ticket with Facebook to complain (in a polite non-caps way). We are a business page and as such are supposed to be available to the public, Facebook or not.

To block the pop-up, add adblockplus to your browser if you don't already have it. Ad-block currently has a version for all of the big browsers used on standard Macs and PCs. Add these two lines to your filter:
  • www.facebook.com#dialog_0
  • www.facebook.com###pagelet_growth_expanding_cta
Don't know how to add filters? Check this tutorial out: https://adblockplus.org/getting_started#add-subscription. This will not remove the option to register or login at the top of the page, but it will stop the pop-up from covering the page.

If you aren't interested in blocking the pop-up, you can reduce it. Try pressing the escape key when it pops up. If it doesn't go away, click the x on the right-hand side to reduce it (outlined inside the red circle below). We will also be posting news and video round-ups on our website at www.raptorresource.org.


The 'X' is non-ADA compliant for contrast, which is why it is so hard to see. We made sure to notify Facebook of this problem as well.



Computer and Device Issues

I can't see the Decorah Eagles on my desktop computer anymore. What do I do?
  • Step number one: Refresh the page. If that didn't work;
  • Step number two: Clear your cache and cookies. Close the browser, re-open the browser, and try again. 
If neither of these steps work, you probably have a more complicated problem. Back in 2015, Ustream changed their video player from Flash to HTML5, although the video stream itself is still based on Flash in the desktop environment. On balance, the move towards HTML5 is a very good thing, but it has caused temporary problems for some users, especially those with older browsers or those using firefox. 

HTML 5.0 was released in 2014. Those of you with older browsers (for example, AOL Explorer) should still be able to watch the Flash-based stream but will have lost player features like share, embed, and the ability to chose your viewing resolution. I encourage you to upgrade to a newer browser, since you will loose the ability to watch if Ustream makes the jump to an HTML5-based stream. My two favorites are Chrome and Firefox, but any modern browser should work.

I'm not sure why the jump to an HTML 5.0 player seemed to have confused some versions of Firefox so badly. If you are experiencing problems, your browser might be defaulting to Flash not enabled. You will need to manually enable it in order to view streams. Follow this link to find out what you need to do.

Can I watch the Decorah Eagles on my phone, tablet, or iDevice?
You can! I strongly suggest downloading the Ustream app. Go to your device's store, wherever it is located, and search for Ustream. Install the app and start watching!

Ustream is working to improve the device experience, but please be sure to provide feedback (polite, respectful feedback) about any features that are missing.



Miscellaneous Ustream Issues

Why is the stream choppy?
There could be more than one reason for that, but at my house it is usually due to low bandwidth, especially during evenings and weekends. As shown in the image below, the Ustream player allows you to manually select the resolution that best meets your bandwidth. Click the HD button just below the stream to access your options. Drop it down to 360 or even 240p to reduce bandwidth consumption, or throw caution to the wind and see if you can stream at 720p!



I hate ads! Can I get rid of them?
You can! Ustream runs ads to offset the cost of providing the stream. However, they have an ads-free premium membership option that costs just $3.99 per month. Click here to learn more.

I'm okay with ads overall, but I'm not okay with THAT ad!
Ustream ads are supposed to be family-friendly - they shouldn't contain foul language, sexual content, nudity or near-nudity, and so on. If you see an ad that contains problem content, please let them know (you can let us know, too).  To let Ustream know, file a ticket here. To let us know, email amy@raptorresource.org. Both of us will want to know what time you saw the ad and where you are watching. This will help Ustream trace it down.

We hope you enjoy watching this year! If you have a technical issue you think should be addressed, leave a comment below and we will see what we can do.





3 comments:

oma sawyer said...

Great blog, as usual Amy; just one problem though~~~~ I do not have a problem!

Beverly Williams said...

Had a problem with either seeing the video, or chat, but not both at the same time. Was finally diagnosed. New hard drive, no problems now. Thanks for all your help in trying to fix the problem.

Amy Ries said...

Oma Sawyer, I'm glad to hear that and Beverly Williams, thanks for letting us know. I wouldn't have guessed that could be an issue!