I have been a happy Amazon Prime customer for the last couple of years. One of the biggest perks of using it the availability of large number of videos available for instantly watching. Infact, I watched almost all episodes of Star Trek (TOS to Voyager) using this method.
Sometime in the second or third week of January, this method broke down. Whenever, I tried to play the episodes of Voyager, I got an error in Flash player. Basically, it will open a dialog box saying ‘Updating Player’ which will soon error out saying "an error occurred and your player could not be updated”. If you retry, it will get stuck with ‘Updating Player’ .
I was using Ubuntu 11.10 on a 64 bit machine. I tried lot of things and nothing really worked. I installed and reinstalled Adobe Flash plugin and other codecs and basically made a mess of my system. Finally, I found a simple solution in Amazon Instant Video forum in an unrelated thread. The link is here . The solution is very simple . Install hal and libhal1 package for your distro. If you are using Ubuntu, the command is
sudo apt-get install libhal1 hal
Few of my friends also had this issue and installing these packages seems to fix the issue. Unfortunately, this useful tip seems buried under other noise and hence I decided to put a separate blog post. If this did not fix the issue I recommend looking at Adobe’s Problems playing protected video content on 64-bit Ubuntu Linux page. This has some additional information on making flash work.
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1. Travel itineraries from Flickr photo trails
The paper discusses a very clever idea of using Flickr photo details (like time,tags and gps) to automatically construct travel itineraries. Its a pity that Yahoo research keeps churning cool papers but the company does not commercialize lot of them. In a related travel post, Kayak Explore Shows You Where You Can Fly for the Money in Your Budget . The basic idea is to use budget as a filter for locations. Seems like a lot of innovation in this domain. Thanks to Kripa / Suresh for the link.
2. Free download: 10 terabytes of patents and trademarks
Google offers all the patent information as a free download ! I was exploring it and thinking of ways to use it for some data mining purposes after I graduate. The API is rudimentary but I guess there is lot of potential for offline mining. Parsing patents also discusses about how to use the awesome data that Google has made available.
3. Multitasking is no problem for these brain cells
An interesting research which shows that some brain cells take part in different/multiple decision making tasks.
4. Adobe (Temporarily?) Kills 64-Bit Flash For Linux
Bad news for 64 bit Linux users like me. Looks like I should start evaluating other open source flash players like LightSpark. It crashes too much for me but I am hopeful about this project.
5. The Athens Affair
A nice analysis of the Greek scandal in 2005 where lot of whos-who of Greek had their telephones bugged and the culprits are still not caught. This article primarily focuses on the broad modus operandi of the hackers.
6. Merely Human? That’s So Yesterday
A NYTimes article on the exotic Singularity movement. As of now , I am a skeptic even though my area of interest is AI.
7. Why No Billion-Dollar Open Source Companies?
An interesting take on why there is no billion dollar open source companies. The explanation seems very plausible to me.
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1. Examples of Flash Content Running on Android
An awesome demo of flash player on Android. Pretty impressive. Seeing this after reading this post made it even sweeter.
2. Google News
Understanding the web to find short answers and "something different" – In an exciting move , Google uses Google Squared to provide short answers and obviates the need to go to a news source. Really cool , although I wont say I did not see it coming 😉
A sneak peek at the Native Client SDK – Another very interesting move. Will this move out of geek domain is one of the big questions I have.
3. Introducing FlockDB
Twitter uses MySQL to model graph relations. I have to say their app stack looks pretty impressive. I think NoSQL databases would have had some issues for this use case.
4. New Programming Jargon
On a fun side , some new jargon collated from Stack Overflow.
5. Four Nerds and a Cry to Arms Against Facebook
Anti facebook sentiments are pretty high and four nerds from NYU are trying to create a open social network – Lets see how it goes . Also read There’s a Dirty UNIX Joke in the New York Times’ Facebook Backlash Story.
6. Mapping Ancient Civilization, in a Matter of Days
Computers are raiding even staid fields like archeology and look at the results 🙂 . For another application of the technology see , With Flyovers, a Solar Map of New York . Pretty exciting !
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