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February 28, 2010

WordPress MP3 Audio Player

Filed under: Audio / Video,Wordpress
Randy Harris @ 4:34 am

A customer asked me to install an MP3 player into their WordPress blog. I searched the WP Plugins directory for "mp3 player" and found several that either had too many features or required you to jump through hoops to get an audio file into place.  Many required use of manually constructed [tags] to insert the player into a page. [READ MORE...]

November 27, 2008

FREE Music from Playlist.com

Filed under: Audio / Video,Social Networking
Randy Harris @ 5:50 am

Social Music Search Engine?

Looking for MP3's? Look no further than Project Playlist, (http://www.playlist.com/).

The site, which bills itself as a "social music experiment" and music search engine, is all that and more.

Using the social media / social networking model, the site allows you to build a playlist of tracks from it's vast collection of audio links and assembles them into a freindly, easy to use flash based media player.

You can log in to PlayList.com and add new tracks, re-arrange what you've already got, send email invites to friends, and share your playlist with others.


October 18, 2008

How to Embed Flash Video in a Website

Filed under: Audio / Video
Randy Harris @ 3:51 am

Adding Flash video to a website can be confusing to say the least. Many people do not understand the difference between embedding a link to a flash video into page and actually serving the video content themselves.

YouTube and other video sharing / video hosting services make it relatively simply to display flash video, but the content, in-effect, belongs to that hosting service in the eyes of Google and other search engines, and worse, the video become somewhat public domain as anyone else can simply place the same embed code into their webpage and now your unique content is as much theirs as it is yours.

To non-technical types, the answer may be "So what?", but in the competition for traffic, your unique content, (text, images, video, audio or applications), are what makes your website different from everyone else's -- and is a key factor in how much traffic your site gets.


September 29, 2008

SWF / FLV Video on Your Website

Filed under: Audio / Video
Randy Harris @ 3:56 am

A little history.... Ever since the Eolas v. Microsoft patent lawsuit, the act of simply embedding an active object into a web page has become a problem. The nature of the lawsuit had to do with how web browsers displayed embedded objects such as video media files, and the fact that EOLAS owned a patent and Microsoft did not want to license the technology from them. In short, rather than pay, Microsoft developed a work-around which included using Javascript. The debate over whether to use the html <EMBED> or <OBJECT> tag became moot, and the Javascript method has become the defacto way to work around the EOLAS patent and provide a browser-independent method to display video.

The solution: (Note: this may seem complicated the first time you implement it, but get relatively easier for embedding subsequent Flash Video, (.FLV), and other types of media files into a website).

Here's the software you need:

1. a video saved in .FLV format

2. a Shockwave/Flash, (.SWF), video control -- this is "the player" whic his usually a frame that surround the video and contains (minimally) a Start/Stop button, and usually a volume control.

3. an HTML file you wish to embed the SFW/FLV player and video into.

4. a Javascript library which interprets the parameters passed to it from the HTML which in-turn initializes the SWF/FLV player and displays the video.

Without rehashing all the details of the Javascript library, and the capabilities of the various vendors who offer the software components, I'll just say they all basically work the same way, and provide workable examples that you can copy and modify, followed by links to the vendor websites. For non-commercial sites, you can get all the software for free. Of, course you can code one yourself even for a commercial site and do that for free also -- but in general the vendors charge approximately $20.00 (US or EUR) so that is probably more cost effective than re-inventing the wheel.

Where to get the software:

Jeroen Wijering's FLV Player - simple, easy to use Javascript library and .SWF control. The player can play FLV, MP4, MP3 and AAC files and also display JPG, PNG and GIF images for use as an image rotator for photo galleries. download the .ZIP file, uplpad the .JS and .SWF files to your website and copy the example to have a video up and running in 5 minutes. There is a "wizzard" on the site that produces the HTML code for more complicated settings, (e.g.- playing multiple files, setting up a static opening screen before the video plays, skinning the player, etc). Free for non-commercial, $20 for commercial sites, (Creative Commons license).

After uploading the .JS library and and .SWF player (extracted from the file: mediaplayer.zip), and your .FLV video file to your site, you would :

- cut and paste the following line into the <HEAD> if you page:

<script type="text/javascript" src="/embed/swfobject.js"></script>

- cut and paste the following <DIV> and <SCRIPT> code into the body of your page:

<div id="player">This text will be replaced</div>

<script type="text/javascript">
var so = new SWFObject('embed/player.swf','mpl','320','240','9');

Get the JW FLV Player code at: http://www.jeroenwijering.com/

Wimpy Player, (Plano Software, LLC), is a similar set of files, (with more options). Wimpy can be used as a simply "button" to play .MP3 and other audio files, all the way up to their Wimpy WASP and Wimpy RAVE products which are skinnable audio/video jukeboxes that can run XML playlists and be styles to look just about any way you want. The software is easy enough to use and very dependable. You can download their tools which generate all the HTML code needed to cut and paste into your website or use their online code generator. You have to pay for the WimpyPlayer software even on non-commercial sites after the 15 day demo expires. The paid versions cost from $19 and up depending on features. http://www.wimpyplayer.com

Abode, Inc. - Adobe owns the Shockwave Flash and Flash Video formats, and offers several commercial tools for embedding flash video in your website including DreamWeaver [DW] and other flash and video authoring tools in the Adobe Creative Suite (CS) packages. Visit Adobe's Flash Developer's Center at: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash/ for more info.

Please let us know if you locate any other vendors who produce software to play .SWF / .FLV video on your website.


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