I don't watch TV very much at all these days, more often I'll watch some video from the network and quite commonly this means YouTube. I have a nice big external CRT monitor jacked in to the back of my laptop and in full screen mode and a good sound system it's good enough to run the smallish room this setup is in.
Used to be it was a bit of a pig to watch video in a web browser. If you were lucky and had things set right - and this was non-trivial - then usually it would download the video file (and take about forever) then run an external program, some video player. If you had the right one and if you had the right codec for it then you had moving pictures.
The holy grail of ubiquitous embedded video, however did not happen until there was a fundamental shift away from the standard mpg, wmv (Microsoft) and mov (Apple) files to the flash/shockwave proprietary standards of Macromind who was bought by Adobe: flash and shockwave.
I'm not even sure which is which, all I know is if you don't have all this stuff the web doesn't work. And YouTube is built around it.
But, it's no problem cause it's always worked.
Until now. Last week some time a popup appeared, from Adobe, urging me to upgrade my shockwave player and I'd get HiDef and lots other neat new features. Woo hoo. So I did and it asked me to close my browser (Opera) and it dutifully installed and demanded a reboot. Fine.
So I try to play a video. I click on the "see this in high definition" thing and nothing happens. Oooooooooh-kay. Whatever, at least it still plays videos, right?
Wrong. In full screen mode it utterly hangs my XP thinkpad.
I googled eight ways from Sunday and found flash/shockwave and found lots of problems with it hanging on this or that but nothing about it hanging with the recent release with XP or Opera.
I tried installing the latest one on chance they'd fixed it. No.
So I uninstalled Shockwave, flash and div-x flash in hopes the system would reinstall them and they'd be happy. I rebooted.
I fired Opera up, went to YouTube and expected to have it say it needed a plugin and would go get it. Instead it just worked. I tried it in full screen mode, which before hadn't run more than 30 seconds without locking up. Now it worked perfectly.
I'm sure there's an explanation for this but I don't know what it is.
RJS - 20-nov-08