Friday, February 25, 2011

Geekfest - Android help needed

Matts Magic Googlebeans For the first time since this term began, I've managed to find a few hours this week to do some development stuff. Not getting back to the new R-based statistics course for next year yet (hopefully today), but I have completed a substantial refurbishment of the MicrobiologyBytes Video Library as part of the OeRBITAL project I'm participating in.

One change is that the materials are now all available under a CC licence (CC BY-SA 3.0). I've changed the video hosting from Revver (which died) to YouTube. And the package is no longer available as a physical product, only online. This has negative consequences for developing countries with poor internet access, but I've never had many requests from there anyway and I'm no longer in a position to be able to offer to ship a physical product.

Under the hood, there's been a technical change which caused me a bit of a headache. I've done away with Flash embeds and tried to future-proof the site by opting for the HTML5 iframe embed code. This looks great on all the tests I've run so far (IE, Chrome, Safari, iOS), but I haven't been able to test it with Android yet, so I need your help with that - comments below please!

The difficulty with this decision comes from the fact that Mozilla presently refuses to sanction the h.264 codec used by YouTube for their HTML5 video player. This means the videos do not play in some versions of Firefox (although they do in others - initially I had big problems with Firefox, but after I ate one of Matt's Magic Googlebeans, they went away - go figure). Whatever the rights and wrongs of this, it means that Mozilla has placed itself in an isolated position, and I can't see how they're going to win this one. Compromise is in the air however and I'm confident this will be sorted out before long.

Right, now to try and get my (student)head around R again...


  1. Just loaded up the "ammonia" entry on an HTC Desire HD on Android 2.2 and could view the content fine, including playing the YouTube video. Looks great!

  2. Also on Android 2.2. My phone struggled with the video content (well, apparently just ignored it) on 3G but loaded it okay when I switched on wireless.