Getting Flash to see the proper webcam
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Having trouble using your Mac webcam w/ Flash sites?  Macs are notorious for selecting the wrong camera on behalf of the user.

Ensure you’ve got the latest Flash player, and the proper webcam selected in your Flash Player settings.
Right-click the screen, choose Settings:


Then, click on the little webcam and choose USB Video Class Video:

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BetamaXmas recap
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Much like the Super Nintendo was a sweet Christmas gift in 1992, the traffic and feedback for BetamaXmas was pretty awesome.

To date, it’s spit out 340,000 pages to 210,000 unique users, 9,000 of which returned more than once.

How it works
I add a video to my 80’s Christmas holiday playlist on YouTube:
An hourly cron job uses the YouTube data API to snag my playlist.
If any videos have been added since the last time the cronjob ran, it adds it to my database (The TV Guide).
This adds the video to the XML running the site:
Another cron job checks to see if any videos have been pulled from YouTube and marks them as deleted from the TV Guide.

The TV Guide
The site works on a system that shows everyone the same TV Guide at the same time. So, if you’re watching Have Yourself a Very Winslow Christmas, you can tell a friend across the country, and it’s on at the same time for them. I thought this reinforced the old style of television watching, where you were at the mercy of the networks. This effect is created by creating a timestamp on the XML telling us what time the server thinks it is. Flash does the modulus of that time against the time of a channel, which gives us the current show in the channel.

Some cool things I learned about along the way.

The YouTube Chromeless player
When traffic started getting a little more frequent, so did the Amazon S3 bill. Senore Baio suggested I look into the Chromeless player for hosting directly off of YouTube, which saved me a mint.

Reinvigorate rocks. They’ve got wonderfully stylized reports, and best of all, realtime traffic reports. They also have a sweet little app called Snoop that runs and notifies you when someone is visiting the site, and the referring site. Here’s a screencap:

Facebook and Stumbleupon throw a shitload of traffic. Mark and Garrett rock.

The Onion’s Tolerability Index (above Shatner’s show, mind you)
New York Magazine’s Vulture section.
Comedy Central

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