TV Shows Over Broadband On Mac OS X

Every once in a while, I'll miss an airing of one of my favorite TV shows. Lucky for me, I have broadband and ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox offer viewing of full episodes of select TV shows online. Unlucky for me, an error message on the Fox site told me only Windows is supported. But lucky for me, I found a beta (use at your own risk) of the required plug-in (powered by Move Networks).

Go to http://www.byu.tv/ (gotta love those Mormons) to download and install the plug-in (direct download), then quit and restart your browser. That's it. Now you can head on over to Fox and get your Prison Break fix.

I couldn't get the Fox TV shows to display in Safari, but Firefox worked just fine. Check the FAQ for system requirements and instructions on uninstalling the plug-in.

Update: The Fox shows need an updated plug-in, which isn't available for Mac OS X. So no Prison Break for me. At least ABC, CBS and NBC are still Mac friendly.

Update 2: Yea! Fox shows are available to stream on Mac OS X again! And this time it also works in Safari! Just go to http://www.byu.tv/ and install the plug-in (don't do the direct download - it's old). If after a while nothing seems to be happening after clicking to install, just refresh the page. Then head on over to Fox On Demand for some sweet, sweet Prison Break.


Watch Yahoo! Music Videos On A Mac

Update: Yahoo! Music now has a Mac friendly beta music video player (have to sign in to enable it). You can ignore the post below; it's pointless, just like me.

This is what pops up when you try to watch a Yahoo music video on a Mac:

Yahoo Hates Macs

This is what you need to make it go away (install in order):
  1. Firefox - after installing and only if you're using an Intel Mac, Get Info and set it to open using Rosetta (I'll explain why in the next step).

    Open Firefox with Rosetta

  2. Windows Media Player 9 for Mac OS X - it's not a Universal binary, which is why you need to open Firefox with Rosetta if you're using an Intel Mac. What about Flip4Mac? It doesn't do DRM, which I think Yahoo music videos use. If you do decide to install Flip4Mac, install or reinstall Windows Media Player after Flip4Mac. You may also need to reassociate the .asf filetype with Windows Media Player. Just create an empty file with TextEdit or whatever and rename the file with an .asf file extension. Then Get Info and Change All to open with Windows Media Player:

    Associate .asf files with Windows Media Player

  3. Greasemonkey - launch Firefox and install the Greasemonkey extension. Then quit and relaunch Firefox.

  4. pkLaunch - install this Greasemonkey script by Pooya Karimian. Thanks Pooya! Now I can watch all the Gwen Stefani music videos I want! (You can stop making fun of me now.)

    Update: Version 0.9 of pkLaunch works fine in Windows but is broken on the Mac - at least it is on my Intel Mac mini. Use the older 0.8.1 version instead.

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Use Windows XP Upgrade Version With Boot Camp

Apple says in their installation guide[pdf] that a full-install Windows XP disc, no upgrade versions, is required for use with Boot Camp. Not entirely true. I was able to use Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2 along with a Windows 98 install disc and an external USB CD-ROM drive.

I followed Apple's instructions as usual, except for the substitution of Windows XP upgrade version. Then when the Windows XP upgrade installer prompted me, I inserted the Windows 98 disc into the external CD-ROM drive. That's the only difference; installation continued as usual.

Note: You can't boot the Windows XP disc from the external CD-ROM drive if it's USB; boot the Windows XP install disc from the internal optical drive. I also actually used an USB to IDE adapter to connect an old CD-ROM drive I had laying around. I found some help at the Windows on the Mac forum at Mac Rumors.


Improvised Amplified Microphone

I tried using a regular headset microphone with my Mac mini and wondered why my voice wasn't being picked up. Then I realized, after reading the Mac mini manual, that the audio input is line-level only. Since I don't have an amplified microphone, I decided to improvise one from an old cassette recorder. It should tide me over until I can get a USB headset.

Improvised Amplified Microphone
click above for photo details

This is what I used:
  • cassette recorder - should have built-in microphone or input jack for external microphone
  • cassette tape - make sure the write-protect tabs are intact or cover the holes with adhesive tape
  • audio cable - 3.5mm (1/8") mini plugs on both ends; plug one end into the earphone jack on the recorder and the other end into the audio input of the Mac

After everything's hooked up, just press the record button on the cassette recorder and start talking into the ghetto amplified microphone.

Note: I actually didn't need the cassette tape. I just wedged a Q-tip into the cassette recorder to depress the write-protect lever.