Insufficiently Random

The lonely musings of a loosely connected software developer.

Friday, November 25, 2005

When Did Microsoft Break The Web?

I'm taking a distance learning type course this semester, so every lecture is video taped and put on the web. This is a great resource as it means that you can go back and review any segement of lecture at any time of day or night when you need to. With an exam coming up on Tuesday its very useful. I wish all of my classes were like this.

But... the files are posted on the web as Microsoft Windows Media Player streams or something like that... which means the media file linked to by the index page is actually a small (5 line) XML file which has HTTP urls to another site, which if you fetch one of those URLs is just a plain text file of 2 lines long... so I can't download the videos onto my laptop, and even if I figure out how to get the actual video file its a rather convoluted process. *sigh*

But it would be nice to download the videos as I'll be away from a network connection all weekend but would still like to have the lectures available to me. So now those of us who don't have network access this weekend won't have access to the lectures, while those of us who can keep their broadband network access (or are physically nearby to campus and can just walk/drive over to campus to review them) have an advantage. *sigh* Thanks Microsoft. I'm sure the guy who thought up this round-about why to describe a video file is quite proud of himself. He probably got a few extra thousand dollars bonus money one year, and the rest of us get to suffer with a web of links which don't work with conventional tools (e.g. Safari, Firefox, curl, wget, ...).


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