Tech tips and help

All of our streams should be viewable on computers and devices, although you may need to download an app or enable a plug-in to watch. The questions below address some of the most common problems watchers have.


Device and Computer Issues

Devices

Can I watch the Decorah Eagles on my phone, tablet, or iDevice?
You can! I strongly suggest downloading the Ustream app. Go to your device’s store, wherever it is located, and search for Ustream. Download and install the free app and start watching!

The Ustream app provides a much better viewing experience than a device’s browser. I have watched our streams on an android phone, an iPhone, and an iPad. Ustream dropped support for the Kindle Fire, but you can watch the stream in a browser.

Computers

I can’t view the video stream/I can’t participate in chat!

The first two steps are pretty straightforward:

If that didn’t work, make sure Flash is enabled for your browser!

Enabling plug-ins for individual websites 

If enabling Flash per the instructions above didn’t work, you probably have to enable them for specific websites. look for an icon with a small red x through it in the upper right corner of your address bar (Chrome), or a grey ‘lego’ piece to the left of your icon in Firefox.

A blocked plugin icon in Chrome

Firefox Flash plugin icon

A plug-in icon in firefox

To enable the plug-in for a given website:

Step one: Click on the red puzzle piece or grey lego icon to pull up the Flash/Shockwave tool.

Step two: Click ‘Always allow plugins on raptorresource.org’ (or ‘ustream.tv’, or wherever you are trying to watch.

Step three: Click ‘Manage plugin blocking…” and enter a hostname pattern in the hostname pattern box! Your patterns are:

  • [*.]raptorresource.org for our website, raptorresource.org
  • [*.]ustream.tv for Ustream’s website, ustream.tv

Giving the Flash plugin permission to run on our site only, steps one and two!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Site rule for unblocking flash plugin

Giving the Flash plugin permission to run on our site only, step three!

 

 

You may have to close and re-open the browser tab or refresh the page to get it to work.

If none of this works, take a look at Adobe’s website: https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/enabling-flash-player-firefox.html

If that doesn’t work, your browser might be serving content via https. Do you see an icon that looks somewhat like a shield? It could be on the right or the left of the address bar.

Mixed content warning. Our stream is served via http, not https

Click the shield to allow http content on raptorresource.org or replace https with http in the address bar. Either should work.

If that doesn’t work, try clearing your Flash cookies. These locally stored objects weren’t removed when you cleared your cache. To clear them, follow this link. Once you have reached the Flash Player help page, click the Delete All Sites button, followed by the Confirm button. Close the browser, re-open the browser, and try again.

If none of these steps work, you may have a more complicated problem.

  • Are you using Net Nanny or a similar piece of software to mediate online interactions between your family or students and the internet? Check the settings to make sure they allow participation.

Back in 2015, Ustream changed their video player from Flash to HTML5, although the video stream itself is still presented via Flash in the desktop environment in some situations. On balance, the move towards HTML5 is a very good thing, but it has caused temporary problems for some users.

HTML 5.0 was released in 2014. Those of you with browsers older than that (for example, AOL Explorer) should still be able to watch the Flash-based stream but will have lost player features like share, embed, and the ability to chose your viewing resolution. I encourage you to upgrade to a newer browser. My two favorites are Chrome and Firefox, but any modern browser should work.

Those of you with newer browsers may be experiencing the plug-in issues discussed above. While the transition from Flash to other methods of animation is a good thing for a lot of reasons, it hasn’t been easy. Here is an Wired article (from 2015!) on the issue for anyone who cares to read more about it.


Choppy Stream and Stream Quality Issues

The stream is super-choppy and I’m getting the blue circle of death. Why?
There could be more than one reason for that:

Bandwidth: At my house, a choppy stream is usually due to low bandwidth, especially during evenings and weekends. As shown in the image below, the Ustream player allows you to manually select the resolution that best meets your bandwidth. Click the HD button just below the stream to access your options. Drop it down to 360 or even 240p to reduce bandwidth consumption, or throw caution to the wind and see if you can stream at 720p or 1080p!

Ustream Player

Hardware Acceleration: Thanks to 7streetoak for this tip! Browser-based hardware acceleration can impact stream quality. If it is on, try disabling it.

Ad-Blockers: We have had reports that ad-blockers are impeding stream performance at Ustream, including AdMuncher and Ad-Block Plus. Try disabling them on ustream.tv or raptorresource.org and see if that impacts performance. Fair AdBlocker users are not experiencing problems that we know of, but that could change. If you have an ad-blocker and are experiencing problems, try disabling it on the ustream.tv domain to see if that helps. Ustream offers a premium ads-free membership for $3.99 a month. Click here to learn more. It is a good deal and we recommend it!


Facebook Issues

I follow you on Facebook, but I’m not getting your notifications and posts. Why?
Facebook NotificationsWe’re hearing from Facebook fans whose news feed is not showing our Facebook page, even though they liked it. Make sure per the image at right that you are signed up to receive notifications in your newsfeed. If you are, comment on one of our threads – even with just one word! – and we’ll be back in your news feed. Keep commenting and sharing pictures and posts to keep seeing us. Facebook algorithms no longer show content that people don’t interact with, as documented here: http://bit.ly/1JLx5D5 and here: http://slate.me/1ReLjWx. Of course, the articles don’t talk about Facebook’s dirty little secret – bots that pretend to be real people. Limiting your news feed to things you are interacting with makes your feed more rewarding and reduces your changes of encountering a bot that scams you, gives you malware, or locks up your hard drive.

This SUPER-ANNOYING Facebook pop-up won’t let me see your page unless I have a Facebook page too! It didn’t used to be that way…
The all-caps annoyed person is me. I am ALL-CAPS ANNOYED that Facebook is spamming people with a register screen if they aren’t logged into Facebook. This is a new thing and not something we have control over, although we did file a ticket with Facebook to complain (in a polite non-caps way). We are a business page and as such are supposed to be available to the public, Facebook or not.

To block the pop-up, add adblockplus to your browser if you don’t already have it. (Note: I recommend really limiting where adblockplus is enabled. As mentioned above, it appears to impede content delivery on Ustream and many other sites). Ad-block currently has a version for all of the big browsers used on standard Macs and PCs. Add these two lines to your filter:
www.facebook.com#dialog_0
www.facebook.com###pagelet_growth_expanding_cta

Don’t know how to add filters? Check this tutorial out: https://adblockplus.org/getting_started#add-subscription. This will not remove the option to register or login at the top of the page, but it will stop the pop-up from covering the page.

If you aren’t interested in blocking the pop-up, you can reduce it. Try pressing the escape key when it pops up. If it doesn’t go away, click the x on the right-hand side to reduce it (outlined inside the red circle below). We will also be posting news and video round-ups on this website.

Image of non ADA-compliant Facebook pop-up

The ‘X’ is non-ADA compliant for contrast, which is why it is so hard to see. We made sure to notify Facebook of this problem as well.


Miscellaneous Ustream Issues

I hate ads! Can I get rid of them?
You can! Ustream runs ads to offset the cost of providing the stream. However, they have an ads-free premium membership option that costs just $3.99 per month. Click here to learn more.

I’m okay with ads overall, but I’m not okay with THAT ad!
Ustream ads are supposed to be family-friendly – they shouldn’t contain foul language, sexual content, nudity or near-nudity, and so on. If you see an ad that contains problem content, please let them know (you can let us know, too). To let Ustream know, file a ticket here. To let us know, email amy@raptorresource.org. Both of us will want to know what time you saw the ad, what stream you were watching, and what the ad was for. This information will help Ustream trace down ne’er do wells who are breaking the terms of their CDN contract.

We hope you enjoy watching this year!