An Announcement of Nuisance

Dropbox has decided to dick with me.

Dropbox (where most of my audio files are hosted) has disabled the Public Folder feature. Most of my audio links no longer work. To get them working again, I'll need to generate a new public link for each audio file. Because that link won't be the same as the one generated automatically by the now-defunct Public Folder feature, I am then going to have to edit every single page that links to the recording, and manually replace the old URL with the new one. Over and over and over again. Not countless times though. No, the times are countable. In order to make sure all my links to audio recordings don't lead to an error message, I will have to repeat this process 512 times. Roughly the number of strokes made daily by a lonely monkey masturbating while trapped in a Viagra factory.

So, since I'm going to have to update the code of every single page of mine with audio content anyway, I've decided to go ahead and more thoroughly update my coding by replacing the audio links with audio players.

When I first started including audio files with some of my translations a decade ago, there was no convenient, reliable and wrinkle-free way to embed a player directly into a blog page which would run on all browsers without having to rely on third party apps or plugins, or having server freedom of a kind which blogspot just wouldn't allow. I experimented briefly with Yahoo Media Player, and while it worked for most users, in many ways it was still an absolute disaster, not least because made pages load about a hundred times slower. So I stuck with the crude but reliable solution of simply providing a raw HTML link to an MP3 file, and leaving it up to the browser to handle the rest. If your browser couldn't handle the MP3 file natively, odds were close to 100% that you had something on your computer with the codec bundled. If you didn't, then fucking download VLC at least for chrissake.

But HTML5 — which includes support for the <audio> tag — was finalized two years ago now. It's probably time I got with it. Due to some differences of opinion over what the base format for the <audio> tag should be (whether a proprietary codec format like Mp3, or the free but less widely-used Ogg), there still isn't any universally supported format for HTML5 audio. Support for MP3s in Firefox and Opera is OS-dependent, meaning that users running Linux or a version of OSX older than 10.7 using these browsers wouldn't be able to play the audio in this format. So basically I'm biting an even bigger bullet, and exporting two formats for use in the player depending on browser. Hopefully this should work.

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