Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mac vs PC - Unique Problem with Youtube - Update

Just a little more on the whole Mac vs. PC controversy. I like to embed video in my blogs, and most of the good stuff comes from YouTube. Over the last several months, I have been getting the following dreaded error:

Hello, you either have JavaScript turned off or an old version of Macromedia's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.

All browsers I used, Chrome, Firefox or IE, would show the same error. No matter how many times I reloaded javascript or Adobe's Flash player and plug-ins, this would bedevil me. I finally found a link that suggested I look at my ad blocking software. I uses LavaSoft's Ad-Aware. When I "unloaded" the software, lo and behold, I could once agains play videos on youtube. (By way of accuracy, I could always play YouTube videos embedded on other sites, just never on the YouTube site itself.) I then re-loaded the software, and after some initial difficulties with the load, everything is working great. (The technical detail is to help anyone else with the same issue and I know I am not the only one.)

But it begs the broader question. Why do I have anti-spyware software in the first place? This is because Windows is more susceptible to malware than a Mac. I need anti-spyware, antivirus and separate firewall software to keep my computer safe. Sometimes they don't play nicely with Windows or each other. (Last year a Windows XP upgrade trashed ZoneAlarm for instance.) In my corporate environment, we now have the following products all running together:
  • Managed Antivirus (from Symantec)
  • Host Based Security System (ePolicy Orchestrator from McAfee)
  • Windows Server Update Services
  • Data at Rest encryption
The complexity of managing the separate systems means that the support costs for Windows dwarfs that of a Mac. Support costs for Windows in a research environment can run up to $1000 per year per machine more. Something to think about in one's total cost of ownership calculation.


Well for no reason that I can figure out, my problem with YouTube returned. Unloading the Ad-Aware as before did not fix the problem this time. How maddening.


  1. I don't think thats exactly a bug, B-daddy... Youtube makes its money off of ads; it is in their interest to try to make sure you can't watch things on youtube while blocking the ads.

    Grats, you hacked youtube's countermeasures. ^.^

    Alternatively, it could simply be that there's not a lot of program difference between a video of someone telling you to buy gold and of cats chasing a pointer....

    Just to make it worse, you could have gone through youtube's help thingie, which tells you to check adobe, enable JavaScript, check the adobe version... and disable your ad-blockers.

    I offer a counter-example of Apple's ease of use: evil designers.

  2. Foxie, you make a good point about the ad-blocking software. I think what gave me trouble is that my software, despite it's name is actually anti-spyware. It is not intended to block ads per se. Further, reloading the Lavasoft program allowed YouTube to work correctly.
    Thanks for the link on Apple's ease of use issues, however, I believe the problem is with the DigiPhoto software, not with the Mac.
    All computers have their issues, my point is that the vulnerabilities of Windows causes and extra layer of complication that you don't see with the Mac.

  3. Ah, but the Lavasoft program was also a problem from software, not the PC.

    One of the big selling points of Macs is supposed to be their higher quality programs, since they are limited for security-- just as a PC's counter-point is that just about anyone can write programs for it. (Obvious downside being...well, anyone can, etc.)

    Macs *are* suggested to have spyware blockers--there's even one provided on the site.

    I find both complicated, but I can do more with a PC-- so I stick with that. (same way I prefer the good-for-most-anything minivan outside to an expensive, nifty but useless for most anything not speeding sports car)