No YouTube Videos on Google Chrome v50

After upgrading to Google Chrome version 50 I could hear sound in YouTube videos, but no images/video. At first I thought this was a matter just affecting me. Now I noticed that another machine which I upgraded to Google Chrome v50 also lost the ability to watch video in YouTube. This other machine had a different graphic setup, so the problem was not something related just to my graphic-card configuration. The same problem is true for Chromium. For some time I switched to Firefox, which does not suffer from this hitch.

Luckily I had yet another machine which still had a working Google Chrome v49 browser. I used the very handy fakepkg program written by Gordian Edenhofer to make an Arch package from this v49 installation, see also pacman/Tips and tricks and the bacman command. And voilà, I can now downgrade to a usable Google Chrome version, whenever there is a need:

pacman -U google-chrome-49.0.2623.112-1.pkg.tar.xz

I called

fakepkg google-chrome

which after two minutes generated google-chrome-49.0.2623.112-1.pkg.tar.xz. These two minutes are mostly due to compressing with xz.

Google Chrome is in AUR. I recommend to set

PKGDEST=/var/cache/aur

in /etc/makepkg.conf, so AUR packages are cached, very similar to the “normal” packages.

Use

pacaur -Syu --ignore google-chrome

to ignore updates for Google Chrome, or use IgnorePkg=google-chrome in /etc/pacman.conf, see Skip package from being upgraded.

See also Google Chrome Became a Performance Hog.

Update 04-Jun-2016: Chromium 51.0.2704.63 is fine again, i.e., it shows video.

Importing Calendar Data to Google-Calendar

Importing calendar data to Google is still troublesome for a number of reasons. What seems to work goes like this:

  1. Force-stop calendar app in your Android phone
  2. Clear all calendar data in your Android phone
  3. Shut down your Android phone
  4. Log-off from all other Google accounts
  5. Shut down your browser (I am not sure whether this step is really necessary, but better safe)
  6. Fire up your browser once again and log-in to Google
  7. Import your data, see screenshot below (I use the iCalendar format)

importCal1

Continue reading

Google Chrome Became a Performance Hog

I own a single-core laptop with 1 GB of memory. Google Chrome version 34 for Linux 64 bit (ArchLinux) is completely unusable on this machine. I own another single-core laptop with 512 MB of memory. Google Chrome version 12 for 32 bit (Ubuntu 10.04) works just fine on this machine. Both machines are considered somewhat old and underpowered according todays standard. Nevertheless they should be able to browse the web at least as fast as any smartphone or tablet.

As has already been said in other posts (here and here): Newer is not better.

I checked my old downloads: I have copies of Google Chrome 64 bit Debian packages which have size 13 MB in 2010. At end of 2011 it climbed to 24 MB, in 2012 to 36 MB, in 2013 to 43 MB. Now Chrome 64 bit Debian packages are 49 MB. This tremendous increase cannot be explained by security fixes.

ChromeFatter

See Blackduck: Google Chrome for a lines-of-codes against time chart.
GoogleChromeLOC1

On that occasion I searched for alternatives which can replace Google Chrome and its memory obesity. Two possible contenders might be QupZilla and Midori. QupZilla just worked out of the box, while Midori crashed repeatedly on Ubuntu 14.04. Unfortunately I did not get Flash to work with QupZilla. i.e., no YouTube with QupZilla.

Ignoring Security Certificate Errors in Google Chrome

Unfortunately Google gets quite draconian to users: When using Google Chrome to surf a web page with a certificate problem you simply cannot view the web-site. There is no dialog, where you can say: It’s o.k., I accept the risk. This behaviour occurs at least with versions 31.0.1650.63 and 32.0.1700.77.

If you want to view web-sites with certificate problems you have to start Google Chrome like this

google-chrome --ignore-certificate-errors

More command-line arguments for Chrome can be found here: List of Chromium Command Line Switches.

One prominent example for a web-site with a certificate problem is Intel. Intel is able to power the world’s most powerful computer, Tianhe-2, with more than 3 million cores, but they are not able to get their web-site right.

Addendum 23-Mar-2014: Google Chrome 33.0.1750.152 fixed the issue. Now it is possible to say: “Proceed anyway”, and therefore accept the risk and proceed with an invalid certificate.

Google Earth Used to Reunite Australian Boy With His Indian Mother

Saroo Brierley used Google Earth to find his lost mother in India after more than 25 years of separation. When Saroo was 5 years old he wrongly took a train to Calcutta near from his home-town which was more than 1,500 km away. In Calcutta he was adopted by an Australian couple. It is amazing what can be found out by technology like Google Earth in the hands of ordinary people. Saroo Brierley spent hours looking at satellite imagery.

Saroo Brierley wrote a book “A Long Way Home” on this which unfortunately is not directly available in Germany.
Saroo Brierley

Google used this story for an advertisement of Google Earth.

Saroo Brierley also held a speech at Google Zeitgeist Americas 2013.

A good summary can be found in Huffington Post.