Viewing and Controlling Flash Content For The 10 Feet Experience

The Lack of Keyboard Shortcuts for the Flash Player

A notable application that could benefit from better keyboard shortcuts is the Flash player. Video content web sites mostly use flash players and so are ideal candidates for viewing from your sofa. However these flash players commonly suffer from the problem of not having keyboard shortcuts, making them hard or impossible to navigate using just the remote control. For security reasons the Flash player cannot be started automatically in fullscreen mode but why not provide a keyboard shortcut to provide a way to make the player full-size? some Flash players allow the tab key to move between buttons (http://finetune.com/wii, http://bbc.co.uk/iplayer/bigscreen) but this is not universal. The lack of a complete set of keyboard shortcuts for flash players prevents easy navigation using a remote control.

It is possible to use the remote control to guide the mouse, allowing you to select the Flash player buttons from the ten foot distance without keyboard or mouse. The following sections show how this can be accomplished

Cursor Control Using a Remote Control with Linux OS

The lircmd daemon from LIRC provides a mechanism to move the mouse cursor using the arrow keys of the remote control, pressing Ok on the remote can be the same as a clicking the left mouse button. With the first press of the arrow key the cursor only moves a small amount but holding the same key down accelerates the mouse movement across the TV screen. This allows fine control to select smaller details on the web page (or flash player) whilst still being able to cover large distances on the screen with ease.

If you need to start the lircmd daemon at boot time then add the following to a HAL .fdi file "/usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/30user/10-lirc_mouse.fdi"

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<deviceinfo version="0.2">
<device>
<match key="info.udi"
string="/org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/usb_device_471_815_PH00WHBx_if0">
<merge key="info.category" type="string">input</merge>
<merge key="info.capabilities" type="strlist">input</merge>
<append key="info.capabilities" type="strlist">input.mouse</append>
<merge key="input.device" type="string">/var/run/lirc/lircm</merge>
<merge key="linux.device_file" type="string">/var/run/lirc/lircm</merge>
<merge key="linux.x11_options.Device" type="string">/var/run/lirc/lircm</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_driver" type="string">mouse</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_options.Protocol" type="string">IntelliMouse</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_options.Buttons" type="string">5</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_options.ZAxisMapping" type="string">4 5</merge>
<merge key="input.x11_options.SendCoreEvents" type="string">true</merge>
</match>
</device>
</deviceinfo>

On reboot of the system the /var/log/Xorg.0.log will show an error (EE) that "/var/run/lirc/lircm" does not exist and so infrared mouse capability is removed. To fix this, configure lircmd to start at system boot by adding the line "ENABLE_LIRCMD=yes" to the "/etc/sysconfig/lirc" file

Cursor Control Using a Remote Control with Windows OS

Flash on Linux

Video streaming using the Flash player on Linux has improved signifcantly with the release 10.1. Prior to 10.1 some streaming sites did not play at all or suffered from stuttering and horizontal tearing of the images, this may have been due to the need for a plugin wrapper. However in 10.1 no plugin wrapper is needed although the Flash player still takes up all the available CPU, at least in 32bit version. Sadly around mid-June 2010 Adobe withdrew availability of the 64bit version of 10.1 due to secuirty concerns, the 64bit version used significantly less CPU power.

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