BBC iPlayer greasemonkey script update v2.0

I’ve taken the liberty to rewrite the greasemonkey script to handle the new iPlayer layout. I’ve taken a different approach to this by injecting a stylesheet inline and toggling it on. Various videos did not have the ‘Pop-out’ player option, so I’ve added a button to enable/disable this feature in the top-right TV favourites panel. I’m sure most of you will find this works well enough to not use the pop-out option!

Install/update greasemonkey, install/update the iplayer script, browse to iPlayer, choose a film, toggle it on, and press F11 to set your browser to full screen 🙂

I have only tested this in FF3.6 but assuming xPath support is consistant among Firefox versions it should work as long as you have greasemonkey installed.

@See the original post.

Using your phone as a modem via bluetooth

Anyone ever have issues with not finding a decent WiFi connection? Anyone else can’t be bothered to shell out for those mobile broadband USB dongle adapters plus the associated 15 odd quid contract just to be able to go online on the go without wifi away from home or work? Me neither!

I thought about connecting online through the phone in the past, but there was a need to carry around a USB cable plus the needing to install a CD full of software to do so – kind of uselss if you don’t have the CD on you when you need it.

There is a way however; I found this sometime back whilst searching for a way to connect wirelessly online on my laptop without needing to install the 100-odd MB of software that Sony Ericsson seems to demand. Without access to a decent WiFi connection, the alternative was the phone browser – but who wants to browse the full web via a phone browser?! Opera Mini does the job for short runs, but a computer screen wins hands down if I have the choice.

I will tell you how.

I’ve managed to get this working successfully on my sister’s Lenovo, and my Vaio laptop – both had bluetooth built in (YMMV), with three different phones – a SE P1i, SE C905, and a Nokia 6500 slide, so it is definitely not an isolated ability – AFAIK it is part of some GSM standard. Don’t count on iPhones being able to do this though (correct me if I am wrong though).

Now, first thing to do is to pair up the phone with your computer. The Dial-up networking service will have to be enabled for that bluetooth connection; again YMMV – in my case, I just checked a few boxes.

Once that’s sorted, this is where the magic lies: you create a new Dial-Up Connection:

  • With XP, this is achieved by going to the Network Connections, and clicking on Create a new connection in the task panel. The New Connection dialog pops up – follow this with “Connect to the Internet”, “Set up my connection manually”, “Connect using a dial-up modem”
  • on Vista, open up the Network and Sharing Center window, then click on ‘Set up a connection or network’ in the Task panel. Again, a dialog should appear with the ‘Set up a dial-up connection’ in the list somewhere. Select this.

A list of possible dial-up devices should appear. If the bluetooth pairing was setup properly, you should see a ‘Standard Modem over Bluetooth link’ or some variation of this. If you’ve paired multiple phones, then there might be more entries. Once you’ve got the right connection for your phone, proceed through the wizard.

The only detail you need to enter here is the phone number for this connection. Username and password does not matter AFAIK – I personally leave it blank – but the connection name should be meaningful.

This is the important part: the telephone number should be in this format: *99***x#  where x is the number that corresponds to the data account ID. Normally I try *99***2# first, then *99***3#  as these seem to correspond to Orange’s GPRS  / Internet accounts – *99***1# is usually the MMS account on my phones, but it might be the internet on yours.

This is a special number that the phone would recognise as a command to connect to the data accounts.

Once that’s set up, test dial it – Windows should confirm with you if it was successfully or not. Quick google test should confirm everything afterwards.

Obviously, running with 3G enabled is much nicer, but old phones or tariffs with 2.5G GPRS only can still do it, albeit at speeds harking back to the days of actual dial up modems. Pair this up with a Three £5/month phone internet add on, and that’s a new mobile road warrior in the making!

*unfortunately for me, I don’t have a spare unlocked 3G-enabled phone since my P1 was stolen. Such is life when you find a good thing, and it slaps you back in the face with a taunt.

BBC iPlayer greasemonkey script

I use the BBC iPlayer. Every so often. It’s pretty good.

Only problem on my system is that the iPlayer does not like staying fullscreened on one monitor if I need to use the other screen (same issue with all other flash viewers it seems). Next best alternative is to view the video in the pop-out window; unfortunately, the window is rather small. Rather than try to fix the fullscreen issue, I found that adjusting the flash object dimensions manually did the trick. This does get rather tedious, but luckily, I have Greasemonkey installed.

Writing this was quite straightforward: this is a simple script which resizes the pop-out window to a nice size (HD-ready view of 1280×720), and allows you to resize the player by resizing the window (big criticism of the default behaviour).The bulk of the code is along these lines:

player.width = 1280;
player.height = 834;    // 720 + 114px of iPlayer chrome
resizeToPlayer(player);    //window.resizeTo(1286,916)
window.addEventListener('resize', function() { resizeToWindow(player); }, true);

Install Greasemonkey if not already (Firefox only), and install this script from the page.

Article links for today

Some random stuff I’ve I’ve been reading (and watching):

  • Gridlock economy – how too much use (or individual control) over a resource stifles progression (in the sense of innovation, money and mutually beneficial rewards). The speaker, Michael Heller, calls this the tragedy of the anti-commons. This reminds me of an issue a friend’s extended family is having with a land deed in his village in Hong Kong: a patch of land is to be subdivided between the surviving descendants; however one of the families involved is disputing the process, and as the law requires all parties involved to agree, no one benefits from any land at all. I will probably buy the book.
  • The dramatic effect of a firm nudge ( – why subtle encouragement is a win-win approach to social issues, rather than resorting to harsh slaps and bans.
  • Red One: Ultra Hi-Def camcorder (via wired). Check out the video in that article. Look at the other videos in the play list. Marvel at the details that you would normally get from a 12 megapixel DSLR camera, but played back at 24fps. Beautiful.
  • Segway inventor Dean Kamen with his water-purifying machine on the Colbert Report (via wired). A machine that can filter water out of any dodgy water source! That will be pretty useful if London’s desalination plant doesn’t hold up…
  • Finally, the new Jquery website design. And wow, the rock star image didn’t last long did it? I thought it was a very bold step, but too bold for some it seems!