Why you cannot watch Russian meteor videos with Windows 8

Windows 8 frustrates users – Windows 8 users are restricted when watching YouTube and other Flash videos

Meteor streaks across Russian city in Ural Mountains, injuring 1,100

Friday February 15th was supposed to be a near-miss for the asteroid hitting the earth.

Instead of an asteroid, a giant meteorite slammed into the atmosphere over the Russian skies injuring more than 1,100 people.

Russians were posting dash-cam and smartphone videos of the event almost as soon as it happened.  

If you are using Windows 8 “Modern”, you cannot watch those videos.

For its own bizarre reasons Microsoft has blocked Windows 8 from showing Adobe Flash videos in the “Modern” aka Metro interface.

I kept clicking on sites like NBC News, their Windows 8 app, Reuters news, and BBC to watch the videos but they would not work. Even the official YouTube app for Windows 8 was not allowed to show the video. There was a hidden option to show the video in the browser which finally worked. My question is simple: why do users have to click-through to several apps and sites to just watch a video.

YouTube Player app with blank screen trying to stream Russian Meteor video

Steve Jobs made the same user-unfriendly decision when he shipped the iPad – no Flash videos despite the fact that most of the world including YouTube used Flash to stream videos.

Microsoft allows Flash videos to stream from some sites. If you get lucky and find an approved site, things work. Otherwise, you are left to click around until you find the right combination of app, browser.

Avoid Windows Modern interface

The solution is to avoid Modern (Metro) altogether and use the Windows 8 Desktop and a browser like Chrome.

Sometimes you can’t help it. If you click and email link in Outlook, Internet Explorer will be the default browser. In that case, it’s hit or miss of the video will stream.

Why would Microsoft create a confusing user experience in Windows 8?

There are tweaks to work around the Microsoft restrictions but why should users be trying to re-work the registry. Microsoft has an official explanation of “controlling the user experience” which is double-speak for most users. They give an even longer explanation for things a user can do to “fix” their design issues. Troubleshoot video problems when using Internet Explorer

The problem is not with the technical information but with the technical efforts users have to exert to overcome the design mistakes in Windows 8.

Windows 8 is not easier to use: it’s harder than Windows 7. Users have to remember where they – Desktop or Modern – to interact with the internet and video.

Surely Microsoft could do a better job.

Russian Meteor Videos

LiveLeak has some of the best untouched videos of the meteor explosion. The sonic boom and chaos at the factory is amazing.

For more videos check out the LiveLeak channel dedicated to the Russian meteor.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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