Show the Precision and Take It Away

CBS News’s video player shows an awful lot of precision when you play with the Play and Pause buttons:

The precision of the length is impeccable
Click for full size

The clip length shows to 14 places to the right of the seconds, but it rounds immediately after displaying. If you work it just right, you can get it to display 0 of NaN.

Why the developer chose to display the real number before performing the rounding, I don’t know. Wait, you’re saying it was unplanned? As though the developer just churned out code without thinking? Say it ain’t so!

But while we’re on the subject, let me tell you some of the things I like to do to these Flash media players.

  • I like to click the Pause button while the the media is still buffering to see if I can actually break the synchronization; that is, whether I can have the Play button display while the clip finishes loading and starts playing. Because then, who knows what will happen when I click Play?
  • Mash those buttons. What happens if I double-click Play? Double-click Pause? Click Play then Pause then All The Way To The End then Stop! You might not know it, but every player has a secret death-move combination that will rip out the spine of whomever is being portrayed and then shake it. I read that on the Internet somewhere; probably the preview mode of this post.
  • Hey, how about that Mute/No Sound icon? Does it show happens when you click it or what it’s doing now? Sometimes, the Birkenstock-loving designer likes to show the speaker with the circle and slash when the thing is already muted; this would be like displaying the Play button when the video is already playing, but enforcing that consistency would be logical, and try explaining that to Geoffrey. Also, do the volume controls actually work?
  • What happens if I run that slider bar all the way left or right? What happens if I wiggle it?
  • Does the player reset to a handy state when the video ends, or does the video just end and all the controls remain the same ( the Pause button remains active instead of reverting to the Play button, the last frame hangs in a state where it looks goofy, such as an important person’s mouth hangs open instead of fading to black or returning to the first frame?
  • What can I do if I right-click?
  • How does it look in Flash 7?
  • Can I alter or manipulate the text of the display inappropriately?
  • Can I otherwise interact by clicking, double-clicking, clicking and dragging, or otherwise manipulating the objects on the screen?

These things are applications like anything else, and you better make sure they work. It also wouldn’t be too much to ask that they not do goofy things.

 

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