Category Archives: Firefox

How to Remove the Chat Widget While Watching NASCAR RaceBuddy or Media Center

If you’re like me, you could probably careless about the social media chat widget thing that is to the right of the NASCAR RaceBuddy and/or Media Center video streams. I do my chatting in a separate Twitter tab within the browser or a separate Twitter application such as TweetDeck. Not only is the chat in these widgets less than desirable at times, but it also seems to cause the video streams to constantly lag and start/stop when the chat widget updates and scrolls items down/up. This is the primary reason I decided to see if I could stop the chat widget from loading in the browser. You can always move or resize the browser window to hide it if that’s all you want to do.

My main browser is Firefox (version 10.0.2 as of this writing) within Windows XP Home/SP3 and this is what I did: After poking around in the source code for the page, I found a JavaScript file being loaded that most likely handled the chat widget. Using Adblock Plus, I added a custom Ad Blocking filter to block ||cdn.gigya.com/JS/socialize.js from loading. This is what the Adblock Plus Filter Preferences dialog should look like after adding the filter:

AdBlockPlus Filter Preferences

Success! No more chat widget on those pages and the video was much smoother afterwards. Note: this will affect any webpage that uses the same script to display a similar chat widget.

I haven’t tried it yet but I suspect adding an entry to the Windows’ HOSTS file for cdn.gigya.com to point to 127.0.0.1 would have the same effect and would prevent all browsers from showing the chat widget (or anything else associated with that sub-domain).

My plea to NASCAR.COM and TrackPass (RaceView) Developers

It’s probably a good thing I waited until today to write this; otherwise, it would have been full of many colorful words. 🙂 This is a follow-up to my last post. I tried to run NASCAR.COM’s RaceView during the Michigan race this past Sunday and all I got was either a window with “loading” at the bottom or just a solid white window. This occurred in both Firefox and Internet Explorer. I opened up the Java console in both Firefox and IE and it just had a Java error of a Null pointer assignment:

java.lang.NullPointerException
 at com.sun.opengl.util.JOGLAppletLauncher.start(JOGLAppletLauncher.java:385)
 at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager$AppletExecutionRunnable.run(Unknown Source)
 at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)
Exception: java.lang.NullPointerException

Yes, I did try to reload several times. So I gave up and just started PitCommand to listen to Dale Jr’s audio. I did have to start it in IE first before the audio would work in Firefox and I just didn’t care to investigate this further. I was frustrated and missing the race. Before you ask, I do meet their minimum system requirements.

Now, I don’t mind troubleshooting problems; however, I do not want to do it during the actual race! It totally ruins the fan’s experience. How can you expect fans to search knowledge bases and forums, reinstall Java, plug-ins, audio and video drivers, and do whatever else might be potentially involved? It boggles my mind that there isn’t a race simulator that we can test these applications with during the week. If I was a NASCAR website/TrackPass developer I’d scream for this. I am quite sure the website team has no desire to fix the software during races either (I only hope they at least have some internal system to do this). Normally I wouldn’t give a flying fruitcake about it, but I am paying more for TrackPass than I am for my webhosting here that my blog, among several other sites, is on. The IndyCar RaceControl works (yes, they do loose timing and scoring sometimes but that’s an issue at their end when it happens) and it’s free.

This will probably be my last season to subscribe to RaceView. If the preview works during next year’s Daytona 500 then I might reconsider; otherwise, I’ll just stick with the scanner.

I welcome any comments about other’s experiences and how you got it to work, if you did.

Getting NASCAR PitCommand audio working in Firefox

(If you’re having problems with RaceView, you might want to check out this post: Getting NASCAR RaceView Working with Internet Explorer 8)

During Sunday’s NASCAR race I was trying to get the audio working in NASCAR.COM’s PitCommand using Firefox (version 3.6.8 at the time). No such luck, even after disabling AdBlock Plus and enabling 3rd party cookies. So, I decided to try it in Internet Explorer 8. Naturally, it worked just fine. I tried it again in Firefox, and it worked! Hmm.. what’s going on here?

I knew that the audio stream was being handled by Windows Media Player since it was using the .ASX extension. I did have the Windows Media Player plug-in for Firefox installed. There’s an article at mozillaZine which gives information about it. In fact, my MIDI page is designed to work with it. Since it only worked after I tried it in Internet Explorer, I figured it must have triggered something or saved something into Temporary Internet Files that allowed it to then work in Firefox. Since WMP is a Microsoft program, it stores its files in IE’s Temporary Internet Files directory. So, I deleted the Temporary Internet Files using the Internet Explorer Control Panel applet. The audio quit working with PitCommand in Firefox again. I launched PitCommand in IE which worked and closed IE. The audio started working in Firefox. At this point I restarted Windows and went to Firefox first thing and the PitCommand audio worked.

It seems that some Javascript or other file that gets saved to Temporary Internet Files when using IE is letting the WMP Firefox plug-in to play the audio in this specific case. This leads me to believe that the code on NASCAR.COM’s site might be doing different things based on the browser it detects. Because I was sick of troubleshooting and missing the race I stopped here.

NASCAR.COM really needs to have a fake race stream during the week so that all of us, and them, can work on software issues then and not during the actual race! Who wants to do that? I also tried RaceView but it wouldn’t work in either Firefox or IE. I just got a blank page with a Java error on it. Early this morning I got a Java update (version 6, update 21) but I won’t be able to test that out till the next cup race.  😕

How I got NASCAR RaceBuddy working in Firefox.

Update July 14, 2012: Thought I should mention that the issues I had below were under Windows XP Home/SP3. Currently, I have a completely new system running Windows 7 Pro/SP1 64-bit (hardware specs) with Firefox 13.0.1 and Adobe Flash 11.3.300.265 with Protected Mode enabled. I’ve never had a problem with RaceBuddy not working other than the Flash plug-in crashing once or twice; however, during some races, like today’s Nationwide race, no issues. This and the previous two versions of Flash have caused some grief amongst some users just watching normal videos in Firefox, Chrome, and even IE but nothing specific to just RaceBuddy.


During the NASCAR Truck race on Friday, NASCAR.COM made TruckBuddy available.  It was very similar to RaceBuddy they had last year during the TNT races. You get a choice of several live video feeds along with a mosaic feed of 4 video streams at once and a live chat feature.

Problem:

When I first tried it with Firefox (version 3.6 or 3.6.2), the video portion did not work and the live chat portion on the right side would not work properly either. It would let me attempt to login via Twitter and provided the typical Twitter Allow/Deny Connection authorization window; however, upon returning to the application it did nothing and acted like I had never logged in.

Solution:

I solved the video problem by disabling Adblock Plus on the NASCAR.COM site. Apparently, if the video advertisement does not play first, then nothing else will or at least problematically.

I solved the chat problem by enabling 3rd-party cookies which I have disabled by default (Tools -> Options -> Privacy). Upon further examination, I could disable 3rd-party cookies again if I gave exceptions to the following:

  • gigya.com
  • livechat.gigya.com
  • socialize.gigya.com

After the race was over, I re-enabled Adblock Plus for NASCAR.COM :). Hopefully this helps anyone else trying to get RaceBuddy working with Firefox should they have it again.

How I got LongURL Mobile Expander 2.0.0 to Show Tooltips Again.

After updating to LongURL Mobile Expander v2.0.0 it stopped showing Tooltips with the destination when I would move the mouse over a short URL. I would also get “current domain is NULL” errors when browsing locally (I have a local copy of Apache installed for development). The problem existed in both Firefox 3.0.11 and 3.5.

I got it working after seeing a comment here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/8636 so all the credit goes to Matthias Jansen.

Edit the file: C:\Documents and Settings\(user)\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\(your profile)\extensions\{a7101e54-830c-4d33-a3ed-bedc17ec44da}\content\longurlmobileexpander.js

I am using Windows XP so your location might be different.

Around line 79, change

var current_domain = document.location.href.match(/^https?:\/\/(?:www\.)?([^\.]+\.[^\/]+)/i);

To:

var current_domain = document.location.href.match(/^https?:\/\/(?:www\.)?([^\.]+(\.[^\/]+)?)/i);

Update: I’ve been told here that the following change is also needed. Around line 89, change

if ((domain !== current_domain[1]) && (typeof(this.known_services[domain]) !== 'undefined')) {

To:

if ((current_domain != null) && (domain !== current_domain[1]) && (typeof(this.known_services[domain]) !== 'undefined')) {

After doing this and re-enabling the extension.. it started working. I can now see the tooltip pop-ups and it’s supposed to fix the current_domain is null problem. Hopefully this will help anyone else that ran into this issue. 🙂