Increasing audibility of streaming audio on Mac OS X
I don’t think I know any Mac user who has ever complained about audio streams being inaudible on their computers. Maybe I have too much ear wax covering my ear drums. Anyway, since I’m possibly the only one facing this problem, what I do is I simply bump the volume to 150% or more on VLC(it lets me go all the way up to 1200% if I want to). Problem solved for all the audio and video that I have saved on my computer. But what do I do for the video that loads on sites that use Flash player(unfortunately, a whole lot of them)? I play it with VLC, of course!
Because of the weird behavior of Flash player on Safari, all the content I stream seems to vanish from its cache folder the moment I see it finish playing the first time. This is a pain because I’ll be forced to download the video all over again if I liked it the first time. In the beginning, I just ignored the problem. But then I just started downloading the video instead of letting Flash player save it and purge it later. This is easy - I find the page where the video is loading on my Activity window and double click on the stream to download it. Then I simply close the window where the Flash player is busy downloading the file to cache. I don’t know how this works on other browsers, but when I download a file using Safari it’s placed inside a package in my Downloads folder. To locate the package, I just right click on it’s icon in my Downloads window and click on ‘Show in Finder’. After the Finder window pops open with the package selected, it’s very simple to see its contents - right clicking on the package and clicking on 'Show Package Contents’ does the trick. I always see two files inside the package - a plist file and the file that I’m downloading. If that file is the one I would like to stream, I just open it with VLC and watch the video while I’m downloading it. Since this plays like everything else does, I can use all the advanced controls that I normally enable. For me, it’s mainly the volume boost. But I sometimes also play around with the crop and aspect ratio options.
I mentioned that Flash behaves this way on Safari and a few other browsers. But Firefox still lets me access these files from its cache folders. So why shouldn’t I use Firefox? The main reason - I prefer Safari over other browsers and I don’t want to open another web browser just for this. The other reason would be that it’s extremely difficult to sift out garbage files from my cache folder and find the one I need. Since there are usually several files having similar sizes, opening many of them to spot the right one is too tedious a task for me. When I used Windows, it wasn’t this easy. I was forced to find it the hard way. Now, since time is of more value to me than it was then, I prefer to do it this way. I still see others spend time visiting third party sites to get them to send them direct HTTP download links via email but I think that’s still too much work.