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Joel Up Front

Downloads/buffers hanging

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Just about anything that would require me to download or buffer, like a YouTube video or getting a file off of MediaFire, has become godawful the past week.  I got sick over the weekend so I decided to try to keep myself awake by surfing the web.  Everything was going well until I decided to go to YouTube and watch a short clip.  The video started playing but four seconds in it just stopped and I saw the "loading" icon in the video.  I thought this was an old bug and I tried moving the buffer but that didn't work either.  It finally finished 10 minutes later and it played another five seconds before hanging again.  The hilarious ending to this is that my router died soon after, so I called it a night.

 

I got up and reset my router, but my downloads were still hanging - they'd be anywhere from 30 to 90 percent finished and they'd stop.  Sometimes pausing and resuming them works, sometimes it doesn't.  I tried updating Firefox, but that hasn't done anything, either.  I can't even download Flash because either the installer won't even download or I get to around 40% and I get an error.

 

This is why I refuse to update things.  I used FF3.6 for over three years before I was forced to update because Flash would just stop working.

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The problem isn't really on your end. YouTube's buffering has become shit over the years. Clearing your cache or deleting your browsing history will sometimes fix this problem, but most of the time, it won't. YouTube has its good days and its bad days. For some reason, it keeps thinking my internet is bad enough that I have to use 240p all the time. I can't say much for MediaFire because those file hosts usually have to do with your internet speed and the connection you have with the servers. Firefox is also a bloated browser and you may be better off using a more lightweight one like Chrome even though you may not want to.

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I'm on YouTube and 1080p video loads fine. YouTube is only a fraction of the problem if it is a problem at all. To get video from YouTube to your screen, bits have to go through your internet service provider (ISP), broadband modem, router (might be combined with the modem), your computer's network interface (NIC), your operating system, and then your browser and its plugins/add-ons. Any of those could be suspect.

 

To cite a supporting case, I've been uploading large media files to YouSendIt for some time. These uploads using the Adobe Flash plug-in (and I mention that because its behavior is the same no matter which browser I use) on Windows tops out at 3~5 mbps despite Verizon giving me 40 mbps of upload bandwidth. To use all my bandwidth, I have to upload 8~16 files simultaneously—one upload per tab in my browser. If I do the same thing in Ubuntu Linux, the uploads proceed at 40 mbps. In my case, shitty network performance was a result of software issues. Maybe it's the Adobe Flash plug-in, or maybe Windows simply sucks for this kind of work.

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