Sunday, May 6, 2012

My download link doesn't work. What do I do?

This happens from time to time:

I send a link to a client or to my students that is supposed to download/stream a QuickTime movie or audio file, and for whatever reason, the recipient clicks on the link and either nothing happens, or the recipient gets  a "File Not Found" error.

What can we do to make certain this doesn't happen?

If you are the sender, you need to first confirm that you are sending a properly formatted link that actually connects to the intended file.

To make certain that I, as the sender,  have not made an error, I always verify a link by copying it into a new browser window and actually going through the process of downloading/streaming the file before I send it to anyone.  This sounds like it should be an obvious practice, but not everyone does this.

If I am the recipient of the link, and it doesn't seem to work, before bothering my client about it, I first confirm that the error is not on my end.  Here are some of the things I check:
  • If the link doesn't open properly from the e-mail, the first thing I do is copy the link, double checking that I have indeed copied all its text, and then paste the link into a new browser window.  99% of the time, this fixes the problem.  This is because often the recipient's e-mail programs parse the link in strange ways, breaking it.
  • After pasting the copied link into a new window, if it still doesn't work, I look for any spaces in the link and remove them.  Links rarely if ever have spaces in them so if you see one, that is an obvious suspect for trouble.  How do the spaces occur?  Sometimes it's a function of copying a long link that falls across a line break.
  • If copying the link and pasting it into a new browser still gives me trouble (and the format looks correct), I then try the entire process again in an alternate browser.  I don't know the science behind it, but sometimes files like Safari, sometimes Firefox...  I could probably figure out why but I only have so many brain cells.
Sometimes the link works, but I can't download the file - only stream it.  
What do I do then?

Again, there is a black hole in my knowledge bank as to why this happens sometimes, but here are some of the ways I fix it:
  • Option Click (mac) on the link.  Often this will pull up a finder command to save the file rather than stream it.
  • Right click on the link and then pick "Save" or "Save As" from the prompt.
  • Alternatively, paste the link into a new browser window.  Then, wait until the whole file has cashed.  Then look to the lower right hand corner of the window for a down facing arrow.  Click on this arrow and often a number of "Save" or "Save As" options will appear.
  • Copy the link and then open the URL in QuickTime Pro (under the "file" command).  Once the file has loaded completely into QuickTime, then use the "Save As" or "Export" function to save the file to your hard disk.
As stated, with so many file types, email programs, and so many browsers, sending a link to someone is often an inexact science.  By trying these suggestion above, however, you can at get around most of the obvious problems.



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Friday, May 4, 2012

Stevie TV, "Gay Teen," composed/produced by Craig Stuart Garfinkle

Hi All,

"Gay Teen" is the second of four songs that I produced, performed, and co-wrote for the VH1 show, "Stevie TV."   Enjoy the video below!

A big shout out to my co-writers  Matt Lawton, Hanna LoPatin, and Mason Steinberg, as well as to Stevie Ryan for her "dead on" performance and Tom Stern for directing the music video.

The video is stirring up quite a bit of controversy as many people don't get that the song is actually a skewering of celebrity and the use of good causes as a tool of self promotion - but that's just my view.  Let me know yours.

I hope the song brings a good, if even embarrassed, laugh.


Craig Stuart Garfinkle