Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The End of the Road for MacTubes, et al?

MacTubes stopped working today. This is thanks to Google "upgrading" Youtube's programming API to version 3, which breaks all third party apps that relied on API v2. In addition to MacTubes, YouView and SMTube are also knocked out, and it will take some reworking of their code to get things working again. And even if they are under active development, to use API v3 they'll have to abide by new terms of service which prohibits downloading of videos.

So with MacTubes' last update being two-plus years ago, this would appear to be the end for this venerable app and saver of countless old Macs. The thing I'll miss most is its local playlist feature, where you could save playlists to your hard drive and have them display with videos' thumbnails in MacTube's browser. I haven't seen this feature on any other Youtube app.

You may notice, though, one Youtube downloader conspicuously absent from the list of broken apps, and that's youtube-dl. It's still going strong as ever, and fortunately for us Mac users, Adam Albrec's GUI frontend for youtube-dl, PPC Media Center, has also just been updated to version 5.0. The new version can stream or save to disk as always, but now also has an MP3 converter so you can save videos as MP3s.

On the Linux side, I'm still using youtube-dl in combination with my trusty script:

#!/bin/bash
mpv --framedrop=vo --cache 8192 --cache-initial 410 $(youtube-dl -gf 18 $(xsel --clipboard))


This requires you have mpv and xsel installed in addition to youtube-dl. I've also been meaning to look at youtube-dlG, a graphical frontend for youtube-dl similar to PPC Media Center, only for Linux.

And if you can believe it, Youtube on Mac OS 9 isn't dead yet as YTBfC has been updated to work in the brave new world.

In a couple of other software updates to note, Adam Albrec's PowerPC Security Mode has been updated to address some Finder lock-up problems, and leopard-webkit recently released a slew of important security fixes.

PowerPC still has a pulse.

32 comments:

  1. I was using MacTubes yesterday right when it stopped working. I did a search, then watched and downloaded a video successfully. Then during the same use/launch moments later it stopped working when I tried another search.

    At least the last fix worked for over 2 years, but since it's been so long the developer may have lost all interest.

    He provides the source, so anyone with the time and ability could fix it themselves. I'm an OpenBSD developer, but could develop on Mac OS also, but the issue is time and I have little.

    Also, I see in the stats for PowerPC Liberation that people constantly search for MacTubes, so maybe demand will awake the developer again after over two years.

    Video playback is something I never do on Linux, as I prefer Mac OS for that, but as you list yourself there are other ways to access and download youtube content. I simply just prefer MacTubes, but if it stays broken I will happily use other methods.

    With Leopard + WebKit I can watch 360p on the site at less than 30% CPU consumption with html5.

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    1. I think one reason people are reluctant to develop Youtube apps is burnout. You have to constantly play catchup to Google's periodic breakages, and ultimately Google may decide to completely change their API, making all your work moot.

      In light of that, the youtube-dl team is a godsend. They're absolutely tireless.

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  2. With Leopard and WebKit the best option for YouTube is to use ClickToPlugin as it allows you to open videos in Quicktime and that plays much smoother than in browser, has an option to “Fill Screen” for those on Macs with 16:10 monitors which is great. It is only one click away and, if you have Quicktime Pro, you can save the video as well. Best overall option in my opinion.

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    1. The issue with your methods is that is leaves you with a video that has an .mov wrapper vs. PPC MC wich when you download the video leaves you with a .mp4, which is a far more portable wrapper.

      I never use Quicktime as anything more than a liaison of sorts, never directly to play anything.

      VLC is far more efficient at playback also. If video players were cars, then VLC would be a fuel efficient hatchback, while QT is more of a 70's gas guzzling boat of a car.

      Efficiency is everything on PowerPC these days; not bloat.

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    2. I forgot to add... Quicktime is even less efficient than HTML5.

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    3. Agree, the 400p, 480p MP4’s I have require much less CPU to play in VLC than Quicktime, but I do enjoy using Quicktime much more, because of the nice picture stretching options. The .mov vs .mp4 containers doesn’t concern me at all, because you can always just repackage the streams in any way suitable to your needs. I prefer the ClickToPlugin method is because it’s just the most approachable way to do it. But I can’t agree that HTML5 is more efficient than using Quicktime. On my iMac G4 1.25GHz HTML5 never plays video smoothly no matter what. Even with the latest Leopard WebKit Builds and advanced features enabled. Quicktime plays them perfectly.

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    4. Forgot to add that ClickToPlugin also has an option to just download the video and that does exactly what you want - download the MP4. With the correct video title and all.

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    6. I hadn't used the Clickto plugin for a while so I tried it again yesterday. It has certainly gotten better, and I see what you mean with the .mp4 wrapped files it downloads from the right click option.

      I still prefer PPC MC, but I will certainly keep the Clickto plugin around when on the page.

      My personal preference now is finding videos on google video search, then downloading with PPC MC. Then I play in VLC or CorePlayer.

      The 360p SD play at under 20% CPU in VLC and 9-11% in Coreplayer. 6-7% with AVC deblocking disabled. On a single 1.8GHz 7448 G4 in a Sawtooth.

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    7. A Coreplayer sighting!

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    8. I am starting to think Coreplayer was just a Dream. A Beautiful, Foolish, WONDERFUL Dream.

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    9. That's what most people that were late to the table say. I can assure you it's very real and certainly not foolish. It is wonderful, but only in terms of efficiency, but not so much in terms of doing lots of scrubbing, as x264 loses audio sync then.

      Oh... and it's as ugly as software can possibly be; luckily it's efficiency more than makes up for that.

      If you want a copy now, then you need to buy a Mac that has a copy is registered to it. That is the one and only possible way to acquire it now.

      I'm amazed that at a mere $20 that so few people bought it when it was still being sold. It wasn't until it became unavailable that everyone wanted it. I grabbed my copy about a year before they went under.

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    10. I've had surprising results from v11 of XBMC. Even on my PowerBook (1.67), can often playback tolerable 720p (Especially if you disable some of its animations). Spins up the fans pretty high, but overall not a bad option.

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  3. I just tried out PPC Media Center for the first time, and man have I been missing out. I love it! So simple and elegant.

    I need to listen to you more, Dan. :)

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  4. By the way: I haven't tested it out on Jessie, but at least on Arch, the original Mplayer works with youtube-dl once again (It must have been updated for https support)

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    1. That would be great. Mplayer is noticeably more efficient on my computers.

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    2. Noticeably more efficient than Mpv, that is.

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    3. I just tested it on my XO-1. It does indeed work with mplayer on Jessie! If a 433 MHz AMD Geode can play YouTube videos smoothly, then anything better than a really slow iMac G3 should.

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    4. If you haven't made your own script, here's mine for 360p YouTube playback with mplayer:
      http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=bCbBQtZ7

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  5. Thanks again to Dan for hosting PPC Media Center all this time. His work, has really stood out on the cutting edge of of holding on to last-gen!!

    Dan you Rock!!!!

    Adam Albrec
    - PPC Media Center

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  6. I notice this as well whenI was running Gentoo on my iBook. The devs on their bug tracker was mentioned it was an api issue.

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  7. May MacTubes rest in peace. It has served me well for many years. Downloading was simple and efficient.

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  8. To hell with it all, I've spent more time finding good free working software in the last 15 years, than I have studying programming.
    I only ever wanted to download a few free educational videos to use as talking text books.
    But if I had spent that time actually learning programming then I would be able to make an app to download youtube videos.
    Sometimes I wish the internet was never connected together, what a big waste of 15 years of my life!
    To hell with this constant search for internet freedom.
    I think the capitalists have won, I give up, I'm too old and tired to keep this game going.
    Serial cracks, constant upgrading of software and blocking of upgrading downloads to prevent exposure.
    My life is a mess, my family is a mess, everyone on earth is in a mess, we are all blood INSANE!
    Youtube will lose, Facebook will lose, they will all lose when you also become exhausted like me and just go back to having a beer and exploding fireworks for fun.

    Haaahaaha™ To hell with the machines, we are no better off today than we were yesterday. Just more people on Earth and more misery, where is it all going to go. Now we have a government entity named I.S.I.S on this planet, our internet is regulated beyond reason, the world is about to come to an end. Good bye fellow humans, it was horrible.

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  9. Mactubes is officially dead. The developer posted this on the 10th:

    "Notes : 2015/05/10

    * Google changed YouTube API and MacTubes does not work.
    * I am stopped release this applcation."

    I'm fine with this now that I'm already used to and very fond of PPC MC.

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  10. In Stretch smtube is back with some new features! So far it runs really well on my iBook G4. Also mpv has youtube-dl intergrated. So you can execute mpv like this.

    mpv --framedrop vo --vo xv --cache 8192 --ytdl --ytdl-format=18 $(xsel --clipboard)

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  11. http://www.macxdvd.com/free-youtube-video-downloader-mac/

    Works great on my intel iMAC Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5, but not sure about you PPC users, maybe, maybe not. It's free and you ca upgrade, but for us people who don't like to pay, then you can once again download free youtube vides.

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  12. I am trying to get ytbfc working. I have it installed in the correct folder and have the flash plugin installed. When I go to a YouTube video ytbfc loads but where the video normally is all that is there is "not found" any help would be great thanks

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  13. In case anyone still cares (this topic is rather old):
    If you force webkit/safari to identify itself as a mobile browser, you can load the mobile version of youtube, which means you can play the 240p-version of a video perfectly without stuttering. To do this, google the user agent ID for safari/IOS, enable Safari's developer mode, and in the developer menu, change the user agent to the ID you just found - done :-)

    Another plus: The mobile version actually is quite nice to use and look at, as it's rather clean and clutter free.

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