Monday, June 27, 2011

Giant Brand Macaroni and Cheese Bites

Continuing a foray into freezer aisle versions of pub food, I now bring you a post that took three weeks to write.

Why three weeks?

Because the directions on the box are wrong.  At least, the oven directions.  I don't have a deep fryer, and oven > microwave, so I just stuck to the oven directions.

I'll postpone talking about the incorrect directions so I can focus on the actual product first.

Essentially, these are breaded and fried triangular bits of macaroni and cheese.  They're pretty good.  They have plenty of cheese, a fair amount of macaroni, and a fairly quick cooking time, even in the oven.

Now, back to the directions.

The directions on the box say to preheat your oven to 450, then cook for 5 minutes, flip, and cook for another 5 minutes.  However, if prepared this way, every single one will burst, and macaroni and cheese will float about the pan you're using.  In addition, they stick.

Here are my modified directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Spray your pan with cooking spray so that they will stick to it less easily.
  3. Place them on the pan in a single layer.
  4. Cook for three and a half minutes.
  5. Flip them over (ignore this step if you hate bullshit cooking steps like I do)
  6. Cook for three and a half minutes, for a total of seven minutes.
  7. Crefully separate them from the pan as need be.  Try not to rip them open in the process.
  8. Eat up, they'll be at the perfect temperature by the time you remove them from the pan.
Following my directions will result in very few to zero of them bursting.  They won't be as crispy, but at least you won't need a fork to eat them.

Alternatively, try the microwave directions.  I know I never prefer them when oven directions are present, but given that the given oven directions are completely wrong, it'd be a lot easier to just warm them up in the microwave.  I tried to experiment with finding a lower temperature that would work with the given times and which might make them a bit more crispy, but they burst when I used the given times at 350, so it's hopeless.

Or you could just go to the pub, where they'll undoubtedly taste better and will be prepared for you.  Just sayin'.  Speaking of which, I need to go to the pub...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mini-Ika Specials

FFFpeeps finally resolved whatever it was that had the Ika Musume blurays delayed for so long, and released volumes 3, 4, and 5 yesterday/today.  Volume 6 is to be released tomorrow.

With volume 5 comes the first Mini-Ika special.  I don't really want to spoil it, so I'll just say that it maintains the level of cuteness that one might expect from having seen the third part of episode 5, and is pretty funny.  To support that, I'll leave you with a picture.

Edit (June 26th): well, in typical FFFpeeps fashion, Volume 6 is being delayed.  Who knows why.

Edit (July 11th): They released the BD batch, which included Volume 6, several days ago.  Mini-Ika 2 is just as funny as the first.  Both of them kind of remind me of old classic Tom and Jerry cartoons, and that's a good thing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Spiral Knights

Recently a bunch of Free to Play games got released on Steam, and after seeing some peer pressure via my friends list, I tried out Spiral Knights.

First off, Free to Play games generally have very little content, limit gameplay in random and arbitrary ways, and then charge you real-world money if you want to exceed those limits.  Spiral Knights is certainly no exception.  You have an energy bar on your screen that maxes out at 100, and goes down with nearly everything you do.  When it reaches zero, you can't play anymore unless you buy more energy, or wait for it to slowly recharge on its own.  This would be okay if you could get a satisfying amount of gameplay in with that 100 energy, but it lasts maybe an hour.

Now, let's actually talk about the game itself.  It's written in Java, so hello massive resource usage.  The graphics look pretty decent though.  Being an MMO, there's a bunch of different equipment to get and a few different places to go, and everything looked pretty good.

When you start the game for the first time, it kicks you straight into the tutorial, which covers all the basics like movement, attacking, defense, and various gameplay things like explosive blocks that you might not want to destroy at melee range.  This tutorial is fairly short and to the point, and then you reach a small town.

Really all you can do in this town is talk to NPCs and then progress further through the next area.  Once you leave this town, you can't get back to it.  Ever.  Once you progress through the next area, which is easy enough, you'll be in the main town of the game.  Congratulations, you're at the end of the game.  All that's available to do is grind the same dungeon over and over for money to buy better equipment and repeat.

Well, there's also the Advanced Training Arena.  This provides you with a refresher course in various gameplay mechanics, and covers some stuff that the tutorial didn't.  Surprisingly, it's more fun to run around and play in here than it is to grind the dungeon.  While you're in here, other random players will come in and leave, so it's essentially just an extension of the town that you're in.

As for actually grinding that dungeon, it works fairly well.  You can manually put together a party if you want to grind with friends, or if you don't really care, you can just hit the big blue button and get put in with a random party.  Combat is fairly intuitive and fluid, and can be pretty challenging at times.  The game supports voice chat, but with a few caveats: there's no push-to-talk, and there's no sensitivity adjustment.  No matter what I do, I can't get my microphone to stop transmitting.  My only recourse is to mute it with the switch on my headset, or by clicking the microphone icon in-game.

To make your gameplay experience seem like it's worth it, there's a load of achievements to get.  Most are pretty easy, and some are unavoidable.  One of them unlocks an item in Team Fortress 2, which I gather is the reason a lot of people pick up the game ever so briefly.  It's about the third or fourth achievement you have the opportunity to get, and it can be obtained easily within an hour.  I have no clue what it unlocks as I don't have Team Fortress 2.

The game, for what it's worth, is a fun experience until you realize that once you're in the main town you can't go anywhere else.  One of the things people expect of MMOs is being able to explore and reach new towns and stuff, which this game completely lacks.  If it was fleshed out with a lot more content, it might be worth paying a small monthly subscription fee to play, but as it is, it's not really worth trying to get extra energy to continue playing the game, even though you can buy energy from other players with in-game money rather than using real-world money.

Just to reiterate, paying real-world money to continue playing a game with very little content is incredibly stupid, and I question the judgment of anyone who has done so.

The verdict: Avoid, as with all other Free to Play games.

Minecraft Nether Portal Adjustment

Recently I finished the first project I'd ever decided to do in Minecraft: turning a mountain next to my base in my singleplayer world into a tower.  I put a Nether portal in the tower and activated it.

Then I sailed to my second base and built a Nether portal there.  My intention was to connect the two resulting portals in the Nether with a covered walkway, so I could safely travel from my main base to my second base via the Nether.  However, when I entered the portal in my second base, I came out the same portal that the one from the first base generated.

Lots of people have encountered this, and there's a simple solution.

The Nether is "compressed", every step you take within it is the equivalent of eight steps in the overworld.  If you figure out the distance between your portals in the overworld, you can figure out approximately where the portal should be in the Nether.  The problem that causes two overworld portals to link to one portal in the Nether is that when you use a new portal for the first time, it won't create a portal in the Nether that isn't safe.  It will move the portal to the nearest safe area, where once you go through the portal you can move and so forth.

In my case, the nearest place happened to be close enough to the already existing portal that I guess Minecraft decided to just re-use it.  However, while this worked brilliantly for fast travel back from my second base to my first, it wouldn't work the other way around.

The solution is to go to both of your affected overworld portals and press F3.  Stand in the same place relative to each portal, preferably right in front of it, and write down the X, Y, and Z coordinates of each.  In my case, the two sets of coordinates were:

Main base:
x: -93
y: 66
z: 80

Second base:
x: 44
y: 59
z: 205

The distance between these coordinates can be found by simple math.  Start with the coordinates from your original overworld portal.  Subtract each respective coordinate of the second overworld portal from these values, and take the absolute value of the result.  You won't always need to take the absolute value, for instance, if you go in a negative direction from one portal to the other.  In my case, though, the absolute value is necessary.  I'm sure there's a much simpler way to explain this, but it escapes me at the moment.  It's almost like you really should be multiplying the result by -1, except that I can see that not working in some cases.

The math so far:
Δx = -93 - 44 = -137, abs( -137 ) = 137
Δy = 66 - 59 = 7, abs( 7 ) = 7
Δz =  80 - 205 = -125, abs( -125 ) = 125

Now, divide your results by 8.  This gives you the distance you'll have to walk in each direction in the Nether to find where the missing portal should be.  You'll want to round everything down (the floor() function in most programming languages).

More math:
Δxnether = 137 / 8 = 17.125, floor( 17.125 ) = 17
Δynether = 7 / 8 = 0.875, floor( 0.875 ) = 0
Δznether = 125 / 8 = 15.625, floor( 15.625 ) = 15

Now, enter the first portal you created (the one that goes to the correct place).  Press F3 again, while standing the same distance from the portal as you did from the two in the overworld.  Write down its coordinates.

In my case:
xnether: -3
ynether: 81
znether: 12

Add your Δxnether, Δynether, and Δznether values to these coordinates.  This will give you the distance you'll have to walk in each direction to find where the portal should be.  Bring a pick, because you'll probably need to burrow through netherrack to reach the spot.

My target coordinates:
xnether: 14
ynether: 81
znether: 27

Mine out the area around this spot and build a portal there.  Remember that these coordinates are also relative to the distance you're standing in front of the portal, as they were in all other calculations.  Activate it, enter it, and it should take you directly to the second portal in the overworld.  Now re-enter the second portal in the overworld, and it should take you back to the newly created portal in the Nether.

There you go.  If this seems like too much to do, come back when you aren't being completely lazy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beat Hazard Ultra

There was another small update that fixed some stuff, most notably the volume bug, but then I saw that Ultra was going to be released today rather than on the 27th.

So, I grabbed that shit.

And holy shit, is it ever worth the $5.

New enemies.   Enemies made of visual effects that don't damage you, but rather disable your ability to fire.  Other guys that fire little homing blobs that do the same thing.  These weird plus-shaped things that constrict your available screen space until you shoot them to move them back.  Homing asteroids.  A ship that mostly just sits there, but when you kill it, it unleashes a bunch of homing missiles.  Attractors and Repulsars, which either push you away from them or pull you closer to them with their beams.  And a tiny serpent, with a turret on each segment.

New bosses.  The serpent, which is a much larger version of the regular enemy (or perhaps I should say that the regular enemy is a much smaller version of the boss).  The spider, which for some reason only has six legs, and an annoying invulnerability state that it likes to stay in for upwards of 20 seconds at a time.

New boss turrets, including one particularly cruel one that fires regular enemies.

With all this stuff, naturally, you're going to need more weaponry, and boy, does Ultra deliver.

Micro Missiles: One touch of a button launches a bunch of small red missiles that hunt down the higher-priority targets, letting you focus on the small guys.

Ultra Beam: Your regular beam obeys the energy of the song.  This doesn't.  It only fires straight forwards, however.

Reflect Shield: Invulnerability at the touch of a button, plus the ability to use your ship as a battering ram and reflect projectiles.  Reflected projectiles turn on the enemies that fired them.

And of course you still have your trusty Superbombs.

There are also plenty of perks available in Ultra.  Each additional new weapon has a set of three perks associated with it, one of which is required to use the weapon.  Plenty of good perks for high score runs, including Multiplier Rain, which causes extra multiplier powerups to drop from the top of the screen to the bottom periodically.  Pick them up before they leave the screen, or forfeit them.

New Gameplay Modes.  Boss Rush, which just spawns bosses, and last but certainly not least, online multiplayer, in both co-op and head to head formats.  The only catch: to avoid a massive copyright issue, both players need to have the track you want to play.  Which, unless you're lucky, means that if you play random matches you're going to be stuck with the default songs.

I think that about covers everything.  To sum it up, I'll repeat something I said previously: Beat Hazard Ultra is so incredibly worth the $5 DLC cost.  Go grab it (and the game, if necessary) today.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Beat Hazard Pre-Ultra Update... Update

Another update came out, and it adds a startup screen to let you choose between the new gameplay and the classic gameplay.

Also, now it seems you can have five perks active without Ultra, rather than three.  The Instructions still say three.

Speaking of the instructions, I should have re-read them, as they've been updated for all the new stuff.  You get a perk unlock point (just one) whenever you go up a rank.  If you go up multiple ranks, you still only get one point.  Early on this is unavoidable, and with the songs I'm playing and the perks I have active, it's unavoidable later too.  It doesn't make much of a difference to me anymore since I have all the non-Ultra perks unlocked now, but it'll matter once I plunk down that $5 later this month.

I wrote that bosses can't be circle-strafed anymore, and that's not entirely true.  It depends on the weapon set.  Also, I haven't seen the lasers lead me since the second update, but I haven't played the same songs over again yet.

The perks make powering your ship up a lot easier than the old rank-based system.  I got to the point where I have Beat Hazard at the beginning long before Elite, which was the old point where that was unlocked.  I'm still not Elite yet actually, but I'm closing in on it quickly.

The instructions also mention that all the perks are active in Chill Out mode, so if you want to check out the new stuff before setting about unlocking it all (I'm guessing once Ultra is actually released), head over there.  I wonder if the "use bomb = track change" bug is fixed yet in Chill Out mode...

There's also some new leaderboards.  Somehow I got an update saying I'm now at rank 300 on the 7+ minute leaderboard.  I dunno how that happened, I'm guessing it's a combination of new scoring system and fewer people playing.

I also never mentioned that the game now has Twitter support.  If you let it, it will post updates when you get new high scores and so forth.  Annoy all your Twitter followers today!

Also, now when you start a song it starts louder than the sound effects, so much louder that it drowns them out, and the first time you die it gets quieter and stays that way for the rest of the song.  VOL powerups still don't affect the volume of the music.

I think that's about it for this addendum post.

Edit (7 AM): Back at Elite, all non-Ultra perks purchased and maxed, 30/42 achievements, and the only achievement left that I can get before Ultra comes out is the one for getting a million points on all the built-in songs.

Edit: (9:50 PM): Got that last achievement.  Ready for Ultra!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Beat Hazard Pre-Ultra Update

Beat Hazard Ultra, the $5 DLC for Beat Hazard, the game I've previously written about, is coming out close to the end of this month (on the 27th, to be precise).

In preparation for this, we were told that there would be a score/rank reset, which Cold Beam Games wisely pushed out in an update a couple days ago.  Along with this update is a fair amount of content, even without having Ultra available.  Pushing the update now means most people who play the game regularly will have time to get back on their feet from the stats/rank reset before Ultra comes out.  It also means that the leaderboards are reset and people like me can easily claim a 600-something rank on the 4-minute to 5-minute leaderboard.  Wheeeeeee...

This list obviously doesn't reflect any of the Ultra content, so it makes no mention of the new powerups that Ultra will be adding.

New Stuff:
  • Perks - Kind of like in Call of Duty.  You can unlock, purchase, and upgrade various perks that change the gameplay around.
  • Powerups - +5 and +10 multiplier powerups, as well as $10 cash powerups.  Cash is used to purchase and upgrade perks.
  • Controls - Additional buttons for the additional stuff that Ultra will add.
  • Music - More music in the default Beat Hazard album.  Sadly, most of it seems to be generic techno, but I guess you gotta take what you can get with the money you have to license music...
  • Achievements - More achievements have been added, taking the game up from 25 to 42 achievements.  Some of these can only be unlocked in Ultra.
  • Audio - New sound effects for various things.
  • Options - You can turn off the RSS bar at the bottom, and the Steam community stuff so it can't pop up over a corner of the screen and get you killed.  There are also toggles for some of the sound effects, should you wish to turn them off.
  • Bosses are actually challenging now.  In that you can no longer just circle strafe around them to kill them easily.  Many of their attacks now expand out in a circle around the boss.  The dreaded cheerios now have a different pattern, and there's some new boss weapon turrets to help you see the capabilities of each boss as it comes out.  The most interesting change though is the bosses' laser cannons.  Occasionally they will just fire straight, but when they actually track you, they will now lead you, meaning if you keep moving you'll get hit.
  • I can't say for sure, but it seems like there are new enemy waves as well.
  • Enemy movement speeds seem to react to the music now, I can't remember if they did that before or if I'm just seeing things or what.
  • Ranking up no longer upgrades your ship, it looks like you'll have to use perks for that.
  • Seems like the ship coasts a lot less, even with a gamepad.
  • Regular enemy shots are now red, to try and help them stand out.
  • Visual intensity and difficulty can now be adjusted independently.  This means you can play on Suicidal and actually be able to see what's going on now.
To clarify, the game will not re-lock any achievements.  I was at 25/25 when the update hit, I was at 25/42 after the update, and now I'm at 27/42.  One of the achievements I now have is for maxing out a perk, and the other is for visiting the website of one of the musical artists in the credits.  There's a few more you can get without having Ultra (getting $10000, for example, which isn't cumulative, by the way), but I haven't unlocked them yet.

Perks!  Perks are the replacement for upgrading your ship as you go along, so it seems fit for me to talk about them.  I'm not sure how the game decides when you get perk unlock points, but occasionally after you complete a song, you'll have one and must spend it right away.  Thankfully, the game tells you which perks require Ultra to be unlocked (your clue is that they all have a graphic next to them that says "Ultra").  Without Ultra it seems the maximum number of perks you can have active at once is three.  With Ultra, you can get one that will let you have up to eight.

Some perks are better for certain players than others, or perhaps may be better for getting specific achievements, or even to ease the difficulty of ranking up.  The three I bought right away that you'll probably want to get as well are the Goodie Pack, POW at start, and VOL at start perks.  Maxing out both the POW and VOL at start perks takes the place of ranking all the way up to Elite, granting you the Beat Hazard weapon right away.  It's an interesting choice, and one that's sure to spice up the gameplay.

Graphically the game has changed slightly.  I mentioned that the regular enemy shots are now red, but powerups are bigger and the bomb powerup graphic changed.

The sound tweaks are interesting.  Some changes I'm indifferent towards, some are cool, and there's one in particular that I wish there was an option for.  The sound effects are all changed now, plus there are additional ones for when your ship fires and when invulnerability wears off.  The one change I don't like is that now, regardless of how many VOL powerups you have, the music always plays at maximum volume.  I miss the old behavior.  It added a little extra punch to deaths, as the music would get really quiet.  It was a neat effect, and it's no longer there.  I don't play the game to listen to the music, I play the game to play the game.  If I wanted to listen to the music, that's what I've got foobar2000 for.

Last but not least, the level generation has changed, so you'll have to relearn all your music.  I was saddened when Galneryus' Owari Naki, Konoshi didn't trigger a boss immediately when the quiet part at the beginning ended, like before.

Speaking of quiet parts, quiet songs have reportedly been made more possible to play.  I haven't loaded up any Bush to see yet, but I'll take their word for it.

Monday, June 6, 2011


While browsing around for Javascript code that I could re-use in my image script, or at least learn from and reimplement, I happened upon a site that had another article that suggested that all developers should have a TiddlyWiki.

What is a TiddlyWiki?  Well, it's a wiki.  Contained within a single file.  Intrigued at the possible simplicity, I grabbed a copy.

They boast that you don't even need a web server for it, which is neat, but I'd much rather have each of my computers specialized for purpose.  No content hosting should happen on my desktop box.  So, I dropped the file on my server, which for the uninformed runs on my local network.

Browsing around I noticed they have some custom terminology in play.  Specifically, your wiki articles are called "tiddlers".  TiddlyWiki works differently from most other wikis in that you can have multiple tiddlers loaded in the page at once.  It also has some slightly different wiki markup, but there's a pretty good reference for that.  They also don't like to use spaces in tiddler names for some reason, even though they work just fine.  I guess I'll just use it as "no spaces, camel case = system page", and title all of mine so they're more easily readable.

Initially I was very confused.  The GettingStarted tiddler says "oh yeah you'll want to go to all these places and change stuff", so I went to those places to change stuff, but everything was read only.  After much searching of documentation, I found that there was an option in the AdvancedOptions tiddler that when disabled enables editing via HTTP.  So I enabled that and went on my merry way changing things and documenting my image script.

Then it came time to save.  Apparently by default it doesn't save your changes permanently as you make them, rather, there's a link you have to click to do a "master save", and an option you can enable to make it automatically save.  Clicking the "save changes" link to do the "master save", I was confronted with a confusing error dialog that said I would need to save my TiddlyWiki to a file before I could save.  Once again, I went searching to figure out how to "save my TiddlyWiki to a file".

This is where I ran into the biggest case of fail.  Apparently, even though I have the extra and optional TiddlySaver.jar, it can't save changes when the file is loaded from a web server.  So essentially, I lost everything I'd worked on, all because I don't want a copy of it on my local hard drive that I actually edit, and then a copy of it on my server that I just ignore because there's a copy of it on my local hard drive.

TiddlyWiki supports plugins, so I figured "hey, maybe there's already a plugin to make this work."  After a while of browsing plugins I came across one that would use WebDAV to enable saving server-side, all without me having to have files on my desktop's hard drive or add anything extra to the TiddlyWiki directory.  The only trick: you have to be able to save to the TiddlyWiki in order to install it.

I solved that by quickly chucking my TiddlyWiki into a network share on my server that I have configured as a network drive in Windows.  Loaded that up in Firefox, and now of course it would let me save.  I installed the plugin (which is as simple as copy/pasting the code into a new tiddler and tagging it systemConfig), then put it back in the original directory I had it in.  After refreshing and having it still not work, I derp'd and enabled WebDAV in my web server (and set it up for the directory), which wasn't too difficult.  Now I finally have the ability to save.

If you use it as it's originally intended, to be loaded off of your computer's hard drive, via the file:// protocol, it will work as intended without this extra step.  But if you're like me and have a personal server you want to install it on, you'll need to do it.

Now, excuse me while I go rebuild my documentation for my image script.

The verdict: Setup may be tricky (as I described, and for that reason only), but overall it looks incredibly useful.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ten Reasons Why Streaming Video Sucks

Of course, by streaming video, I mean video provided by popular sites like YouTube.  Sites like Ustream also apply.

First: They depend on a browser plugin to play the video and control playback.  True, HTML5 video is being implemented, but it's far from commonplace and has problems of its own.  For some idiotic reason, there are codec licensing issues that make each browser manufacturer have to license a decoder.  Why not just use the much better decoder I already have installed on my system?  You could sidestep the licensing fees entirely by leaving that up to the viewer, and by being able to choose a decoder that performs well on their system, they'd have a much better viewing experience.  You'd still have a default decoder there just in case some Amish person just got a computer and thus feasibly doesn't know enough about anything relating to configuring it, but give the option for a system-installed decoder.

Second: That browser plugin's decoder for the video sucks.  You're stuck with it, too.  It usually chews through your system resources.  If a 2GHz AMD64 3200+ processor, 2 gigs of RAM, and an nVidia GeForce 6800GT graphics card aren't enough to get smooth playback of a 480p YouTube video, something's wrong.

Third: Some of us like to archive things for future viewing or continued enjoyment.  Not having that option means potentially losing access to a good video because of the whim of its uploader or a copyright holder that doesn't understand that free advertising is good and that Fair Use applies to copyrighted content.  Also, not having that option assumes that your site is going to exist forever.  Let's face it, streaming video is one of the latest tech bubbles, and bubbles can only get so big before they pop.

Fourth: For content in other languages, you're stuck with hard subtitles.  This means that the subtitles are encoded directly into the video stream as opposed to being a separate stream of their own that can be disabled.  Modern video container formats support this, the communities that use them call this feature "soft subs".

Fifth: For longer content, if you want to skip to a certain part of the video, you have to do the dance with the seekbar, if the player the site is using even supports that.  Modern video container formats support chapter stops in a manner akin to DVDs, where hitting Next and Previous in your player will go to the next or previous chapter.  They also support having an individual chapter common to all videos encoded to a separate file that is referenced by all the videos, so that the space required to store the video is reduced with no difference in playback.  This is called "ordered chapters".

Sixth: You don't get to choose the player.  You're stuck with what they provide.  Since you essentially have to download the video while watching it, it'd be nice to have an indication of how much has loaded, but not all plugin-based video players provide that.  If it's not downloading fast enough to be played while it's downloading, you get to have that awkward "pause and do something else for a while to let it load" period where you'd much rather be watching the video in question, but can't.

Seventh: The site you upload a video to has to "process" the video, which is actually transcoding it and applying a set of filters to it that you have no control over.  This can make your video appear darker than it did when you encoded it, or blockier, or any manner of not how you intended it to look.  They also do this transcoding to downscale the video to crappier resolutions.  Transcoding never makes anything look better, but they have to do it since any number of different formats could be used to submit a video in the first place.

Eighth: It's inefficient.  Sending a video over HTTP could be better used for downloading said video, not streaming it.  Even then, there are better protocols written specifically for downloading files.  There are also protocols designed specifically for streaming video that could be used instead.  They often sacrifice audiovisual quality to get the job done, but when did anyone ever expect a streaming video to be pixel-perfect to its original?  I just don't want it to be a blocky, blurry mess.

Ninth: I realize these sites exist for user convenience, but for many of us, we already have a video playing setup that we vastly prefer that has the capability of loading videos from the internet.  Why not allow us to do that easily?  Then we'd get a viewing experience favorable to us on your site, and our opinion of your video site would go up because of your better flexibility.

Tenth: Your sites often try to integrate many other features with the video playing feature.  Things like annotations, comments, "related" videos, suggestions, etc.  Those things all have their place and aren't inherently bad, but they often drag down the overall performance of the site when all a user really wants is to watch the video.  Why should I have to load all that other page content just to see a video?  Most of the time I'm not going to want to rate, favorite, or comment.  Subscribe links, that is, static links to make you subscribe to the user who uploaded the video and not anything dynamic that would require an entire scripting infrastructure to be loaded client-side just to enable the feature, are about all that really needs to be there in addition to the title, username, description, and the video itself.  All that excess stuff we don't care about takes valuable space in our computers' RAM that could be better used for other things.  I know RAM is getting cheaper and cheaper and that today's computers support having tons of it, but that's no excuse to be inefficient.

Anyone wondering why I don't watch streaming anime when it's available should just refer to this article.  Also, anime-specific, sometimes your only choice is the dub (i.e. Netflix).  For newer stuff that's fine but not perfect (i.e. user choice is king, many of us prefer the Japanese audio with subtitles), since dubs as a whole have gotten a lot better over the years, but for older stuff where the dubs universally suck, it leaves people looking for any other possible means of getting the content the way they want it.

Also, Netflix's player isn't taken into account because I don't have a Netflix account, and I refuse to install Silverlight.  Anything I say about Netflix is based on verbal accounts of user experience from Netflix members, and my own experience watching stuff over at their respective places on their respective accounts.