Monthly Archives: June 2013

Control Google Music with Media Keys

I've been trying out Google Music's All Access service ($7.99/month if you start the free trial before June 30th) as an alternative to Spotify. While I haven't decided which one I will continue using, there was one feature I needed before I could even consider Google Music: media key support.

Many keyboards have special keys that allow you to play, pause and skip tracks while listening to music. These keys usually work automatically with desktop applications that play music, but it's a different story with web browsers. Since Google Music doesn't have a desktop application, I needed another solution.

Check out the excellent Sway.fm Unified Music Media Keys extension for Google Chrome. This works on Macs and PCs, and lets you control a variety of websites using your media keys. The list includes Google Music, Pandora, Rdio, Grooveshark, Last.fm, and more. Seriously, check it out.

Technical Details

For troubleshooting purposes (or if you're curious), I'm including some information about how the plugin seems to work on Windows. Continue reading

Install NPAPI Plugins in Chrome for Windows 8

The Problem

NPAPI plugins have been around since Netscape 2.0(!) and extend the capabilities of web browsers, but they were designed in a less security-conscious time. These plugins are not sandboxed and have the same access to your computer as your current user account. This kind of access is prohibited in the new Windows Store apps, and so these plugins do not run in web browsers running in Windows 8's new UI. As such, Google has decided to block their installation under Windows 8.

When you view an extension that relies on one of these plugins in the Chrome Web Store, you will see the message: "This application is not supported on this computer. Installation has been disabled." However, these plugins still work in Chrome while running in desktop mode! Until developers update their software to use newer API's, you still may want to install these plugins for use on the desktop. Here's how. Continue reading