Make your embed Youtube video works in China

Objective:
To make your website videos great again.

A Forbes article says video is of the seven important areas which can improvement a website user experience and engagement.

Many companies agree and add Youtube videos to their websites. Why Youtube? No cost, easy to use (to embed videos in webpage) and easy to consume (to watch and to share, from enduser perspective). Besides some other downsides, one major challenge of using YouTube video on your corporate website is that YouTube is blocked in some countries (China, for example). So you neither can tell your story using Youtube nor you provide a good UX to all users.

Broken Youtube video

It is not unusual to see broken content… it is not great:(

Solution:
Even Google cannot make Youtube works in China. I cannot too. What I am trying to do is to add user location-awareness to the website. To make a website to show different content to users in different locations.

I Cloud can do all things. I am going to use different cloud services to demonstrate the solution.
The key element is a DNS service with Geolocation Routing capability, such as Verizon Route and AWS Route 53. There is one hostname an and URL only. No need to remember xxx.com, xxx.com.cn, xxx.com.jp, etc.
cdn.53.cheungwaikin.com/video.html

 

Geolocation Routing lets you choose the resources that serve your traffic based on the geographic location of your users, meaning the location from which DNS queries originate.

 

Demo setup:

  1. a webpage (a) with Youtube video, hosted on a AWS S3 bucket
  2. a similar webpage (b) using a mp4 video, hosted in another AWS S3 bucket
  3. webpage (a) is accelerated by KeyCDN for Europe, and AWS CloudFront elsewhere
  4. webpage (b) is accelerated by ChinaChina for China and Japan
  5. AWS Route 53 is configured to resolve the hostname cdn.53.cheungwaikin.com to
    • ChinaCache CDN URL for users located in China or Japan
    • KeyCDN CDN URL for user located in Europe
    • CloudFront CDN URL for user elsewhere
AWS Route 53 Geolocation Routing setup

AWS Route 53 Geolocation Routing setup

Verification:
We will use VPN service such as VyprVPN or Hola!VPN to connect to different locations and then browse cdn.53.cheungwaikin.com/video.html and see what content we get. Below video showing that I received the webpage (a) (with embed Youtube video), then I got the webpage (b) when I was using Hola!VPN to connect to Japan.

Cool?

Wish you a joyful weekend:)

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When Space was Gray and Rose was Gold

Try to remember the kind of Septermber.

September 2015 was a busy month.

iPhone preorder was better

We had the annual Apple product launch event  on 9th Sep. Then we had the iPhone preordering a few days later. This time the process start at 3pm on 12th Sep in Hong Kong. Last time it was difficult to get an iPhone 6 Plus in Hong Kong and the preorder stock was sold out in two hours. Then at the launch day we had the iReserve process which opened each day at 8am to allow people to register and buy iPhone in store the same day. In order to buy it successfully, many people (including me) used their laptop and iPhone and iPad concurrently to try to access the system. It was one the most popular annual MMOG, worldwide! The iPhone stock was sold out in minutes each day consecutively for a few weeks. Only professional typists, BOTs, lucky and hardworking people could order successfully at iReserve!

This time I didn’t want the new iPhone much because I didn’t want to do much hard-work to get it initially. I might even skip this S upgrade and wait for iPhone 7. 12th Sep was a sunny Saturday afternoon and I was calm and well prepared. Sharp at 3pm I tired to access store.apple.com/hk using my computer, repeatedly pressing command+R to reload the website but failed to do so. The online store was too busy to be accessed, as expected. Unexpectedly I could access the iPhone preorder section of the Apple Store app on my iPad. And I was surprised that I made it! My new iPhone delivery was scheduled sometime between 8th and 15th October. Good. I am happy waiting my new gadget in a couple of weeks.

This preorder process (and success) was a great experience. Many other people also said that they made the preorders via their iOS devices too. I was thinking if this time Apple made a new arrangement: there were more dedicated server resources to support preorders from Apple customers (which are not likely iPhone smugglers) using iOS devices. PC users using browsers and BOTs are competing for another set of online store server resources. It was easier for iOS users to get connected. If so it was a great CRM implementation! Help your loyal customers to do businesses with you!

Next? iPhone Upgrade Program rollout to other markets.

Software update, update and update

iOS 9 was available on 16th Sep, a week after the Apple event. iOS 9 is better, especially the new Slide Over feature which turn iPad a more productive device! We don’t have to switch frequently among apps to do certain tasks (especially writing). A picture tells more than a thousand words:

The new Notifications Center is better too. Sort by time makes much more sense. Search feature in Settings is very useful. We can disconnect connected Bluetooth devices individually at by Settings > Bluetooth. Thanks!

It seems there are changes in VPN and some VPN apps are not working. VyprVPN v2.6.6.2456 works. Thanks!

WatchOS  2.0 was late but available on 21st Sep. I had to turn my Apple Watch off/on to download the new OS. As Ben Thompson said in Exponent podcast episode #53, Third-party Complications should be the most useful and important feature. However, not many watch apps support the new feature. Sleep++ supports it. It was developed by David Smith who also develope Pedometer++, which supports Glances and is very handy and useful.

And, El Capitan is now available!

iPhone 6s Plus is very fast

Surprisingly, in a good sense, my iPhone 6s Plus was delivered today 30th September! Five days after the global launch! Great!

Why Rose Gold? Because it is new. Blink.

The device is very and there are a few reviews. Some more detailed reviews will arrive in the coming weeks. Phonearena found that the iPhone 6s/6s plus battery last longer than previous versions! Amazing!

Below are my sharing the a few hours experience:

  • Touch ID is very fast. I am hardly required to type my lock screen passcode. Great.
  • It is better to hold the iPhone by left hand. It is fine for me to us my left thumb (to use 3D Touch) to press the left edge of the screen to go to app swticher. My right thumb cannot reach the left screen edge. And it is better to use a thinner case which does not obstruct the screen edge.
  • 3D Touch is hard press, not long press. It is about the physical force, not time.
  • Will 3D Touch make the home button obsolete in iPhone 7?…

We had iPhone 5 Space Gray in 2012. We have iPhone 6s/6s Plus Rose Gold in 2015. Huge changes in three years. Both are beautiful.

September is over. Try to remember.


Use VyprVPN to connect to Hong Kong and watch World Cup from overseas

Most of us are busy watching World Cup 2014 this early summer.

TVB gets the sole TV distribution in Hong Kong of this soccer event in Brazil. 22 out of the total 64 games will be available on TV for free. For the other 42 games, Hongkongers either subscribe paid service from TVB or NowTV. Subscribers can watch all the games via TV, computer, smartphone and tablet. The mobile device app myWorldCup is great and provides both live game and goals/goal attempts replay. The app is geo-restricted to be functional for Internet users in Hong Kong only.

I am one of the subscribers and I watch the games mainly on my iPad. It is HD video. I can watch it anywhere, provided my device IP address is a routable IP address in Hong Kong.

The World Cup lasts about one month and it happens that I’m not in Hong Kong sometime during the period. I need a VPN to connect my iPad/iPhone to Hong Kong!

My VPN requirements, in descending order, are:
1.with VPN servers in HK
2.good connection performance
3.with VPN servers in many Asia countries
4.multiple concurrent connections
5.easy to use software

After doing some studies, especially reviews from VPN Creative and BestVPN, I made my short list of VPN providers. I tired to try the VPN services before I purchase because good VPN performance – high speed/capacity and reliability – is not something written on websites but real experience. Finally I subscribed VyprVPN Pro service. My reasons:
-VyprVPN offers free trial and I can try before I buy
-VyprVPN is one of the VPN providers with good VPN server coverage in Hong Kong and Asia.
-VyprVPN connection performance is great. (Will talk more later.)
-VyprVPN price is reasonable. Support multiple connections. The bundled Dump Truck storage is a nice plus!
-VyprVPN interface, both web GUI and PC/mobile app, are very user friendly
-VyprVPN supports both L2TP/IPSEC and OpenVPN protocols

I prefer to use OpenVPN because the VPN connection setup is faster than L2TP/IPSEC. From my experience OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSEC connection speeds are similar. The OpenVPN app provides more information than the VyprVPN app.

Form my viewing experience on iPad and iPhone when I was not in Hong Kong and using VyprVPN, the live videos were HD, smooth, clear and very detail. Below are some screen captures of a live game on iPad:

20140624-161259-58379274.jpg

The live games were streamed via HLS and it was likely that the maximum bitrate was market standard 2Mbps. I found VyprVPN supported more than 2Mbps connectivity between my devices and the Internet in Hong Kong. I used Speedtest with test server in Hong Kong and most of the results were more than 60% of the broadband speeds! Based on the OpenVPN app, there was about 2GB data transmitted via the VPN in two hours, so we have the HLS bitrate at 2GB/2hr = (2048*8Mb)/(2*60*60sec) = 2.28Mbps.

20140624-161403-58443472.jpg

It is explicitly listed on the VyprVPN official website that multiple concurrent connections are supported. VPN software is available on most common platforms. The support page is written very clearly and it is very easy to follow the instructions to set up OpenVPN. All this well written information make me find that VyprVPN provides good services and customer supports.

Good companies help their customers to do businesses with them and use their products/services.

Cheers! Enjoy the World Cup!

Remarks:
a.OpenVPN is an SSL VPN implementation and is not compatible with IPSec, L2TP, or PPTP. See OpenVPN.net.
b.The iOS OpenVPN client uses PolarSSL and is not vulnerable to the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug.
c.VyprVPN users are safe from Heartbleed bug.
d.[update] It is a surprise to me that I received a thank you email from VyprVPN after a few hours this blogpost was published! Anyone who read this blogpost can get a 50% discount for the first month from VyprVPN by clicking the banner below! Cool!!