Sohail Mirza, standing in for Peter.

Posts Tagged ‘apple

Helpful Hints: Downloading trailers from iTunes Movie Trailers

This guide works with iTunes Movie Trailers as of Jan. 14th, 2010.

What you’ll need to get things working is:

  1. The Greasemonkey Firefox addon.
  2. The HeaderControl Firefox addon.
  3. My iTunes Movie Trailers Download script.
Screen capture of iTunes Movie Trailers download page for the new Karate Kid

Yes, Karate Kid, I want to download you... even though Jackie Chan != Mr. Miyagi

Installing Greasemonkey

Thank goodness for Firefox documentation:  just use the easy-to-follow guide on installing extensions, but install Greasemonkey instead.

Instructions for installing Firefox Extensions

What could be better than easy to follow instructions?

Installing and Configuring HeaderControl

HeaderControl is slightly more difficult to install and requires some additional configuring as well.  Not to worry though, I’ve already covered it before.  Please refer to the section titled “Setting up HeaderControl” in my last version of this guide.  Just make sure you’ve got the User Agent string right (“Quicktime/7.6.2“).

Installing the iTunes Trailer Download script

Installing the script is as simple as visiting the script’s webpage and clicking the big green Install button:

Webpage for The Apple Trailer Download Greasemonkey script

Go ahead, cilck that big, green button.

Rock ‘n Roll

Followed all the steps?  Great, now you’re ready to rock and roll.  Go ahead and try it out.

Download links for the Karate Kid trailer

That's money.


Written by Sohail Mirza

January 14, 2010 at 2:03 am

Helpful Hints – Apple Movie Trailers download using Firefox, Greasemonkey, and User Agent hack

You can't stop us Apple!

You can't stop us Apple!

Only a few days ago I was disappointed to find that Apple had once again broken movie trailer downloads for non-iTunes users.  Thanks to the input of a few commentators on this blog, I think I’ve found a new workaround for Firefox/Greasemonkey users.

The workaround uses a combination of the most excellent Apple Trailer Download script by zatic (not my modified version — I’ll get to this in just a bit), and a modification to the User Agent string that Firefox uses to identify itself to websites.

Setting up HeaderControl

First of all, you’ll need to download this great experimental Firefox addon, HeaderControl (Disclaimer: always use caution with beta/experimental software.  I’m not responsible for any harm you may cause your computer).  What we’ll be using HeaderControl for is to enable a modified User Agent string for only the Apple trailer download site.  Some of you may have the popular User Agent Switcher extension installed, which could work as well, but I chose HeaderControl for this workaround because it allows per-domain user-agent switching.  The “per-domain” bit means I don’t have to keep switching the Firefox user agent for the trailers site, and back again.

Now, once you’ve installed HeaderControl, reboot Firefox and bring up the preferences dialog for HeaderControl.

HeaderControl Options dialog.

HeaderControl Options dialog.

Clicking the “Add” button, go ahead and create a new per-domain configuration for the domain,, and specify the custom user agent string “Quicktime/7.6.2“.  Note that you’ll only need to choose the “Mangle HTTP ‘UserAgent'” option.  You can leave alone the Referer and Language tabs.

Make sure the suffix is "" and that you have the user agent correct.

Make sure the suffix is "" and that you have the user agent correct.

Press “OK” to commit the new per-domain filter, and you’ll be good to go.

Downloading Trailers

For those of you who do not care to download the trailers but  just want to watch the trailers in your browser, you should be good to go.  Go ahead, hit up the trailers site and watch something special.

For those of you who want to download the trailers but don’t know how, you can refer to my original instructions, which should now work again.

Finally, if you’re amongst those who followed the steps in my previous post on the issue of Apple trailer download breakage by installing my modified Apple trailer download Greasemonkey script, then you have one more step to complete:  disable my script and go back to using the original Apple Trailer Download script by zatic.

Disable my "fixed" script.  It's no longer required.

Disable my "fixed" script. It's no longer required.

Once you’ve done this you should find yourself able to download movie trailers from Apple’s site once again.

Written by Sohail Mirza

October 9, 2009 at 12:08 am

Apple Movie Trailer downloads are broken… yet again

Apple sez no trailers for you.

Apple sez no trailers for you.

Wow, Apple seems very determined to break Apple Movie Trailer downloads for non-iTunes users. In their latest salvo at everyone who does not own a Mac and those who choose not to use iTunes, Apple has corrected both the www hack and user agent hack outlined in my last post on the topic.  This also renders my Greaseonkey script useless.

For the time being, I don’t have another workaround or fix to try, but as soon as I learn of one, I’ll be sure to share it.

Written by Sohail Mirza

October 6, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Apple Movie Trailer downloads are broken

Apple Trailers doesn't want us.  :(

iTunes Movie Trailers doesn't want us. 😦

In the past I had recommended a wonderful Greasemonkey script that would allow one to directly download the trailers from Apple Movie Trailers. Who wants to watch awesome trailers in a browser window anyhow? 🙂

It now seems like Apple has intentionally broken this and other means of downloading their trailers directly, as covered by

It looks like one of the adjustments they made was to only allow Quicktime to download the trailer. Any web browser will be automatically redirected to the Apple – Movie Trailers’ homepage.

Those great guys have a workaround though.  If you’re a Linux/OS X user, you can simply use wget with the Quicktime User Agent string:

wget -U QuickTime/7.6.2

If you’re on Leopard, you may not have wget.  In this case you may be able to use curl -O which supposedly does the same thing, though I can’t verify that this works:

curl -A QuickTime/7.6.2 -O

Another workaround, one that would also be simpler for Windows users, is to try using the User Agent Switcher Firefox extension.  Just make sure to use the Quicktime User Agent string in the examples above.

Windows users intent on using wget can try their luck with the GNU Utilities for Win32.

Update: Krunk from has commented that direct download will work if you just tweak the URL a bit.  Where the trailer typically comes from, just change that to  Be sure to check out their download guide.

Hmm… now to see whether we can get the Greasemonkey script updated to do this for us…

Update 2: I’ve uploaded a fixed version of zatic’s original Apple Trailer Download script to  I’ve simply applied the fix noted in the previous update, to the original script.

Written by Sohail Mirza

August 20, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Posted in Greasemonkey, Movies

Tagged with , , , ,

Shiny, new failure

As we come upon another new year, I thought I should dust off the cobwebs on this blog.  While I’m at it, why not a new blog design as well?  I’ve been in the mood for something a little more open, a little more minimalistic.

Though I celebrate neither Christmas or the New Year, this season has always had an air of change about it.  Of course, part of it has to do with the carpet-bombing of Christmas shopping advertisement, but beyond that, there are a number of birthdays in the month of December of close family members.

Historically, I’ve been horrible about birthdays close family and friends.  I never remember the birthdays and when I do, I haven’t made much of an effort to get a really thoughtful gift.  This year though, I’ve got to change that.

A good friend of mine had his birthday in October, so for his birthday I organized a golf outing with a few mutual friends of ours.  We all really had a tremendous blast.

Now, my sister’s birthday is coming up in early December, so I’m thinking, I have to do something really special for her.  What speaks of brotherly love better than a brand new laptop?

I’ve always hated laptops for a number of reasons.  As someone who has always built his own machines from scratch and relies on the interchangeability of standardized parts, laptops really annoy me.  They’re expensive, costly to maintain, come with Windows Vista, and can’t run games at 1920 x 1200.  That said, I know my sister would really like one to browse the Internet in any room of the house and get her office work done remotely.

Yesterday I took a trip to Future Shop here in Canada and settled on a Toshiba L300 (PSLB8C-04P01X) featuring an Intel T5800 Core 2 Duo:

The Toshiba L300 at Future Shop

The Toshiba L300 at Future Shop

The fact that I was able to find a Toshiba with decent specs and a decent price tag as well went a ways toward making me feel better.  I have an impression that Toshiba laptops are built more solidly than other brands.

As well, I have to admit that my hate quickly fades with new technology, laptop or not.

Except when the experience of using it is awful.  As was the case with the Toshiba L300.

For starters, from the moment I turned on the laptop to the moment I could actually use Windows, 1 hour and 45 minutes had elapsed.  The laptop rebooted approximately 5 times during this process, 2 of which happened at points where Windows had become momentarily usable, making you think it was ready for use.  Uber Fail #1. What was the laptop doing in all that time?  Completing the Vista installation, and ensuring I’d be encumbered by software offers that I didn’t want.  Fail #2. What would it take to get a clean Vista installation on the laptop?  An act of God given that laptop manufacturers no longer include the O/S on disc.  Fail #3. Forget Vista, what about XP?  Not supported (no drivers).  Fail #4. Fine, the hell with XP.  What about Vista drivers so I can re-install in case I get a copy of Vista at a later date?  No dice.  The laptop is a model built exclusively for Future Shop, so there are no drivers available online at all, let alone any other support materials for the model on the Toshiba website.  Fail #5!

"Get lost!  We don't have any of your precious drivers here!"

"Get lost! We don't have any of your precious drivers here!"

By the end of Fail #1 I had already had enough, let alone the other 4 points of frustration.  Imagine I had given the laptop to my sister without having opened it.  She would’ve been furious at having to wait so long for the system to become usable.

The other point of extreme frustration that deserves mention is the fact that laptop manufacturers do not include a clean Vista disc with laptops anymore.  They’ve instead gotten into the habit of including a recovery partition on the hard drive.  This is to ensure that:  1)  You have to spend your own time and money to burn a recovery disc that has an O/S on it, and 2)  You’ll never, ever be rid of their annoying software offers since they’ve been backed up onto the recovery disc as well.

Needless to say, the whole experience was an epic failure, and the laptop was promptly returned today.  If there’s one thing to be said about Future Shop, it’s that they took back the laptop without any hassles.  I was slightly taken aback by that!

I have a decent amount of respect for Microsoft as a company, and Windows XP as an operating system.  Even XP took time to mature, but it was never as horrible as Vista.  None of the problems I’ve described here are Vista problems per se (not to say Vista itself didn’t annoy me), but they have to be judged as part of the Microsoft/Vista experience.  This experience is so horrific that one has no choice but to conclude that OS X, Ubuntu, and even Windows XP are an excellent respite.  I’m just sad to say I had to give up on Vista.

By comparison, the simplicity of OS X is a thing to marvel, and the malleability of Linux is empowering.  Neither can be said about Vista or the Microsoft experience.  Instead, I was held powerless and left to marvel at the absurdity of it all.

"You know you want me.  I actually work."

"You know you want me. I actually work."

Based on this experience I’ve decied that if I’m to get my sister a new laptop, it will almost certainly be a sparkling MacBook.  It comes at a premium, but the hassle-free experience is worth it.

Written by Sohail Mirza

November 24, 2008 at 11:32 pm