What do people eat with maple syrup?
April 25, 2005 1:30 PM   Subscribe

Learning English with the CBC. Learn about Canadian history and improve your English skills with a series of audio and video clips, as well as quizzes and exercises. Topics include Terry Fox: A Marathon of Hope, Arctic Winter Games: The Olympics of the North, and Maple Syrup: A Taste of Canada, among others.
posted by livii (9 comments total)
Unfortunately, the clips don't seem to work in Firefox, at least not on the Mac.
posted by livii at 1:33 PM on April 25, 2005

Make sure that Windows Media Player is installed on your computer... The CBC ESL Web site is optimized for use with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 (or higher) for PC or Mac.

Being able to stream these clips is great for Canadians from coast to coast but the decision to force Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer down our collective throats sucks.

We all own the CBC and I hate seeing the CBC helping Microsoft in its pursuit of a monopoly. We want choice, particularly non-Microsoft options.
posted by booner at 4:12 PM on April 25, 2005

The CBC is usually pretty good at choice; for instance, on their streaming radio page, they both provide instructions for playing Windows Media with mplayer in linux and offer Ogg Vorbis streams on an experimental basis. On that page there is also a (popup) link which explains why they've gone with Windows Media.

For the CBC, I suspect "optimized" is just that. For an ESL target market, simplicity is the rule of the day, and I doubt they'd come to that browser/player conclusion accidentally. You want choice, but Metafilter members aren't the CBC's ESL program viewers. (On sites I maintain aimed at a nontechnical audience, IE still beats any other browser 10 to 1.)

While many sites use Microsoft tools out of laziness, there doesn't seem to be any evidence of that at the CBC.
posted by mendel at 5:04 PM on April 25, 2005

I think Mendel's right on this about optimization for a target market. We are definitely not the right market (but I thought it was cute and interesting so I linked it anyway).

I wasn't intending to bash the CBC, by the way, just making note for users of the browser capabilities. Sorry.
posted by livii at 5:20 PM on April 25, 2005

Livii, I didn't mean to take this thread on a detour, I'm a fan of the CBC and I think these ESL clips are great, but this Windows Media Player decision has been bothering me since September 2004.

From the Why CBC.ca uses Windows Media Player page:

By supporting only one commonly used media player (Windows Media), we can direct more technical support and resources behind this standard format and use the efficiencies to offer more radio streams to more Canadians, both at home and abroad.

It's lazy to support one media player simply because it's the most common. When your public broadcaster does this, it's also dissapointing.
posted by booner at 5:23 PM on April 25, 2005

No worries about the detour, it's really interesting. I feel really torn on the whole issue though, so I'm not too sure what to say. I can clearly see both sides of the argument (for once!)
posted by livii at 6:06 PM on April 25, 2005

It's lazy to support one media player simply because it's the most common.

While I agree with that statement the vast majority of the time, perhaps the CBC is going this route because of funding limitations? (ie., support side - gov employees make better money than scientists)

/me naive
posted by PurplePorpoise at 8:17 PM on April 25, 2005

I'll be giving that URL to the guys in my ESL classes this week. Thanks!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:38 AM on April 26, 2005

Glad it'll be useful to you, stav!
posted by livii at 6:08 AM on April 26, 2005

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