Flip4Mac bugs and troubleshooting

iPhoto and Image Capture suddenly stopped importing from my digital camera. Same problem using the camera as a reader or my little thumbdrive adaptor. Plugging in my Fuji F10 would immediately crash the Mass Storage component of the Image Capture thingie. I was also having all kinds of trouble sharing my iPhoto library and movies downloaded from the camera would play until the last frame, which was inexplicably all white and would crash QuickTime player. Before figuring out the following I was afraid my camera was broken or the xD card was defective.

It took me a bit of sleuthing to determine that Flip4Mac was causing this. First, I confirmed it wasn’t hardware; the camera worked fine on Michelle’s nearly identical PowerBook.

To try and figure out what was preventing the camera connection from working, I opened Activity Monitor, made sure “All Processes” was selected at the top (I always have that option selected) then sorted the list by Process ID descending. Because Process IDs count up, whatever launched next would appear at the top of the list.

Plugged the camera in and watched. MassStorage popped up, then disappeared, followed by CrashReporter. Fine, now I knew what was crashing. Off to the Console.

In the main console.log, I saw the following lines:Jan 22 22:57:52 joemaller-powerbook crashdump[295]: MassStorage crashed
Jan 22 22:57:53 joemaller-powerbook crashdump[295]: crash report written to: /Users/joe/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/MassStorage.crash.log

These confirm that MassStorage had crashed and show the location of the log file. Use that path to navigate through the log listings in Console.

Crash Reports are 90% meaningless unless you wrote the application. However, they are full of clues. Scroll up from the bottom until you see a line of asterisks, these are the beginning of the last crash report. Below that are some details about the application and a thread-dump of the crash. Below the listing of threads are the components active at the time of the crash.

There were several third party binaries near the top of my list. I unloaded them in order, restarted then plugged the camera in again to see if it was still crashing.

  • iGlasses – fine. (very cool video iChat gadget, fun and useful)
  • DivX: fine, but I use VLC anyway. Deleted, not reinstalling.
  • Flip4Mac WMV Import: Bingo!

Flip4Mac was installed in “/Library/QuickTime/”, with a bunch of other codecs. Removing it solved all the problems I listed above. Later I noticed they included an Uninstaller, here’s yours.

Flip4Mac is a recommended replacement for Microsoft’s discontinued Windows Media Player. There’s a tired old joke in there somewhere. In the meantime, tons of people are complaining about various problems related to this. One posting somewhere claimed the problem was related to DivX being installed, but I still had issues after removing DivX. Something to remember for future troubleshooting; bizarre problems, check for Flip4Mac.

Integrating Windows Media files as Quicktime Components is long overdue. Microsoft deserves some credit for recognizing how good Telestream’s product is and for spending the money to support their work. WMVs have never played as well on my machine before this. However I am worried this instability might be a precursor of things to come, and I hope Flip4Mac won’t break in strange new ways with each subsequent QuickTime point relase.

Telestream has released a v2.0.1 update which claims to fix these issues. After making sure everything was working without Flip4Mac, I installed the update and immedately checked my camera connections. Happy to report it’s all working.

Update: Spoke too soon, movies from my camera ended with white frames again. Uninstalled Flip4Mac and they play fine. 2.0.2 anyone?