Sunday, 13 September 2015

Can't access your screenr.com recordings? I have a fix for you

If you are one of the many people out there who used screenr.com as an easy way to create short videos, but are currently unable to log in to screenr, then this post is for you.

I use a lot of screencasts of my lectures, for both online and blended classes. Students use the clips regularly.

For the past twelve months I have been using YouTube to store and share my screencasts, editing them on my PC, and keeping an offline back-up copy of each clip.

From 2011 to 2014 I used Screenr to screencast and store all my lectures. However, I read with horror this weekend on a blog that Screenr is apparently about to close.

Eeek! I thought. I had better log in, and download all my clips and repost them to YouTube. OK, this would mean lots of extra time having to download and upload 395 clips... but hey. It was a free service. I knew that I could download the files as mp4s to my hard drive. I could then decide at my leisure which ones I needed to re-upload to YouTube.

And that is where the REAL trouble started.

I couldn't log in to screenr at all. I kept getting a "The URL you entered does not appear to be an OpenID" error when attempting to login using my Google account. And, of course, that was the only way I knew to login. I deleted my old stored passwords, used different machines, did forced browser refreshes, and used different browsers. No dice.

I searched screenr's help files (which always were absolutely inadequate), and, true to form, they yielded absolutely nothing. So I searched online for people having the same problem. It was then that I found that this problem of logging on had been hanging around for two years.

And the source of it? Using my Google login. Google no longer support their old pan-everything login... and, despite warnings that the old Google 2.0 ID was going to be phased out, screenr had done nothing at all about updating their site requirements. As a result, screenr - and their customers - cannot use the now defunct Google 2.0 ID, and didn't negotiate to use the new Google OpenID system. Oops.

So screenr users who logged on using their Google ID can't log on to screenr.

Frustrated and angry users have been posting on the screenr community threads about this for quite a while. Screenr keeps offering the same solution (just go to "https://www.screenr.com/user/username" and you will be able to access your files). And that doesn't work: we get a "Hmm... we don't know that user" message.

OK, I thought: there must be a way to download my files using a third party tool. I downloaded several tools that promised all... but none delivered. Nada. Zip. Zero.

However, after a few more hours of bashing my head on this problem, I found a work-around. Camilo MM created a piece of code that you put into a bookmarklet. You can access Camilo's code at http://camilomm.deviantart.com/journal/Download-from-Screenr-bookmarklet-352055598.

The next thing you need is your screenr link URLs. Hopefully you will have a list of links somewhere: or have sent links to others, and can forensically recreate your URL list. I kept a spreadsheet with the creation date, the title of the session and the URLs (thank goodness for pack-rat habits!).

After you have installed the bookmarklet, the process is:



Or, if you prefer your instructions in writing:
  1. Paste your screenr link into your browser bar
  2. Click the bookmarklet
  3. Under the right-hand bottom side of the video, a shortcut - "Download as mp4" - will appear under the view count (NB: if you get a "unable to obtain link" message, check that you have an 'http' link, not an 'https' link. Simply delete the 's' to enable the link)
  4. Click the "Download as mp4" link. This will launch the video in the same window as  almost full-screen
  5. Right-click on the video, and "save as" to your HDD location with your chosen file name
  6. The clip will download, and you can then upload to YouTube for relinking
  7. Repeat ad nauseam
This works in Firefox and Chrome: however, you may find that you can only download about 5 clips before having to swap browsers (I don't know about Internet Idiot because I don't have it installed).

I hope this fixes your problem. It fixed mine, and I have now downloaded all my files, and will spend the coming weeks transferring them to YouTube and redirecting the base links.


Sam



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