Rant - T-Mobile - Flash

  • ScottG
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Post 3+ Months Ago

So this post is mainly to get this out there and if anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them.

SO... Yesterday(1/21/13) I was watching a YouTube video on my phone and somewhere in the middle of the video I got a push message stating that something like Wifi hotspot and tethering has been blocked. To use this service go to the website and order the wifi/tethering service. At that moment all of the YouTube videos stopped working. An error has occurred please try again later as the player stated. So I restart the phone and tried again same thing. So I called them up (611) and was told this. "YouTube is not going to work since it is a heavy flash based site because Adobe pulled Flash support." I was completely dumbfounded by this reply because Flash Loads and runs completely fine No issues there and I was on the damn site watching a video at the time this happened. He reset my network connection and wouldn't you know it nothing changed. So being a developer this concerned me a lot. So I started looking in to it and I found out that is I used the browser on my phone and uncheck the checkbox in the settings View as Desktop site YouTube worked completely fine but viewing the same exact page with the View as Desktop site checked cause the videos not to load. So the Issue lays in whatever that push message changed in my phone. So I went on the online chat support today and there were 178 people ahead of me. And as I was waiting I did even more testing and found out that video players that use progressive downloads are safe from this issue but any media using a streaming server has this issue. Cause for concern growing. Finally got to talk to someone and this is what I said
Quote:
Yesterday I called 611 for the same issue. The issue being is that I was watching a YouTube video and there was a push message from T-mobile stating that the wifi hotspot features have been blocked. At the time of getting the message all streaming media shutdown and errors occurred. The guy I talked to (He) told me that it was because adobe pulled their flash support. The YouTube App works find but I rarely/Never use it. I did do some testing and found out that on my One S if I have the Check box view desktop site checked YouTube fails to load the videos if it is not checked it works fine. This indicates to me that it is NOT YouTube's issue but an issue that was caused by the push message and whatever it changed in my phone. I'm Not Happy about this happening This is an issue that needs to be resolved Since This is NOT just limited to YouTube Every single video/audio streaming site/service is now broken including my own that I developed myself using the red5 streaming server because


I got cut off since the app allows you to type more then they allow to post.

Part of the conversation
Quote:
Them Adobe already pulled their flash support.
Me I know they pulled there flash support Flash sill works It still Loads I can go to site that use flash and everything works. The only thing that doesn't is streaming media when your view as a desktop site.
Them Since they pulled their support this is probably why it doesn't work when view as a desktop site.
Are you kidding me One this sounds stupid two you don't know? Thought this didn't say it.
Them Streaming is hard you need a strong connection and signal.
This person sounds like they know as much about this as a cheerio knows its floating in milk.
Me What does that have to do with anything? When the issue is not because flash is not working but something with the push message changed something in my phone to block the connection to the streaming server when view the website as a desktop site.
Them You need a strong connection and signal to load the videos.
Them You could try to do a master reset on your phone.
Me How would a master reset fix this when it was a push message that did it?
Them It would clear the push message and any changes it did.
Me Wouldn't I get another push message and cause this issue again?
Them We have technical service that can help you with that by calling 611.
Them It's a good thing your phone is in warranty.


I ended the conversation at this point due to frustration. Before I try to reset my phone anyone know how to delete/clear the push messages? Or know of anything to try to fix this?
  • SB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I might have missed it, but what phone is it you are using?
  • ScottG
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Post 3+ Months Ago

HTC one s
  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

What confuses me here is the content of the push notification. "WiFi hotspot and tethering has been blocked."

Were you even tethering at the time, or just streaming media straight to your phone via Wifi or your data plan? Tethering (which is an extra feature T-mobile charges for) has absolutely nothing to do with streaming media straight to the phone.

The part about Flash support being dropped sounds like bull to me as well.

My guess is this: your phone is sending a "desktop" browser ID to YouTube via T-mobile's network. T-Mo's system then thinks that you're actually tethering to a non-mobile device such as a notebook or tablet. Boom, they disable streaming.

Customer service, clueless, of course, blames whatever they've been trained to tell you.

This is of course just speculation, but given what you've described above, this seems like the likely explanation.
  • ScottG
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Post 3+ Months Ago

it confuses me as well. I was not using tethering and not even on my WiFi at the time. I was using the phones network. As far as the view desktop site feature they change the browsers user agent to mock a desktop/laptop instead of a mobile device. That's basically the conclusion I've come to as well with the customer service being clueless, That's one of the reasons I've brought the question up here to see if anyone has any ideas.

I've thought about getting the service for a trial and see if it gets unblocked that pretty much prove that their blocking tethering caused the issue.
  • ScottG
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The flash thing there talking about is adobe dropped the mobile flash player and i think they did that in august
  • Bigwebmaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Yeah this sounds about right to me, I think spork hit it dead on. If you were to use Wifi instead of the phones network I bet it would work no problem.

The only ways you would be able to get around this is if you could change the user agent that your mobile browser is sending when it is in desktop mode, or when T-mobile changes their behavior and unblocks any user agents that look like desktop machines.
  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Bigwebmaster wrote:
if you could change the user agent that your mobile browser is sending when it is in desktop mode

Unfortunately this is exactly what the website uses to determine desktop/mobile mode, so that's out.
  • ScottG
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Bigwebmaster wrote:
If you were to use Wifi instead of the phones network I bet it would work no problem.


This is correct There are many times I'm away from my WiFi or a WiFi hot spot, like when I'm at work.

Its only when I'm on the phones network and viewing as a desktop
  • Bigwebmaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Oh yeah I didn't think about that. No way to have both then unless you use some sort of proxy that modifies the user agent header after going through t-mobiles side before going to the website that you want desktop mode on.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

When I run the browser in debug mode it allows me to change the user agent However it dose not seem to work not sure if I'm missing a step or not or if the check box thing overrides it.

Options it gives me are
Android
Desktop
iPhone
iPad
Froyo-N1
Honeycomb-Xoom

User agent output from browser

As Mobile
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 4.0.4; en-us; HTC_One_S Build/IMM76D) AppleWebKit/534.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/534.30

As Desktop
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/534.24 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/11.0.696.34 Safari/534.24
  • ScottG
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I found this

http://support.t-mobile.com/thread/24400 wrote:
Same thing happens to me. T-Mobile uses the browser UAstring (User Agent String) to determine that you're "tethering". When in reality you can just be using your default browser and trying to access desktop sites.



I'm currently trying to use the Chrome Beta browser on my phone, and every single page gets redirected to a T-Mobile HotSpot page. Its quite annoying really. I've done nothing wrong, simply downloaded a browser app from the Google Play Store.



A complete reset / root / etc. won't fix the problem. They've flagged your account, and now you're going to keep seeing the message. Has happened to me a few times over the last year or so. I'm not sure what the "time-out" period is before the flag is removed but calling CS was of no help.



Hope I could shed some light on this for you. I've been dealing with this for a while now and letting people know how T-Mobile is conducting themselves in regards to this matter. Its quite hilarious given how many customers T-Mobile is losing that they'll keep pushing people away with these things. I've been a customer for going on 1.5 years and I love T-Mo, but its things like this that make me think about leaving for another MVNO.
  • ScottG
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Post 3+ Months Ago

So until further notice I switched to the Firefox browser for android And I'm able to view websites as desktop versions as well as see/hear the streaming media.
  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Interesting. I'd love to see the difference between the browser strings sent by Chrome and Firefox on Android.
  • ScottG
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Done and Done

Viewed as Mobile

Firefox
Mozilla/5.0 (Android; Mobile; rv:18.0) Gecko/18.0 Firefox/18.0

Chrome
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 4.0.4; HTC VLE_U Build/IMM76D) AppleWebKit/535.19 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/18.0.1025.166 Mobile Safari/535.19

Default Browser
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 4.0.4; en-us; HTC_One_S Build/IMM76D) AppleWebKit/534.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/534.30

Viewed as Desktop
Firefox
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:18.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/18.0

Chrome
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/535.19 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/18.0.1025.45 Safari/535.19


Default Browser
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/534.24 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/11.0.696.34 Safari/534.24
  • ScottG
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Post 3+ Months Ago

From my laptop

Firefox
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:18.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/18.0

Chrome
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/24.0.1312.52 Safari/537.17
  • ScottG
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'm not sure if they recently changed something or not but I can now view video's on YouTube and other streaming media on the default browser while viewing the desktop site.

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