How can I tell which of these damn Firefox tabs is making a sound?
December 31, 2007 2:48 PM   Subscribe

How can I tell which of these damn Firefox tabs is making a sound?

Every time I open my browser, I default to the previous session, for a sense of continuity between uses; I don't like to feel like I lose track of a thread.

I usually have 10+ tabs open. When I open Firefox, there's generally some YouTube video URL in my prior session, and it will inevitably start playing audio. Same goes for MySpace pages; annoying. And the sound-playing pane is rarely up front, but is hiding behind many peer tabs.

I know to hit mute, but I want to solve another tier of this issue: I wanna be able to SELECT * FROM WINDOWS WHERE sound_playing=1; . In other (english) words,
I'd love to be able to expose all windows that are playing sounds. So I can selectively close them.

I know I can probably set up a way for these sites to not play on load, but a more interesting question is, is it feasible to program a way I could find out which program, and then if it's a multipane program, which tab/pane, is streaming audio out?

My guess is that such a solution would have to be written specifically for a given operating system, and could not be a Firefox extension or cross-platform widget.
posted by k7lim to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This extension claims to stop flash videos from automatically playing. This isn't what you're asking for, but might stop sound coming from flash when you start your browser.
posted by null terminated at 3:01 PM on December 31, 2007

Best answer: You could write a FF extension that uses XPCom on Windows. Then do something sketchy like using detours to hook PlaySound and PlaySoundEx. I assume those are the APIs that firefox uses to play sound.
posted by jeffamaphone at 3:26 PM on December 31, 2007

I think you'd have a hard time doing this. Firefox is not playing the sound itself. Flash or some other plugin is doing that. As far as I know, Flash does not expose that information to Firefox so Firefox has no way of telling your script. I think the best you might be able to do is highlight whatever pages have flash on them but Flash is so common these days that it probably wouldn't narrow things down very much.
posted by MasterShake at 6:26 PM on December 31, 2007

Hmmm... MasterShake has a pretty good idea, actually. I mean, yes, Flash is common, but it is generally used to play sound and video. You won't find much Flash on Google's homepage or in the middle of a Wall Street Journal article. In fact, Flash is so common that it will probably get you most or all of the pages playing sound at you.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 6:49 PM on December 31, 2007

Best answer: I love Flashblock. Very handy for opening a ton of tabs and not dealing with the irritation of Flash playing in the background.
posted by Silvertree at 8:09 PM on December 31, 2007

Hmm....what's really annoying is the sound that gtalk makes when you get a message, and you have a tab opened to gmail, but you are not currently looking at that tab. Would love to be able to keep that from happening without turning off all sound...and that ain't flash.
posted by bingo at 10:40 PM on December 31, 2007

Best answer: Lifehacker's Better YouTube extension is useful in several directions (literally, as it gives a bigger movie window), but also allows you to turn autoplay off. I can't see much use to playing most YouTube clips invisibly, but I can see why you might want to page through MySpace music to select one to continue playing. My best suggestion is either one of the extensions that marks tabs from the same domain with the same color or one that groups tabs from the same domain together -- though that could impact on your normal browsing.
posted by Idcoytco at 12:45 PM on January 1, 2008

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