Friday, February 19, 2010

Apple TV (V1) unable to play Purchased Video (White Screen)


This blog post attempts to give a way of fixing the problem described above (which is related to account authorisation when using Multiple Apple ID's from iTunes not being correctly passed through to the Apple TV when you do a Sync).

This fix will only be of use to you if you have just factory-resert your Apple TV, performed a new Sync of your videos, you actually use multiple Apple ID's (i.e. you and your partner have separate accounts), and you are seeing the white screen instead of your video.

NOTE: This problem relates to an issue with the FIRST VERSION of the Apple TV. It does not occur on Apple TV 2.


Symptoms
When you select a video (film or TV program) that you have purchased from the Apple Store (i.e. it includes Apple DRM) the screen fills with white and at the bottom you see the "progress" bar which continues to count up but the picture remains just solid white.

There is no audio.

Cause
Your Apple TV has not been authorised to play video's for the specific user account that purchased the video.

Replicating The Problem
I've always though this this should be the most important section when describing any IT-related problem. How do you know you've fixed a problem you can't replicate? Needless to say working out exactly what caused this required quite a lot of time!

First of all you need two Appe ID's both of which have to have purchased a video (of some description) from the iTunes Store. Of course this is fairly easy to setup given the number of "free" videos and email services like GMail out there.

Let's call the accounts [1] and [2]. [1] has the free pilot episode of Stargate: Universe while [2] has the free recap of Lost.

Perform a factory reset of your Apple TV and then perform the initial setup from iTunes when it appears. Use account [1] to register your Apple TV and then sync both videos.

Attempt to play the video from [2] (Lost) on the newly refreshed Apple TV. You will see the white screen as despite iTunes allowing you to Sync the video it does not have the keys to actually play it.

Fixing the Problem
Ah yes, the important bit! Apple provide a potential solution to the problem here - IT veterans will recognize it as our perenial favourite the "turning it off and on again" answer to everything.

Assuming Apple's recommendation hasn't worked try the following:

  • Go to the "Settings" and then the "General" menus
  • Select "iTunes Store"
  • Log in with the Apple ID that purchased the video (following the example above this would be account [2])
  • Go back to the main menu and select "Downloads" and then "Check for Downloads"

Now when you try and play the video it will work (as the Apple TV has now been authorised to play videos from this account). You should be able to repeat this with as many additional accounts as necessary.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Oracle EBS: Repairing the "XXX is not a valid responsibility for the current user" error in Oracle

This Knol covers how to "fix" a problem that can occur in Oracle when you have granted a user access to a new web-based responsibility but the middle-tier application servers have not picked up this change.

Below are detailed instructions on how to clear the cache on the middle-tier application server(s). As it says in the warning when you try and do it there will be a performance hit while it re-reads all the data from the database - use on Production Systems at you own risk!!

At the moment I'm currently configuring Oracle Internet Expenses (11, not 12) and several times we've granted a user the "Internet Expenses" responsibility, they've logged into Oracle, selected Internet Expenses and then received an error along the lines of "Internet Expenses is not a valid responsibility for the current user. Please contact your System Administrator". For example when trying to access "Function Administrator" privilege you get the message:

Figure 1: Sample error for "Functional Administrator" Responsibility
You only get this issue with Web-based responsibilities. If I'd assigned "Payables Manager" then it works without any issues, the reason for this error is that in order to improve performance Oracle caches some information on the web server. In order to "fix" this problem we need to clear the cache by following these steps;

Step 1: Log in and select the "Functional Administrator" responsibility
Now this is where we get a delicious taste of irony; this responsibility is web-based so if you are trying to fix a problem that's occurring now and you don't already have this responsibility then I'm afraid you're too late. You'll have to bounce the Apache server (something that will require a DBA). In short; you need to have granted yourself this responsibility BEFORE you run into problems!

Figure 2: "Functional Administrator" Welcome Screen

Step 2: Select "Core Services" (the tab at the top right)
Figure 3: "Function Administrator" > "Core Services"
Step 3: Select "Caching Framework" (second option from the right on blue bar)

Figure 4: "Core Services" > "Caching Framework"
Step 4: Select "Global Configuration" (bottom option on the left)
Figure 5: "Caching Framework" > "Global Configuration"
This page shows you the currently configured Caching Statistics and Policy. The bit we're interested in though is the "Clear All Cache" button the right-hand side.

Step 5: Click "Clear All Cache"

Figure 6: Clear Cache Warning Message
Read the message, it's there for a reason!

Step 6: Click "Yes"
Figure 7: Confirmation Message
And we're done, the user should now be able to log in with the new responsibility.