GeekLift: Instagram video problems, tackling tasks and screen zoom

GeekLift: Instagram video problems, tackling tasks and screen zoom
[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or two and a half years, Instagram has allowed users to channel their inner Ansel Adams to snap, filter and post beautiful pictures whether it’s a crisp, complex black-and-white landscape or a simple, self-absorbed ‘selfie‘. Whatever your flavor, Instagram has changed the way people tell their stories online by displaying beautiful images in a stream for most anyone to see.

Twitter wanted a piece of the action, so they developed Vine. For months, users called it ‘Instagram for Video‘. Vine lets users take 6-second videos, add filters and post them to their stream. Instagram’s new owner, Facebook didn’t waste any time getting in the video game by launching (the real) Instagram video. Many of you have downloaded the app. Many of you have problems. Ah, technology.

Instagram video problems and solutions

Q.  I don’t see anything new with Instagram. Everyone says there’s a video option, where’s mine?

A. It’s all in the update. You need to update to iPhone App version 4.0. Click on the App Store icon, then click on Updates. It should be ready for download. Once downloaded, you’ll see the new options with video.

Q. Okay, I got the update. I see the new layout, but when I scroll through my stream and see the pictures with the video symbol, it won’t play. And I can’t take any videos. What gives?

A.  This is a great question, and equally frustrating. Instagram may have launched video too soon, because almost the day they launched the 4.0 update, they launched the 4.0.1 update that fixes ‘Performance improvements and bug fixes’. So head BACK to the App store and download the latest update. I know, annoying.

Stop Instagram Auto Start

Click for a bigger image

Q. Video works, but it’s slow. The videos seem to start late and drag down my speed. And above all, the videos start playing automatically! I hate that. It’s hard to watch videos when I’m in a meeting without getting caught. How can I stop this?

A. Ha. Busted. Your boss is watching. Yes, auto-start is annoying. It’s easy to deactivate so you can watch videos only when you want to. Just do this: Open Instagram and go to your profile by tapping on the bottom-right most icon. Now tap on the settings icon (the cog wheel) on top-right. You see the ‘Auto-play Videos’ option? Turn that thing off. That’s it.

Q. I downloaded the Instagram app on my iPad. It looks awful and it doesn’t play videos? WHAT?

A. This one blows my mind as well. There is no ‘official’ iPad Instagram app. If you notice, you can download the app, but it’s actually for the iPhone. You’ll see a 2x symbol in the bottom corner. That’s to boost the screen twice the size. But you’ll also notice the quality is garbage. This happens with a lot of apps that have been designed for iPhone, but not iPad. So at this point, you’re out of luck. And as for video not playing, I just tested it and it works, so check the above steps (or wait for the official iPad app!)

 Q. Why can’t I embed Instagram videos on my website?

A. You can despite what a lot of people say. I was surprised, because at first, I didn’t think it was possible and Facebook was protecting their property and wanted to own more of what you create. I found some good instructions from Digital Trends if you want to tackle it. Click the magic + symbol below and get to work with some coding that takes some time. If you want to make life easy, use Instaembed or EmbedInstagram to do the work for you.

[toggle title=”How to embed Instagram videos”]

Instagram’s new video functionwill undoubtedly provide the world with some clips worth sharing (and probably some clips nobody should ever, ever see, but that’s another story). And if you want to share an Instagram video masterpiece with your friends in a blog post or on your website, you’re probably wondering if you can embed these videos.You can, though it’s not quite as simple as clicking on the embed button for Vines on Twitter or YouTube videos. The art of Instagram video embedding is slightly more complicated. But fear not, young Instagrammer. It can be done! Mashable’s Christina Warren uncovered a good way to get these videos on to your websites.[UPDATE: As a commenter mentioned, now you can also use Instaembed to embed these videos. So… that’s probably easier.

Step One

Log into your Instagram account and pull up the video URL on your desktop using Chrome or Safari. You don’t have to do anything special to pull it up, just get to the part of your feed where the video you want appears. Firefox fans, I have bad news: You can’t do this on Mozilla. Here I have located my social media savant friend’s first foray into Instagram video.

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 1.59.26 PM

Step Two

Right click on the video, and then select “Inspect Element.” A bunch of crazy-looking code will come up at the bottom of the screen. Don’t have a panic attack. You’re on the right track.

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 1.57.24 PM

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 2.00.48 PM


If you’re looking at code like in this picture, you’re halfway there. So now you’re staring down the source code you need to embed. So it’s on to the next step…

Step Three

OK, take a closer look at that “Inspect Element” code. Look for the part that starts ‘div class – “Video” and once you find that, look for the part of that section with the words “distilleryvesper” – it should end with “mp4″ and if you find it, you’re basically the Indiana Jones of Embedding Stuff.

It took me a little bit to find mine, but once I clicked on the part highlighted in blue, it popped open a new window with the video in it.

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 2.10.31 PM

Step Four

OK, first, rejoice: The hard, vaguely technical part is over. Once you have the URL, go to the Video for Everybody generator. Erase the default code in the boxes and replace it with the code you slyly stole from the bowels of the Internet. You can name your video, too. It should look like this:

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 2.14.19 PM

Step Five

Now you stick that code in your personal website and reap the benefits of your incredible video embedding skillsz. You can pick whether autoplay is on or off (be a good netizen and choose off) and whether you will use HTML5 or HTML5 + Flash. You’re basically a coder now. (Just kidding, real coders, please don’t yell at us.)

Awesome work, great job everyone! But before you start thinking Instagram video is perfect because you can now embed it, let me remind you that Vines are still easier to embed – and you can make your Vines into GIFs, something that’s a little harder to do thus far with Instagram videos.


Q. What about us Android users? What gives!? We have issues too.

A. Yes, I know. Here is some help. I just can’t get to all of it! And I’m an iPhone user, sorry.

Q. I think I’m addicted to social media, what should I do?

A. Run to the forest. Leave your phone at home.

I’d love to her more of your Instagram Video problems and solutions. Please comment below and we’ll add more to this list. Thanks again!


Get on task with your to-do list and collaborate

wunderlist-icon-100031816-largeLooking for a way you and your friend, co-worker or significant other can add to a to-do list at the same time and have it update real-time when you cross off tasks? Look no more. I’ve found a great solution in Wunderlist. And, it’s not just for iPhone. It’s a free app for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, Mac and Web. All this app does is keep you organized with to-do lists.

For instance, my girlfriend and I use it for groceries. I never remember what I need at the store when I’m actually there. So now, when I think of something during the week, I add it to the list on my phone. When I shop, I cross it off. Both of us get notifications (which you can shut off) with either a text or email. It’s very slick.

What’s nice about this free app is that it’s loaded with what you need for free. You can get the Pro version if you really need added support for teams, etc. but I find the free version does everything we need it to.

And if you’re a Mac user, there’s word that the company is working on integration with iCal, which would make this program even better and make my life even more organized. Check out the video. Get organized. Be happy.


Quit squinting and zoom in on that browser

No matter the browser you’re reading this on right now, you can rest assured knowing you’ll always be able to read the words. If the font is too small, there’s an easy fix. To make the screen on ANY browser get bigger on a Mac and PC, do the following:

[column size=”one-half”]

Zoom In

Zoom Out

Reset to Default

[/column] [column size=”one-half” last=”true”]

Zoom In

Zoom Out

Reset to Default


Pretty slick, huh. You can also go up to your browser options in the top left of the screen and click on VIEW. There you should find an options that will help with Zoom. You have all kinds of Geek freedom.

Enjoy the view and we’ll see you next week.

Hat Tips: Instagram: Digital Trends, Wunderlist: WunderKinder, Browser Zoom: David Pogue

Josh Benson

Josh Benson writes about the web, technology, TV News and life in general. He's a self-admitted geek and loves being a Dad. He covers the day's news on WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida. He struggles to learn code and work out but loves all things tech and web!

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