Rangecast FAQ
[FAQ-1157] About the Java player



Q & A summary of topics related to the Java player (and the 2011 port of the Java player to Android). Note: This FAQ does NOT relate to the more modern HTML5 player, which is actively developed for use on PCs, Android and iPhone.


Q: What is the Java version of the Rangecast player?

A: When Rangecast went online in 2008, the initial version of the Rangecast media player was written in Java. This software was actively developed until 2013, when Rangecast shifted platforms to the new HTML5 standard, which provides much better cross-platform support. The Rangecast system is backwards compatible to the Java player, and some customers continue to use this product, either instead of or in addition to the current HTML5 player.

Q: What are the minimum requirements for a PC running the Java version of the Rangecast player?

A: The PC must (a) have Java installed, (b) be connected to the internet, and (c) have speakers our another form of audio output. When the player is launched, security settings on your PC may require manual permission before starting the program (called a "Java Applet").

Q: What is the minimum version of Java required to run the Java version of the Rangecast player?

A: The Rangecast Java player was updated on February 14, 2013, and is no longer compatible with older versions of Java that had previously worked with the player. If the Rangecast player does not load in your browser, we recommend updating to the current version of Java at http://java.com/en/download/index.jsp

In general, if there are problems running the software, it is possible that updating Java may help. With the changing landscape of PC and browser security features, ensuring full compatibility between all elements by updating to current versions may resolve some issues.

For users who are still running Java 6, an older version of the Rangecast player (from July 2012) is still available at this URL: https://www.rangecast.com/priorversion.html

Q: What Internet browsers can I use to listen to Rangecast on the Java player?

A: Any browser that allows use of Java applets should work for listening to Rangecast. This includes Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera. We are not aware of any minimum version requirements. (The only browser that we know won't run the Rangecast player is Lynx, a text-only browser found on some console systems.)

Q: Can I access the Java Rangecast player from my Android device?

A: Yes. The HTML5 player is recommended, and is the currently supported mobile version of Rangecast. This FAQ is directed to the older Java player (no longer in development); in 2011 Rangecast made a test port of the Java product to Android, and we have made this software available (but not supported). This software is not available in the Android market, but you can install it directly to your Android device from our website. First, in the Android settings menu system, enable an option called "Allow installation of non-Market applications". Second, in a web browser, access http://www.rangecast.com/download/android.apk. This should download the application, and give you options for installing on your device. The application works for most users, but some users are affected by two issues relating to screen size or network connectivity.

Q: When I launch the Rangecast player, it says "Authentication Error". What happened?

A: The Rangecast server denied the connection request. The most common reason is an incorrect username or password. For embedded content (no username or password required, the player is simply built into a webpage), then the embedded credentials in the webpage may be out of date.

However, a separate reason for this error message can be that the number of currently connected users has exceeded the limit allowed for this Rangecast hub, and there are no more connection licenses available at the present time.

If you are the hub's administrator, and feel this is in error, see the section titled "How can I find out how many users can simultaneously connect to my hub?"

Q: The player is showing "Reading Audio", but nothing is ever played. What's wrong?

A: The Rangecast player includes several threads, including an audio management component that downloads, buffers, and plays audio. If this thread crashes, the software may appear functional (buttons can be pressed, etc) but the display will indicate a frozen condition such as "Reading Audio". See the FAQ section about understanding Java crashes.

Q: So I'm told that a Java "thread" has crashed, and that's why the Rangecast player is not working properly. How can I resolve the issue?

A: The answer will depend on what error caused the Java crash. The best way to obtain a clear description of the problem is to open the "Java Console" (while the player is inoperative) and copy-and-paste what is shown there, which will normally include technical information useful for understanding the cause of the problem. Note that this cannot be done after the browser window is closed; the error report is then discarded, and we cannot provide further assistance at understanding the cause without this information.

The way to access the "Java Console" depends on the particular browser. This is normally available as an option somewhere under Tools, Options, or similar menu selections.

Q: Why does the player show a different layout from what's set in the profile's configuration?

A: The operating system (whether PC or Android) gives the Rangecast player a screen area measured in pixels left-right and top-bottom. If the profile's default size/layout (what's set in the profile editor) does not fit, then the player automatically downselects to the largest available panel that will fit inside the available display area.

Q: I can sign in with the Android player, and it starts to connect, but does not maintain a connection. This is not a problem with my cellphone reception. What's wrong?

A: For unknown reasons, a few Android devices have trouble maintaining an encrypted connection to the Rangecast server while using our server's default settings. We have a simple work-around on the server side that seems to resolve this issue, please let us know if you encounter this problem.

Q: Why does the Android player show a uselessly small display interface, instead of what's shown in example literature?

A: The player (PC and Android, they work the same) checks the available screen size, and if it is not large enough for a selected profile type, downselects to the largest Rangecast style that fits on the display.

There is no exclusively "Android design" for the Rangecast player layout. The Android just downselects from a larger (PC-oriented) style to a smaller size we provided that seems to fit on most smartphones. If a PC player (for example, on a media portal) is given the same display area on a website as a typical Android smartphone, it will show what we normally consider the "Android" layout on the PC website. Conversely, if an Android tablet has a large enough display area, it may show the standard PC-style layouts automatically when using Rangecast.

If the available display area on a smartphone is even slightly smaller (in pixels) than the smartphone-oriented Rangecast layout, then the player will downselect to the smallest display option in the software - the miniature layout originally designed for Treo smartphones in 2008. This can happen even if the display area *looks* large enough to support the "Android" layout, either because the phone has slightly less space than we anticipated, or is giving Rangecast only a portion of the display area.

What matters in this discussion is pixels, not screen inches. Some larger displays do not actually provide additional resolution (in pixels), but make the pixels larger (so the display is easier to read).

Q: Why can't I expand or contract the Android display by moving my fingers apart or together on the touchpad?

A: The PC and Android versions of the player share the same code and functionality. The software was initially developed for the PC, where there is no touchscreen available. The Android inherits the same behavior, and the user interface can't be resized. This is different from most Android applications, where the user interface was designed specifically for the Android platform.

Q: To listen to Rangecast audio on the Java player, do I need to make any changes to my firewall settings?

A: For most systems, no. Both the Rangecast Java player and the HTML-based "transmission log" access standard ports (80 HTTP, 443 HTTPS) on our servers and 'cloud' audio storage.

The one exception is that for access to certain Rangecast hubs supporting "portal" websites with an embedded Rangecast player, for efficiency in supporting large numbers of clients, the Java player will directly access our server at a special remote port number dedicated to the service. If your firewall blocks access to such a service (the expected symptom is that the Rangecast player will appear, but all buttons will remain gray), we can provide the particular internet address and port number at our server that your PC must be allowed to contact (outbound) on the internet.

Q: When defining a profile bank button, how can I select all content (available on this hub) from a particular city or county?

A: Go to the Rangecast Geocode database, and enter the name of the city or county you want to select. For example, Springfield IL returns geocode IL1002. In the Rangecast profile editor, select "Manual Geocode" and enter USIL1002. (Note that the United States prefix 'US' must be added when entering a geocode.)

When selecting all content from a county (e.g. Berkshire County MA is MA1100) including city agencies, omit the last two digits "00" and enter only USMA11 into the profile editor. Including the final "00" would limit content to county agencies and exclude content from local jurisdictions.

Note: to look up multiple cities in a county, select the state in the first box, and enter the county name. To look up multiple counties in a state, select the state in the first box, and "County" records in the second box. This will return all matching records.

Q: How can I find out how many users can simultaneously connect to my hub?

A: In the Rangecast Control Panel, login as 'admin@hubname', and click on "hub configuration" in the upper-right. Scroll down to "Settings specified in your customer order". The line "Maximum client connection licenses" shows how many connection licenses are available for user account logins, for accounts hosted at your hub. (If more people try to connect, new login attempts will be denied with an "Authentication Error" message on the Rangecast player.)

Q: For Java systems, how does the 'Control Panel' differ from the 'Status Page'?

A: The Control Panel is a part of the Rangecast website, a control panel for hub or user accout administration. In contast, the Status Page is direct access (through a web browser) to the software running on a Rangecast server that manages your hub's data and connections (conceptually, this is more like talking to your router). The functionality of the status page is more limited (e.g. no forms), but it is an excellent resource for technical information and real-time visualization of both content and user activity.

Q: How can I access the status page?

A: At the Rangecast website, login as "_server@hubname" using the same password you would use for "admin@hubname". Any number of people can simultaneously access this resource (there is no single-user resource lock).

Alternatively, from the Control Panel (when logged in as "admin@hubname"), go to "Hub Configuration", and re-enter your password at the bottom of the page (where it says "Server Access") and press "Connect".

Rangecast FAQ - ID 1157 - last updated 18 October 2017     Images shown - [block]