18th. January 2023...
Computer operating systems and browsers seem to have reconciled their differences over media files. My experience leads me to subscribe to the 'it just works' approach. Most of my audio pages have been recoded again and I expect to complete the job before the end of the month. The difficulties described below are a thing of the past. Autoplay is no longer the default option for audio files and I have adjusted my coding to prevent it... just in case. The latest Firefox is no longer 49! I am using Firefox 102 in my Linux system and Windows Internet Explorer is dead, if not yet buried. What follows is no longer of much relevance.
October 2016 Update... The latest HTML5 compliant browsers have produced problems with some of my pages. They will play mp3 files without needing any 'plugin'. I was using 'illegal' code that was not part of HTML4 specification but worked without problems. This is no longer the case. I have removed the auto playing 'embedded' sound files and replaced the players with a 'Play' button. This will work in anything...except the latest Firefox 49 in WinXP and perhaps other older systems! There is no remedy to this other than rolling back to an earlier version. The files may be played by downloading them and using a standard player. (The main problem was with pages holding links to two sound files. They both started up at the same time! Firefox 49 plays at the right pitch, but at slightly reduced reduced speed, and with frequent glitches.) I am experimenting with HTML5 and the 'audio' tag, which will reinstate players. The results are promising but will take a little while to implement.
Do not set too much store by dynamics (loud and soft) if you are using a phone or tablet. I suspect that these convenience devices have volume compressors permanently enabled. Even if you are listening using purpose built software (a 'media player') it is worth checking the hidden settings to see what is enabled by default.
Earlier... If you are a Windows and Internet Explorer user most of my sound pages play as soon as they appear. If they do not play for you (any system), click "DOWNLOAD", or one of my links. The mp3 sound file should then be downloaded and open automatically in your associated multi media player. If you do not have a broadband internet connection it may stutter. Once completely downloaded it will play without trouble, even from your "History" cache of recent internet files.
If nothing happens, except that you get a blank white screen, you are the victim of new technology. You may get the option of downloading something. Take it! Real Player, QuickTime and other 'add ons' fight it out for control of you computer. Just ignore their advertisements. The option described below will also work (this is my choice). If you are using a Windows computer open Media Player|Tools|Options|File Types and click 'Select All' (or at least fully check the 'mp3' box).
If you right click "DOWNLOAD", you are presented with options. "Open" gives the same result as left clicking. The best option for a modern browser is 'Open in a new Tab', by doing this you will hear the music when it has all been download and will continue to be able to see the page of text. If you select "Save Target As...", or "Save Link As..." (the exact terminology depends upon your browser) you can open the file when the download is complete, and the file is saved. The 'Save Target' option will work even if you cannot play the file directly. (See below.)
Another ploy is to right click "DOWNLOAD" and "copy the shortcut" by clicking it. You can then paste it into the File | Play URL box of Windows Media player, or whatever player you prefer.
I have altered my coding to resolve media issues as far as I am able. Most examples and the mp3 files now play for Windows with Internet Explorer as soon as the descriptive page is accessed. (Firefox, Mozilla, users, who will have to click "DOWNLOAD" and return with their browser arrow.) The exceptions are pages with more than one sound link. For these you must still click the link. If your player fills the screen you will find it best to reduce its size (by dragging the bottom left corner after it has been unmaximised) and then 'park' it somewhere out of the way like the top left corner of your screen.
Depending on your browser setup, the right click option to 'open in a new tab' may be the best for you as you can go back to other things, like the page of text, while the music is playing.
When Media Player is visible, and you wish to save the file, click for the "File" drop down menu or right click anywhere on the body of the window and select "Save as..."
Firewall settings may interfere with the direct opening of files on the internet. If you get error messages relating to internet connection options your player is probably being blocked by your firewall. The solution is to access your firewall settings and enable your player to connect to the internet. A reassuring option is to set the permission to 'Ask'. If you do this you can make a decision each time it does ask. (The safest option.) If you get fed up with this hassle click the 'Remember' box and set it to 'All'.
This paragraph is included for historical reasons! If you do not have a suitable media player (very unlikely) Windows will send your machine off to a Microsoft download site. The features you need are generally part of your browser installation, so you could install them from your CDROM. Media player comes with Internet Explorer and Winamp comes with Netscape. You do not need to have the very latest version! If you have flirted with a non-Microsoft media player and wonder how to get rid of the clapper board icons associated with the various types of media file, and return to the little colored (sic) loudspeakers, select "Options" from the "View" drop down, or right click as above. From the tabs, select "Formats" and check the desired boxes (all of them?!). Hey presto, no clapper boards. It took me hours to stumble across this.
The mp3 format files I, like many others use, play very well in relatively simple players like that in IrfanView. They open very quickly without monopolising your screen and are worthy of serious consideration.
Ubuntu and Linux users may make a slow start if mp3 files have not been accessed before. Take the option to install the appropriate codecs and let your machine get on with the job. You will, of course, need your password. Mac and other Safari users will need appropriate plugins, as will Firefox users.
This page, originally dated 17th. March 2003 was updated on 31st. January 2010 and 1st. November 2016. Final revision 18th. January 2023.