Mute for Browsers

This post is more than 2 years old.

Here is a question - why don't browsers have a mute option? Sure, I could disable Flash, but what I really want is for Flash apps to just shut the heck up. Nothing is more annoying than when a Flash file (or any multimedia extension) starts blaring techno music while iTunes itsels is blarinf techno music.

There should be an option to simply not allow any audio to leave the browser and it should not intefere with the plugin itself.

Anyone know of a Firefox extension like this?

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About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Ryan posted on 6/9/2004 at 4:29 PM

I second that...but I also think that popups in AOL's AIM and such should have audio disabled, or AOL should have the courtesy of not running slot machine/gambling banner ads that suddenly trumpet slot sounds.

Comment 2 by Steve Nelson posted on 6/9/2004 at 4:31 PM

I don't see the problem. You can add just about any music to techno and it just creates an even more bizarre beat.


Comment 3 by Anthony Petruzzzi posted on 6/9/2004 at 4:34 PM

Do what I do, turn off sound completly in windows. I can't stand having sound for anything, so I just always have it on mute. The only time I turn it on is when I'm watching a movie trailer or something. But once I'm done I mute again. It also is helpful that I have the volume control in the taskbar for quick access.

Comment 4 by Craig M. Rosenblum posted on 6/9/2004 at 5:00 PM

First off you can download the tool called SpywareBlaster which is specifically designed to tweak the security configuration of IE.

One thing that comes with it is, a flash-killer, that prevents flash from loading. Or you can just turn active-x off, but this flash-killer is more specific I believe.

Also you can try some different IE Toolbars, such as

Which has the ability to turn off plugins on the fly. Plus it's an incredibly beautiful toolbar for testing pages/applications for different level of web standards, javascript, css the whole works.

Beautiful toolbar.

P.S. Now if we can only take the flash away from, then I'd really be happy! :)

Comment 5 by Charlie Griefer posted on 6/9/2004 at 5:29 PM

I like the idea a lot. Yeah, I can turn off sound completely...and normally I do have the system sound muted unless I'm listening to music.

That's when I surf with fear and trepidation. Even the most mainstream sites feature flash ads that start blaring at you.

Since what -should- be common courtesy (launching ads without sound and then giving the user the option to turn on, instead of vice-versa) clearly isn't going to become the norm any time soon, I think this is a great idea.

Comment 6 by Raymond Camden posted on 6/9/2004 at 5:32 PM

Just so it's clear, I don't want to turn off Flash. I have no problems with Flash in the browser, I just wish I could turn off the audio portion. I don' twant to mute the whole computer as I _always_ listen to music. iTunes doesn't stop all day.

Comment 7 by John Dowdell posted on 6/9/2004 at 6:16 PM

A SWF interface could present a volume control. But I'm guessing you're more concerned about the sites with obnoxious taste that wouldn't do that too, huh...?

One option would be another item in the context menu, but two problems make this a less-than-optimal solution: (a) not all that many people ever look at the context menu (cf all those "busy swf ads" messages which can often be stopped by untoggling "Play"!); and (b) lots of sites opt to minimize the context menu.

What do I do? I keep headphones plugged in, at home and office. The latter is a cubiclization necessity anyway (and please forgive the coinage ;-). I keep music on my home computer, but only for managing my pocket player -- I usually listen to music on devices other than my surfing computer. (Right now I'm listening to Suraiya, who was a Bollywood playback singer fifty years ago... I'd be bummed if some site broke in on that with their ideas of what I might like.... ;-)

Hmm, I haven't tried this... if you get a techno ad, then can you context-click and uncheck "Play"? I haven't tested this against the variety of ways to play audio in SWF, and the context menu won't be available on all sites anyway, but worth a try...?

John Dowdell
Macromedia Support

Comment 8 by Raymond Camden posted on 6/9/2004 at 6:22 PM

Some interesting ideas - although I really feel this is not Flash's fault... although it would be nice if the player had that right context menu. I really want a solution that would apply to all plugins (you know, the other 2 or 3 plugins you run into besides Flash ;). Actually - I can't remember the last non-Flash plugin I ran into. ;)

Comment 9 by amar posted on 6/11/2004 at 9:45 PM

John Dowdell,
I'm pleasently surprised to read someone listening to Suraiya. I listen Bollywood all the time but not Suraiya. Now I'll feel like listening to her. That's completely different style of singing and the music itself. But they still call it the Golden Era of Bollywood for music. Thanks for reminding me about it.

Comment 10 by Jeff Wilkinson posted on 6/16/2004 at 8:16 PM

just have the hardware volume control on your speaker in reach... something annoying comes up.... turn it down/off... simple. ;-)

Comment 11 by Argh posted on 9/3/2005 at 9:32 PM

i know this blog post is old as the hills, but i just thought i'd check you know about flashmute, since it would suit you to a T:

Comment 12 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/5/2005 at 4:26 PM

Last time I tried it, it wouldn't work in the latest version of Firefox. I'll have to try it again and see if it works better now.