Occupy Flash
November 21, 2011 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Occupy Flash - The movement to rid the world of the Flash Player plugin

Also see: FlashBlock and Going Flash-Free on Mac OS X for whitelisting Flash sites on Chrome and Safari, resp.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (143 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Guys I talked to the English language and it told me we're almost out of the word "occupy" so we need to start conserving it.
posted by griphus at 11:25 AM on November 21, 2011 [101 favorites]


But how will I play the 38 various tower defense games I am currently addicted to?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:25 AM on November 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


If you uninstall Flash you won't be able to play web games, view most streams, or view hardly anything on Homestar Runner. (Yes, they haven't updated in a year. It's still important to me dammit. OCCUPY STRONG BADIA.)
posted by JHarris at 11:26 AM on November 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Such a biased post. It fails to link to Occupy HTML.
posted by demiurge at 11:27 AM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Steve Jobs' Thoughts on Flash (April, 2010; previously). If it's too long, skip to the conclusion section at the end.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:30 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


griphus: Guys I talked to the English language and it told me we're almost out of the word "occupy" so we need to start conserving it.

At this point, Occupy is becoming the new Planet[Topic] for topic-based websites circa 1995. It loses its meaning, other than being a Hot New Catchword.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:31 AM on November 21, 2011


I think Chrome has Flash built in, so you can still see content using that browser in the rare need.

Pretty sure the daringfireball link goes into that, but I read it when Gruber wrote it, si my memory may be off.

I've been flash free for a while on the mac, and often turn on developer mode and tell the world I am using Safari for the iPad. It's been nice. I much prefer my surfing experience at home than on my work machine that has Flash.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:31 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what I really hate?

Files.

My bloody computer's full of them, Occupying my hard disk. They even seem to have infected my iPad.

Someone needs to get on top of this sharpish, because the security model of current-generations of computers is wide open to this insidious threat.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 11:36 AM on November 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Files.

*squints* Poe has defeated me once again. I honestly can't tell if that's supposed to be satire.
posted by kmz at 11:37 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I did my part. The other week I changed a website I made with Flash Catalyst over to Wordpress.
posted by thylacine at 11:38 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't get it. What's so bad about Flash?
posted by monospace at 11:39 AM on November 21, 2011


without flash there is no glitch.

this is one of the dumber uses of the occupy meme.
posted by nadawi at 11:42 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Without Flash, how will I heat my apartment with my computer?
posted by entropicamericana at 11:42 AM on November 21, 2011 [35 favorites]


use gnash! (gnu + flash)
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 11:42 AM on November 21, 2011


Some real lovers of terrible technologies here.

OccupyFlash is awesome and if your first thought is "my precious games!" you need to read the site.
posted by DU at 11:43 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Andrew Hussie's use of Flash for Homestuck is reason enough for me to never completely abandon a browser that still uses Flash.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 11:45 AM on November 21, 2011


OccupyFlash is awesome and if your first thought is "my precious games!" you need to read the site.

I'm going to guess that I was joking.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:45 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


We are the 99% cpu utilization
posted by condour75 at 11:47 AM on November 21, 2011 [50 favorites]


In the long run, converting the world's websites to run on HTML5 instead of Flash sounds great but I'm not cutting off my nose to spite my face. Like it or not, there are a ton of websites that I need to access that this use Flash. How am I supposed to watch videos on Firefox without it? And no, I'm not switching to Chrome.
posted by octothorpe at 11:48 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


> I don't get it. What's so bad about Flash?

Other than being a C-list superhero?
posted by mmrtnt at 11:48 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't get it. What's so bad about Flash?

Apple iPhone users can't run it.

(Well, also it's bloated and buggy, but I don't think it anti-flash sentiment would be A Thing if it wasn't for the iphone)
posted by -harlequin- at 11:49 AM on November 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


How am I supposed to watch videos on Firefox without it?

One option is to turn off Flash support and use plug-ins (some listed in the post) that allow re-enabling Flash on a per-site, per-instance basis.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:50 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Other than being a C-list superhero?

The real Flash has his own theme song, sung by Freddie Motherfucking Mercury, and is therefore fucking awesome.
posted by kmz at 11:53 AM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


The real Flash has his own theme song...

Fantastic, now "Flash! Ahh-aaahh-aah!" is going to be stuck in my head until forever.
posted by griphus at 11:55 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


if your first thought is "my precious games!" you need to read the site.

...and their answer is essentially "suck it up." That will fly well with the 14-year old nieces.
posted by bonehead at 11:55 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


This reminds me a lot of being in 2003 and trying to only use CSS positioning for layouts. Except in this case, if we were extending the Flash analogy to IE6, IE6 would have been the browser that had better CSS 2.1 support while Firefox, Safari, and Opera were lagging.

What's so bad about Flash?

It depends on what you mean by "so bad." Flash has its problems, but this isn't about that. This is cargo cult stuff. Right here you're watching group dynamics trump common sense.

OccupyFlash is awesome and if your first thought is "my precious games!" you need to read the site.

I read the site. "HTML5 has clearly won the fight for the future of our web browsing." Perhaps indeed the future. Here in the present, there's still a lot the Flash does the HTML5 doesn't do consistently, well, or cross-browser, and if there's content people enjoy that's written using it, there's no reason they shouldn't continue to enjoy it.
posted by weston at 11:56 AM on November 21, 2011 [15 favorites]


Fantastic, now "Flash! Ahh-aaahh-aah!" is going to be stuck in my head until forever.

I recommend co-mingling it with the Big O theme music until you go insane.

Also, Wally West is awesome.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:59 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I finally disabled Flash in Chrome this weekend while trying to diagnose why my machine paused randomly for 5 seconds at a time. Suddenly all pauses stopped, Chrome got a lot less crashy with the monstrous number of windows that I have open at once and the entire web is generally less annoying because I get a gray box asking me to click to play advertisements that used to autoplay.

Suddenly my quad core processor and 16 gigs of RAM are enough to browse the web effectively. And I'm not really missing anything by having flash disabled by default.
posted by mikesch at 12:06 PM on November 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Fantastic, now "Flash! Ahh-aaahh-aah!" is going to be stuck in my head until forever.

As also seen as a shelf heading in the computer/web books section of a Cambridge UK (IIRC) bookstore I've forgotten the name of sometime in the nineties.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:06 PM on November 21, 2011


Suddenly my quad core processor and 16 gigs of RAM are enough to browse the web effectively

Welcome to the cargo cult!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:07 PM on November 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


I thought Flash was the Basset Hound in The Dukes of Hazard
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:08 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't get it. What's so bad about Flash?

It's a huge vector for computer infection. Pretty much anything that integrates with your browser after its installation, called plug-ins, can be targeted on an individual basis to find vulnerabilities. Instead of having a single platform that people try to find bugs in (and a single group of people dedicated to fixing it) you have 10 or so. The biggest culprits are Adobe Acrobat, Flash, Java, and... Silverlight I guess? These plug-ins were developed in the early days of the web to provide functionality that HMTL didn't have.

What a hacker will do is try to find a zero day bug in the latest release of one of these plug-ins. A zero day bug is something that is entirely unknown to any developer outside of the hacker who's discovered it, and will infect any system that's running the plug-in. You can slip a zero day exploit in to a relatively secure ad network, like Yahoo Mail, and infect even the most securely updated system. This means that Flash has to constantly be updated to have a truly secure system, which is a huge time drain for system admins and well informed users. It's debatable, but having a single platform (instead of a dozen insecure plug-ins) would be require much less constant maintenance.

Apart from zero day bugs, which target secured systems, every old version of flash that's running on Gradpa's unupdated system still have vulnerabilities. So even if Adobe pushes out the latest version of secure flash, there's still a huge percentage of users who are vulnerable. Getting Flash out of the web ecosystem means that, by and by, legitimate sites simply won't have Flash applications, and otherwise legitimate ad networks won't have Flash based ads.

However, with the advent of HTML5, AJAX, Ruby, and any number of advanced web languages, they are becoming less necessary, and are mostly sticking around not because of utility that they offer, but because of coercive attempts by companies to make them be necessary as legacy products. There's also OS war stuff wrapped up in it, since Apple was the first company to fire a broadside against flash, and any large scale thing that they do will attract fanboyish praise or criticism, but that's besides the point.

So, if you care at all about Internet security, and the web ecosystem, moving from flash to universal HTML 5 would be awesome.

I like the idea behind this campaign, but I also think that it targets groups of people who already use up-to-date browsers that don't really even need flash any more, and using the occupy terminology is just following a fad, and devaluing the more legitimate occupy movements.
posted by codacorolla at 12:08 PM on November 21, 2011 [19 favorites]


I just remember the horrible time that flash allowed keylogging. Forget exactly when, but if you were on a site with flash on it, and logged into something (world of warcraft specifically), bam, they got your account. I remember how they got to it pretty quickly, got word out, etc, and it's the reason for the launcher and authenticator, but drilled into me how flawed flash really was. Then hearing how Adobe wanted Apple to grant flash deeper system access, and then said screw flash. It's leaky, badly written, and much better alternatives exist.

I got a lot of jokes about getting an ipad "without flash", but you know what? I can browse and do pretty much what i did before, less ads, and i didn't play flash games much, so i'm not missing much.
posted by usagizero at 12:11 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Welcome to the cargo cult!

Just because it's fashionable to say flash sucks doesn't mean it's not true.
posted by mikesch at 12:14 PM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


a website I made with Flash Catalyst

Why, god, why?

Thanks for converting it over to HTML and making the web a better place.
posted by Alterscape at 12:14 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


We are the 99% cpu utilization

I wish I had used that as the post title.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:16 PM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Welcome to the cargo cult!

Chrome user here. 2 gigs RAM, 4 year old machine, and... I'm on a Mac, which of course means I have the crappiest version of Flash possible, right?

I guess I must not be able to browse the web, but somehow I have 17 tabs over two browsers open right now.

If you find that turning Flash off improves your computing experience, by all means, turn it off.

There's a big difference between that and writing a manifesto suggesting *everybody* should turn it off and that emerging standards constitute a drop-in replacement for Flash.
posted by weston at 12:18 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't get it. What's so bad about Flash?

Three things:

1. Flash is proprietary. Yes, there are attempts to do open-source versions of the IDE and player, but these have been marginal at best, and so we're moving more and more "web" development to a model that requires shelling out serious dollars to Adobe for the privilege. That's the antithesis of what the web is all about, and many consider it analogous to having Microsoft Word be the only option for writing HTML code, requiring people to pay Microsoft for the privilege of writing web pages. If that strikes you as a terrible idea, then you understand how many people feel about Flash.

2. Flash is non-performant. It doesn't run on all the big-player platforms, and it doesn't run particularly well on all the platforms it does run on. It may not seem like a big deal when you're running a game -- there is an expectation of heavy CPU utilization -- but when you visit your favorite restaurant's web site and listen to your laptop fan spin up as your browser slides the menu items onto the screen, or you can't read the menu at all on your new iMac, you can understand the concerns.

3. Flash is not web-friendly. Oh, sure, you can make it somewhat accessible, and you can make it somewhat searchable by web spiders, but that requires extra knowledge and extra work, and most developers won't take that work on because they don't know better, or they don't have it in the budget/timelines, or they just don't care. Even for HTML, accessibility and spidering support should be more than afterthoughts, and some care should be taken to do it correctly, but the learning curve is lower and the effort required is lower. A web that can't be browsed by sight-impaired people, and doesn't show up in a useful way within search engines, isn't a web I particularly want to be a part of.

There are some other issues as well, but these are the three main ones that get bandied about where I work.
posted by davejay at 12:18 PM on November 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


Linux.

I need Flash to pull video into the browser's cache so I can watch it with mplayer.
posted by mmrtnt at 12:29 PM on November 21, 2011


Please no! Keeping flash means I can just turn on Flashblock and eliminate the worst of the annoying animated ads with one stroke. If all the cpu sucking advertising goes to HTML5 and javascript, it's harder to tell an ad from the rest of the webpage - and harder to block. Flash must live on so we can disable it.
posted by Wemmick at 12:29 PM on November 21, 2011 [21 favorites]


Can't we flag this as a double?

Guess not. Haters gotta hate.
posted by daveje at 12:30 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Chrome user here. 2 gigs RAM, 4 year old machine, and... I'm on a Mac, which of course means I have the crappiest version of Flash possible, right?

I guess I must not be able to browse the web, but somehow I have 17 tabs over two browsers open right now.


Amateur. I'm using a 6 year old tablet-pc laptop, 2 gigs ram, and typically have 50 to 200 tabs open. (What? You can't say stuff like that in a geek discussion and not get one-upped. Point in case - someone is about to do the same to me)

Once upon a time, I used bookmarks, but now I just leave the tab open indefinitely instead. Sometimes this gets out of control :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 12:31 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


You will have my Tesshi-E escape games when you pry them from my cold, carpal-tunnel-afflicted hands.
posted by Sparx at 12:32 PM on November 21, 2011


http://www.youtube.com/html5 .. just tried it, works fine. Thanks, this will free up my systems resources, and now on an open standard.
posted by stbalbach at 12:32 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Point in case - someone is about to do the same to me

The abacus I use to browse the web has over ten thousand beads on it and is made from corrugated cardboard and radio antennas.
posted by griphus at 12:33 PM on November 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


> Flash must live on so we can disable it.

On firefox, you can use AdBlock+ and selectively or completely block anything coming from any domain

I don't block ads unless they are animated - I find it annoying to read when things are changing on the page.

posted by mmrtnt at 12:33 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


The abacus I use to browse the web has over ten thousand beads on it and is made from corrugated cardboard and radio antennas.

The fact that your abacus was made after the advent of radio outs you as a neophyte.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:34 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


typically have 50 to 200 tabs open

If your using Firefox, be sure to modify the browser.sessionstore.interval parameter to a high number (every 10 minutes = 600000), otherwise the default (every 15 seconds!) will cause constant IO slowing everything down radically. Took me a year to figure that out, now Firefox finally runs well.
posted by stbalbach at 12:41 PM on November 21, 2011 [21 favorites]


> and you can make it somewhat searchable by web spiders,

The idea of the internet being tubes full of spiders, really freaks me out.

posted by mmrtnt at 12:41 PM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


The fact that your abacus was made after the advent of radio outs you as a neophyte.

I'm actually a hyper-Luddite travelling backwards through time.
posted by griphus at 12:43 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes this gets out of control :-)

Oh god, this has totally happened to me. Though, usually I have less than 110 tabs. More like 50-80.

(Usually, the culprit is Wikia. Ugh, fucking Wikia.)
posted by kmz at 12:43 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


er, make that "or you can't read the menu at all on your new iMaciPad"
posted by davejay at 12:45 PM on November 21, 2011


I like NoScript for Firefox, it blocks all Flash by default. If you decide you really need to play that trebuchet game (and I do, yes) then you can unblock it. It's easy and way less intrusive than it could be. And it doesn't require me to drop everything and devote myself to the cause of dropping all Adobe executives into a lake of molten lava, as much as I would like to see that happen.
posted by zomg at 12:48 PM on November 21, 2011


On firefox, you can use AdBlock+ and selectively or completely block anything coming from any domain

I use Adblock as well. The weakness of Adblock though, is that for it to work someone must maintain a filter list and play whack-a-mole with ads and site changes. It's imperfect at best and relies on the diligence of the filter list maintainers. Turn on Flashblock and suddenly you've nuked the most obnoxious ads from orbit without altering the page layout and prevented most auto-playing sound to boot.
posted by Wemmick at 12:49 PM on November 21, 2011


> The weakness of Adblock though, is that for it to work someone must maintain a filter list and play whack-a-mole with ads and site changes

hey, whatever works for you.

But I'd like to point out that Adblock comes with a set of filters and you can add to them at any time simply by right-clicking on whatever is annoying you*

And NoScript is awewome!

*doesn't work on spouses or children
posted by mmrtnt at 12:54 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


1. Flash is proprietary. Yes, there are attempts to do open-source versions of the IDE and player, but these have been marginal at best, and so we're moving more and more "web" development to a model that requires shelling out serious dollars to Adobe for the privilege.

I totally agree having a well-spec'd and freely re-implementable runtime is good. Flash has not always compared favorably here. For a while, though, the biggest obstacle to the open runtime has probably been the media codecs (and to some extent, the communication protocols). As we've seen with H.264, this isn't exactly a trivial issue on the open web.

In practice, though, a free-as-in-beer runtime has worked out pretty well for letting a web audience enjoy an awful lot of content for a decade before wide implementation of web standards have made it possible for less than half the audience.

And on the dev side? I don't know if it's really fair to call the various available free/open tools that target the runtime marginal. To me it doesn't seem they're any more marginal vs the Flash and Flex IDEs than Vim is compared to Coda or Dreamweaver -- tools which people do pay for the privilege of making the development process smoother for them, but which aren't at all required if you want to build on the open web.

2. Flash is non-performant. running a game -- there is an expectation of heavy CPU utilization -- but when you visit your favorite restaurant's web site

3. Flash is not web-friendly. Oh, sure, you can make it somewhat accessible

These issues, while real, more or less come down to an abuse of the technology rather than inherent problems, and are better fixed with the maxim "don't use flash for entire websites" instead of "Flash is bad."

The same issues have applied to people who've composed websites entirely of image slices and abused animated GIFs, probably for much the same reasons.
posted by weston at 12:56 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


[This is dumb.]
posted by klanawa at 1:00 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


As an aside, you people who keep 50 to hundreds of tabs open at once baffle me. It seems like the digital equivalent of hoarding.
posted by codacorolla at 1:06 PM on November 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


That code Flash is a bad motha...

Hush your mouth!

But I'm talkin' 'bout Flash!
posted by mmrtnt at 1:19 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


...there's no reason they shouldn't continue to enjoy it.

Also, if everyone stopped using Flash tomorrow the super-cool kids would have to rush out and find something else to foment hatred against. I guess they could re-focus their hate rays on PDFs, another dread Adobe creation that lots of us terribly backwards losers still find useful.
posted by aught at 1:26 PM on November 21, 2011


I love how developers abuse the hell out of a perfectly useful tool, and then people blame the tool for the resulting problems. It's like if incompetent home builders hammered together dangerous, horribly-crafted houses, and people got angry at hammers when the homes collapsed on top of them.
posted by mullingitover at 1:30 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


>Well, also it's bloated and buggy, but I don't think it anti-flash sentiment would be A Thing if it wasn't for the iphone<

Oh no, my friend, I have no iphone and I’ve hated Flash from way back. At least now my computers can keep up with it and just use lots of CPU. It used to bring the computer to it’s knees with a simple ad.

I’m with wemmick though, I do like the fact that I can run ClicktoFlash and turn off most of the bullshit on the web. With that and adblockers in icab my browsing is pretty minimalist. It’s shocking when I see someone else’s computer.
posted by bongo_x at 1:31 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, if everyone stopped using Flash tomorrow the super-cool kids would have to rush out and find something else to foment hatred against. I guess they could re-focus their hate rays on PDFs, another dread Adobe creation that lots of us terribly backwards losers still find useful.

I don't think coolness has anything to do with it. There've been at least half a dozen legitimate complaints about Flash posted in this thread alone, and for years Flash has been using proprietary software to milk money out of web developers while offering an increasingly intrusive while technologically inferior product which poses a constant and very real security threat to any computer that has it installed. Maybe some people dislike Flash because of the coolness of it, but to pretend that's the sole reason seems disingenuous.

And, yeah, if there was an open source technology that offered the same usability as PDFs then I would adopt it in a second. The web should be open, searchable, linkable, and secure, and PDFs are half-hearted by every one of those metrics.

Just because something is currently useful because of market manipulation on the part of the company that owns it doesn't mean it's beyond reproach.
posted by codacorolla at 1:33 PM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


monospace: "I don't get it. What's so bad about Flash?"

Adobe shot Steve Jobs' dog once.
posted by octothorpe at 1:35 PM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I guess they could re-focus their hate rays on PDFs, another dread Adobe creation that lots of us terribly backwards losers still find useful.

I can't count how many times I have gotten pop-ups interrupting my life, telling me to upgrade my Adobe (PDF) Reader software and web browser plug-in, because of some security issue or another where my computer will get rooted if I view a malicious PDF.

So then I have to choose to either dismiss the dialog box and cross my fingers that some journal article isn't corrupt, or I shut down my browser and interrupt my life for a crappy installer to take a chunk of my day away.

And those are just the issues that Adobe felt like getting around to fixing.

Scribd has made strides in solving this issue, making HTML5 do things that PDFs used to do. These solutions can't come quickly enough, it seems.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:36 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, are there Mac users whining about PDFs? *head explodes*

PDF reading/writing is built into the goddamned operating system and it works like a dream in OSX. Granted they're a nightmare with Adobe's client in Windows, but I blame Microsoft for that more than anything. Microsoft could build PDF read/write tools into their OS too and not have to pay Adobe a dime.
posted by mullingitover at 1:40 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't count how many times I have gotten pop-ups interrupting my life, telling me to upgrade my Adobe (PDF) Reader software

I get a pop-up telling me Adobe Reader is out of date and sternly suggesting I should update, like I'm some kind of idiot.
If I'm silly enough to agree, it churns on my computer for five minutes, then tells me there was some error and it can't update.

So next time, I get a pop-up telling me Adobe Reader is out of date and sternly suggesting I should update, like I'm some kind of idiot.

There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza...
posted by -harlequin- at 1:40 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


OCCUPY CATCHY QUEEN SONGS--OH WAIT YOU CAN'T OCCUPY A SONG.
|:|
posted by fetamelter at 1:41 PM on November 21, 2011


off topic: Some friends and I were discussing the overuse of the "occupy" meme when we decided to start a website called occupycommunity.com as a protest agains NBC yanking Community from its schedule. We would only ask that everyone go to the website and leave it open in a tab on your browser - to camp there.

Of course, then the pizza guy came and we entered into a set of alternative time lines and I'm still trying to get back to the one where I make out with Annie. /off topic
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:41 PM on November 21, 2011


The fact that the Occupy HTML response site simply copies the Occupy Flash site makes for a weak argument about the centrality of Flash. They do credit the original, but it's a pretty thin response.
posted by artlung at 1:46 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am very, VERY tired of the "occupy" meme already. Is this the way it really has to be. Really?

On topic, I have never cared for Flash.
posted by Silvertree at 1:51 PM on November 21, 2011


They do credit the original, but it's a pretty thin response.

It would have been funnier, if only they had used Flash. Maybe put ads everywhere, or a widget that does nothing but gets the CPU fan running.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:55 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"occupycommunity" doesn't work. it should be "occupyNBC" since it's the station, not the show, that's the problem.
posted by nadawi at 1:56 PM on November 21, 2011


Flash sucks, turning Occupy Wall Street into a meme sucks harder.

Unless there is a chance of getting pepper sprayed for your efforts, don't use the Occupy prefix.
posted by benzenedream at 2:03 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


It would have been funnier, if only they had used Flash

It would be better if they had used Flash well or at all.
posted by artlung at 2:07 PM on November 21, 2011


The only way to truly force the web to embrace modern open standards is to invalidate old technology.

Oh yeah, I can't wait for the world of non-blockable javascript poorly written for 8 different browsers. That's new technology.
posted by lumpenprole at 2:07 PM on November 21, 2011


Oh yeah, I can't wait for the world of non-blockable javascript poorly written for 8 different browsers. That's new technology.

Don't libraries like jQuery make it fairly easy to write JavaScript that's cross browser compatible, even for an amateur?

I can't argue with the non-blockable thing. The ability to ignore it until you decide explicitly to turn it on is one "advantage" that Flash holds over web languages.
posted by codacorolla at 2:12 PM on November 21, 2011


I can't count how many times I have gotten pop-ups interrupting my life, telling me to upgrade my Adobe (PDF) Reader software and web browser plug-in, because of some security issue or another where my computer will get rooted if I view a malicious PDF.

Why in Steve's name are you not using Preview.app to view PDFs? Or are you stuck on Windows at work?
posted by entropicamericana at 2:15 PM on November 21, 2011


Why in Steve's name...

Oh, so that's what an anyeurism feels li
posted by griphus at 2:21 PM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Trap sprung, mission accomplished, etc.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:24 PM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Clearly this diluting of the Occupy movement's name is part of the coordinated effort by Homeland security to crack down on it. I am sure as more of this scandal leaks out we will start to hear about Occupygate.
posted by TedW at 2:35 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


OcuppyOccupy
posted by kmz at 2:35 PM on November 21, 2011


Gah, I do know how to spell... OccupyOccupy.
posted by kmz at 2:36 PM on November 21, 2011


Unless there is a chance of getting pepper sprayed for your efforts, don't use the Occupy prefix.

RICK.

RICK.

RICK.

USING FLASH FEELS LIKE BEING PEPPER-SPRAYED INSIDE, RICK.
posted by weston at 2:46 PM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


But I'm addicted to Fantastic Contraption.
If I take Flash of my computer, there's really no need for the computer.
...or is that the point?
posted by MtDewd at 2:49 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also a Linux user, using Chromium on a laptop with 3GB of RAM. I've never experienced any CPU issues with Flash, but I hate its closed-source bloat. This wouldn't be an issue for me if websites I need to visit would just stop using it. I'm just hoping that at some point in the future, the browser-based FPS Phosphor gets written in HTML5 because seriously, that game is fun.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:00 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


How are you running Phosphor on Linux, Marisa StPT? Looks like it's Shockwave, not Flash.
posted by motty at 3:12 PM on November 21, 2011


Oh, I'm not running that game in Linux. I'm running it in IE6 on my work computer. I'm still hoping it gets written in HTML5 though, because then I won't have to open this buggy-ass version of XP to play it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:19 PM on November 21, 2011


occupuppy!
posted by nadawi at 3:27 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or are you stuck on Windows at work?

Linux, but that's a whole other story.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:43 PM on November 21, 2011


I'm a convert to Gruber's Going Flash-Free on Mac OS X, and How to Cheat When You Need It. My fans never spin up anymore, my battery lasts longer, and I actually like Safari as a browser (the trick doesn't work as well with Firefox).
posted by furtive at 3:47 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Welcome to the cargo cult!

I do not think "cargo cult" means what you think it means. Not all people or groups that (may or may not) make specious connections between cause and effect are cargo cults.
posted by chimaera at 4:09 PM on November 21, 2011


Man, if you guys all think the "Occupy" name is lazy, it's a good thing you didn't see it in its preliminary stages when it was called "got flash?"
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:19 PM on November 21, 2011


benzenedream: "Unless there is a chance of getting pepper sprayed for your efforts, don't use the Occupy prefix."

Wow, there *is* a way to make air travel even less pleasant.
posted by stet at 4:28 PM on November 21, 2011


I love how developers abuse the hell out of a perfectly useful tool, and then people blame the tool for the resulting problems. It's like if incompetent home builders hammered together dangerous, horribly-crafted houses, and people got angry at hammers when the homes collapsed on top of them.

There's no question that Flash has a role to play, and works well in that role. It also has flaws, and it is reasonable to talk about them. One is not in conflict with the other.

The "Flash sucks" mentality, on the other hand, falls into the category of "SUVs suck", because there are certainly good reasons to use Flash/SUVs, but they're also so commonly used by people who are making an ill-conceived choice that the choice itself becomes synonymous with the technology. Lots of important things fall into that bucket, actually: guns, sex, drugs, credit, and so on. When the use of a thing is often inappropriate or dangerous*, there's a perception that it is ignorance driving those uses, and some people attempt to address it with educational efforts.

In a way, then, "flash sucks" is an attempt to educate, to open a dialog, to say "yes, you think it is always a good thing, and I'm taking an opposite position, and between the two of us we can both learn." Except that in practice, that attitude is generally just mindless hating. As I've mentioned on other topics, we (collectively) are not really good at looking at things in shades of grey, so "flash sucks"/"flash is awesome" becomes the default position, and everyone gets all fighty.

Oh, and on the home building thing: building codes exist to address that specific concern, but it is conceivable that if building codes (and enforcement of same) were not practical, the governmental response might have been requiring licenses to obtain hammers. There are precedents for this.

*obviously I'm not suggesting Flash is dangerous, but putting this here in case someone is skimming
posted by davejay at 4:28 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've run my laptops without flash for at least two years, probably longer. I use FlashBlock and it's given me two things:

1 - an appreciation of how poorly flash is used. Why are so many logos in Flash? Why are developers using flash when the logos are essentially functioning as static jpegs? I surf all day without ever needing to use the flash portions of websites.

2 - a fast, non-crashy computer.

I turn flash on when I want it. (Words With Friends anyone?) Otherwise, I'm happy to have its buggy quirks off of my browser.
posted by 26.2 at 5:14 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, that reminds me: has anyone ever made a pony request for inline flash display in threads? Because that would be awesome.

the metatalk thread about what an awful idea it is, not the idea itself
posted by davejay at 5:20 PM on November 21, 2011


I do not think "cargo cult" means what you think it means.

Yeah, sorry. Should have put a [sarcasm] tag next to that comment. It was more a response to someone else's dismissal of this post and the dismissal of people who generally agree with the legitimate issues it brings up. I thought the cargo cult comment was a silly thing to say, honestly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:38 PM on November 21, 2011


There's still a surprising amount of stuff out there that is only in Flash. It really surprises me that the number of phone users hasn't made that unworkable, but here we are.
posted by smackfu at 5:38 PM on November 21, 2011


Hi there. Another developer here. There are other, better, alternatives than Flash for creating web games. If you really think that it's the end of the world, you haven't tried life without it. Your video services probably already have an HTML5 fallback (although fallback is a silly word when it's the better alternative).

If you had the patience to learn another ill-designed Adobe program, and even worse, the ActionScript to go with it, I doubt HTML5/Canvas are going to give you any issues and you're probably already somewhat familiar with JavaScript. Not to mention Flash games aren't nearly as responsive, clean and easy on my machine as the HTML5 stuff I've already toyed around with.

You could also use Unity, which is -- funnily enough -- about to launch its Flash exporter. If you've ever played games on Kongregate, you have likely played a Unity game. That's what they're teaching all the kids to use these days and a few of my Flash game dev friends have given it their praise.

The legions of people calling for Adobe to do something about it are the morons that didn't predict far enough out into the future (odd, because I don't recall a time over the past 11 years I've been doing this dance that it was ever going to be the Holy Grail) and their entire livelihoods rely on this horrid technology. A lot of livestreaming video services rely on Flash to serve both the video and presentation slides simultaneously, when there are cleaner, more approachable means of doing this. Not to mention Flash development can be expensive and timely, which means that these services are expensive too.

There's only been one site in the past 4 years (yes! -- this is something I keep track of!) I've seen where Flash was the only way that site could have pulled off what it did, otherwise I find that too many people are too mis- or uneducated about what kind of resources are actually available to them to create their projects. They run to Flash because they know it can, not because it should.

When I interviewed for my current job, they asked me if I could animate in Flash. I laughed out loud, thinking it was a joke and told them that while I can tween like the best of them, I don't list it for a reason. They asked me, then, how I would create a loading icon.

I should have walked out right then, but I still thought they were being funny. Did they even know what CSS was? Why would I waste the time creating an SWF just to export it as a GIF, which doesn't even have the alpha channels I need?

At the end of the day, having to force people to download a service just to "enjoy" the internet is bad practice. Furthermore, the inability for your user to right-click and look to see what is actually going on is scary, and any web technology governed by a single entity is even scarier.

Also that OccupyHTML site is dumb (and can you actually steal a straight-up site like that? Ugh, Flash Developers...). Flash is not mature, and that is the very reason Adobe is ceasing further development on the mobile side while slowly giving into the fact that they waited too damn long to convert Flash as we know it into a more user- & computer-friendly experience.

Steve Jobs sped up the process of eliminating another useless, bulky add-on that any developer in their right mind wanted out of the picture a long time ago. He worked with Adobe to try to make things right, and they refused. I don't want to waste my time developing for the web on a platform whose provider is so selfish and short-sighted and unwilling to step up to a challenge.

posted by june made him a gemini at 5:43 PM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


But without Flash I couldn't be amused by watching plugin-container grab 200MB of memory just to play a 4-minute video! And then holding onto 11 or 12MB of it when I close the tab ... just in case?
posted by Twang at 6:10 PM on November 21, 2011


You think Flash is bad, Gnash is worse. I just did a minimal-ish install of that tree-hugger hippy GNU/Linux OS known as Debian. That first time I hit a web page with a few flash videos embedded, things start chugging and the fans start wheezing and top shows half a dozen gnash processes hanging out at the top of the list sucking the life out of my poor laptop.

The memories come flooding back, that POS gnash, just like it's friend the icedtea fake Java, rarely works. Best get rid of it right quick, install the evil non-free originals. Sigh.

But you just need Flash to pass the browser checks, the DownloadHelper extension for firefox will happily download the flash video files for playing with mplayer. It's still the first thing I look for when the fans start their wheezing, almost always it's Flash. Sigh.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:18 PM on November 21, 2011


mikesch wrote: Suddenly my quad core processor and 16 gigs of RAM are enough to browse the web effectively. And I'm not really missing anything by having flash disabled by default.

Let me guess, OSX? It sucks that Flash Player blows such goats on OSX. I'm over here on XP with 63 tabs open and nary a crash or slowdown. Weird sites with 100MB of DOM cause more problems than flash ever has for me, but I do use Adblock, so I generally only see Flash I might care about, not the annoying little snowflakes drifting across my screen to advertise the latest Acura or whatever.

Generally, the worst thing that happens for me is FP crashes and I get a nice gray box with a sad face telling me that I'm SOL on the Flash content until I reload the page.

codacorolla wrote: Apart from zero day bugs, which target secured systems, every old version of flash that's running on Gradpa's unupdated system still have vulnerabilities. So even if Adobe pushes out the latest version of secure flash, there's still a huge percentage of users who are vulnerable. Getting Flash out of the web ecosystem means that, by and by, legitimate sites simply won't have Flash applications, and otherwise legitimate ad networks won't have Flash based ads.

And making the browser bigger just makes it harder to verify the correctness of the browser. At least with the present situation, I can choose not to load Flash and miss out on all the possible security issues. If Chrome has some bug in the MPEG-4 decoder, no more Chrome for me until it's fixed. At least now I only have to disable a single plugin.

davejay wrote: but when you visit your favorite restaurant's web site and listen to your laptop fan spin up as your browser slides the menu items onto the screen, or you can't read the menu at all on your new iMac, you can understand the concerns.

You think that developers are going to magically get smarter because we leave Flash behind?
posted by wierdo at 6:26 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I should mention I only have 3.5GB of memory and a 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo on this laptop with 63 tabs open. There will probably be still more tabs opened. I really need to get more into tab groups, as it would make navigating the vastness of my tab bar so much easier.
posted by wierdo at 6:28 PM on November 21, 2011


A lot of the flash haters are just too young to remember the 2K flash design era.

Back in 2000 Flash was a paintbox design tool that let you add programmatic elements to multimedia objects and it gave you a canvas with pixel perfect control if you wanted it. It was just a really fun environment to play in that used some intuitive metaphors so that artists could get dynamic.

I was using Flash in 1998 but from 2000 it's usage really exploded and it was being used for a huge amount of art and commerce. Yeah don't forget wikis and blogs weren't even invented yet. You might call that time the digital dark ages because people were using active server pages and coldfusion too, but for all the engineering flaws and dodgy unscalable websites, it was a very creative time because people weren't tied down into doing things in standard way (the way they are today). Today it is all highways but back during the 90's and the early 00's there were more goat tracks.

It is a shame that over the next ten years the most visible uses of Flash were commercial rather than artistic, although if you actually went looking you would have found flash used throughout the underground web.

We might not need Flash anymore but we do need something NOW that does what did Flash was able to do years ago. Let artists play and make stuff less ideal, but more interesting.

I guess I can see some unholy software monstrosity tying together elements of Pure Data, Processing and Blender and outputting Cinder code. Hahaha as if.
posted by vicx at 6:51 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I use Safari on a Mac, how do I temporarily disable Flash instead of flat out uninstalling it?
posted by Tom-B at 6:58 PM on November 21, 2011


entropicamericana: I have PDFs that when I give to a mac user beachball their mac the second they open they with preview.app, but work fine on windows/Adobe.
That said, I'm moving to Sumatra PDF as it can directly copy text from PDFs I make in LaTeX when adobe gives me gibberish. It is amazing how much I hated PDFs before getting PDFCreater and learning LaTeX. Now I prefer them to word for the most part, unless I want to edit them.
posted by Canageek at 7:07 PM on November 21, 2011


I use Safari on a Mac, how do I temporarily disable Flash instead of flat out uninstalling it?

Google "click to flash" - it's a plugin which overrides flash, replacing it with a clickable box. Clicking the box loads the flash content. You can also whitelist sites to load flash content by default (like for youtube or a game site or whatevers)
posted by device55 at 7:25 PM on November 21, 2011


The web should be open, searchable, linkable, and secure, and PDFs are half-hearted by every one of those metrics.

Where do you stand on Facebook and all the other walled gardens?
posted by vicx at 7:40 PM on November 21, 2011


If you really think that it's the end of the world, you haven't tried life without it.

I've more than "tried life without it." I've spent years working on applications that push web standards as far as they could go to try to develop a variety of applications that previously would have been considered the purview of desktop apps. Personally, I *never* develop in Flash from the start, though I have nothing against people who choose to judiciously.

And what I've learned is that as far as the web goes, without taking advantage of Flash or another plugin for shims, yeah, there are absolutely either features I couldn't have provided, or popular browsers I couldn't have supported. Sometimes both.

End of the world? Nothing on the web is "the end of the world," not even using tables for layout or making your whole site out of jpegs and image maps. A limitation in what you can do and the audience you can reach? Yeah.

There's only been one site in the past 4 years (yes! -- this is something I keep track of!) I've seen where Flash was the only way that site could have pulled off what it did

This might say more about the limits of the projects you've worked on than it does about the expansiveness of native web tech.

In particular, off the top of my head, I can only assume:

* you don't use or work with apps that involve audio beyond simple finished stereo media playback. Because as of last week, multichannel programmatic audio is still glitchy. And that's on browsers that support any kind of native audio at all (which brings us to...)
* you've decided don't ever have to care about, say, IE8, which is the user agent employed in probably about a fourth of web traffic right now.

At the end of the day, having to force people to download a service just to "enjoy" the internet is bad practice.

Unless, of course, it's the browser that you've targeted or your favorite plugin, I guess, right?

I thought the cargo cult comment was a silly thing to say, honestly.

The relationship to the cargo cult is in the disconnect between how things actually work and the model of the world presented by the Occupy Flash -- that the mere availability of the Flash runtime on end user machines is somehow holding the web back.

It becomes obvious how ridiculous this idea is the moment you poke at it. Does Flash's presence somehow disable any standards-based features? Of course not. Will any user turn their nose up at engaging content because it wasn't done in Flash? No.

Flash presents absolutely no barrier to deploying an application native web tech.

So if that's the case, why are devs using it instead of Teh New Shiny Web Awesome? Either because:

* the native stuff doesn't have the features they need, or
* it's not convenient enough

And if that's the case, is the *real* problem that a more feature-full target and convenient tools exist?

If you want Flash dead, you should be getting to work either doing or encouraging the buildout of the missing last mile in native technologies, in finding some other way to help bring along people who are left behind on older browsers, and in making authoring tools for all stripes of would-be developers and content producers.

(And if Adobe's tools are as atrocious as that, shouldn't be that hard, right?)

I'll be as happy as the hatiest Flash-hater in this thread on the day all that comes to pass.

But here with Occupy Flash, we have a manifesto from people who have apparently decided what they *really* need to do instead is tell users to first throw out a platform that's had this stuff for years, and then the other stuff will just take care of itself, um, any day now.

If anybody wants to quibble over whether or not that's precisely "cargo cult" behavior, OK, I guess. You find the Flash runtime improves your general experience? Godspeed, though it certainly isn't a millstone around my neck.

But if you want pretend that features Flash provides are totally covered by canvas & video tag + javascript, or that native web tech has as wide an audience as Flash+native web tech does, or want to focus only Flash's problems while ignoring what it facilitates... well, it's a free country I guess, but you sure won't be doing any better than Adobe has been at moving the web forward.
posted by weston at 8:19 PM on November 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Streaming BBC Radio 4 requires Flash. Hence I have an android phone and curse my wife's iPad.
posted by NailsTheCat at 8:54 PM on November 21, 2011


typically have 50 to 200 tabs open

I, uh. Wow. More than 3 for me, and I get twitchy.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:47 PM on November 21, 2011


That Apple kool-aid is quite yummy.

Yeah, Flash doesn't work well on mobile devices, but it's perfectly serviceable on desktop machines, and uninstalling it in some sort of protest to hasten the coming of HTML5 is the worst kind of techy posturing.

I'll uninstall Flash when my content stops being served in Flash.
posted by unigolyn at 9:57 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Flash is accessible, if done right. HTML5's accessibility is a work in progress (there's a freakin' pissing match right now over whether ARIA should even be in HTML5, and those wanting to kick it out offer no alternative).

To say Flash is "immature" gainsays the current state of HTML5. When the editor can just wholesale pitch a tag out of the spec that already has multiple successful use cases in the wild, then it's hard to argue that HTML5 is stable.

Yes, Flash is dying, and faster than any of us expected thanks mainly to the rapid rise of the iOS devices. But Flash is not dead, and Flash is nowhere near the problem IE6 was (and the problem IE7 is turning into) when it comes to impeding the progress of the web.

This whole thing is stupid designer posturing, and I really wish this would stop. I wish I could force them to support IE3 until the promise to never, ever whine about how things are ever again.

That said, if I'm a Flash developer, I'd be learning HTML, jQuery, and SVG as fast as I possibly can.
posted by dw at 11:45 PM on November 21, 2011


It becomes obvious how ridiculous this idea is the moment you poke at it.

Your cargo cult comment was a ridiculous and insulting dismissal of end users that doesn't reflect reality, yes. There isn't really much more to be said about it.

Does Flash's presence somehow disable any standards-based features? Of course not.

Of course it does, because we're not talking presence, but an active campaign to push a platform down people's throats, and one that is well past its prime. If the client wanted Flash, then open standards didn't matter and are "disabled" right from the start — as far as end users go, Flash becomes the de facto "standard" platform unto itself, and Adobe has monopoly control over that platform.

If Flash were standards-based, it would have had to actually compete with alternatives. That's the whole reason Adobe kept pushing Flash on any and all computers, after all.

Even if Flash couldn't run on a given computer because it is so damn inefficient and buggy, keeping it at the top maintained it as the "standard". Flash was once the "standard", as evidenced back when Adobe kept up a pretense of supporting Flash on Android, when Samsung and Toshiba kept talking up their tablets as devices that can access the "full web", to quote them.

In the end, it's not much different than Microsoft Office actively sabotaging the use of ODF, when Microsoft more or less pushed (and keeps pushing) governments and other clients into staying with a closed document-sharing platform. That's the brutal and direct power of a monopoly, and how that monopoly power hurts end users.

At least with HTML5, there are multiple parties who compete with each other and, yet, still, have an economic interest in pushing improvements. Innovation can happen because no one has monopoly control over HTML5. That's good for all end users. Flash is only good for Adobe.

Let's face it: What real, significant technological improvements has Flash brought to the table in the last four years, in response to competition? Much less in response to Apple, which didn't even have a presence in the mobile platform at the time?

None. Zilch. Nada. Adobe has had four years to catch up, and despite scrambling to offer Flash on non-iOS mobile, it couldn't even manage that. They can't even keep up with patches and performance on (non-Windows) desktops.

When there are open standards, why should Adobe be continue to be given free reign over desktop computers, when they have no new technology to offer, other than security fixes?

The only thing that Flash has going for it is an installed base — and that's not much of a compelling argument, if you like technology and like seeing improvements that create a better experience for human beings who enjoy using computers to their full capacity, even if that might not be possible with alternatives right this very instant.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:26 AM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hmm, that html5 feature on Youtube is good, not least so because it interprets the full-screen button as expanding the video to fill the browser display area, and not the whole screen.

There's also another experimental Flash player and plug-in out there. It's called lightspark, and the only thing I know about it is that it comes up when doing searches for certain words in the Ubuntu package repository. It says the project it in alpha status and provided "for testing purposes only." It is at least mature enough to make its way to the Debian/Ubuntu packages, but beyond that, I don't know how usable it is.

(I guess I ought to look it up properly one day. Not that I love Flash in any special way, but the platform has some games I like to play now and then.)
posted by tykky at 1:31 AM on November 22, 2011


Your cargo cult comment was a ridiculous and insulting dismissal of end users that doesn't reflect reality, yes. There isn't really much more to be said about it.

Wow, harsh much?
posted by JHarris at 1:37 AM on November 22, 2011


Back in 2000 or so, I was the 'Flash person' at an up-and-coming web agency. And part of my job was teaching our three designers to use Flash. Which I did, and they produced some quite cool stuff. I don't feel any need to defend our use of Flash; there was a huge enthusiasm for it at the time, and we'd have been committing commercial suicide if we didn't produce what the market was clamouring for.

Around that time, pretty much any 'proper designer' producing content for the web would be using Flash. A lot. And that was probably just as true in 2007. Not so much now, but it's still there.

The problem for people from a design background working with the web was that, to a lesser or greater extent, they were expected to be developers too. I think this may have come about because a lot of companies producing content for the web employ just a handful of people, and being multi-skilled can be a huge asset. You were more employable if you could turn your design into code, whether it's HTML/CSS, Flash or whatever. The people who could do both things to the highest standard were rare, and many of them became big names in web design in the boom of the early 00s. Most people who tried to straddle that divide, however, tended to be mediocre at both.

For those whose strengths sat firmly at the design end of the continuum, however, Flash was a key to a lot of interesting doors. You could start with just the animation interface, learn how to manipulate the timeline and assign actions to buttons and so on, and add interactivity with a fairly easy scripting language.

As a working environment, Flash offered a medium that everyone on the designer-developer continuum could use, albeit in different ways. It was a lot of fun to work with, and inspired creative people to take risks and experiment with different kinds of interaction. I'm happy to forgive a lot of the excesses of that time because we needed to have that reckless burst of try-anything creativity. We needed mystery-meat navigation, intro animations, loading bars and all the rest of it, so that we could find our way to where we are now, and know the difference between pitfall and best practice.

I pretty much agree with weston. Show me the tools that will make designing rich content for the web a breeze for both developers and designers, and I'll happily see Flash relegated to history. By so far, all I see is a lot of developers and open-source evangelists offering solutions that ultimately boil down to 'learn to code'.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:58 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]




Let's face it: What real, significant technological improvements has Flash brought to the table in the last four years, in response to competition? Much less in response to Apple, which didn't even have a presence in the mobile platform at the time?

How about scalable object-oriented programming for rich internet applications? This in turn has given us 3D and audiovisual capabilities that HTML5 has yet to deliver.

The very valid problems with Flash (proprietary tech, not web friendly etc) have been with us for at least a decade, and they're still with us because the browser makers couldn't get together and give us a workable vector graphics standard for the Web. In all that time, Flash has set that bar pretty high and helped us push the boundaries of what richly interactive content on the web can be.

If anything is to blame for this state of affairs, it's not Flash. It's Internet Explorer. Now that Microsoft has lost its dominance of the browser marketplace, HTML5 may finally offer a viable alternative, but that moment has yet to arrive. It's still way behind in terms of power and performance.

Other than that, what weston and bea arthur said.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 4:46 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread just wasted almost an hour of my life (Safari 5.1.1 OS X 10.7.2).

First I uninstalled Flash, then I noticed that YouTube was borked. Then I reinstalled Flash, then I did what Gruber and TUAW recommended, including downloading Chrome, and saving an Applescript that didn't seem to run. Then I fired up YouTube again in Safari, which took almost 20 seconds to load the first video I tried, which wouldn't play, and which then crashed Safari.

The problem here is far more innocuous than the suggested solutions.
posted by roofus at 5:22 AM on November 22, 2011


Your cargo cult comment was a ridiculous and insulting dismissal of end users

It's not a dismissal of end-users at all. It's a criticism of the thinking on display on the Occupy Flash site.

There isn't really much more to be said about it.

A fine prelude to another nine paragraphs, but with an internal consistency to your premise.
Does Flash's presence somehow disable any standards-based features?
Of course it does... If Flash were standards-based, it would have had to actually compete with alternatives.


I'll just give you an opportunity to repeat this, if you like. You really believe:

* that Flash's very presence somehow disables native web technology present in a given browser in which it runs

* Flash somehow does not have to compete with present native web technology
posted by weston at 6:43 AM on November 22, 2011


Weston has the more cogent reasoning here. I'm pretty tired of the argument though, it's the new Mac vs PC but not as interesting. Basically the reason it's survived is that it's easier (hence cheaper) to make stuff in Flash than it is to make the same stuff using HTML+CSS+JS. When tools are available that level the playing field, and there's a common useful subset of HTML5 that works for 95%+ of visitors without spending more time testing than developing, it'll die out naturally. Trying to kill it now is pointless, the way to hasten the end of Flash is to improve the designer/developer experience for the standards-based approach.
posted by dickasso at 7:05 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


And let me reiterate this:

Nothing really can happen with eliminating Flash until IE10 is the major constituent of the browser market and IE8 is the laggard version we're trying to get rid of. But right now there's no IE10, and IE7 is the laggard (after we FINALLY shed ourselves of IE6 this year).

When we're there, IE10 will support CANVAS and all the IE browsers will have SVG support backed in. And then we can start talking about using vectors and 2D rendering. (IE7 supports VML but not SVG.)

But here's the catch: Yeah, IE is essentially dead among the web designer intelligensia, but it is still the de facto browser of business, and that's not going to change, not until corporate security gets over their edginess about Firefox and Chrome's rapid dev cycles dropping a new point version every 5 seconds.

In the meantime... there's Flash. Which works on every browser. Which for all its problems has worked just fine for vector graphics and video for over a decade now. It's not that Flash hasn't innovated, it's just that it was so far out in front for so long. I mean, you still can't tween in CANVAS. That's going to have to be done by a design tool.

Is Flash proprietary? Yup. And that's been a huge bugaboo. And it's a real problem. But given the modern "walled garden" attitude of web companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon) coming at Flash for being proprietary is a little dissonant.

The death of Flash is nigh. We've seen it coming for four years. But Flash on the desktop is not dead yet. And as long as people keep using desktops, and as long as the enterprise fears the constant iteration of non-IE browsers, Flash will not die.

I'm not defending Flash. Flash has been a pain in the ass for all of us for the last decade. But it's the bridge to HTML5 and CSS3 and SVG and RDFa and a more accessible web, and we're not off that bridge yet. Anyone jumping off is going to have to swim to shore. And they're going to be swimming for a while.

Side note: HTML5 != CSS3, and it bugs me to no end to see things like CSS3 transitions being called "HTML5." They are NOT HTML. They are CSS.
posted by dw at 7:30 AM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon wrote: None. Zilch. Nada. Adobe has had four years to catch up, and despite scrambling to offer Flash on non-iOS mobile, it couldn't even manage that. They can't even keep up with patches and performance on (non-Windows) desktops.

Let's just stop here and note that Flash has been on smartphones longer than Apple has made smartphones.
posted by wierdo at 9:38 AM on November 22, 2011


Very few reviews of Flash on mobile have ever been positive, no matter how long some think it was once available. Reviews of Flash always seemed to include the descriptors "slow", "choppy", "buggy", "crash-prone", etc. Adobe had at least four years to fix things, and they couldn't manage. No one owes them a spot at the table, for that kind of negligence.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:24 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn, it sure does get contentious in here.

In more important news, the Occupy[Flash|HTML] website has been copied *again* -- www.occupybestbuy.com.

I'm beginning to hate this particular set of HTML & CSS and anyone who uses it.
posted by artlung at 11:05 AM on November 22, 2011


BP, which reviews would those be? For which phones?
posted by wierdo at 11:26 AM on November 22, 2011


Flash works fine on my HTC Incredible 2. I'm pretty bummed that Adobe is discontinuing work on Android Flash after Ice Cream Sandwich.
posted by octothorpe at 11:36 AM on November 22, 2011


As one example, here is a review of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 by Ars Technica, a well-respected technology news and review site.

In one subsection of this review, the writer describes the woes of running Flash on Android devices, not only on the Galaxy Tab, but on other, similar devices. As these are mobile tablets, running with better hardware than is seen in mobile phones, one can extrapolate that the experience is either similar or worse on phones.

Ars Technica's proposed solution to fix the power usage and performance issues that reviewers experienced on the Galaxy Tab sounds familiar, in that the end user is advised to do the very same thing suggested in this FPP: namely, to disable Flash altogether and only enable it per-document-element.

The downsides of running Flash are pretty common observations in mobile device reviews written by independent third parties. Honestly, I'm surprised it is a matter of contention.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:15 PM on November 22, 2011


Having read that review, you would have seen this:
"Although the Flash plugin is now relatively mature on Android smartphones and works largely as expected on handsets, its transition to tablets hasn't been entirely smooth."
"We tested several different kinds of Flash content on the Tab 10.1, including streaming video, games, and interactive Flex applications. The performance of Flash content was generally acceptable, aside from some slight lag that we noticed occasionally during video streaming and graphically intensive games."
I would hate to think that perhaps you were assuming nobody would click the link.

How does plugin enabling on demand become a point against Flash? It's built into the Android browser, as they mention in the article - it's clearly a feature rather than a bug. Now if only I could selectively turn on one bit of JS at a time on my very CPU-and-RAM-limited mobile device.
posted by dickasso at 2:21 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having read that review, you would have seen this

You would have also seen this:
"Adobe's track record with mobile Flash is spotty and the company hasn't been able to deliver a consistently good Flash experience for its tablet partners. Despite working closely with RIM in a high-profile partnership, Adobe's port of Flash to the BlackBerry Playbook was abysmally poor at launch. Adobe also let down Motorola by failing to make Flash ready for the Xoom in time for the tablet's release...

"Embedded Flash elements in webpages do tend to slow page scrolling, however, especially on sites with a lot of Flash content. This situation isn't nearly as bad on the Tab 10.1 as it was on the Playbook, but it was still noticeable during use.

"The Honeycomb browser has an option in the "Advanced" section of its settings panel to switch browser plugins into an "on-demand" mode. This mode, which works much like popular Flash-block browser add-ons, makes embedded Flash elements in webpages display a placeholder instead; they won't actually load unless one of the elements is tapped. This feature largely fixes the power and performance problems that result from Flash."
Disabling Flash and re-enabling it on as-needed basis is the same solution proposed below the fold in this post.

I have no reason to distrust the reporting by Ars Technica, but in any case, this review is just one of several that point out how poorly Flash operates on this class of device.

At the end of it all, Adobe's CEO Shantanu Narayen managed Flash in order control a competing platform, not to bring a good experience to the table: "It’s a business model issue, and it’s about control of a platform." That was probably why this technology failed, in the end.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:40 PM on November 22, 2011


s/several/several bits of reporting/
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:41 PM on November 22, 2011


I use Flash on an Android tablet daily (an ASUS Transformer with almost identical innards to the Samsung in the review), usually a SLYT post here. I've never had a problem with Flash on the device. The Android browser does flake out every now and then, but Flash doesn't seem to be cause of that. Firefox mobile or Dolphin are both better mobile browsers anyway.

Switching Flash to on-demand is almost exactly like browsing with the Flash-block plugin for Firefox or Chrome, the best of both worlds. Scrolling is snapp0y with Flash blocked, but when I want to watch kittens in balls, it's there.

It's really not a bad solution in practice.
posted by bonehead at 3:02 PM on November 22, 2011


Adobe's CEO Shantanu Narayen managed Flash in order control a competing platform, not to bring a good experience to the table: "It’s a business model issue, and it’s about control of a platform."

Watching the video makes it pretty clear that Narayen is not explaining Adobe's strategy or motivations with that line, but Apple's instead.
posted by weston at 3:58 PM on November 22, 2011


At the end of it all, Adobe's CEO Shantanu Narayen managed Flash in order control a competing platform, not to bring a good experience to the table: "It’s a business model issue, and it’s about control of a platform." That was probably why this technology failed, in the end.

I know arguing with you is like trying to have an argument with my kitchen table, but here goes:

What he said is NOT what you're implying. What he said was that APPLE sees it as platform control. And that's what Apple under Jobs was about -- controlling the platform in order to control the user experience.

Flash hasn't failed as much as it's being superseded by better technology. It was merely a stopgap until we could get to this point, much as iPhone apps are really just stopgaps until HTML5/CSS3 and responsive design are ubiquitous. Doing what Flash does natively in a browser has been impossible up to now.
posted by dw at 5:48 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dunno, you guys. I made a living creating Flash for the last eight years. It served me and my family well. As far as I am concerned, you can all go to hell with your elitist, nerdy dismissal of it in favor of a new "standard" that is barely even functional even in a single browser.
posted by monospace at 6:17 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know arguing with you is like trying to have an argument with my kitchen table

This is why I love Metafilter. Don't bother with little things like context, right?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:26 AM on November 23, 2011


groan
posted by JHarris at 6:38 PM on November 24, 2011


Blazecock Pileon wrote: As one example, here is a review of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 by Ars Technica, a well-respected technology news and review site.

Quite aware of Ars, thanks. Android Flash may suck, I don't know. All I know is that I've been using Flash successfully on mobile phones since the dark ages and it has generally worked fine. The exceptions, of course, being content that was so large that it exhausted the device's available memory (which the S60 phones actually handled reasonably well).

Since my current device has 256MB of memory, that problem went away and now it's just fancy.
posted by wierdo at 11:05 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know arguing with you is like trying to have an argument with my kitchen table
This is why I love Metafilter. Don't bother with little things like context, right?


So true. Not a one of us knows the first thing about dw's kitchen table.
posted by weston at 5:24 PM on November 26, 2011


Not a one of us knows the first thing about dw's kitchen table.

Amazing fact: I don't have a kitchen table. I have dining room table. But it is tiger oak.
posted by dw at 12:30 PM on November 27, 2011


Why HTML5 Media is not Enough
posted by weston at 10:31 AM on December 1, 2011


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