Balancing Act

Adobe Flash be gone! (applies to OS X 10.6.x users only)

Not a typical blog post, but I need to publish this entry to help savvy internet users who shares my frustration with Adobe Flash. In this entry, I will post information on Flash enabling/disabling tools that you can download for free.

Now Flash in itself isn't a bad thing. Without Flash, how else are we going to spend countless hours playing Farmville on FaceBook (as if FaceBook doesn't take up enough of our time as it is?), flipping through YouTube channels like we used to flip through traditional TV channels via a remote designed to just operate the TV and not 10 other appliances, interact with Flash driven web sites or view dynamic Flash graphs and data tabulation generated through a backend database?

Flash when used with the aforementioned context in mind is great. What isn't great are the misleading Flash driven advertisements that's plastered all over the face of popular web sites, creating unnecessary distraction from the main content and ruining the browsing experience for the reader. Sometimes the exact same advertisement is placed on the first 25% of the web site in three different sizes! And let's not forget the little "rogue"/ill-created Flash .SWF files that takes up more CPU power than your personal computer can churn out to quench Flash's demand.

Ever wanted to disable Flash on demand without uninstalling Flash altogether? Well, now you can. You can kill Flash in two different ways:

1. Flash on the go, only when you're in the mood.

ClickToFlash is a Flashing disabling/enabling plug-in designed to work on the Safari Browser for Mac OS X. By default, all Flash content will be disabled and replaced by a placeholder created by ClickToFlash. Upon enabling a Flash placeholder, the Flash content will be downloaded and displayed to the viewer normally.

Download: http://www.clicktoflash.com

Compatible with Mac OS X 10.6.x only.

1a. FlashBlock is an extension for Mozilla-based browsers that is designed to work just like ClickToFlash. If you are an avid Mozilla-based browser user, this would be the extension to download.

Download: http://flashblock.mozdev.org/

Compatible with Firefox 1.5+ and Netscape Navigator 9

2. Monitor Flash's CPU consumption and disable Flash when alerted to.

BashFlash is installed as a tiny app that sits on the upper menu bar on Mac OS X. It monitors the Flash process and its consumption of CPU process. When it CPU consumption dips to a dangerous level, the notifier on the OS X menu will turn red, allowing you to terminate the Flash process and free up the CPU.

Download: http://www.bashflash.com

Compatible with Mac OS X 10.6.x only.

Flash 10.1 player for mobile platform, Android OS (aka Flash Lite) - a bit overrated and overhyped

Flash 10.1 player for Android OS, from my experience, is definitely not worth your time unless your profession or situation calls for it. Even then, you need a modern Android OS phone with Android OS 2.2 installed to make any use of it (e.g. Nexus One, Android devices made in 2010). Want Flash on your Motorola Cliq, T-Mobile G1 or MyTouch 3G? Forget about it. Even if you own an upscale Android device, the whole phone falters after extended use of Flash.

Once Flash was installed on my Nexus One with the latest Froyo 2.2 updated OTA, all the web sites I frequent on my N1 is cluttered with nonsense Flash ads. Brag as Adobe and die hard advocates of Android will, Flash has crashed my browser and N1 again and again. From the discrete Force Close notice, to a half-minute+ stall, to an all out pull-the-battery-pack-out-of-the-phone hard reboot. And at 12.2 mb installed, it's definitely not worth the mayhem.

Unless you absolutely need Flash on your mobile Android device, i.e. your professional career calls for it, I would not recommend installing it.

YouTube HTML5

If you frequent YouTube more than an hour a day, then you will be delighted to know that Google has made video viewing in HTML5 format totally possible. It is still in beta stage and with the exception that videos which fall into certain criteria will continue to be displayed as legacy Flash format.

For more information and to participate, go here: http://www.youtube.com/html5

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