It’s official. I love Safari 4 on my Mac, and on my PC at work. It’s fast. Faster than any other browser. I even got used to the new tabs arrangement and prefer them over any other browser’s tabs.
My only complaint is that Safari 4 crashes more often with Flash videos than ever before, and the crashing was frequent on the previous version of Safari. So, please tell my why we have so many video formats and why is Flash the worst?
Note to Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe. Why not settle on a single video format that actually works well in all popular browsers?
There’s various versions of Windows Media Video formats floating around, some of which can be played decently inside Safari with the right plugin.
Apple, of course, prefers the world wide HD standard that is H.264, now showing up in more video and digital cameras. There’s AVI, AVCHD, MPEG3, MPEG4, QuickTime, and many, many more video formats.
Then, there’s Adobe’s ubiquitous Flash video, an absolutely horridly performing mess on the Mac.
Flash’s big claim to fame is that it plays some kind of video on about 98-percent of all PC and Mac browsers.
As Mac users know, and as exemplified by Microsoft’s equally ubiquitous Windows operating system, all that plays everywhere doesn’t glitter. Flash doesn’t glitter.
Flash is a memory hog which slows down my Mac all too often, sometimes bringing Safari to a sudden death playoff without the excitement. It just dies and takes Safari down with it.
Why is there no Flash video on the iPhone? Because Apple knows Adobe’s premiere video product sucks big time, performance wise, and doesn’t want to ruin the iPhone experience, preferring instead the not-so-ubiquitous QuickTime/H.264 version of streaming video.
Fortunately, because Apple’s iTunes is on so many hundreds of millions of Windows PCs, so is QuickTime, Apple’s media format player. You know, the one that works. Most of the time.
That means the emerging standard of H.264 and 1080p and 720p, not to be confused with the pee from Flash, is showing up more and more as the new defacto standard.
And it’s about time. I maintain a huge PC network in Atlanta and employees were complaining about the quality of Windows Media Video porn on their state-owned PCs.
What is it about Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe which makes them compete for control of something that should be a standard enjoyed by everyone? Why not agree on a video standard or two, or even just agree to support each other’s standards in your respective players?
Can cooperation be so difficult? After all, even the mighty U.S. government cooperated with Microsoft and let them off the hook from their monopolistic shenanigans.
Sorry, but this little rant was inspired by an otherwise very pleasant Mac utility called VideoBox which lets Mac users download Flash video files from the internet. It’s handy. It works. It’s not expensive.
The problem is that VideoBox converts Flash videos into QuickTime so they can be viewed on your Mac in iTunes, or on your iPod or iPhone.
See a problem here? Why not have a video and audio format that just works here, over there, on that, on this, on whatever it is I’m using at the time? Why all this “conversion” nonsense?
I assume it’s all about power and arrogance and control and pride, which are normal human issues we all contend with—but what happened to money? Why isn’t that part of the equation for this ridiculous explosion of media “standards?”
Why can’t I just click on a video file and have it download to whatever I’m using at the moment and have it work on whatever I might be using moments later?