Oh Adobe Flash, how I dislike thee. Oh clutterer of web pages. Oh annoyer of attention. Oh drainer of batteries. How much longer must we suffer with your ubiquity?
If you’re a Mac user ready to improve notebook battery life, increase your attention span, and clean up the world by voting resource hogging Flash out of office, ala Tea Party style, a new way may be at hand.
Out With The Old, In With Something
Here’s how Flash works. Flash is a browser plug-in. Think of it as an app that plays Flash animation and video inside your browser. When your browser of choice reaches a web page with Flash installed, it plays.
So, what’s the problem with the old way?
Flash, especially for Macs, has a history of near professional buggy.
Flash has been called the single greatest reason your browser would crash. Flash animations use an incredible amount of your Mac’s CPU, which means more electricity, which means quick battery life reduction.
Flash is everywhere. Except on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and most mobile devices (for now). Why? Flash drains battery life like Washington politicians drain the tax collections.
Is there a better way? Flash forward.
The Future Is What You Make It
Apple recently started shipping new Macs without Flash pre-installed as a browser plug-in. Why? Because they can. If you have a shiny new MacBook Air and you need Flash, you can download it from Adobe and install it and it’ll work like normal to reduce your battery life, reduce your attention span while browsing the web, and further the world’s dependence on non-renewable energy.
Or, you can learn to live without Flash in a few easy, and surprisingly useful steps.
First, you could install ClickToFlash. It’s a plug-in for Mac that blocks Flash from showing up in Safari. Flash ads and videos are still there, but you won’t see them. That’s not a good solution for helping to save the economy. The silver boxes where Flash animation used to be may still be a distraction.
Second, you can simply not install (or remove) the Flash plugin. Why?
Surprisingly, as Steven Frank points out, many advertisers will replace Flash ads on computers without Flash with less intrusive advertising. Can you say win-win?
Finally, for Mac Flash lovers (or haters, or ambivalent users), read the Safari extension solution John Gruber wrote about Going Flash-Free on Mac OS X, and How to Cheat When You Need It.
It’s an elegant method to eliminate Flash entirely on Safari, yet make YouTube videos display using the non-Flash HTML5 video tag (because most YouTube videos are encoded using H.264).
Flashless In Seattle
What do these no-Flash or less-Flash steps get you? No flashing animated advertisements. Less intrusive, but useful ads (remember, advertising is what makes most content on the web free to read). You also get better battery life on your Mac notebooks without Flash. Your Mac’s CPU won’t work as hard and will use less electricity. Your attention span will improve.
And you cast yet another vote to tell Adobe that Flash is so 1999, and this is the 21st century so get with the here and now already.