Flash on the web

The new iPad really has me excited. If you’re sort of “meh” about the specs, I encourage you to take a look at the video Apple has produced. There you can see people handling it and using it and that makes a big difference. I think I “get” what Apple had in mind for this product, and I am beyond psyched about it.

One thing that did concern me was the fact that Flash will not be supported on it. Flash is an Adobe product and it’s used all over the web, but it occurred to me that I didn’t know how much Flash I used in my usual browsing. I downloaded a plug-in that blocks Flash content but allows you to download it if you feel like it.

What a revelation! As it turns out, most of the Flash that I run across consists of ads. Pages load much faster without them, and there is a lot less distractions and annoying things when Flash is blocked. In short, I barely notice the absence of Flash really isn’t a big deal for me in my usual browsing routine. Granted, I never use Hulu, I can definitely understand people’s consternation over not being able to see their TV shows.

So is this a fatal flaw? I don’t think so. There are other, better ways to display video content on the web. H264 encoding and HTML5 have the potential to unseat Flash. Google is supporting both of these formats on Youtube and Vimeo is using HTML5 in limited quantities as well. Right now, limitations in playback seem to browser based. Between those two open standards and Apple’s refusal to use Flash (supposedly for battery reasons although there are plenty of conspiracy theories around), I wonder how long Adobe will be able to maintain people’s enthusiasm for Flash. With all of the iPods, iPhones, and now iPads not using it, that’s a lot of the mobile market. Time will tell. In the meantime, I heartily suggest using a Flash blocker for speedier internet access. I’m using a Safari plug-in called “clicktoflash.” You can get it here.

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