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Flashing

Posted: 06.02.15

Mozilla’s Firefox crashes about every hour on my machine. I get a polite dialog box that asks me to report it, and I do, and then the noble open source browser tries diligently to restore the pages I had open before it had its hourly heart attack.

Firefox doesn’t smoke, eat fatty foods, or lack exercise, but it does have a parasite: Flash. Adobe’s fleas bedevil Firefox; Chrome suffers from it, too. No wonder Apple outlawed it.

Besides being big and clunky, it has so many vulnerabilities and cramware legacy crap in it, it’s a wonder it runs at all. At least once a week, and sometimes every other day, Adobe diligently tries to patch it up and sends me an update. Not getting a daily update from Adobe would be like going out to the driveway and not finding the morning newspaper. Where is it? Is it coming? Did I miss it?

Eventually this will stop as websites move away from the vulnerabilities, vagrancies, and vestiges of the once great Flash ... We interrupt this diatribe to bring you a new flash ... Flash has not crashed in over two hours today! Oh wait; I don’t have Firefox open, never mind.

In addition to Flash crashes, I still get a blue screen every so often. That can be traced to either a GPU driver with a hiccup, or an SSD driver. SSDs are not bulletproof and slip a bit every so often. When they do, I see blue.

In a world riddled with insecurities, bad people trying to find and steal my bank account number, and even worse my Facebook pictures, with Trojans and zombies lurking on the web hoping to burrow into my system like a tick on a sheep dog, the wonderful open and fast world of the early web is gone, long, long gone. Now I have to enter user names, passwords, and often a security code to get anywhere other than the false websites that lure you with a headline about one thing and show you a video for a power generator or a sex enhancer instead. So legitimate apps and tools have to try to protect me from viruses, malware, re-directors, phishing, and web bombs. Meanwhile, Google is tracking my visits and then embedding helpful ads about similar products as I search for real information. And in the process, an unwanted video pops up about a new shaving cream or the ROI at the Bandershill bank, and crash—the unsolicited and unwanted video shoots Flash in the back, and down goes the browser.

Also, because Flash is one of the few things Google doesn’t own, they don’t work very hard at helping it. Google would like to kill Flash because its continued existence in any form whatsoever dampens Google’s ability to push us all toward HTML5, which enables Google’s .WEBM video standard.

Update: Flash just crashed as I searched for a picture. Damn.

Speaking of searching for a picture, and getting a little off topic, if you haven’t tried TinEye, do yourself a favor and get it (http://tineye. com/about).

OK, my browser is back now.

Ironically, Adobe thinks they killed Flash back in 2011. However, in the fine print you’ll find this: "and Adobe will continue to ship bug fixes and security updates, as well."

So I feel sorry for Adobe, actually one of my favorite companies—where would I be without PDF and Photoshop? Here they are getting spoiled fruit and vegetables thrown at them because of Flash, stuck with spending engineers' time patching it up, and getting zero revenue from it—gee, what’s wrong with this picture?

Everything.

Alas, poor Flash, I knew thee well, and I actually will miss it. Oh wait, I’ve got a new download.