Flash in the pan?
I am an ex-Flash user. I uninstalled the Flash plug-in on my primary browser about a month ago, and I haven’t looked back. Here’s how it happened:
Back when Apple announced that its forthcoming iPad would lack Flash support, it sounded to me like a boneheaded move. If a device built for consuming multimedia doesn’t support the web’s leading format for multimedia presentation, what good is it?
I use a woefully underpowered first-generation MacBook Air that I’d rather not replace just yet. I’d done about all I can think of to squeeze a little more performance out of it, including installing a solid-state hard drive and upgrading the OS to Snow Leopard. Still I found many common activities, particularly web browsing in multiple tabs or windows, painfully slow.
So I decided, as an experiment, to remove the Flash plug-in from my primary web browser, Google Chrome. I still have it in Safari, which I fire up when I need to look at Flash content.
After about a month, here are my impressions:
- The speed increase on web browsing is much more dramatic than the performance boost I got by adding Snow Leopard and the SSD. And since most of my computing time is spent in a web browser, that gives my old laptop a new lease on life.
- Fewer obnoxious ads! That alone might make this “upgrade” worthwhile.
- YouTube and Vimeo both have stable HTML5 video players, though most of the commercial content on YouTube is available only in the Flash player.
- The Wall Street Journal’s video player works beautifully. (NYT and CNN not so much.)
- Interactive charts in Google Analytics and Google Finance, sadly, are Flash-based and don’t downgrade gracefully.
In short, for me, the performance jump is worth the occasional inconvenience, but YMMV.
What do you think? Could you live without Flash?