Flash On Mobile Devices Is Passé

Screen-Shot-2011-11-09-at-12.17.08-PMAdobe has been endeavouring for a long time to have ubiquity on mobile devices. Despite the relentless effort of its developers, marketing and public relation teams, Adobe has not succeeded to create omnipresence of Flash on mobile devices. There are many reasons for the same but a large role was played by Apple, lead by Steve Jobs. For a long time, Apple has just rejected the idea of using Flash in its mobile devices and there is no chance in the foreseeable future for Flash to be adopted by Apple. Since Apple does own a substantial chunk of the market using smart phones and tablets, Flash seems to become irrelevant on mobile devices unless Apple endorses it.

Adobe has now formally announced that Flash would no longer be a product that would cater to mobile devices. Although Flash Player 11.1 has been around for quite some time and mobile devices, other than those of Apple, are using this software, it would be the last that Adobe would roll out. The bugs, if any, would be fixed by Adobe but the company will not be developing any more Flash updates or new version of the software for mobile devices. According to the official confirmations from Mike Chambers, the lead of Adobe developer relations, Flash on mobile devices is passé.

What Adobe would be focusing on instead is HTML5 and CSS. Mike has made it public that HTML5 is the future and that most of the future video streaming and animations would be running on HTML5 and CSS3. How much of this decision is due to Apple’s reluctance and firm decision to not integrate Flash is not clear but it certainly has had a bearing.

Adobe has however tried to reassure its investors and the market at large that Flash itself would be around for traditional computers and laptops and the company would continue to develop the software. But the software would not be meant for future mobile devices, ala smart phones and tablets, and that there would not be any more upgrades or updated versions.

Flash Era is coming to an end, simply put. We have found a way to stream web clips of teens loving huge cocks without the use of flash! It's all HTML5, baby. And what's even better - if your browser doesn't support HTML5 (you would have to use very old PC!) you will still get flash player!

You should have your Flash player enabled to see the shocking footage of these fake agents tricking girls.

I think it's totally crazy to call yourself a mom in control. It means you take everything from your stepdaughter?

We have dumped the flash player in the tube of fakeagent uk in favor of HTML5 player and people are happy about it. Check it out!

XXX MassageRooms - it's all about happy ending if you know what we mean!

Adobe’s decision may come as a shock for many but those who keep a close eye at the developments are not surprised at all. It was perhaps a matter of time that Adobe understands the omnipresence and omnipotence of HTML5 and CSS or even JavaScript which are clearly the future for touch based interfaces and mobile devices.

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Flash Technology In A Nutshell

fl-marquee-708x510Flash technology enables you to create a web web full of animation more efficiently than was done in the past. It also can allow for interactive features. One of the most common uses is in advertising, and youth, with their infatuation with games, have been placing an increasing demand for more rapid and efficient presentations of their fantasy worlds. With increasing miniaturization of hardware, processing speeds have gotten higher, and much more memory is available to developers and users. In essence, hardware is not an issue anymore. Until relatively recently, animation technology relied upon pixel manipulation, and this sufficed to present an overall or general animation. Early editions of animation technology were rather crude, as in animated gifs. Websites were written in HTML and generally were static entities. However, with the advancing hardware technology – processing speeds, being the main factor, scripting (segments of computer code) could be embedded in websites to enable faster animation.

Vector animation now is at the heart of Flash technology, which is based upon a control of points, lines, and plane and solid geometric figures, by the means of mathematics applied to quantity and direction. In fact, this is what a vector is, a computational expression of magnitude coupled with direction. This is in contrast with the older manipulation of pixels, which would slow down an animation.

Macromedia Corporation was formed in 1992 to create animation technology. Prior to this, the company specialized in the now famous Dreamweaver web building software, one that any technical writer worth her or his salt would have have experience. That was all about to change when in 1995 Macromedia bought an obscure program called “FutureSplash Animator “ to bundle with its web site effort. Fllash was born. The first three versions relied on relatively simply technology, but the fourth version included an embedded scripting and was called “ActionScript “. Adobe Systems bought Macromedia in 2005, and this included the Dreamweaver and Flash products.

Flash development continued, and currently, Adobe has version 9. Flash is referred to, as it is perhaps the best known. However, there are other vector graphics-based technologies, such as computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and numerous other animation programs.

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Criticism Of Flash By Steve Jobs

adobe_flash_vs-appleSteve Jobs had been against using Flash and other products of Adobe for a long time and it was fairly well known among Apple fans. What many fans and developers using Apple products did not know is that Steve Jobs was not always against Flash or Adobe and that there were numerous pragmatic reasons for not using Flash in Apple devices!

Apple had once used Adobe products for its Laserwriter printer. Adobe and Apple had once worked closely to develop products and software which could be used in the traditional pc. But as it turned out, over the years, the two companies drifted apart and developed very different business practices. Adobe, like many other market watchers and critics of Apple, consider Steve Jobs to practice closed business practices. Many hold Jobs responsible for not having third party software or their compatibility on Apple devices. But the truth lays in the critical response of Steve Jobs which was made public in April 2010.

  • Steve Jobs criticised Adobe on six counts. First, Adobe was a closed platform. Second, there are better alternatives to Flash. Third, Adobe products especially Flash doesn’t have the best security standards, performance or reliability. Fourth, Flash is power intensive. Fifth, Adobe products are meant for pc or laptops and not geared towards touch based interfaces. Sixth, Adobe products like Flash are not conducive for developers.

Jobs has gone at length to describe how Adobe is not a natural ally of Apple devices. While Adobe has held Apple to be guilty of being closed and running a closed system, Steve has countered it with the fact that Apple may have proprietary products and software but allows open development of several of the products and software that are used in Apple devices. Flash, on the contrary, is not open at all. Only Adobe has the right to make changes, developments or anything remotely similar to Flash. Besides, Apple offers HTML 5, CSS and JavaScript which offer better results and liberty than what Flash does.

Adobe Flash is not touch friendly and obviously it doesn’t become a natural ally of the Apple devices. Flash consumes a lot of power, something that will not be conducive to a long battery. It is not an era of computers or laptops that is being talked about but of smart phones and tablets, all running on rechargeable batteries. Finally, it is the security and problems that developers face to come up with new products using Flash and other Adobe offerings.



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Flash Security – Is It Safe?

big_burglarTime and again security experts have raised concerns about the reliability and safety of using Flash. Many Adobe products have been heavily criticised in the past due to their poor security standards. There have been many incidents where Flash and other Adobe products have become easy targets for hackers and organizations having malicious intent and millions of users across the world have had to bear the brunt.

A security flaw in Flash can compromise the entire system. A personal computer user would not even know what hit him or her and how to counter it. Since Flash is often integrated with browsers, it is fairly easier for hackers and malwares to spread across the contents being browsed and to hit the system files with ease.

Recently, Adobe had to release an emergency patch. On April 28, 2014, Adobe issued an emergency patch for what it called the zero day flaw. Zero day flaw is a scenario when attacks exploiting a security lapse happen even before researchers have had the time to diagnose the problem. As a result, there are zero days to come up with a fix, solution or a counter measure. Before Adobe could issue the emergency patch, Syrian dissidents were already targeted. The attacks used the Ministry of Justice website to target Syrian dissidents who were not in favour of the government. The dissidents would reach out to the website to file complaints but instead their systems got affected with malware that instantly got loaded up in the browser.

The problem was spotted by Kaspersky Lab and subsequently Adobe discovered the security problem. While the emergency patch was issued and should be downloaded by all Adobe users with the help of updating the Flash software and other products, the real issue is the consistent security failures that the company has been trying to deal with for years.

A long time back, Steve Jobs had criticised Adobe for its poor security features. According to data released by Symantec in 2009, Adobe products and especially Flash had been one of the worst performers in security features.

The question is no longer how safe Adobe Flash is but how unsafe it is now. It has been proven time and again that Adobe Flash can simply not counter the challenges that one is faced with today. With Flash being integrated to the system, it is an easy gateway for malware and spyware into the system. If Adobe doesn’t manage to fix the recurring security lapses on Flash, the software may just be a thing of the past.

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How To Improve Flash Performance?

performanceFlash finds imperative application in games, particularly casual games that are played online or within an internet browser. While Flash makes gaming simple and actually makes it possible for many traditional two dimensional games on the pc and laptop, there are certain challenges that you would have to deal with.

Flash has numerous problems. Anyone who has used Flash and played games online would have had grainy images, generation losses and an erratic frame per second speed of the animation. At times, it is the browser to be blamed, at times it is the game which is to be blamed but many times it is simply the fault of Flash.

If you want an interesting and captivating gaming experience then you must improve your Flash performance. Here are a few answers to how to improve Flash performance.

  • When you play a game, Flash will try and deliver the best results or it would have a default setting pertaining to quality. Flash can be set at low, medium or high quality. There is no rule to this but if you are having problems with a game then you may want to change this quality setting. You can right click on the game’s interface and check what quality the Flash setting is pegged at. If it is at high, try out the low setting and you may succeed in doing away with the FPS losses and other problems. Medium setting seldom offers any change but switching between high and low can make a substantial difference.
  • At times, Flash does not operate at its best in a certain browser. If you are using the same browser for playing games that you use for work then you may want to use another browser. When you work on a certain browser, it installs plug-ins, extensions and loads up various tracks and history which can influence the efficiency of a game and the settings of Flash. When a browser is overworked, you would not get the best performance from Flash. Try a neat browser that has minimal settings or is cleansed and you would get better Flash performance.
  • You can also disable or enable your hardware acceleration. You can find this option by right clicking on the screen of the game or within the gaming window and you should have the choice of Adobe Flash Player Settings. For some systems, enabling hardware acceleration does the trick while in some systems, disabling it holds the key. You have to try both to see what works for you.
  • Finally, you can choose to resize the game or zoom out of it to enhance Flash performance. This will not work in all browsers or for all games but does work with some.

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Privacy & Security Settings While Using Flash

privacyFlash has certain preset security features which are beyond the discretion of a user. However, there are certain privacy and security settings that a user can define. It is these definable or customisable privacy and security settings that you must take care of to ensure that your computer is safe and that the settings are according to your preference.

Every web browser has certain security protocols in place and you must try and get the best of them. Here is a brief guide to ensure that your web browser and Flash have the best privacy and security settings.

Local Storage

Whenever you browse the web and visit websites, the websites would save content on your computer. Websites typically store cookies in the browser, download loading files in your temporary files folder and also have a history stored up in your browser for quick recalls when you search again. Some websites would not save any substantial content while some websites would store some considerable files on your hard drive.

These local storage settings can be changed. You can choose to allow all websites to save information on your computer, you can choose to block all sites from saving information on your computer or you can choose a midway solution of being prompted whenever a certain website tries to save information on your system. You can choose the option that suits you. If you are certain that the websites you are visiting are secured and would not save any malicious content on your system then you need not worry about information being saved. But if you are not certain of the safety of browsing some sites then it is better to block them from making any changes to your browser, history or system settings.

Private Browsing

You may be aware that all your online activity is traced. There are documented trails of you initiating every search and all the sites you visit and activity you indulge in online are saved in the browser. These details are used by the web browser to make your browsing convenient as they load the content faster when you visit those sites again. You can choose to indulge in such open browsing where your tracks are documented or you can choose private browsing.

When you opt for private browsing, your browser would not save any data pertaining to your browsing or visiting websites. Consequently, your Flash settings would not be prone to tracking.

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Advantages Of Flash Technology

flash-website-proscons-5Back in the days of Eniac in 1948, one was lucky to be able to arithmetic calculations using 0s and 1s. By the early-1970s, users would see a blank screen with a blinking cursor, and had to know what to do, or else there could be an incredible corruption of software. By the early to mid-1980s graphics technology was available to users in the form of Commodore Amigas and the McIntosh. Commodore used special characters, called “sprites” and McIntosh had the reputation of being the best graphics tool around. In fact Adobe developed Photoshop originally for the Apple. By the early 1990s, the World Wide Web (WWW) was coming on line, and viewers had the “luxury” of seeing animated ads. Crude they were, but they literally illustrated not only the existing capabilities of a computer but foretold amazing possibilities. Through the years progress continued until we have now available a full suite of applications that allow developers not only to create and edit graphics (including photographs and movies) but enable some of those capabilities through phones and laptops.

When graphics were emerging code had to be laboriously written. There was a tedious process of using “peeks” and “pokes” to control the computer’s memory. For example, you had to write a program that might look something like:

10 poke 2530,77
20 for i=0 to 88:read a:poke 7932+i,a:next i

This is beginner’s all-purpose symbolic instruction code, otherwise known to more prosaic users as “BASIC”. Make one mistake – even a single character – and your effort would blow up.

The advent of windows applications enabled a user simply to move icons around to get applications to run. However, a lot more was in the waiting until today, we have Adobe that takes up more memory that a whole houseful of computers has back in the old days.

Currently, there is Creative Suite Version 5.5, shortened as “CS5.5”. This was released 3 Maym2011. There is a standard “text engine” that allows one to create any print in any form on the word, just like a word processor. That is, one can do desktop publishing, anything and even more than a regular book publisher could do, only, of course, electronically. This means a web creator can do just about anything with graphics and text. Anything you can do in “hard mode” you can do on CS5.5 but more. You can create animations without knowledge of programming or Flash, for that matter. Any part of a still object can be animated and at different speeds. Flash in CS5.5 actually writes code automatically with application, such as replacing video in a display. A CS5.5 can collaborate across the internet with other in creating a web page.

When Adobe refers to a “multiscreen environment (http://tv.adobe.com/show/flash-professional-cs5-feature-tour/ ), they do not leave out the good old television. Couch potatoes in the future will interact with what they see, made possible by CS5.5. While this is not common now, the applications are making their way through the pipeline.

Adobe software has become so elaborate that one has to take special training or even college courses to access the full capabilities of CS5.5. One need only to think back not too long ago in the “code” or “flashing cursor” days to imagine what it would take to implement the entire CS5.5 feature and this is assuming that the hardware technology would be available. This involves hundreds of millions of lines of code, not too different from what we saw back in the old Commodore days. Kids don’t know how lucky they or what the “good old days” were like when one actually had to know how to operate a computer and write code. Now, it is “point and click”.

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The State Of Flash (as of 2011)

adobe-flash-player-ex-macromedia-1Adobe Flash technology is now coupled with CS5.5, or Creative Suite 5.5. This is comparable to Photoshop Suite including the original application, Adobe Illustrator. While it may come as a surprise to younger users, Adobe products were designed initially for the Apple computers, as they had a reputation for being the best for graphics. Originally, Illustrator was designed to touch up photographs by manipulating pixels in bitmap images. There have been many releases of photo editing software by Adobe, as such as Adobe Creative Suite Web Premium and Adobe Creative Suite Production Studio Premium. Since the early 1990s, comparable software has been created by Corel and Microsoft.

Adobe did not stand still, however, and we see that the latest CS5.5 bundles and enhances the Adobe Photoshop capabilities. The principle development relevant to us today was the merging or incorporation of Adobe Photoshop in the Creative Suite, version 5, of CS5.0. Yet, as with Adobe Photoshop Album and similar image creation and editing applications, we see a merging into the CS5.5.

So what where does CS5.5 stand. Although the mainstream reference is to “Flash”, it appears that Adobe is talking more and more of CS5.5, as the successor. Right from the “horse’s moth” we have Adobe on its website, http://www.betanews.com/article/Adobe-launches-CS55-the-first-subscriptionbased-Creative-Suite/1304432419 , saying, “CS5.5 introduces new versions of InDesign, Dreamweaver, Audition, Flash Professional, Flash Catalyst, Flex Builder and Device Central.” It would appear that this is comparable to Microsoft Office with its subsets of word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation programs. On can talk about each unit, but to preserve an appropriate context, one perhaps should be discussing the whole suite in order to fully appreciate the development capabilities of each module.

CS5.5 seems to be something for everybody, including the latest HTML 5 development, mobile applications (such as BlackBerry Tablet OS), and a sound creation and the sound creation and editing part called “Audition”. Dreamweaver, of course, has been modified over the years, but it stands in technical writer’s toolbox as a necessary web development tool. If you don’t have Dreamweaver experience, forget about applying for many tech writing jobs.

It is interesting to not how recent the CSS5.5 development have been, with the 3 May 2011 one introducing two essential features: a two year release cycle and subscription-based licensing. Adobe says that the 3 May release is not “milestone” in character, at least referring to the content of the suite, but it wants to let the public know that there is built in a mandated update in accordance with recent technological developments. In essence, it is keeping up with the technology.

The second is a bit more controversial. While ostensibly designed for what Adobe says is for “those with smaller budgets or those who may only need it on a temporary or per-project basis”, the controversy enters in the word “renting” (http://prodesigntools.com/how-adobe-cs5-5-subscriptions-work.html ). This is similar with what Microsoft has been trying. You download a “core”, but, in order to maintain usability, you have to pay what Adobe claims is a 5-7% of the regular cost of the whole package every month. Adobe admits that if you stop paying, the software is not usable. So, if you are in the middle of a heavy duty project and simply can’t pony up the cash that month, you are stuck. Subscriptions can be month-to-month or on a yearly basis.

Another downside to the new release is that earlier versions cannot be used to get an upgrade version of VCS5.5. The “up” side to all this is that Adobe will give a buyer the “out” of getting a “full purchase license”, but there no way of doing what they call a “rent to own” option. To give a sense of pricing, Adobe’s Master Collection is $2599 as of 10 May 2011.

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Alternatives To Flash

In the style of this series of articles on Flash, we now look at alternatives to the applications, this time, starting with the free ones, Flash and AIR, since we are focusing on Flash technologies on this website.. It may seem a bit silly to give alternatives, as there is not cost involved. However, there is the dependency issue. It is an old fairground tactic, where the vendor starts by enticing people to purchase a product by giving away things. This is done to create trust as well as condition them into thinking that they will be getting a bargain. IBM did this years ago by giving out Selectric typewriters to all the schools. The students learned on them, but they had peculiarities, such as the ball containing typefaces, instead of the usual keys actuated directly from the keyboard. The balls were interchangeable, their containing different types faces. In essence, this was the way students learned typing. When businesses hired the typists, about the only way work could be done efficiently without having to re-orient them to standard typewriters was to buy a Selectric. Apple computers did the same thing by getting kids “hooked” on its proprietary operating system, but this effort was short-circuited with the advent of the personal computer (PC), released, ironically, by IBM in August 1981. Yet, despite the high price of Apple products and their relative unavailability except through specialized Apple and its vendors, the computer line has survived, albeit tenuously at some times.

Bound up with seeking alternatives is the view that people should have the freedom to choose software and to uninstall it without the consequence of losing data. Enter the open source movement. Open source software, such as Fedora Core and Open Office are distributed free, with the funds to sustain development efforts coming from the sale of consultations and, literature, and books. People have ready access to the source code generating the applications and can write code modifications subject to the scrutiny of review panels. The Wikipedia effort represents this type of development, but in terms of content. So, back to Adobe, what can a person do to skirt the specific applications of Flash and AIR to do the same or similar things these two applications do? There are commercial programs that are competitive with Adobe products, but one gets into the same problem area of dependency.

Yes, there is are open source alternatives to the Flash Player, such as Ajax Animator and OpenDialect. There also are Gnash, Lighspark, and Swfdec, although this last one is used more to decode the Multimedia (Adobe) applications. User reviews on these are mixed, some saying they don’t render Flash files with 100% accuracy. It is left to the reader to experiment with these applications. While each may not have the full functionality of Flash, there may be enough for certain purposes. However a search on the internet under “alternatives to Flash Player” presents 26,200,000 results, indicating that all is not quiet contentment in the world where people want to see files rendered in the Flash format.

What of Adobe’s AIR, where developers can put Flash applications on the computer desktop? One can start with Appcelerator’s Titanium, which is open source. The philosophy behind the Titanium alternative to AIR is explained quite well in this video. The OSFlash projects page also lists AIR alternatives. New development is progressing one of the latest being FOSDR, with code being released.

Realizing that people are finding out more about open sources alternatives, Adobe started moving to this way of making software development in 2008 by releasing Flex 3.0 and BlazeDS. Adobe also announced the elimination of its Web and desktop division.

This all does not go to say that people should avoid Adobe products, but it is comforting to know that people do not have to be backed into a corner where the only way out of saving data or files is to continue with expensive upgrades. It is no secret that the subscription method to which some developers, such as Adobe and Microsoft are moving could put the user at the mercy of having to pay, as in a magazine or cable subscription, to maintain the application.
Next time, in Adobe’s proprietary line, we will continue reviewing Adobe’s products, along with exploring open source alternatives. The emphasize will be on looking at what the application really does and seeing what else can do it. There may be unique activities that only Adobe can do, but it is not a bad idea to be aware of those before making an expensive commitment, along with the possibility, in the case of subscriptions, of maintaining it.

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