Life without Flash

Posted: June 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Internet, Mac | No Comments »

Just read an interesting post by Shadoe Huard – 7 months Flashless – about, well, not using Flash for 7 months. I’ve been doing the same for some time, and it’s transformed my browsing experience.

As an iPhone addict, I’m used to having Flash content denied to me; however I’m also used to having alternatives provided to me. iPhone content developers are increasingly using HTML5 to provide iOS-accessible content, and this is coming to the desktop too.

I’ve not gone to the extreme of completely removing Flash, but I have employed workarounds. The greatest is ClickToFlash. This excellent Safari plugin disables Flash content, replacing it with a box notifying you that there is Flash content. You can then click on the box to enable the Flash content, should you wish. The benefits are tangible – pages load faster, and the fans on the MacBook don’t whir up to 10000000 rpm!.

There are a few sites out there that are still sadly heavily Flash reliant. I’m a Liverpool fan, so I visit liverpoolfc.tv every day. This site unfortunately uses a great deal of Flash navigation. The good thing is that ClickToFlash offers the option automatically to enable Flash content on a site-by-site basis. This means that the site displays as it is meant to without me having manually to enable the content on every visit.

YouTube is of course another Flash-based site. ClickToFlash however blocks the Flash video and serves up the HTML5 video that they provide anyway for iOS devices. The result is much lower processor overheads for watching web video. Not just YouTube – Vimeo is also served up as HTML5.

Probably the most insidious usage of Flash however is advertising. A combination of ClickToFlash and the methods outlined in my recent post about ad-blocking mean that you can view websites in peace. A problem with Flash is that hovering the mouse over a Flash ad normally doesn’t show where the link goes to, so it can be difficult to find the server to add to my block list. Techniques have also been developed to obfuscate the link in the source code, so just blocking the Flash full stop does the trick.



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