Back to Flash – For Now

by Christopher Paul on May 19, 2010

I gave it a go.

I gave living without Adobe Flash for at least a week to see how well I fared but, as of today, I’ve reinstalled it. I’ll probably continue using it until most websites stop embedding videos using their technology, too. What did me in wasn’t the lack of content, it was how Safari/WebKit handles missing plugins (or, its how the code was embedded – not too sure yet).

Like I said, it wasn’t the lack of content. Google’s YouTube has been using HTML5 as a video offering for a while and Vimeo recently launched a beta of its own. If I needed to watch a video I’d have togo the main websites instead of watching an embedded video but it didn’t bother me much since I tend to read the web more than watch it. I don’t play Flash based games or “timewasters” anymore – I have my iPhone for that. If I needed to watch video that was Flash only, I’d fire up Google’s Chrome but it sorta felt like cheating and I only did it in very rare cases (like when my wife and I wanted to catch up on some TV shows that didn’t record on our DVR). So I felt like I could
really live without it.

But what I couldn’t live with was the constant pop up message that Safari/WebKit would give me whenever a web page called for the plugin; that drove me crazy. The message would vary but simply say something like “Can’t find missing Plugin” or it would display a more interactive message which would give me the option of closing the pop up box or navigate right to Adobe’s download site. Either way, Ialways had to click the ‘Cancel’ button before I could continue browsing the web. When you’re using Google Reader to scan hundreds of feeds a day, you’re bound to run into this annoyance a dozen or more times in one sitting.

I honestly thought Safari for the Mac would treat the missing plugin just it does on the iPhone with that wonderfully ugly but appropriate blue box with the question mark on it. But, alas, its handling is more intrusive and made it so annoying to read regular websites (with those stupid Flash ads and other “rich” content) that I broke down and reinstalled it.

Am I happy? No.

Am I surprised? No.

Am I disappointed? Yes – more so than I thought I’d be.

If Apple changes the way it deals with the plugin to be that of
iPhone/iPad Safari, I might uninstall it again.

And if anyone knows how to disable those pop ups and, instead, show
the blue box, please let me know.

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