Some Thoughts on the Adobe Flash Player... or The Webpage For It, Anyway


Others have many thoughts regarding the installation of Adobe Flash Player on Mac OS X. Others have opinions on why Flash is an anathema to the web. I have an opinion on the webpage for it, which brings to mind the image of a barge. Maybe the SS Adobarge.

Hmm. There’s an interesting image for you, a company as a barge. But why a barge? Well, first of all, it’s slow and plodding to make progress. If it weren’t for a tug, it would drift aimlessly with the current. Granted, it can carry a lot along with it. I got this feeling this morning when I downloaded the Flash Installer for Mac OS X from the Adobe website and it told me it would take 7 minutes “@ 56K modem.” Huh?

Sorry, did you say, 56k modem? First, why a 56K modem? Why not, say, “donkey cart” or “FedEx” or “carrier pigeon” or “smoke signals?” Oh, I get it… it’s the “lowest common denominator” for download time estimates. Because everybody thinks about their download speed in terms of “times faster than a 56K modem,” don’t they?

Second, unless you’re actually using a 56K modem, you probably don’t give a rat’s ass about the download time at 56K, so why bother telling us in the first place? All modern browsers will tell you pretty well how long it will take to download the file if you simply start the process. If you see “29 minutes remaining” and you only have a few moments before your parents send you off to bed, you’re probably going to stop the download process and cover your tracks before going to bed and your parents see you’re downloading a porn video.

Really, you don’t care how long somebody else’s download is going to take; you only care how long your download is going to take.

“We do it for the non-broadband users.” Even if you are still dialing up, if you want Flash, you’re going to download it, no matter if Adobe tells you it will take 45 minutes or 45 seconds “@56K modem”. Besides, you’re going to be able to look at your browser and tell that it’s going to take “about 5 minutes” when you start it.

Sigh. As I said, slow to move forward.

And talk about momentum! There’s no change coming anytime soon, nosiree! Not when yesterday’s webpages would do: when you click the download button, you’re redirected to the “Thank you” page where you are told “If a dialog box appears with the option to run or save, click run.”

That never happens on a Mac OS X machine in Safari. Never has, never will. I’m not so sure about Chrome or Firefox or Opera, but I’d guess they don’t do it either since this is distinctly a Windows Internet Explorer behavior. Now, there’s nothing really wrong with this, exactly, but it’s just untidy. It’s like seeing bra straps showing on the red carpet. Untidy, and easily solved with a little bit of change.

Get with the times, Adobe. As much as you may think Flash is the greatest thing ever, its time has passed. Redirect your energies to making a great HTML5 content creation tool and sell it just as you have the Flash toolset. Well, not exactly. You could do a better job of that, too, but I’m just covering old territory on that.

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