Flash Player Update Problems:
With the battle over Adobe’s monopoly with their proprietary Flash Player Plugin for the Internet a few years old, it will be a long way off before the dominance of such a troubling , resource draining, vulnerable and problematic plugin is finally put in its place, the hall closet until you need it. All one has to do is do a Google search for Flash plugin problems, Flash has crashed, Flash doesn’t work, Flash viruses, Flash privacy or Flash vulnerabilities and you will find thousands of threads discussing the countless issues with this intrusive tool for viewing many of the video and animation formats on the Internet today.
I am shocked at the number of complaints and support request still circulating about Flash update problems on the web as we enter a new year. The Flash plugin even crosses all boundaries affecting both Mac and PC users as well as every browser on the market. Many including myself are still asking why does it have to be so temperamental and laborious to maintain and why can’t they improve the security features?
HTML5 and WebM have made tremendous strides since their introduction but investment and support for these open-source alternatives have been insufficient to give them the push they need. Open source platforms and browser development still needs a boost and much more support from the Internet community to provide a true alternative, need I say replacement for Flash. I for one, come from a long line of Adobe supporters and customers so my feelings are mixed. There is a place for Flash and a use for Flash, but having it dominate the Internet when it is so untrustworthy and high on maintenance is just not fair.
I wrote a post on the Flash monopoly in 2013, view the post on my Blog here: The Flash Active X Monopoly, and I did a quick video on YouTube about the Text Enhance Malware vulnerabilities inside Flash here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M-0J54QF90&spfreload=10, and how it allowed obtrusive marketing software to run and infect a persons computer and website yet still I find just as many if not more post and forums still discussing all of the same issues with crashing and conflicts associated with the Flash plugin. Whether it is an update problem, a version problem, a browser problem, a crashing problem or memory usage, a privacy problem etc, this plugin is a literal nightmare for a lot of people. It still has vulnerabilities that keep becoming an issue and hackers love it. There is also the privacy issue as well. Many unsuspecting users don’t know that the Flash plugin has a camera and microphone feature in its hidden settings that can allow a website or hacker to turn on your camera or microphone without your knowledge, isn’t that just fine and dandy in this new defining age of spying and big brother!
Unless you make changes to these settings, you are exposed to possible abuse without your knowledge. It is also very heavy on resources and memory which is a problem for a lot of people unless you have a very robust computer system. Not to mention there is an update almost every week or two or three it seems which makes maintaining it and keeping your system safe a chore.
The fact that it affects both PC and MAC users as well is quite disturbing with all of the complaints and support request. It is just unfair to allow this plugin to still dominate the user experience when the internet is supposed to be free and a place where we have a choice. Sites like YouTube do offer an HTML5 alternative which I use a lot, and there are other alternatives as well like one of my favorites, the add-on for Mozilla’s browser called Greasemonkey with the user script named ViewTube installed. This add-on allows you to view YouTube videos in QuickTime, MP4, HTML5, MPEG, WMP and WMP2, and WebM Hi and Low definition and there are many choices and settings. This optional add-on for Firefox is a welcomed alternative to the problematic Flash plugin and I use it whenever possible.
Of course there are times when you have to use the Flash plugin on different sites but at least progress has been made. I will be providing a link to the add-on Greasemonkey and the user script below for those who use Firefox, others will have to research their respective browser and what options they offer.
Adobe has made some drastic moves over the last couple of years with regards to their software by making it accessible only through their Adobe Cloud platform which has angered a lot of people, me being one. It forces people to rent access to the software they provide whether you use it all the time or not which is viewed as an aggressive move by consumers who don’t depend on it daily in their profession but only use it when they need it. Unless you are a media professional who has the budget and workload that dictates constant and consistent access to Adobe software, this can be an expenditure that doesn’t pay off in the end.
What do companies who have a lot of power really want, more power, or should we cut to the chase and call it what it is, more money. Don’t get me wrong, I love Adobe’s software and have used it for years but where Adobe is headed with all of this we can only guess. Their software is used extensively in the professional community and in the entertainment industry, but for the little guy and gal, oh well. Some would say that renting software is just as wasteful as renting an apartment compared to buying a house. You end up paying way more than it really cost in the end. Unfortunately as with rental property, it is the only option some people have. In the not too distant past you could pay a pretty penny for the software and own it at least, now you rent it over and over again indefinitely which makes Adobe more and more money in the end.
What to do, what to do? Hopefully this year will give a much needed boost to the alternatives like HTML5 and WebM including OGG audio and we will start to see more and more browsers and media creators paying more attention to the needs of the Internets largest user demographic, us, you remember, the “people”. Caught In the battle for dominance are big corporate giants like Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and all of the browsers, and while they bicker and vie for control, the end-user gets caught in the middle every time. One company makes a system that works with Flash, the other one doesn’t, Adobe makes it hard for some companies and partners with others, its good old American capitalism or as some would say, It’s just business.
For those seeking a different approach and some relief from the dreaded Flash plugin for playing video on the web, try the following:
Mozilla Firefox Browser: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/
Firefox add-on Greasemonkey: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/greasemonkey/?src=ss
The Greasemonkey user-script (ViewTube): http://userscripts-mirror.org/scripts/show/87011