May 10, 2010

Life without Flash, Acrobat, Air and Adobe

So I recently reached the tipping point of frustration and I got so sick of Adobe Flash causing problems on my system that I decided I’m over it, and over Adobe products in general.  The software they release is just so poor I don’t want it any more and I’d rather live without it even if there’s no valid alternatives.

I’ve now uninstalled all the Adobe products I can from my machine and disabled Flash extensions in my browsers where I couldn’t uninstall it and have been running like this for the past few weeks now.

As such I thought you might be curious as to how this is affecting me and my online life, so let me give you a run down on how I’m finding the experience now.

PDF Files

First up, the easy one.  Acrobat Reader.  140MB of installation and a reboot every time there’s an update.  Just to view PDF files? Seriously? Plus it’s fast becoming one of the more targetted security attack vectors now that Microsoft have picked up their game.  So I replaced Adobe Reader with FoxIt reader which is only a measly 10MB in size and it does a great job of viewing PDF files.  I don’t know why I didn’t dump Reader years ago – FoxIt is just so much nicer and so much faster!  No brainer decision, that one.

Flash on the Web

And what about the web experience? Flash is the choice du jour of interactive web sites and there are so many sites with flash on them that surely I won’t be able to live without it.  Now admittedly I could have installed a flash blocker and then turned flash on as and when I wanted to, but I was just so annoyed with Adobe I wanted to so get rid of their malware that I went the whole hog and disabled/removed the plugins from my various browsers (though Chrome was particularly annoying since I have to disable all plugins to remove Flash).

The experience without Flash isn’t always great, but I’m happy to deal with it.  Let me give you some examples of what I mean:

Google Analytics

I use analytics a bit to keep track of this blogs readership stats along with a few other sites I have.  Here’s what it looks like sans Flash:

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I lose the funky charts but the data is still available.  I can definitely live with that.

General Web Sites

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Still playing WOW? Meh.  Play a real MMO – one with great lore, an epic story line and no 13 year olds trying to trash talk you from 6,000 kms away.  Anyway – gaming choices aside, the lack of flash on many sites means no Ads.  Such a shame to lose them.  Really.  NOT!!

Grooveshark

I hit this site every now and then to listen to streaming music.  For Grooveshark and many other sites on the web Flash it the only option for streaming audio via web pages.  Most podcast episodes are embedded into blog pages using it.  I even use it on the Talking Shop Down Under episode posts because it’s what my audio file host (archive.org) provides out of the box.

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Podcasts aren’t a big deal for me since I subscribe to them via iTunes and listen to them on my iPod/iPhone.  As for grooveshark? I’ll just make do without.  No biggie.

YouTube

OK, so this is an important one.  Video on the web is almost always done with Flash, though hopefully people will start moving to Silverlight smooth streaming or HTML5 video sooner rather than later.  In fact YouTube already has – if you have a HTML5 capable browser that supports video (aka Chrome) then you can go to http://www.youtube.com/html5 and join the beta program and watch video via HTML5 instead of Flash.  It doesn’t do full screen yet, but apart from that it works perfectly well. Happy days.

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Sites like Viddler, Tekpub and others still don’t offer Flash alternates so occasionally I run into situations where I can’t view videos, but once again I’m happy to live with that for now.

Adobe Air

So this was a pretty simple one.  I use Air for one thing and one thing only and that was so I could run TweetDeck.  I got rid of Air and TweetDeck and switched to Seesmic so I could retain the multiple account support and I’m happy with it for now.  Of course, there are plenty of other twitter clients out there that run natively on Windows and I could have just as easily used one of them if they had multiple account support too. (Halfwit, MahTweets, etc)  If they add that functionality in the future I may switch.  It’s not a hard thing to change :-)

 

So there you have it, life without Adobe.  And as a parting note, I haven’t had a browser or system crash ever since I got rid of their software.  Goodbye Adobe.  You won’t be missed.

11 comments:

  1. I'm not exactly an adobe fan myself, but this strikes me as a tad extreme. I'm curious to see how long this will last. I predict you'll be back to using flash on at least one machine in less than 3 months :)

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  2. @paul You maybe right. On the other hand, it's been a few weeks so far and I haven't got the shakes yet :-)

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  3. Oh the irony! I open up a new tab in Safari to view your post, and another tab which was running a Flash app crashes.

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  4. Just FYI, i've come across some PDFs which weren't rendered properly by FoxIt...Adobe Reader was pretty much the only thing that could read them.

    The PDF in question had a lot of graphical elements and alignment between them (think Visio diagram, but I cant remember if it actually was or not).

    YMMV

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  5. (grr...i just typed a comment and your blog just ate it on postback!)

    short version: I've had PDFs which FoxIt failed to render properly. They were Visio diagram-like PDFs with lots of graphical and accurately aligned elements

    YMMV

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  6. @Rex I think you may have just bumped up against comment moderation is all. Unless you made 3 comments? :-)

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  7. Interesting that you think video on the web doesn't need flash, if flash is dead, so is silverlight.

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  8. I am an adobe fan. Photoshop is unmatched and Lightroom is possible my favourite application. I agree with you about acrobat but other than that I don't understand where all the Adobe hate is coming from. I suspect Jobs is streaming subliminal messages through your ipod/iphone.

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  9. @Liam LOL at the subliminal messages :-) I don't have Photoshop or Lightroom so can't speak for them. I can however speak for my lack of browser crashes since Flash has been removed.

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  10. Hooray I am glad to hear someone who is not afraid to call bad software bad ! I have had a lot of trouble with acrobat and flash .They are crap.

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  11. Judith DespatiesMar 11, 2011, 1:29:00 PM

    I just googled : can one live without ADOBE and you can into my life !! I was SO happy to read someone in the same state of mind toward such an imposition......granted I am trying to save and old computer but even on my newer laptop, I just can't stand all these updates which so often coincide with an ensuing problem. At this stage of my life, I have decided to live without PDF documents if I have to but I must confess my addiction to classical music and musicians of the past, etc., etc. on YouTube, medici.tv, etc. !!!! I'm afraid life without YouTube would be difficult. Can you or someone please advise if you can have ADOBE FLASH only and dump the rest, or am I being idealistic ?? Thank you and congratulations on your blog.....you are now among my favorites because of life without ADOBE !!!!

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