Oct 202010

Adobe and Apple will hopefully pester each other into significant improvements with their recent clashes.  What’s good about HTML5, the Flash alternative that Apple is insisting on, is that it is not a proprietary plugin but a standard that has great chances of being accepted by everybody probably sooner than expected because the developers, unlike with Flash, won’t have to pay significant fees to develop in it.  I am not a big Apple fan, yet this time I agree with them and very much understand why they don’t appreciate that Adobe is making their computers and OS crash more often than they should.

HTML5 is a standard that could free us all from proprietary plugins like Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight and still be able to deliver video to our browsers.  If you are a bit like me, you are sick and tired of all video plugins… Flash, Quicktime, Silverlight, rm, dvx, codecs, etc.  HTML5, why aren’t you here now?  Well, every new standard takes time to adopt and this one is not even finalized yet.  Its development includes many participants from different entities, institutions, corporations, and schools, while Flash is privately owned by Adobe and as most proprietary stuff, it stands no chance.  Want examples of proprietary vs less proprietary?  “Gang of Nine’s” EISA vs. IBM’s PS2 MCA,  VHS vs. Beta, Blu-Ray (Sony and everybody else) vs. HD-DVD (Toshiba and MS), etc.  Just watch, whenever someone tries to build a toll house on the data freeway to take full control or to rip people off, everybody just goes around them (and as I usually say, more about that in another post).

Again, HTML5 is a standard and as such it doesn’t belong to any entity, so its performance will depend solely on how skilled the browser programmers are (Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Chrome, Safari).  On the other hand, Flash performance is almost entirely up to Adobe and they don’t seem to care how much of the CPU they’re utilizing or for any platforms other than Windows – if I’m not mistaken, after all these years Adobe still does not provide acceleration for Linux.  Not that there’s anything wrong with Windows (I’m typing this on a Wintel laptop), but being exclusive and closed is what’s wrong.

OK, here is where I confess: I actually can’t stand Adobe’s products and I keep them as far as possible from my work or home computers.  Last decade or so I’ve been using the alternative free Foxit PDF Reader, because it is very quick, efficient, lean and has a very small footprint, which is the total opposite of Adobe Acrobat Reader and every iteration of it I ever installed.  To stay away not only from Adobe Reader but from Adobe Acrobat as well, I used to use CutePDF for creating PDF documents, and few days ago I also downloaded and installed PDF Redirect due to its good reviews and so far it works like a charm.  With both of these utilities, all you need to do to create a PDF file is print from any document or application to the virtual printer that the software installs, then select its PDF file name and location to save the file.  These always seemed like better alternatives and ways to keep my PCs quick and uncluttered.  Still, I couldn’t avoid using Flash, and moreover, I was always aware that I cannot require my users to do it my way so I never even tried to remove Acrobat Pro from their PCs, not to mention Photoshop.  As a business application, it was very much expected to be there, and if you took something away without providing something easier with less clicks, you’d be history.  You don’t mess with end users, not like that.  But  most of the network engineers and technicians and even some power users I know share the same opinion and stayed away from Adobe software as much as possible.  Also, I never had to use Adobe’s Photoshop, as I find the state-of-the-art and free Irfanview software more than sufficient for my image processing and highly efficient viewing needs.  Furthermore, although it didn’t really introduce the usual Adobe clutter (probably because it was originally made by another company), Flash introduced some serious security concerns and that plugin was until recently an absolute nightmare of every security savvy network or system administrator out there who’s paid to be paranoid – it was saving its cache files into separate folders away from your internet browser cache files, so whenever you cleaned your temporary internet files, happily thinking you were safe, the Flash files were still there.  Imagine what some malicious badass hackers could have done to PCs that visited their Flash site or somehow else got that trojan or worm code in their Flash player.  They owned it.  We used to install CCleaner or similar utilities to be sure that the cached Flash files are being deleted, just to prevent us and our network from bad surprises.

Throughout my career I kept repeating that if the whole hardware progress entirely stopped, most of the software programs running on our computers could be optimized so much that the speed and response time of the machine would at least double.  Well, I believe that Adobe software could be optimized far more.  Recently the bullying of us users got even more outrageous with them installing their own download manager on my users’ browsers.  So, yes, I don’t like Adobe, and who knows whether I ever will.

Now, to be fair, I didn’t say I like Apple’s iTunes either.  Unlike on my iPhone and iPad, I don’t use Safari on my laptop, so why do I ever need to install it?  Why bundle it with iTunes instead of making it separate?  In addition, I am really annoyed by the Bonjour service that every new copy of iTunes installs on my computers.  So, regarding Apple and Adobe, to me it looks almost like the kettle is calling the pot black.  My perception of iTunes is that it’s the equal if not a bigger type of a resource hog as the Adobe software.  I have a deep respect for Steve’s persistent insisting on quicker power up and utter simplicity and GUI sophistication for end users, but what I really need is a small and lean, minimalistic version of iTunes!  I want to be able to drag and drop my music and video files to and from my iPhone and iPad without the need to install and fire up the biggest resource hog my machines have ever had seen!   Or should I say I needed it before I decided to move on to Android phones which already are like that.  Apple, stick to your basic principles and KISS (keep it simple stupid).  Adobe, do the same…  It seems that Adobe Flash is almost history, but at least fix your Acrobat software and be more considerate of users and their security, machine utilization and clutter.

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