Apple, Flash, and Bullshit

On Jan 30, 2010, at 11:58 PM, Your Friend wrote:

Just a quick little snippet from an apple town hall that rings true to me — whenever [my wife]’s CPU goes crazy and starts overheating it’s because of a website w/ flash content…

As for Adobe, Jobs said they are lazy and Jobs blames Adobe for a buggy implementation of Flash on the Mac as one of the reasons they won’t support it.

Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, he says. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5.

Those comments are bullshit.

  1. Regarding speed — Flash now supports hardware acceleration, but Windows is the only OS with hooks for it. Video would be much much quicker if it could use the Mac’s hardware acceleration. Counterargument is Apple should be allowed full control of their hardware and not have to expose access to it, but I don’t buy it. How do games access the video chip?1
  2. Regarding bugginess — Chrome and the current Safari are architected such that if a plug-in crashes, the whole browser does not go down. Firefox will eventually be like this too. Arguing Flash can cause a Mac to crash just makes the Mac sound poorly architected, and it’s not.

There is a reasonable story I’ve read for not supporting Flash (or any popular third party plug-in): the desire for more agile control over the OS. For example, Apple is moving to an entirely 64 bit OS, but Flash is only 32 bit. This means in order to ship a 64 bit Safari they had to write a sandboxed plug-in system that 32 bit apps could run in.2 However, they really don’t want to deal with this crap on iPhone OS. Imagine if they want to support a different mobile processor architecture? They want to compile and go, not have to wait for some other company to port their ware.

There’s a pretty good article that covers much of this by pro-Apple3 John Gruber.

But let’s focus on the statement about the future:

No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5.

Jobs is referring to the HTML5 <video> tag. This gives a simple, non-Flash based way for browsers to know when to show video. Earlier drafts of HTML5 also specified using Ogg Theora as the video codec. Theora provides a patent unencumbered, open source implementation anyone can use. Basically, in 2007 HTML5 solved the problem of how everyone could watch video on the web without all the problems Flash brings. But Theora was pulled out of the spec in large part due to Apple (and Nokia) weakly arguing about submarine patents. When it comes down to it, Apple cares far more about media and content control than fast, bug-free video. They’re backing a DRM enabled codec over a working web. Performance issues and bugs are a red herring.

  1. Uses of Flash go far beyond just video, but really, video is the main way we experience Flash. If all those embedded videos didn’t suck up all that processing power, there would probably be a lot less complaining. []
  2. One could argue this was a good thing do, regardless. []
  3. Fanboy :-) []

EtherPad to Shut Down After Google Acquisition

Via Daring Fireball: EtherPad to Shut Down After Google Acquisition of Parent Company AppJet

Sad. I just discovered EtherPad and one of my favorite things is its ad-hoc nature. Want to start collaborating on a document right now? Just go to the site, start a new pad, and pass around the URL. You could even make up the URL path ahead of time! No account is required; it Just Works.1

Contrast this with Google Wave where I need to be signed into my account, everyone I want to share with must have a Google account, those accounts need to be in my contacts, etc.2 The risk is losing the momentum and the moment. It’d be faster and easier to jump onto an open wiki.

Is my weight on a quick & easy ad-hoc solution a geeky, open source enthusiast desire? Maybe I’m feeling similar to the way Zed Shaw is feeling about Google Groups. Maybe this is part of what we are warned about in The Web in Danger. At the very least, it makes me feel pretty good about having become a software developer: I can stop bitching and start coding.

Update: Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was upset. In response to its user base, EtherPad is Back Online Until Open Sourced.

  1. Of course, I’m speaking of the free and open portion of EtherPad, as that’s what I’m interested in. []
  2. Let’s just skip the poor “everyone has a Google account” argument. []

Lost.

Lost. Lost in this sea of modernity. My society, my world. Energy put into production, into consumption. For what? Living breathing energy or dead? To enjoy or to end. Cycle of life? Reincarnate? Faith, belief. More stories to tell ourselves. Bring us through the suffering of survival. Is there truth to any of it? Or another product. Build build build. Create, structure, model. Growth and destruction, ensuring we recognize the arrow of time. Our worldline bright.

End of October; Clockwork Beast.

for three (recorded) years, my brain goes twist around this time. it’s some sort of heralding of colder months, introspective moods, and the production of inspirational fuel for my next winter compilation.

i’m constantly amazed by how our minds have both random, inexplicable, bursts and precise, inexplicable, cycles. wack stuff, it keeps it interesting. a nice combination of grounded regularity and general unknowingness.

Sunday

Before my window. Breeze coming through, blowing across the stripped bed. Birds are chirpping, a harmonica is played, the gospel church sings, and the clocktower slowly bongs 12pm.

the sound of azuki beans

refamiliarizing myself with the self-healing cookbook, i decided to cook up some azuki beans. one half-hour into their simmer they should be cold shocked.

listening to the beans boil against the pot, i was enjoying the rhythm in which they scraped against the metal vessel. as if the bubbles rattling the beans were coming from a bellows. the sound of submerged, scraping beans was padded with the quiet rumble of escaping vapor.

the balance changed over time (as the beans soften, the high-tones degrade). slowly, the highs muted away until finally, the sound of bean scraping metal was gone. then i looked at the time and saw it was the half-hour point. which made me wonder if this was how the half-hour point was chosen.

Revelation of Possibility

ah. well, it reminds me of when i get that rush in my chest, as if a giant wave of water and oxygen and possibility were moving through me, connecting me to the past, the future, and other beings.

Sasha

What some of us tech steeped peoples go through from time to time when we think about the possibilities of social technology. A great revelation of the possibility of things. Naively, i feel it is akin to something like satori.

I want to believe this feeling is related to the process of cellularization and interconnection we see in the natural world. That there is a similarity between why we find the view from a mountain top so beautiful and the idea of beings becoming increasingly interconnected so exhilirating. I like to believe it is a deep recognition of an underlying, universal structure.

Putting People in Possession of Knowledge

It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of truth.

— John Locke

This quote reminds me how knowledge is passed around in geek communities. It is not enough to explain that someone is wrong, we tend to require backup (references) of our claims and sometimes will forgo even the mention of why someone is wrong and just yellout “RTFM!”.

It appears this line of reasoning is also becoming a staple in grassroot organizations. It is the mantra of truthout (where the quote was found), can be seen as the footnotes in the Daily Misleader, and was one of the operating principles in the Matt Gonzalez mayorial campaign’s attempt to educate the voters (instead of muckrake the opponent).

Perhaps a product of an online world where providing reference links is part of our writing system and a response to the FUD we find ourselves constantly bombarded by.