I was lying in bed doing something on my MacBook Pro when up popped a message indicating that there was an update to the Flash player. Say what? I thought that I had deleted that thing a long time ago. After all, the world has moved on and Flash was finally going to go away.
The message to update this time around was just a big different. It indicated that this would be the last ever update and there actually was a button that would allow me to delete it from my computer. So, apparently, there still was an instance of Flash on the computer and it flagged itself as being eligible for the update. I did the uninstall again. For the last time?
I tried to think of when and how I had installed it. Those that know me know that I’m a harness racing fan and the Flash video player was a popular option for race tracks to broadcast live and playback races. I checked with a track that is winter racing a couple of hours from here and, yes, it was still providing its playback through the player. In a weak moment, I must have agreed to install the player just to see the races, I guess. That seemed a little bizarre since other tracks have moved to their own broadcast media or play directly through YouTube.
The writing on the wall for the player seemed pretty clear when it was announced that it wouldn’t and would never run on an iPad. I seem to remember that the rationale was that it would run the battery down so quickly and take up all kinds of resources just to run. People searched for alternatives, particularly for broadcasting over the web, and HTML5 made that possible.
I’ve had a long history with the program from Shockwave Flash to Macromedia Flash to Adobe Flash. It, quite honestly, has been one of the more annoying pieces of software. Since interactive and media elements were easy to develop in Flash, it seemed to be everywhere in the beginning. Every time you’d install an application it seemed, you were either asked to install Flash or it would just be done anyway. And then, of course, when you’d use it, you’d be asked to upgrade to get the latest and most bug-free version.
If I only had a dollar for every time I was asked to upgrade.
Building images for school computers required getting your head around this. In the beginning, the IT folks didn’t want to even install it. Then, it was always a challenge to get the latest version in time for the summer image and it had to last a year.
Programming with Flash was a popular after-school and full-day professional learning event. Many school webmasters wanted to incorporate Flash elements into their website. Usually that was an active banner or a navigation bar. Computer Science classes like to add an element into their program. Using the Government of Ontario licensed Dreamweaver, it was easy to incorporate into web pages. People would always leave the workshop with a book from Rob Scott and Rick Kitto to help continue the learning.
Recently, though, Flash really has become the target of a lot of ill will. Hackers found it a target and frequent updates to patch holes were common. It probably was more hassle than what it was worth to Adobe, especially now that there are alternatives.
We’ve had advanced notice. Adobe has let us know that this was coming years ago.
There are still sites devoted to the tons and tons of games that were written in Flash. But, there’s a whole generation of iPad tappers that may never have experienced it or the feeling of being on the cusp of something new as multimedia came of age.
I’m not going to miss it, I suspect. But, in the bigger picture for those of us who grew up (or at least older) with the web, it’s an integral part of our learning and one experience that will go missing.