One More Reason to Get Rid of Flash

Usage of Adobe Flash on the internet has been on the decline for sometime now and most users view that as a good thing.  Flash, while being a great technology, has proven problematic over the years.  There have been countless security vulnerabilities, endless updates from Adobe, and many fake versions that have compromised unsuspecting users.  Now, the folks over at HTTP Archive have added one more reason to the growing list of why Flash is bad.

They recently conducted a study of the response, or download, time for some prominent web site features including Flash, Javascript, HTML, CSS, and several different image formats.  The results probably aren’t really that surprising in the sense that most of us already knew that Flash could be slow and cumbersome.  However, just how much slower than virtually all of the other web technologies, may come as a bit of a shock.  Flash is almost 4 times slower than the second slowest technology, JPEG.  The chart they published, which can be seen below, shows the “average response size” in kilobits (kb).

Flash was once the darling of the internet, but it has slowly been replaced by newer, more efficient, technologies that can bring dynamic content to web sites with much better performance.

object response size

Source: HTTP Archive is a site that analyzes thousands of web pages each month to get these types of statistics.

GNC-2011-11-10 #720 No Aliens?

Well no video tonight, I failed to hit record :( Enjoy the Audio :) Lots of great tech content, I am wrapping up a great week here in the Nations Capitol. Headed back to Honolulu which is hosting APEC so that should be fun.. Thanks for listening.

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GNC-2011-10-20 #715 Seven Year Anniversary!

This show is pretty close to the seven year anniversary of the show. It has been a great run, and I want to thank all of you for being loyal fans.. You will get a chuckle at the beginning of the show as I for some reason have no idea what day it is.. Lot’s of tech and thanks for all of the emailed comments.

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Adobe BrowserLab 1.6.4

Given the people who read this blog, as well as write for it, I doubt I am a minority when I say I have, and use, multiple web browsers on my computers.  At any given time you can find Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome on my PC’s.  I haven’t yet succumbed to adding Safari or Opera, or any of the lesser-known flavors, but I am a regular on the big three.

Web developers are a whole different story.  They need to check and verify everything they do in every browser that has any type of user-base.  Not to mentions other applications like Flash.  There is an easier way than installing and updating all of these, though.

Today Adobe announced the latest version of BrowserLab – 1.6.4.  BrowserLab allows you to test web sites and web apps within the application against all of the major browsers, plus Flash.  The latest version of BrowserLab adds support for the following applications.

  • Chrome 14 was added (Windows), and Chrome 11 was removed
  • Firefox 7 was added (Mac OS X and Windows), and Firefox 4 was removed
  • Safari was updated to 5.1 (Mac OS X)
  • Flash Player was updated to 10.3.183.10 (Mac OS X and Windows)

They keep it up-to-date, but it’s generally a bit behind browser releases.  Plus, they are promising Flash 11 (already available) in the next version.  Still, it’s much easier than trying to manage all of this yourself.  If you develop apps and don’t know about this yet, then you will want to head over to Adobe BrowserLab to check it out.

Adobe to End Support for Flash and Acrobat 8

One thing about Adobe products is that changes come quickly.  Unfortunately, that’s due, in large part, to their ever-present security vulnerabilities.  Of course, Flash and Acrobat are the targets because of their overwhelming market share.  Hackers always gravitate to where the most potential victims are.  Adobe, for their part, has become pretty good at getting out the updates to try and stay one step ahead of trouble.  Since they pop up notifications about updates most users probably stay pretty close to current, but there are always stragglers and procrastinators.

If you aren’t keeping track, we are currently at Flash version 11 and Acrobat version X.  And, just a little while ago, Adobe announced that they will be ending support for Flash and Acrobat versions 8.  Adobe released a technote about it explaining the end-of-support process and what you can expect, but an Adobe rep summed it up with the simple “Upgrade… as quickly as possible.”

Adobe provides five years of product support, starting from the general availability date of Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat. In line with this policy, support for Adobe Reader 8.x and Adobe Acrobat 8.x will end on November 3 2011.

End of Support means that Adobe no longer provides technical support or distributes runtimes. This policy affects product and security updates for all derivatives of a product or product version (localized versions, minor upgrades, operating systems, dot and double-dot releases, and connector products.)

As noted above, support will end on November 3rd, which is now less than a month away.  Most people should already have upgraded, and hopefully kept up with security updates, but if you haven’t then go do so now.  If you would like more information, you can read the entire technote.

Preview: Adobe Edge Creates HTML5, Javascript, CSS3

Adobe Edge

Adobe Edge

This morning, Adobe released Edge – a preview version of their new software to create HTML5, Javascript and CSS3 scripts. If you have used Adobe Flash to create web content before, then the switch to Edge will be straightforward. With the similar interface, the switch over to HTML5 might just be an easy transition for some.

The Preview version is (of course) not a full version. There is no mention when the program will be released. This is a pretty easy to use program to save you time in making banners and custom scripts.

Adobe Edge Interface

Adobe Edge Interface

Upon first opening, I watched some of the tutorials and script examples – including a banner with a ferris wheel and roller coaster running. I then got into the meat and potatoes by creating my own banner.

The timeline is where you can take your text, images and other items into the program and make adjustments. Resize, fade in and out, move, rotate, and more. Move the cursor in the timeline to adjust the item for your script.

Since it’s a preview version, there are some things you cannot do yet. Importing video, making buttons or hotspots, or converting Flash scripts to Edge are some examples. Still, if you want to make a simple banner to spruce up a website, Edge preview is available to work from.

This is pretty impressive for what it is. I definitely want more from this program and cannot wait to try more features from this program. It could even replace Flash altogether – which would end the debate for iOS users in getting content.

Amazon Cloud Front – Flash Media Server Review

For content creators like me that have 3-4 live shows a week, there have been few affordable live streaming options. While there are literally hundreds of companies in the live streaming business, their pricing plans are designed to support their significant capital costs in running those services. Generally the pricing, terms, caps and limitations they set in their offerings are a barrier to entry for most small content creators.

Earlier this week when Amazon announced a new service, Live Streaming using Amazon CloudFront and Adobe Flash Media Server. I immediately jumped on the opportunity to see how well it would work and how the pricing would flush out.

Here is how the pricing breaks down, you incur a re-occurring $5.00 a month charge for the right to use Flash Media Center Enterprise. If you are going to have less than 1000 people watching the stream you can get away with the default single large EC2 instance which cost you .44 cents an hour, if you are expecting more people you simply invoke a larger instance that can handle 10,000 or a 100,000 viewers, while the per hour cost goes up, it is not that outrageous when you’re doing a short events. Bandwidth is charged at .10gb inbound and .15gb outbound.

The service took me about an hour to setup the first time, largely because I had no clue what I was doing but the instruction page was pretty decent minus figuring out the DNS issues. But within 60 minutes I had my stream up and running. Now that I have it pre-configured launching is simple 1-2 minutes, although a little planning is in order because it takes about 15 minutes from the time you initiate the server instance until it is ready to stream.

For my first real test, I changed all embeds on the variety of sites where my stream is available. I then brought the service online 30 minutes prior to show time, and streamed the live show followed by 8 hours or replay. All told the service was running for about 10 hours. Feedback from the audience via my own chat server was positive and everyone was happy with the stream quality.

Looking at the logs, we had nearly 500 people watch the stream over the 10 hour period for a variety of times.

With any streaming event you just really have no way of knowing on other services how much bandwidth your really moving so I was curious to see the charges for a single show. The total server and bandwidth charges from Amazon, was less than $10.00 for a single event. Perfectly reasonable for a single event where my message, branding and advertising was front and center! As you know Justin,  Ustream and Livestream have become very aggressive in their often non-related advertising, and media player branding presence. I now have a dedicated sever hosting my stream and the quality was exactly the level that I determined.

Some will say, well I use Ustream because they have a community which will build awareness, Ustream as a company could care less about tech as is apparent from their home page try finding tech content via a tech category, I will give you a hint there isn’t one.

While I love what Ustream does and while some of their features are great, the price to remove the advertising and branding via their pay service is very expensive. I will likely still use them as a secondary streaming point until they start to do some revenue sharing otherwise I cannot see them being our primary streaming source for live events. I will probably use their service for replays of my show when it is not as critical that our message and branding be at the forefront.

Here is where this streaming service by Amazon is going to kill other streaming business. Commercial Streaming providers make you choose a plan, and then they have viewer and bandwidth caps. If you bust the viewer limit or bandwidth cap you have to upgrade your plan which your are generally locked into for a year. Different events have different stream requirements. With this service i configure on a per show basis and pay as I go.

That being said, every year I hold the Podcast Awards Ceremony virtually, we will have 5000 people that show up to watch that single event. For events like the Podcast Awards, I can set the server size or clone more servers on the fly at Amazon to handle 10,000 or a 100k viewers for the event, I can then stream the event for 2 hours and when I am finished I can shut down the stream/service and incur no other costs for a whole year.

It boils down to this. I use this service on a demand basis as I need it. I am no longer locked into some companies 12 month contract very few people have the need to do 24/7 live streaming. For those that do the price is still pretty good considering what the service is capable of from a large server instance.

In my humble opinion Amazon CloudFront and Adobe Flash Media Server service is something I have been waiting on for a very long time.

GNC-2010-10-29 #622 Feel Like a Ping Pong Ball :)

Just a couple of more days here in Hawaii before I start my extended road trip. Just as my body is getting back on schedule gonna throw it into Jet Lag again. Lots to share tonight, plus a special offer.. Big thank you to all of our Sponsors for supporting the show in October, hope you have had a chance to show your appreciation by trying or buying one of their products or services. Lots in the Tech hopper tonight along with your favorite geek acting like a rookie.

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University of Honolulu Security Breach.
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GNC-2010-07-06 #590 We have a Winner!

Congratulations to Katie she is our Lenovo A63 system winner. Big thank you to everyone that participated, this was our biggest response to a contest to date.  Some interesting feedback from the last show and my comments to those comments.  Big thank you to the Ohana for all that you do. I did not get the insider out this weekend but it is on my growing list for this week.  It will be a good one as I have a topic planned that will give you some insight into what I do day, to day to make the show better. Looking for volunteers for CES 2011!

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GNC-2010-05-28 #579 Where is the Gremlin

I swear if it is not one thing it is another. You will get the low down mid-show, but I am batting a thousand here the last couple of shows. Feel like a total Rookie.. I am being tested and reminded that no mater what you do the machines have a mind of their own from time to time.. It’s just how the ball bounces really. Fun for all in this show that’s for sure.

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