Adobe has just released Flash Player 10.2, which promises to ease the burden on your CPU during video playback. That’s always been a problem on the Mac platform. With a couple flash ads or videos loaded, my Macbook Pro heats up and the battery dies fast. I’m hoping that Adobe’s claims can put an end to this.
Grab the new player at Adobe’s site.
I’m not a big fan of this anti-Flash movement. I think it has been sensationalized because everyone in the media loves a good battle. Now that Steve Jobs has come out punching, it’s the cool thing to bash. Don’t get me wrong, I think Flash is over-used, and is certainly more resource intensive than it should be… but the “battle” is blown out of proportion.
What I do like, however, is statistics. And this is a pretty damning one.
While benchmarking the new 2010 Macbook Air, Ars Technica found that web browsing without the Flash plugin installed resulted in 2 more hours of battery life. That’s a big deal. It’s the numerous Flash web banners that load on websites, sucking up your valuable CPU cycles and burning through your battery. As I was reading the Ars Technica story, I noticed two animated banners running. My only goal is to read static text, not watch a video or listen to audio.
Uninstalling Flash isn’t the solution, at least not until alternatives like HTML5 have put the nail in the coffin. A great thing you can do, however, is install a browser plugin that will keep Flash elements from loading until you need them. Flashblock (for Chrome, for Firefox) and ClickToFlash (for Safari) should help you get those 2 extra hours out of your battery.
On December 17th (two days from when I’m writing this) I’ll be walking across the stage at North Carolina State University to recieve my undergraduate degree in Industrial Design. That’s sort of relevant to this post, but I also just like how the words look when I type it out.
While searching for the best way to get my career started I want to make sure that my portfolio website is going to communicate my work in an interesting but unobtrusive way. I’ve always felt that a good portfolio website should have very little that gets in the way of the actual work, but of course it still needs to be fun and easy to use. I’ve been using SlideshowPro for Flash along with Director to handle the back-end of uploading, resizing, organizing, and displaying my portfolio images and videos. The combination has been great.
I found a great example of how to use external elements in the flash document to load the gallery thumbnails into a filmstrip navigation bar. If you own SlideshowPro, you can find it on the downloads page. I spent some time with the action script and adapted it to fit my site. I think the result is a much cleaner and intuitive interface. I have a couple more bugs I’m trying to hunt down in the actionscript, and I am going to make the type more consistant, but I think it’s a decent start.
Yesterday I was taking pictures in my studio (my last day in studio, I’m graduated now!) and the dark space was challenging, even with the 50mm f/1.4 on my XTi.
I had seen people make flash focusing type rigs out of bundles of straws and such (I forgot the technical term for it) and I wanted to try and quickly duplicate the effect. I grabbed a cardboard box from a 12 pack of pencils and ripped off the ends. I placed the XTi’s built-in flash into one end of the box and tried to aim it, taking a couple pictures quickly as I made adjustments.
These are some of the photos (RAW straight out of the camera, haven’t gotten to editing yet) and I think the results are pretty fun. I’m going to have to add a pencil box to my Macgyver-photography bag of supplies.
Airtight Interactive, responsible for the amazing SimpleViewer have launched a new online image viewer that really pushes the threshold. The flash-based TiltViewer takes the concept of SimpleViewer into the third dimension. Rather than waste time trying to explain it, I’d rather you just check it out.
Here’s my photography portfolio in TiltViewer, hosted on Flickr.Â
For $95 you can get TiltViewer Pro that will remove branding and let you customize the application. $95 feels a little steep to me when solutions like Slieshow Pro are out there for $20, so hopefully the price will come down with time.