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Thoughts on browsing without Flash


Adobe is facing renewed calls to retire its 19-year-old Flash Player plug-in after June and July’s security holes proved to be especially nasty. And many pundits have gone so far as to recommend that people delete the plug-in off of their computers altogether — they might not even miss it, they’re told.

But who’s to say whether you will miss Flash Player based on the way that you use the web?

It would be nice if a software agent could be rigged to crawl a selected portion of browser history and report back on how many of the sites a person visited (in the last month, say) required Flash Player for some reason.

A Firefox add-on that I use, called Wappalyzer, parses the software used by the websites that I visit but it doesn’t show Flash. The closest it comes is SWFObject, an open source JavaScript that can be used to detect if a browser is running Flash Player as well as embed Flash video. But the presence of SWFObject is no guarantee that a website is using Flash.

To make a long story short, I decided to test a bunch of websites, local and global, to see how many still used Flash for some purpose. First the tables, then some of the conclusions that I drew from the exercise.

  • “Flash, HTML5″ = has some videos/audio encoded for Flash and some for HYML5.
  • “Flash/HTML5: = all videos/audio is available in both encodings.
  • “mp3 stream” = downloadable m3u link to an audio stream that can be opened with most media players.

Read more…

Why is this hoser so happy about the rain?


Today’s light rain seemed to inordinately please a hose caddy that I saw sitting outside of a home on Oak Street this afternoon. It certainly appeared to be grinning as it sat there getting wet, with its back to the house, holding its spray wand.

What’s it so happy about? I wondered. Wasn’t the rain putting it out of work?

Perhaps it was, I thought and perhaps it was dirty work that it didn’t want to do.

Who knows — just since July 20th, when the Stage 3 watering restrictions came into effect — how many prohibited, late-night, lawn waterings this poor hose caddy had been roped into by its homeowner?

If inanimate objects can have a guilty conscience then the smile that I imagined I saw may have been one of relief. Click the image to enlarge it.




Rain, rain, go away; go to where the fires play!


We’re finally getting some light rain here in Vancouver, B.C., after how many weeks and days without? Forecasters are predicting three straight days of the wet stuff, right through the weekend.

This rain is good news for property owners who have been abiding by Metro Vancouver’s Stage three water restrictions by totally abstaining from watering their lawns — and good news too for those scofflaws who  haven’t — the rain gives them a plausible reason why their lawns are green rather than brown.

A water tap over parched earth beside the soot-brown filter over an air intake.

A water tap over parched earth beside the soot-brown filter over an air intake.

As for topping up the levels of the Seymour and Capilano water reservoirs, I have no idea if three days of precipitation will amount to any more than a drop in the bucket.

And there’s the matter of the wild fires. Read more…

Pushing Windows 10 with babies, bacon and Ninja cats


It’s only six days until the release of Windows 10 and Microsoft is doing what it can to stoke the public’s appetite for the new bland blend of Windows 7 and 8.

And by “doing what it can” I mean that Microsoft is unleashing all the babies, ninja cats, unicorns, narwhals and bacon that it can muster.

Welcome to marketing in the age of social media baby! Read more…

Garbage truck trashes tree


A garbage truck forced into a tight turn by a parked car takes it out on a tree.

Tuesday (July 21) afternoon at 3:47 p.m. I watched a Waste Management garbage truck lumber up the southbound lane of Hemlock Street toward the mouth of the alley between 14th and 15th Avenue. And I saw the improperly parked Mercedes-Benz blocking half the entrance to that same alley.

So you could say that I saw what was coming. Read more…

Getting permission to uninstall Flash Player


Today when I decided to completely uninstall the Adobe Flash Player from my Windows 8 laptop, in order to better test website support of HTML5, I immediately ran into a difficulty — I wasn’t allowed to!

The big reason to ditch the Flash Player is that it potentially puts your privacy and security at risk. So it’s ironic that the security features built into Windows to protect users will make it difficult, if not impossible, for many of them to get the Flash Player completely off of their computers. Read more…


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