The Death of Flash


Adobe Flash, released in 1996 brought with it animations, games and of course ads to a mostly static web. The technology was greeted with almost universal praise and adoption by developers and web surfers alike.   Nowadays the software tool has a less favoured reputation; it’s unable to run on most mobile devices, consumes high amounts of devices’ processing power and battery life – and then of course there are the many security issues around Flash.

The adoption of Flash has decreased throughout the years but its most noticeable set-back was arguably the unveiling of Apple’s iPhone, bringing with it a new world of mobile internet which left Adobe behind technically, despite their willingness to be included.

Steve Jobs published his Thoughts on Flash on April, 2010 detailing why Apple don’t and won’t allow Flash onto their hugely successful iPhone, iPad and iPod. His main reason being that the mobile era is all about low powered devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where ‘Flash falls short’.

In August 2015 Amazon announced it would no longer be accepting Flash ads on its website.  This week Google announced, from the 30th June 2016 it will stop accepting Flash ads on its AdWords and DoubleClick networks and from 2nd January 2017 it won’t display any Flash ads on Display Network or DoubleClick.    Google has stated “We’ve rolled out tools to encourage advertisers to use HTML5, so you can reach the widest possible audience across screens.”     This move is likely to be the killing blow for Adobe’s Flash platform, with Google being the most prominent web ad provider around.

Adobe itself has come around to support open web standards, now providing its own Flash-alternative, HTML5 tools, for developers to create HTML5 content for both desktop and mobile.

With the almost inevitable demise of Flash in sight and modern, mobile-friendly web standards likes HTML5 ready to take over, appreciation of Adobe’s early efforts in making the web a more animated place should be acknowledged, though few will mourn all the security headaches that came with it.

This week’s technology news – 13th June 2014

Preparation for Government’s true digital marketplace gets nearer
February saw the launch of the Government Digital Service (GDS), aimed at creating a government digital marketplace to include CloudStore (aka G-Cloud) and other digital frameworks. This will form the access point for public sector bodies to view and buy products from approved suppliers, including their Cloud services. This week the Government announced the start of preliminary testing ahead of live user testing in September 2014. The Crown Commercial Service recently stated the current Cloudstore offering was not robust enough to host GDS’s future roll out plans and anticipated traffic and usage.

On top of previous confusion due to GDS’s interchangeable use of the “G-Cloud” brand with Cloudstore, it is hoped that by September, the Government’s public sector audience will understand what they are getting from GDS, which is essentially an approved procurement resource point, rather than a separate Cloud service as many thought. Given the confusing marketing presentation thus far, this was always going to be a big ask – however there is still time to get it right and make it consumer friendly… that’s the hope at least.

15 emerging neurotechnologies to change the world
A partnership between Policy Horizons Canada and data visualiser Envisioning has resulted in a new report, MetaScan 3, detailing 15 of the most potentially transformative neurotechnologies which scientists are currently working on. A selection of some of the key advances includes:

In neural network computing, the use of proactive software agents. These are software applications with the capacity to discern and predict likely future needs for its patient/consumer. They also include intelligent meeting scheduling, sorting email and selectively notifying the user of changes. Scientifically viable today; mainstream in 2016; financially viable in 2017. Another such tool is predictive crime prevention. This involves the use of sociometric sensors coupled with neural networked computers to statistically determine the probability of crime (or other anti-social behaviour) taking place before it happens. Scientifically viable in 2021; mainstream in 2026; financially viable in 2027. Then there is neural network image recognition, using hundreds of thousands of processor cores programmed to algorithmically determine the content of a given image and different from reverse image search. A next generation biometrics scanner possibly? Scientifically viable today; mainstream in 2021; financially viable in 2022.

In extended cognition, the use of neuroprosthetics has been marked out. These are neural devices capable of substituting motor, sensory or cognitive behaviours which might have been damaged as a result of injury or disease.
Scientifically viable in 2021; mainstream in 2026; financially viable in 2027.

In neural interfaces, EEG brain-to-computer interfaces: the almost unpronounceable “electroencephalography” remains the most feasible practice of executing and implementing brain to brain interfaces. It represents the best temporal-resolution tool for getting a picture of the brain in action, is portable, non-invasive and extremely affordable compared to other methods. Scientifically viable and mainstream today; financially viable in 2021.

And finally… next-generation brain-to-computer interfaces. These involve hypothetical interfaces for assisting, augmenting, or repairing human cognitive or sensory-motor functions and communicating thoughts and intentions to the Internet. Scientifically viable in 2020; mainstream in 2022; financially viable in 2027.

Are you ready to handle growing mobile app data?
Many of us now use mobile apps as part of our daily routine, we feed them information frequently, and we are not alone. Creators and supporters of mobile apps need to have the capacity to handle huge amounts of data, especially if the user base balloons into the next must-have-app. Gartner recently revealed “most mobile apps will sync, collect and analyse deep data about users and their social graphs”’ by 2015.

Organisations supporting these apps will need to be prepared. Gartner advices IT leaders need to begin to manage this data as part of an organizations information infrastructure. A hybrid approach of both on premise and cloud storage will be required, with careful consideration applied to make sure you have a cloud partner that can adapt as fast as needed to avoid user frustration as consumers are unable to use their latest app because of storage limitations.

Malwarebytes claims holy-grail of Antivirus – zero-day protection
Malwarebytes, the U.S Company popular for the anti-malware application it provides of the same name has announced a new product which promises zero-day protection against virtual attacks. The application has been in development by ZeroVulnerabilityLabs founded by ex-Panda Security software engineer, Pedro Bustamente, a start-up Malwarebytes picked up last year. The products unique claims is it will be able to block both known exploits but also ones yet to be discovered.

Pedro Bustamente who has been developing the technology over the past three years explains that “Most of what antivirus does is protection of the binary; [with Anti-Exploit] we are looking at the actions of the shellcode and payload.”
We will be monitoring the software closely going forwards, as surely this is a case of something a bit too good to be true.

The latest in technology news by Amicus ITS

Growth in enterprise app stores

“Apps downloaded from public app stores for mobile devices disrupt IT security, application and procurement strategies,” said Ian Finley, research VP at Gartner. By 2017 Gartner expects 25% of enterprises to have developed their own app stores and to be negotiating with software vendors for products that can be added to the ecosystem. We believe this shows the move from apps downloaded from traditional commercial App Stores to business stores hosting secure, trusted Apps for corporate use.


Live Messenger closing down, Skype & Lync on talking terms

Microsoft has announced it will be enabling its two communication products; Lync and Skype to talk together to enable audio call and Instant Messaging interoperability as well as shared presence.  In addition Microsoft is shutting down Windows Live Messenger and encouraging users to login to Skype, we see these aggressive actions as a way of ‘market share growth’ for Microsoft over the coming year.


Datacentre risk v cost.

With increasingly tightening budgets, businesses are taking risks when choosing a datacentre strategy. Reports show cost is becoming the single top priority over resilience, capacity and backup strategy. However, as recent high profile failures show, if data is lost or hard to recover, the original cost savings don’t look quite as good. This is a warning to choose your datacentre (or datacentres) wisely.


Google on the high-street?

Recent rumours indicate Google may join Apple and Microsoft with their own physical retail stores. Google would be able to use these stores to sell their Nexus phones and tablets directly to customers in addition to their Chrome Book. Google could also let the public get “hands-on” with in development products like their wearable computer; Google Glass. We think products like these “smart glasses” are a tricky sell without being able to try before you buy.