The Death of Flash

flash-logo

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 from Amicus ITS – Friday 24th May 2013

MSP concerns as SolarWinds buyout N-able
This week SolarWinds acquired N-able Technologies. What does it mean for MSP’s relying on N-Able products? Will they be forcibly swapped for SolarWinds own cloud services?
N-Able’s CEO assured the press they would continue to offer their existing on-premises and cloud solution. But with Garbutt’s retirement scheduled once the acquisition is complete, the future is uncertain and N-able’s customers will be looking for a transparent roadmap to decrease disturbance on their own business.

Is the bird out of the cage?
When US President Barack Obama’s Twitter account was hi-jacked, the world raised its eyebrows in surprise. Twitter was ordered to come up with a 20 year information security policy in response. Some of the results of that policy in the form of automated security tools are being rolled out now. Twitter is now enabling 2-factor authentication which will prevent this scenario happening if used, but just how secure are companies’ policies? With the array of mobile devices in business, there is increased urgency for companies to review governance procedures.

World wireless speed record
A world record was set this week in wireless data transmission. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology were able to achieve 40Gbit/sec at 240GHz over 1 kilometer (essentially matching the capacity of optical fibre). In economic terms, it is a positive signal that rural communities across the globe currently without broadband, will in future enjoy the same benefits as we do, of this remarkable technology.

Welcome to the post-PC world
The day, predicted by Steve Jobs, has finally come: more tablets are now sold in the UK than laptops and desktops combined. Q1 of 2013 saw 2.8 million tablets sold, overtaking 2.3 from PCs in the same period. Looking forward we are only likely to see the market share of tablets grow further as traditional laptops powered by Windows 8 turn into tablet hybrid devices. As technology advances, so do users computing habits. Now the business world needs to start treating tablets as equals to PCs, instead of pushing them to the sidelines in strategy and security.

This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 26th April 2013

On the beat – BYOD lawsuit to change commercial habits?
Lack of clear policy and forward-thinking governance for mobile devices will be the highlight of a court case reaching Chicago shortly. The case relates to 200 police officers filing a claim for overtime after being pressurised into answering work-related calls on department issued Blackberries. This should be of interest to MDM providers and all businesses. The flexibility of BYOD and the easy approach thus far to consumer technology at work, is increasingly a topic that needs addressing by business. Thoughts of cost savings and a casual approach to mobile device management may end up having a very costly sting in the tail which businesses must start to address, and soon.

Once more unto the breach
Verizon’s recent Data Breach Report identified hacking as the cause in 52% of breaches in 2012. 80% of these came from authentication-based attacks. Using the same password on different accounts is all too common, but getting people to change their habits has proven difficult and organisations are too slow to roll out more complex barriers to security breaches. Two-factor authentication is a good start (where a phone device delivers a unique password to accompany the primary access on a computer) and is available on Microsoft accounts. Sadly it seems that only large scale attacks felt personally are currently getting any habits changed. How important is your information to you and what extra measures are you taking to keep it secure?

Head technology
No longer limited to just science fiction, Samsung and other researchers at the University of Texas are creating the technology to control tablets with just your brain. Researchers are using an EEG cap to monitor brain waves which lets testers launch Apps, choose music and basic menu control by thinking of its name. The process sounds similar to how voice activation tasks are currently handled. However instead of saying the phrase aloud – you think it. So far the system is said to have an accuracy rate between 80 to 95% and is still quite slow to use. However, as tablets and other devices become more accessible, the benefits particularly to disabled users will be substantial once fully developed.

No longer taking the scenic route
Smartphone technology “Fit4KidsCare” has been used to great effect at the Miami Children’s hospital in the States. This has centred on using triangulated Wi-Fi signals (vs satellite GPS) to bounce off WiFi access points situated around the hospital. It has enabled patients and their families to navigate quickly to their destinations, even whilst using lifts. With delays in patients reaching their hospital appointments and unfamiliarity with hospital environments, it is an interesting development that could have useful ramifications for the healthcare industry in the UK.