Flash is Dead

Sheepie: Go ahead. Quick! Get on the computer.
Steven: No no no, Sheepie. I just got here, okay? Lexiyoga's here. We're gonna take the new laptop for a spin.
Sheepie: Well, bring her along. This concerns her too.
Steven: Wait a minute, Sheepie. What are you talking about? What happens to us in the future? Do we become assholes like ebaum or something?
Sheepie: No no no no no. You and Lexiyoga both turn out fine. It's your sites, Steven. Something has got to be done about your sites!
Steven: Hey Sheepie, We better install Flash Player or the video won't play.

We don't need Flash

Sheepie: Flash? Where we're going, we don't need Flash.


Steven: What the hell was that?!
Sheepie: HTML5 video
Steven: What do you mean HTML5 video? I thought we were playing Flash videos.
Sheepie: Precisely.
Steven: All right, Sheepie. What's going on? Where are we? When are we?

April 1, 2010

Sheepie: We're descending toward albinoblacksheep.com, Word Wide Web. At 4:29 a.m. On Thursday April 1, 2010.
Steven: 2010?! You mean we're in the future!

The Flash problem

This may be old news to you, but this week, Apple stores around the globe will be showing off their new Apple iPad in person and those who have preordered iPads online will finally have it arrive at their doorstep. The iPad is a portable tablet computer with a wireless Internet connection. Apple CEO Steve Jobs and the Apple web site say exactly, iPad is the best way to experience the web.

Comic strip

One problem. You cannot play Flash content on it.

When this site started back in 2000ish, I had embedded various media to be played back in all types of common plugins; QuickTime; Windows Media Player; Shockwave; Java; and of course, Flash, which became the more and more dominant plugin over time. Today, this site requires the Flash Player plugin to play back almost all music, videos, animations and games.

When the Apple iPhone and iPod touch came out without Flash Player, I awaited for its arrival. I listened to the tech sites that said, "Flash is coming". I believed Adobe's PR that Flash was ready. In January 2010 on the announcement of the Apple iPad, I realized that Flash is not coming to any of Apple's portable devices - ever. (I wouldn't mind being wrong.)

Install Adobe Flash Player on iPod

I also realized that I am caught in the middle of a corporate war between Apple Inc. (makers of iPhone, iPod and iPad) and Adobe Systems Incorporated (current owner of Flash). Apple and Adobe had always had their differences, where Adobe concentrates its efforts on updating and optimizing their software for Microsoft well before doing the same for Apple.

So, the situation as it is now is that Flash Player is not being included in any of Apple's portable devices and that Apple's portable device sales are skyrocketing. This leads to an inbox that looks like this.

Let me set this straight. So there are people who purposely type in this site on their iPhone and iPod touch, and then purposely head to the Flash games section (Flash which the iPhone and iPod touch do not have). They click on one of the top games listed there, see the message that I have already been sent 100s of requests for these Flash games already, and click anyways to "email to suggest" it be added.

The average mobile visitor doesn't know that Flash games won't work because they don't even know what a Flash game is compared to any other type of online game, and they aren't aware of any of the corporate politics that makes these games inaccessible to them. They aren't stupid or confused once they see that it doesn't work. They are smart enough to realize it's a plugin/accessibility issue. They just don't expect an issue beforehand.

The consumer is losing compatibility in exchange for gaining stability and performance. Myself, as well as the many great Flash artists that publish their work on Albino Blacksheep have only lost from Flash's death in the mobile world.

In the book "On Death and Dying." by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, there are five stages of grief over a lost one, and I have gone through all five with the death of Flash.

  1. Denial (this isn't happening to me!)
  2. Anger (why is this happening to me?)
  3. Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)
  4. Depression (I don't care anymore)
  5. Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)

Let's look at that in context.

  1. Denial: Flash is coming soon. It's just being optimized by Adobe. It will be ready in the next iPhone update. Most people will just head to a regular computer for real Web browing anyways, yeah.
  2. Anger: Arghh! Apple is so f*ing annoying for doing this. They are too stubborn to accept Flash. Why don't they just add it?
  3. Bargaining: I'm participating by commenting my concerns in all the blog posts about Flash missing from the iPhone. My message shall be heard and Apple will know they need to add Flash. Please, Apple, you need to include Flash. It could be a click-to-Flash and be completely optional. Whatever it takes, please just include Flash.
  4. Depression: I won't even be updating this site after the world ends in 2012 anyways. It had its run.
  5. Acceptance: Flash isn't coming. Flash is dead! I'll make the most of it.

So, how have I accepted this?

After the iPad announcement and acceptance that Apple won't ever include Flash, I did what I had to do. I moved all of Albino Blacksheep's equipment (the 4-year-old laptop) to the new office (the kitchen table) and began the lengthy process of converting Flash video to H.264 MP4 files. One by one. Day after day. A few artists were briefed and helped out by converting their files for me. Not every file has been converted yet, and none of the games as of now, but all of the popular animations and songs on this site will play on your iPhone, iPod touch or even your brand new iPad.

I created a stupidly-simple quick-loading version of this site to go along with it, and you can add any animation to the home screen as a free Web app.

Here are some pictures (iPhone OS 1 doesn't take screenshots).

Flash list on iPodHome icons on iPodFlash page on iPodVideo on iPod

Here's a picture of Boy and Robot Invest in the Economy playing on both a laptop and an iPod touch at the same time.


Here's the Bob and the Apple MP3 laptop vs. iPod touch comparison.

Comparison 2

Nu? What are you waiting for. Visit albinoblacksheep.com on an iPod or iPhone right now and leave a comment below to let me know what you think.

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