Beyond The Filter (podcast with ellaguro)

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Prior to my recent release of ARMAGAD (also Tetrageddon Games), Liz Ryerson had invited me to participate in her new podcast series: Beyond The Filter

It’s a series that breaks down topics for people without prior knowledge (on said topic). I kind of simplify that description too much. It’s an exciting project/initiative on her part, and I hope it really works out for her. Currently it’s available on Archive.

The link to the podcast I participated in is here:

Beyond The Filter 02 – On The Flexibility of Flash and The Web of the Past with Nathalie Lawhead

The first episode can be found here: Beyond The Filter 01 – on The Nintendo Entertainment System with Nathan Altice

As seems to be the case with me lately, the podcast I had was largely about the “Web 1.0” and Flash. It was recorded prior to the most recent “deader than the deadest death” fiasco.

A Short Summary of The Fiasco…

This month’s round started when someone at Google publicly posted a proposal for how Chrome would handle Flash content: https://groups.google.com/a/chromium.org/d/msg/chromium-dev/0wWoRRhTA_E/__E3jf40OAAJ
Note, it’s not about blocking/removing.
Tech-news jumped on it and started screaming Chrome to remove Flash at end of year (if I roughly summaries most of the headlines).
This spurred another round of panic, and misinformation. Both Adobe and Google have since confirmed that the Flash Player will continue to ship with Chrome, not much will change, etc…

I don’t know I feel like I wanted to write something more extensively about this. I am a bit awed by the level of misinformation tech journalism was able to spread about this topic… but I have said that before.

Nevertheless, the conversation was filled with a lot of panic, but there was one comment that particularly resonated with me, and I feel like should win an award for “most rational remark made on the internet”:

“>> Try disabling Flash Player in chrome://plugins, we think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised

I did. I’m not surprised at all: my favorite games are NOT working anymore. Yes, my everyday web experience differs from Yours. Some people still use web to have fun. Did You know that?
If there’s a technology MATURE enough to beat Flash – let it be a honest fight.

Best regards”

Comment link here

I think the sentiment of “disable it, you will be surprised” is one of the biggest flawed mindsets of our “modern” web. Everyone uses the web for different reasons. One person’s browsing habits do not reflect everyone’s. By touting this as a “reasonable” excuse to eradicate an entire platform, we are advocating for a very uniform web, without choice, and one where large (very large) segments of content (often legacy content) suddenly become inaccessible.
I’m aware of the “open web” arguments, but I really fail to see how any of this is open, or better, anymore.

Interestingly enough, if you do dig into the usage of Flash Player on the web (outside of popular discussion) you eventually find that it is very much in demand — largely for casual games. I say this sincerely. I’m aware of the full spectrum of hate/anti-arguments.
I point this out because newer browsers coming to market actually make the “we support Flash!” and therefore “full web experience!” a primary sales point.
For example there are quite a handful of third party mobile browsers (that are doing very well, and growing) which allow you to run Flash content on your mobile device. Example: http://neurogadget.net/2016/05/20/3-browsers-let-users-safely-view-flash-player-material-android-devices/30757
and http://neurogadget.net/2016/05/19/download-adobe-flash-player-android/30657
These are only two links. There are MANY resources for this. It’s a rabbit hole I’m not willing to get into for some small blog post.
This is a hot area, and there is a lot of demand — enough demand that you can base a business on “fully supporting the web” and “running Flash”. I feel like (it seems) if any of the mainstream browsers would fully pull the plug on Flash they would be shooting themselves in the foot.

The average user wants to access their content. There is too large of a product backlog when it comes to Flash games. I’m not too sure where this is headed, but if you see new browsers coming into the picture and they all say “hey! we support Flash”, and then you see customer reviews for these browsers saying “Finally Flash!”, this tells me that killing it is not a good idea.

In terms of “the future of Flash” (runtimes) there actually is a roadmap here. http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplatform/whitepapers/roadmap.html
I post this because one big argument I get is that there is not a roadmap therefore…
Flash penetration statistics (for the most part — a bit old but still loosely relevant — I lost the other link and am not motivated enough to find it at the moment) are here: http://www.adobe.com/mena_en/products/flashplatformruntimes/statistics.displayTab2.html
The mobile penetration one (Flash Player enabled) confuses me because it’s supposedly on a steady increase. I’ll have to dig more into that, but there you have a couple of official links…

On the other side, this is a conversation I really hate. I don’t like it. I hate the fact that tech has become a political debate. When I got into it, it felt like the one place where you could just do your thing, and it didn’t have to be a “this V.S. that” statement. Today it’s not… ugh, here I go again.
I did write about this here and here… which I feel like is saying enough.

I’m working on an update to ARMAGAD (also Tetrageddon Games)! :)

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