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back to article Adobe Flash foils MacBook Air battery life

Why isn't Apple integrating Adobe's Flash plug-in into the version of Mac OS X pre-loaded on the new MacBook Airs? Maybe not for the resulting battery life boost, but it's as good a reason as any. There certainly is an increase. Website Ars Technica tried out the 13.3in Air with Flash enabled - it's easy enough to download the …

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are we surprised?

I run flashblock on every computer I have.

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FAIL

Correlation?

Isn't more a sign that the adverts are wasting battery power rather than Flash. What if the adverts used some other method to continually update themselves. Would they say that it was that technology (ie. Silverlight) that was at fault then?

Would they get the same results of longer battery life with flash installed as well as some ad blocking s/w?

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Anonymous Coward

Combo

It's mostly Flash.

The Nexus One can play 7 hours of video in MP4 format. Streaming over WiFi that drops to around 4 hours. BBC iPlayer with Flash = 75% battery usage after 30 minutes.

Flash chews battery.

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Coat

A little obvious

Adverts constantly running would eat processor cycles, however they were delivered, be it flash or animated GIMP or PNG.

The problem is, if we block adverts to get better power usage and save the planet, what would that do to the advertising dollar that supports the interwebs?

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Flash

No Flash Block plugin on Safari so you only run flash when you want and never for adverts?

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ClickToFlash

There is indeed a Safari flash blocker, ClickToFlash.

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Thumb Up

`Click to Flash

I cant reccoment click to flash enough, I noticed a year back that viewing websites with flash would annihilate my battery life. Combine with AddBlock and your a very happy bunny.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't forget the video side of C2F

if it can find a non-Flash version of a video file, it plays it in Quicktime instead. Works a dream on Vimeo, YouTube and assorted other sites, and keeps the dreaded fan spin-up at bay

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Thumb Down

Surprise surprise

It is the same on my Mac Book Pro - but Safari appears to be worse than other browsers (marginally). I only turn on flash when required.

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Tim

Alternative

I have ClickToFlash installed. It is excellent. I see placeholders for all Flash content on the webpage, then if there is one I want to see, I click on it and it starts playing. Consequence is that pages load quickly, CPU usage is dramatically lower and nasty Flash ads don't intrude. I still see all the nice non-Flash ads on the Reg, of course.

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Go

Install Flashblock - enable only the Flash you want

Solved.

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Stop

Wow im Shocked!!!

Actually im not :P The adverts are little more than Video, or low end gaming. You can get the similar battery life gains by staring at your desktop and not actually doing anything.

I agree with Apple's Iphone we should go back to basic HTML, image how much battery life we could save only having text!!! infact why bother with the OS user interface, imaging the battery life with command based laptops!!!!

Eitherway surely the issue is that websites should not allow flash based adverts. Or at least detect that they are on a laptop. It wont be long before HTML 5, or the next tech is eating battery life.

personally i love flash, porn wouldn't be the same without it :D

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FAIL

You agree with a device?

"I agree with Apple's Iphone".

Wow, does it provide other useful for tips for like in the modern age?

Apple's approach has little to do with resource optimisation and lots to do with control. Flash means that Apple doesn't control the advertising and this is why they restrict it. On the "idevices" they can afford to do this as long as they provide acceptable alternatives (usually in the form of dedicated apps) for the user.

There is, in my experience, little difference in energy between Flash and "native" video as long as like is compared with like: hardware acceleration available or not for both being compared. As for animation most of the SVG implementations use more juice than Flash and only IE 9 really shines at HTML Canvas due to hardware acceleration.

Flash remains an extremely useful wrapper that allows lots of different clients to have the same experience. Over time as things like SVG and HTML Canvas become more widespread there will be less demand for Flash but that isn't going to happen overnight.

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Warning:

Installing software on your computer can result in shorter battery life.

Ok so I have a laptop and I install a video player. After a few days I realise that by watching a few videos my laptop's battery needs recharging sooner than it did before I installed the video player and started watching videos.

I have a laptop and I install Flash on it. Now when I go to YouTube I get a rich interactive experience instead of static thumbnails and warnings about not having Flash installed. What do you know? Playback of content increases CPU activity and reduces battery life as a consequence!

So the moral of this is that if you want the longest possible battery life then you shouldn't install any software, and then stop using your laptop. Just leave it sitting there, the battery will last ages on standby!

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Paris Hilton

Or alternatively

Be aware that some people have observed that flash uses more resources than other video rendering software.

No need to get all hoity-toity about it.

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Flash ads? Safari?

I looked at this with curiosity and wondering how Flash was doing anything to battery life if it wasn't running and then I saw three magic words that explained it. Safari, Flash ads. If battery life is that important to you but you want to use a large portion of the internet's websites then try installing a browser that blocks adverts like that! High CPU use is another issue entirely.

I like Flash enabled sites when they're done well, I hate all ads and don't remember the last time I saw some on Firefox. I don't like Jobs(worth) but if his whining can get Adobe to do work and actually optimise Flash instead of releasing bloated updates then it's a win all round.

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Anonymous Coward

Hahahah

Hahahahah

"Adobe" + "Do work" + "Optimise" + "anything" = no chance in hell.

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Joke

Maybe

the OS detects Flash and shorts out the battery.

Perhaps the devine one is determined to prove Flash is bad for you anyway he can :-)

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Anonymous Coward

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

Ok, so maybe you're just trolling, but it was Ars Technica that did the testing. No mention of Apple doing anything.

Feeding the troll however; I wouldn't put it past them :) (and that's from someone who actually likes most of Apple's products)

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Animation like those on a C64

take up a complete C2D and need 640MB RAM, at least in Cafe World which I'd been talked into playing :)

This must not be the fault of flash, but if it's not flash it must be the "programmers"

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Pint

Can do better

That's some serious trolling you got there Sir Hard Reg Sir.

OK, I'll bite:

If you cut Aqua entirely and stick with console mode, you can increase the battery life by a LOT more than 2 hrs.

Also, if you leave the thing off to begin with, the battery will last for WEEKS instead of a meager 6 hrs max when on.

D'uh.

Plus, my money's on the test being not-too-honest to begin with. Were exactly the same things running in both cases (same apps, doing the same things, etc)? I doubt it.

In other news: a computer in use needs more power than an idle one. Who would have thought?

The -potential, and overblown- problem lies with the flash addies. Filter them out (flashblock, filtering proxy, whatever) and be done with it. That way you can still have access to the "useful" flash content (e.g. the PARIS videos on El Reg).

You're welcome.

Cheers.

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Silver badge

Comparison?

Has anyone done a battery life comparison of stock OSX / Safari / flashblocker against Win7 / Firefox / Adblock bootcamped on to the new Air? (I ask that not even knowing if Win7 can be put on the new Air...)

Anyway Apple are beginning to go into the ad business. How are they going to ensure that animated catchy ads delivered Apple's way aren't going to drain the battery life just as much as Adobe's way does? I can't see creative types agreeing to re-implement their ads as compiled ObjC code, which is pretty much the only way to improve on some scripted interpretted thing. So it will have to be Flash-esque, so likely similarly wasteful. The difference will be that Apple probably won't let you turn their ads off...

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Jobs Horns

Steve's fault!

this is all steve's fault for sure.

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Anonymous Coward

May the Flash be with me.

So...hopefully it's right to be assumed that this test this article is based on was comparing "using flash" vs "using html5" instead of "using flash" vs "less content".*hopefully...probably not*

I'm assuming flash is mostly used for watching videos, and for advertisement.

When flash is gone, SOME video sites may have incorporated HTML5 so it'll be auto ran with HTML5.

But for advertisements if I'm not mistaken they just disappear. Which is nice admittedly. But if that really does catch on. Advertisement providers will eventually replace it with HTML5 then.....Well if they end up doing the same ad but use HTML5, it'll be very comparable to Flash's version, in my opinion. If they replace it with simpler ad's because generally HTML5's animation isn't so easy to do compared to Flash's, then yes, it will be less processor intensive, only because it's a simpler ad...

I admit Flash loses by a little in video playback, most of everything else it hits HTML5 on equal ground or better. Vector Animations and RIAs.

HTML5 is unlikely to replace Advanced Flash games anytime soon.

HTML5 is unlikely to be used to build RIA(Rich internet applications) anytime soon.

And from a developer's point of view it sucks that your source code when coding HTML5 is wide open to the public for them to see, it sucks very much so.

Though for the strict business person, I suppose flash wouldn't be useful.

But for an the average consumer I'd have to say flash is still very useful.

If flash is gone then Apple computer games are going to be even more shrunken down. Yes, I like flash games and I'm sure plenty of other people do too. Because as it is Mac Computers only has a single handful of popular mac games.

OMGPOP.com, Kongregate.com, and Newgrounds.com anyone?

So I say use the Click to flash plug-in for safari if it pleases you, or keep flash.

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Using your computer uses power

@Tzael has said it and it is simple.

This test is just bullshit. The test measured the difference between doing something and doing nothing.

Wow, doing nothing saves battery - hold the presses.

Perhaps a bit more critical journalism was required from the start.

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Headmaster

browser fail?

Ok, FF has extensions and blocking is an obvious one, but why not have an option (on by default) which stops running flash/animated gifs/video if the tab isn't the active one? If you wanted to be clever, you could run the animations for 30 seconds and then freeze them if inactive. Perhaps put a little "pause/play" button on the tab to continue playing media in the background.

Judging by my wife's browsing habits, it isn't uncommon to have 20 tabs open (often on the same website) all with their little flash adverts and applications running. At that point, CPU resource becomes more of an issue than battery!

As a side note, I put noscript & flashblock on everything and my wife hates it. Too many of her shopping sites just break and she finds it frustrating. It's interesting to see a non-techy reaction to what to me seems like a very easy to use system.

As has been mentioned, it may be the moving graphics, not inherently flash which causes the problems.

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Stop

if you put 2 and 2 together...

...some people on this site get 5.

It wasn't a comparison of doing "something" and doing "nothing". It was a comparison of a computer's energy usage with Flash installed and not installed. The test shows that even when a web page is not actively being viewed, Flash sucks the battery dry.

I hate Flash. I hate the people who create and inflict Flash ads on the planet. If I'm reading a news site, for example, I want to read the damn article without some piece of Flash-crap taking over my browser and/or screen, forcing me to hunt down the close button. I detest how some ads don't even have the decency to wait for an active click but spring to life when you accidentally mouse over them whilst other are set to automatically open. Grrr!

Flash is a buggy, bloated, insecure, resource hogging, battery draining parasite whose only real purpose in life appears to be to inflict unwanted content, intrusions and interruptions on people.

And yes, I have C2F installed which is an absolute God-send.

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