For the past several months, I’ve been unable to surf the web on my MacBook Air without having it sound like a rocket ship taking off. While things weren’t quite that bad on my Windows 8.1 desktop PC, I still had to deal with my fair share of slow loading times and Shockwave crashes that would regularly drive me up the wall. However, all this changed when I finally did something that I should have done a long, long time ago: I disabled Adobe Flash on both computers.
Ever since disabling Flash, pages load faster, tabs don’t crash whenever Shockwave decides to soil itself, and my Mac no longer sounds like it’s about to explode. But those weren’t the only good side effects from disabling Flash: I also found that killing this horrible plugin killed some of the things I hated most about surfing the web with it.
One of them is autoplay videos. No, killing Flash doesn’t get rid of all autoplay videos on the web but I was still nonetheless happy to be able to check ESPN Boston for the Red Sox score last night without having to put up with an annoying ESPN video.
Similarly, I noticed that several ads on various sites I went to would similarly not load. Aaaaawwww, too bad:
Oh, and you know those awful Buzzfeed videos your friends and relatives send you and tell you that you must watch them? Well good news: Killing Adobe Flash also means you have a perfect excuse to not watch them since they require Flash to run.
So there must be a downside here, right? Not so far: Disabling Flash hasn’t stopped me from watching videos on YouTube or Twitch, both of which have switched over to HTML5 as their primary video rendering technology. Netflix also uses HTML5 and while Amazon Instant video still uses Flash on Chrome, it uses Silverlight on Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. The only thing I lose when disabling Flash is slow load times and annoying videos I never would have watched in the first place.
Despite this, some deeply misguided fools are still defending Flash. This depraved opinion piece posted by The Escapist, for example, argues that we shouldn’t hate on Flash so much because it used to be great and it gave us Homestar Runner.
“Now, does this mean we should keep Flash, ignore the security holes, and forget about its alternatives? Of course not,” the author writes in his long tribute to Flash’s past amazingness. “Security exploits are important, but actually getting mad at Flash is like hating fax machines, pagers, or landline telephones. These technologies were revolutionary: So revolutionary, in fact, that they opened the door to a future which didn’t need them.”
And I’m sorry, but no. The reason no one is hating on landline phones and fax machines is that they don’t impact our daily lives anymore. Flash, on the other hand, still plagues the web and must be killed off, the sooner the better. If a webpage’s advertiser sent you a fax of a coupon every single time you hit the refresh button, I guarantee that hatred for fax machines would be even more intense than it is for Flash right now.
And the good news is Flash is on its way out no matter what. Several big names in tech, from Facebook to Mozilla, have been clamoring for its death because it seems like every week a new major vulnerability gets exposed. Flash has been dead on iOS and Android for years now and we just need to purge it from our desktops and laptops to finally push it over the cliff once and for all.
So, fellow citizens of the web, I implore you: Disable Flash. Do it now. Read our guide to uninstalling Flash on your PC, Mac or Chrome browser if you need help, but get it done.
While you may miss having your Buzzfeed makeup tip videos at first, killing off Flash will send a message to all websites that they need to realize it’s 2015 and make the switch to HTML5.