Archive for September, 2010

Will someone please sue Adobe?

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Adobe has skilfully engineered itself into a monopoly position. Now it is doing what all monopolies tend to do in this situation, namely ignore the needs of its customers. If we want (or need) to use Flash sites, then we are forced to use Adobe’s products, whether we like it or not. Therefore, why should Adobe care if its products fail to keep pace with our needs?

And it’s not just Adobe’s laughably rotten security that is the problem. Fact is that 64-bit operating systems have been publicly available for many years. Yet Adobe has chronically failed to deliver a 64-bit version of its Flash reading software. Instead, we have been forced to make-do with a variety of 32>64-bit so-called “compatibility layers”. These are lash-ups that are supposed to make 32-bit Flash work on 64-bit operating systems. But as many users will bear testament, these ungainly hacks cause immense problems.

One particularly ungainly and unreliable hack is the “nspluginwrapper” for Linux, that allows 32-bit Flash to run within 64-bit Gecko browsers, such as Firefox, Seamonkey etc. Granted, “nsplugincrapper” does work most of the time, after a fashion. However, it also causes frequent browser crashes and for many people, this makes Flash on Linux virtually unusable.

Amidst much crowing from the laggards at Adobe, there is finally an alpha-test version of 64 bit Flash. However, currently, it is only available for Linux. Amazingly, installing it is relatively straightforward – much easer than the instructions would have you believe. In principle, you first need to remove all instances of Flash from your system. Then grab a copy of the latest 64 bit flash for Linux. Then extract the libflashplayer.so file (yes, just one file!) to the correct location in your home folder, usually: ~/.mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so

Linux users will observe this is a “user-based” solution. This means you can play/upgrade etc. without risking messing-up your entire system. Also means and you have just one file to kill if/when you want to get rid of it and you don’t need to be “root” in order to do so. You could even create a specific user just for using flash-enabled browsers, thus protecting the rest of your system against Adobe’s now infamous and plentiful security holes. After all, this aplha-test version may be new but there is no guarantee with regard to its security.

My experience is that the alpha-release, native, 64-bit flash for Linux is an improvement upon the old 32>64 bit bodge-ups. However, it is still far from stable. Sadly however, for 64-bit Mac & Windows users, seems you have no choice at all. You just have to put up with whatever 32-bit rubbish Adobe throws at you, or go without!

Therefore, I sincerely hope that some right-minded individuals in the US do the rest of the planet a huge favour and file a class-action against Adobe. Adobe has behaved quite disgracefully in this matter. So like many of Adobe’s hapless customers, I would welcome any legal challenge that forced Adobe to release all its Flash source code under a General Public License, or similar. That would mean that other companies, as well as open source projects such as SWFDec and Gnash, would be able to offer rival products that actually worked properly!

I don’t know if anyone has visited Adobe’s website lately? Suffice it to say I think the company should change its name to “Excuses’R’Us. Thus confirming my view that a little healthy competition might persuade Adobe to spend less time providing excuses and more time providing solutions?

Honk! Honk! 🙂

Police officers seize high-powered sports car – then crash it into garden wall

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

We’ve seen some pretty uninspiring performances from our boys-in-blue over the years. But this one takes the proverbial cake.

Seems that on 2010-09-03 at around 01:15 UTC, two officers from the Manchester force stopped and arrested a suspected drunk driver and confiscated his sports car. Whilst waiting for the tow truck to collect the vehicle, these clowns-in-uniform then decided to take it for a joyride. Shortly after climbing into the vehicle, a powerful Mitsubishi Evo 8, they slammed it into a garden wall in a quiet residential district called Trafford.

The street in which the incident took place has a 30 mph | 50 kmh speed limit – not that there is much evidence of this when you study the video of the wrecked car! Apparently, Chief Supt Mark Roberts, divisional commander for Trafford, told the Manchester Evening News, “I can assure the local community that this incident will be rigorously investigated.”

http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/
1315935_police_officers_seize_highpowered_sports_car
__then_crash_it_into_garden_wall

Now, after the matter has been rigorously covered up investigated, I wonder what Mr Roberts’ report will look like? Something like this perhaps…

The brave and conscientious officers were proceeding with great care along Hale Road at 29 mph when a delightful fluffy little kitten suddenly ran into the road. This caused the officer to swerve and clip the curb at just the wrong angle.

By a strange freak of nature, this caused the vehicle to leap into the air and spin round several times, mid-air. This resulted in a rapid increase in velocity, thus providing sufficient kinetic energy to completely demolish the brick wall on impact. Also, the wall was very badly built.

The vehicle was a Mitsubishi Evo. This is a Japanese vehicle. This means it was designed for little slitty-eyed people. Therefore, it was inadequately sized for a pair of well-built British police officers.  These are men who have diligently endured a lifetime of  stuffing their faces with double portions of fish & chips with sausages-in-batter, mushy peas and gravy, whilst on duty.

However, the  colour of the vehicle may have contributed towards the accident. The yellow street-lights may have dangerously reflected off the yellow paintwork, which may have temporarily blinded the officer driving the vehicle, possibly.

We also note that the car was poorly maintained and had not been washed for almost a week. There were also traces of ash in the ashtray and a sweet wrapper on the floor.

Most importantly, the utterly wrecked state of the vehicle does not constitute evidence that my officers were doing 140 mph in a 30 mph zone. The vehicle is made of very thin metal and therefore it dents very easily. Besides, considering the combined weight of the two officers, it is unlikely the vehicle could ever have reached its top speed anyway.

Unfortunately, the enquiry has been unable to determine exactly which officer was driving because they both suffered a loss of memory due to the accident. Therefore neither of the officers concerned can be prosecuted.

Consequently, the vehicle’s owner will not be entitled to compensation. Moreover, the owner may face the very serious charge of “failure to provide a police officer with a decent vehicle to go joyriding in.”

Meantime, the home-owner, upon whose property the vehicle finally came to rest, and whose garden wall was demolished in the incident, has also made a claim for compensation. However his claim has also been dismissed and he now faces charges of “having a very untidy garden, in a fairly posh area” and “wasting police time“.

Honk! Honk! 😉