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Reduce battery usage by controlling Flash in Safari
Authored by: nickull on Jul 07, '08 10:59:59AM

Not to be too pragmatic, but the following is true:

"Anything that uses more CPU will eat your battery faster"

Compared to turning off Airport when not using it and dimming your screen, the amount of time you save blocking Flash will likely be minimal.

I assume you have also done testing to back up your statement? Can you share with us where the break even point is between the amount of CPU energy Flashblocker uses and what size of SWF file (raw size, stack/heap profiles, threads and CPU usage) it takes to create positive and negative experiences from blocking Flash? Are there lessons to be learned for Flash developers to create more eco friendly flash experiences? This would be of major interest to a lot of people.

(Disclaimer: For sakes of transparency, I do work for Adobe)

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Reduce battery usage by controlling Flash in Safari
Authored by: bradford653 on Jul 07, '08 12:13:53PM

Nobody's pointing fingers at Adobe or the Macromedia guys. The fact is that there are just quite a few Flash developers out there who design Flash animations that peg your CPU. There are definitely good Flash developers out there as well, but they seem to be in the minority.

I do want to argue your point that a pegged CPU doesn't chew up battery, as it most certainly does. Not only does the processing itself require more electricity, but the resulting fan RPMs that kick in after the CPU has heated up beyond its cooling threshold also sucks quite a bit of charge from the battery.

If I walk by my wife's PowerBook and hear the fans blowing, I'm almost 9 out of 10 times correct in assuming that she's left Safari pointed at a web page that has one or more flash instances on it. I've had to train her to leave Activity Monitor on and to watch the dock icon for a big green box which reminds her that she's got a web page open that's overheating her computer and significantly reducing both its immediate performance and its overall lifespan.

The fact is, my wife "shouldn't have to" worry about these things. All of her other applications behave perfectly well. Perhaps some fingers should be pointed at Adobe for not designing safeguards into the Flash player to avoid this particular problem... as it's definitely a widespread issue.

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Reduce battery usage by controlling Flash in Safari
Authored by: hypert on Jul 08, '08 05:15:09AM
Try For me (Safari 3.1.2, Mac OS X 10.4.11, G4 1.25GHz), that page uses 100% of my CPU until I close the page.

I've seem similar pages that use less CPU when opened in Firefox, although that one seems to be the same in both browsers.

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Adobe Guy Wades In, Demands Test Results.
Authored by: Anonymous on Jul 08, '08 01:09:25PM

Hey Adobe guy! Let me know where you get your batteries that are immune to increased CPU usage, will you? You might want to patent the idea...

Despite your whining, most of the Flash developers out there couldn't code their way out of a paper bag. Whatever Adobe's official line, Flash was never meant to be such a pervasive medium (same as Darpanet, Unix, ethernet, SGML, the Web, MS-DOS, etc.).

Now that it is so pervasive, it's Adobe's responsibility to ensure that CPU usage is kept to a minimum when something is published to the Web. This can be done through various means, the most obvious of which is to provide developers with a CPU wastage meter. Another technique would be to always launch the Flash Player with a low priority so it doesn't suck so much power.

Flash is great, when it's used properly. And no, YouCompleteTube is not proper usage of streaming movies in Flash -- that feature is better used for adding movie clips to some larger presentation.

This is why so many people use Flash blocking technologies. We're sick and tired of it, and it adds nothing of value to the Web, thanks all the same.

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Adobe Guy here....
Authored by: nickull on Jul 08, '08 02:18:46PM

I agreed with you that any increased CPU usage uses more batteries. My exact statement was/is:

"Anything that uses more CPU will eat your battery faster"

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Adobe Guy here....
Authored by: bradford653 on Jul 08, '08 08:26:41PM

Actually, you followed that up with:
<blockquote>"Compared to turning off Airport when not using it and dimming your screen, the amount of time you save blocking Flash will likely be minimal."</blockquote>

Here's the thing... you dim your screen to nearly nothing and turn off your wireless card, and you've essentially rendered your laptop useless. Networking and being able to 'see' the stuff we're looking at are expected of our computers. Yes, I know, it sounds crazy to expect that a computer function as it was meant to.

The only time that I find it reasonable to turn off my wireless card and dim my screen are on transatlantic flights, because I *know* my battery won't make it past four hours, and that I won't have the opportunity to plug in for a while. I expect that I'll probably have to change batteries half-way through the flight.

On the other hand, what we DON'T expect is that the most seemingly benign piece of content on our screen consumes more CPU cycles and battery charge than any other aspect of our computer's hardware, and for absolutely no perceptible benefit or reason, and for those many of us who slip our laptops out at starbucks to work for a couple of hours, it shouldn't be much to expect that our battery last for the duration.

And yes, a Flash instance that pegs your CPU will exhaust your battery far more rapidly than leaving your screen on full brightness while your airport card is operating. Please don't try to tell those of us who are victims of Flash anything otherwise.

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