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Adobe products are buggy. Bring on HTML 5!

Adobe Software Plagued with Bugs?

I’m starting to think that Steve Jobs is right, mostly about reliability, security and performance of Adobe products. Maybe I’m just following his lead, but for the money I’ve spent on their product, their QA sucks.

Adobe Updates: Who wrote this garbage?

I purchased Adobe CS3 a few years ago and it has this built-in software which keeps it updated. However, the number of issues it had updating itself was ridiculous. I would get a dialog box on my screen, once a week, which would ask to upgrade the same components and would never, ever finish. After watching a progress bar on my screen for hours, I finally has to kill it. Even downloading the updates manually would fail.

My other huge complaint is that Adobe Updater requires your to quit all web browsers when it upgrades almost any component. Hello? What, are we back in 1998 where you have to reboot the system every time I make a change to my preferences?

How about this: Upgrade the software and let me keep working while you do it. Simple. Don’t inconvenience me with having to quit my web browser (by far the most important application on anyone’s system).

I finally just turned off Adobe Updater in frustration.

More recently, after a system upgrade, Adobe Updater revived itself from its zombie sleep. Adobe Acrobat wants to upgrade itself. OK, I’ll bite. I get the following screen shot.

Adobe Acrobat Updater Focus Fail

After a few seconds, hey, it wants to repair the Adobe PDF Printer. Great! But it can’t because the window with the “Continue” button is inaccessible on this machine because of the window in front of it.

This is one of those “simple” issues which should be handled in quality assurance.

Flash Video Streaming: Why the stutter?

My second biggest complaint is the Flash Video Player on YouTube, Vimeo, and pretty much any other video sharing site out there.

For those uninitiated, most videos are played by downloading a copy locally, then it’s played from the local hard drive. This is handled transparently by Flash, usually, which deletes the video clips at a later date automatically.

The video is “buffered” meaning that enough video is stored locally that the video should keep up with the download speed. If you’re on a dial-up line, you have to wait until enough has been downloaded that the remaining download time exceeds the play time.

Point being: Even when the indicators in the video show a full buffer, Flash video still stutters. Why?

Not to mention full-screen creates its own issues. Usually when I click full-screen, the video freezes for 2-5 seconds, then quickly jumps through frames to “catch up” … when it actually does catch up.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions, it ain’t my computer: I’m running two Dual-Core 2.66 GHz Intel Xeon chips, with a fricking SSD drive as the primary boot drive/cache drive.

In short: Flash Video needs an alternative.

Security should be a concern

Finally, I use FireFox as my primary browser, and every upgrade it does (which, by the way, has worked flawlessly for years) the upgrade splash page says “Upgrade Adobe Flash Now“, due to major security vulnerabilities, including zero-day exploits which mean someone can take control of your computer without your knowledge.

While most major web browsers come with their own issues, Adobe Flash is a universal component in all browsers, and hence should be subject to even tighter scrutiny as it provides a “back-door” even if web browsers have flawless security.

HTML 5 Can’t come soon enough

Which brings me to: The “video player wars“, if there ever was one, between Apple QuickTime, Microsoft Video Player (AVI), and Flash FLV was over when YouTube became the number one video sharing site. Today, Flash Video Player is the de-facto standard for internet video.

Problem is: There’s one vendor for Flash Video players in the browser , and that’s Adobe Flash as the underlying engine. Even an Open Source Flash Player like OSFLV uses Flash as the underlying engine, it’s identical to Jeroenwijering Flash Player (since astutely renamed to JW Player).

The good news is that JW Player now support HTML 5 video players, as do many of the online sites.

HTML 5 offers an alternative: Non-flash video, and some competition in the video player market. Check out Kaltura.org’s HTML 5 video player which supports HTML 5 first, then only uses Flash if HTML 5 video is unavailable.

And for that, I am happy to have fewer bugs and some incentive for Adobe to fix their software.

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