Why Flash should be banned

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Why Flash should be banned

Postby powerhouse on Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:35 pm

There are few things in life that really upset me. One thing is the senseless killing of people on our roads (I'm referring to car accidents). And one thing that upsets me is Flash.

Why? Because Flash technology consumes a disproportionate amount of computing resources and energy, both of which I'm paying for. Millions of websites use or allow Flash for advertising. Most often I'm confronted with Flash not because I choose to, but because it's there trying to divert my attention.

It's harder for me to specify the amount of computing resources an Adobe Flash animated website consumes on my PC, but it's easy for me to exactly specify the power consumption.

My PC is connected to the power outlet via a digital Watt meter, which measures the power consumption at any given time. When I open Firefox and browse the net, my PC consumes 115 Watt as long as no Flash animation is running on the website I visit. Once I enter a website with Flash animation, or Flash video, the power consumption jumps to 175 Watt and System Monitor shows increased CPU usage. That is 60 Watt for Flash, or about 50% increase in power consumption.

If around 1.5 billion web users spend 15 minutes a day on a Flash animated website, this amounts to about 22,500 Megawatt hours of energy waste a day, 22.5 Gigawatt hours per day. True, other PCs or even a different browser may use more or less energy, but there is no doubt that Flash animation leads to a huge waste of energy.

I'm sure there are better solutions to replace Flash. If you feel similarly concerned about this senseless waste, and your paying the price for it in terms of hardware and electricity costs, please comment.

If you disagree, please comment too.

Edit: The late Mr. Jobs wrote about that (and other Flash issues) much more eloquently: http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/.
Last edited by powerhouse on Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby JWJones on Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:06 pm

I agree with you, the sooner Flash dies, the better. Let's move on, to HTML5, or whatever. In the meantime, have you considered either removing Flash, or installing plug-ins that prevent Flash from running automatically?

For watching YouTube videos, I do it in HTML5:

http://www.youtube.com/html5
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby catweazel on Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:12 pm

Clever people install flashblock and save terrawatts of energy and cubic tonnes of methane gas production simply by not complaining about how flash cheeses them off :mrgreen:
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby powerhouse on Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:38 pm

JWJones wrote:I agree with you, the sooner Flash dies, the better. Let's move on, to HTML5, or whatever. In the meantime, have you considered either removing Flash, or installing plug-ins that prevent Flash from running automatically?

For watching YouTube videos, I do it in HTML5:

http://www.youtube.com/html5


Thanks for the Youtube link - didn't know that, though I knew that Youtube plays just fine on iPad (w/o Flash).

Unfortunately I need to use some websites that require Flash support. I used some Flashblocker in the past and should just install it again.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby powerhouse on Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:39 pm

@I had fun once. It was awful.

I love your positive spirit.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby homerscousin on Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:47 pm

The next time I buy any computer related stuff I'm getting a kill-a-watt meter. That 60 watts is amazing and also baffling. Back last year and years prior when I was running my old Pentium D rig I couldn't figure why playing anything flash would jump my CPU use to 50% or more. I'm an NFL football lover. I visited many sites to watch replays etc in flash. Never mind the flash advertising junk. They all cranked my CPU up. Yet playing a video from hdd or dvd or a streaming site was much less. Since I built the Ivy Bridge system all video seems to be about the same. You-tube 1080p, dvd,streaming, whatever, no video will run the CPU above the idle speed of 1.6 ghz and nothing goes over 20% at that idle speed. I don't have a blue-ray drive or any true blue-ray files. I really need a watt meter to confirm what I see. I can't possibly see a 60 watt use jump on my system just by playing flash based on the numbers reported by Conky alone.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby powerhouse on Sun Mar 31, 2013 5:36 pm

homerscousin wrote:The next time I buy any computer related stuff I'm getting a kill-a-watt meter. That 60 watts is amazing and also baffling. Back last year and years prior when I was running my old Pentium D rig I couldn't figure why playing anything flash would jump my CPU use to 50% or more. I'm an NFL football lover. I visited many sites to watch replays etc in flash. Never mind the flash advertising junk. They all cranked my CPU up. Yet playing a video from hdd or dvd or a streaming site was much less. Since I built the Ivy Bridge system all video seems to be about the same. You-tube 1080p, dvd,streaming, whatever, no video will run the CPU above the idle speed of 1.6 ghz and nothing goes over 20% at that idle speed. I don't have a blue-ray drive or any true blue-ray files. I really need a watt meter to confirm what I see. I can't possibly see a 60 watt use jump on my system just by playing flash based on the numbers reported by Conky alone.


I guess there will be some variation from system to system. Perhaps the Ivybridge processors, or your GPU are able to handle Flash in a more efficient way. It will also depend on the screen/video resolution. I just checked it with two different Youtube window sizes and the bigger window eats up more electricity. My test (60W) was based on a large window (but not full screen).

To compare with the 60W power consumption using Flash, I played a movie in VLC player, full screen on my 1920x1200 display: ~5W.

Flash should be banned.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby homerscousin on Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:04 am

Hi, powerhouse. I did order a few things today from Newegg and one of those inexpensive meters was on the list. I'll do some testing when I get it and post the results here, about a week from now.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby powerhouse on Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:10 am

homerscousin wrote:Hi, powerhouse. I did order a few things today from Newegg and one of those inexpensive meters was on the list. I'll do some testing when I get it and post the results here, about a week from now.


That would be good. While there probably will be some difference, what I've noticed ever since Flash became popular is the fact that it's a resource hog. My son has new Dell notebook with i5 processor, 4 Gig RAM, Nvidia graphics module (what they call "Optima"), and whenever he plays a Flash-based game on the web you can hear the fan in the next room, behind closed doors. I haven't done any power consumption measurements on his notebook, though.

I've now switched to HTML5 on Youtube. A small step against Flash, but a start.

I also sent the following user feedback to Youtube/Google:

Youtube uses Adobe Flash to display videos on non-Apple (non-iOS) devices. As many experts have already pointed out, Flash is extremely inefficient with resources and consumes a huge amount of energy. On my PC, watching a Youtube video in a large window will consume an additional 60W of electricity!
When tens of millions of Youtube users watch movies using Flash, an enormous amount of electricity is wasted. We and our children are paying not only for our increased electricity bill, but also for the ecological damage that is caused by it.
Youtube allows the user to select HTML5 instead of Flash, but this is rather a hidden feature.
All Youtube (Google) needs to do to become environmentally more friendly is turn on HTML5 by default. Those users who face technical issues as a result could still opt for Flash.
Thanks for your consideration.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby homerscousin on Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:13 pm

I got my stuff today and spent several hours watching the meter and compiling a text file as I went. Here is a copy and paste.

I got my kill a watt p3 model p4400.01 in today so I ran a few tests. To quickly test its accuracy I plugged it into my 30 amp computer wall outlet and checked VAC and frequency compared to the readings I get from my Fluke 83 DMM. The Fluke is quite a bit more expensive.

kill a watt fluke
VAC 123.4 124.4
FREQ 59.9-60.0 59.98

Close enough.



Computer readings. Everything is plugged into a brand new Cyberpower model 1080 surge protector/ power strip. So normal readings include the power used by the mobo, cpu, ram, Hauppauge tv tuner,1 WD hdd (another one not connected), Sony dvdrw, Antec Earthwatts 430 watt 80+ psu (it is rather old), Motorola SB5101 cable modem, Viewsonic VX 2250 - A 22" LED monitor ( Viewsonic states it uses 28 watts at full brightness), my keyboard and mouse and a webcam that should not be running at all because I have not yet reinstalled guvcview since the KDE upgrade. That's it. That is what is running and possibly using power.


Everything off, power stripp off 0 watts
power stripp on- feeding power to modem and monitor 7.4 watts
watts jumps to 30 while monitor displays Viewsonic logo ets and then
goes to idle due to no signal
Boot 82 - 104 watts
Desktop (monitor set to 100% brightness) 83 watts
Desktop ( monitor adjusted, again, to 50% brightness) 73 watts
I have adjust the monitor onscreen brightness down to 50 % before.
I must screw things up while cleaning and running a cloth over the
touch sensitive buttons on the frame.
50% setting is not really half way from 100 to 0, more like 80% to me.
Desktop, monitor turned off 56 watts
Viewsonic numbers look very believeable
Firefox open to http://www.wunderground.com-- my weather page 74 watts
Firefox open to Tom's Hardware 76 watts
All web pages are about the same unless I run across a whacky one
that is probably trying something a little unusual with advertising?

Video tests:
Justin tv tuned in to stargate sg1 86 watts
Veetle tv tuned in to Futurama 76 watts
Back when I was running my old Pentium D, I noticed my cpu use was a lot
higher at Justin, they I believe use flash. Veetle uses a VLC plugin.
Very noticable then, somewhat noticable now.
You-tube Amazing Nature 4:58 Flash 1080p 82 watts
You-tube Space Shuttle Launch 3:53 Flash 1080p 81 watts
You-tube Planet Earth- Angelfalls 2:06 .webm WebM/vp8 html compatible 1080p 82 watts

From Hard drive: (video- just some random stuff)
some 1080p .wmv opened with VLC 79 watts
Dr Who episode .mp4 at 624 x 352 76 watts
Mars Attacks .mp4 1916 x 796 79 watts

In all video there is just no noticable difference from playing in a
window to going to full screen. With You-tube, I actually thought it
was maybe 1 watt less in full screen

Playing video from DVD:

Get Smart episode recorded at 575 x 432 .mp4 81.5 watts
Blue-ray rip of something recorded at 1920 x 1080 H264 .mpg4 at 59.94 fps 92 watts

That's it for video. I conclude that all video playback on Ivy Bridge
with the onchip HD4000 graphics, whether in window or fullscreen is pretty
darned close. The numbers I see from this Kill-a Watt meter correlate very
nicely to the numbers reported by my Conky display.

Mandelbulber 3d
I loaded a default/preset and rendered that just to see what the outcome
was. I know all 4 cores jump to max. 133 watts

Phoronix Test Suite:
Only have the one Xonotic .6 test installed. First run was after I had run
the above video tests etc. No reboot etc. ultimate settings. 17.57 fps 110 watts

Rebooted and upped DRAM voltage from 1.565 to 1.580 (yeah, I overclocked
my ram from 1600 to 1866-- still playing) strange hesitations while
running above test
New test- after the reboot and dram change 18.96 fps 98 watts
This needs more time. I don't know.

Power use with sound system plugged in and set to 0 volume 95 watts
Remember, bare desktop is 73 watts. 20 watts doing nothing

Volume set to 1 turn type button goes 0 to 10. 102 watts
volume set to 2 123 watts
volume set to 2 1/2 130 watts
volume set to 3 145 watts
volume set to 4 170 watts
beyond 4 went over 200 watts- too loud- 4 is ok though.

That is it so far for my first day with this power meter. Everything is pretty darned close to what I expected, except for the Phoronix benchmark difference. Have fun with it.

Side-note: Formating on a copy/ paste sucks. My nice neat columns just aren't anymore.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby mockturtl on Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:24 am

powerhouse wrote:There are few things in life that really upset me. One thing is the senseless killing of people on our roads (I'm referring to car accidents). And one thing that upsets me is Flash.

Why? Because Flash technology consumes a disproportionate amount of computing resources and energy, both of which I'm paying for.
Oh, shut up.

If around 1.5 billion web users spend 15 minutes a day on a Flash animated website, this amounts to about 22,500 Megawatt hours of energy waste a day, 22.5 Gigawatt hours per day. True, other PCs or even a different browser may use more or less energy, but there is no doubt that Flash animation leads to a huge waste of energy.
Were you around for the campaign to "make" google.com change its background color from white to black, for the same reason, to "conserve [finite] [power] resources?"

Do you understand that if you're not "allowed" to use that power, neither is any future generation you're "saving" it for?

Do you realize the planet is not a closed physical system?

It's simply not your prerogative to dictate consumption quotas. It doesn't matter what you think anything "ought" to cost, or "would" cost, if it weren't for everyone else "driving up" the price.

Do you really mean to posit the very existence of other human beings, with their own wants, needs, and lives, as a kind of prison for your wants, needs, and life?

Do you need more evidence for the consequences than the 20th century?
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby Otyugh on Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:41 am

The real fact is, flashblock is something very sweet. Just stop there.
Because it allow any old computer to go on internet, wasn't the case before, with all theses crap killing the processor :O

(nb : change google background would change anything if we were still on cathodic screens. Now this is pretty much the same (but black is little bit worse in consumption, than white now :D))
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby homerscousin on Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:57 pm

Too much philosophical phluff there. Flash just doesn't play well on older hardware. I don't exactly know why. I know my old Pentium D rig, cpu use and temps went up noticably with any flash video or advertising. I installed flash-block for that reason. I couldn't handle going to an NFL site just to read the news and see my cpu running at near 50% just because of pretty and cool advertising. I have one particular site in mind that initiated this for me, but I won't post the URL, again. I wish I had this meter last year when the old rig was up, I'd have some hard numbers to post. It was definitely more inefficient at flash. New hardware, like Ivy Bridge, it doesn't matter. Maybe flash was just ahead of its time?

Just a further note to add to the above. After more use with this meter connected, it seems streaming video is more power efficient in fullscreen as opposed to in a window. Just a few watts.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby mockturtl on Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:52 pm

homerscousin wrote:Maybe flash was just ahead of its time?
You might say it had a place during a brief 16 year window, between the living hell of RealPlayer and the present, when browsers still can't do WebGL.

Yes, it ties up a thread.

On the other hand: Youtube.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby homerscousin on Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:54 pm

Hey, powerhouse, meant to ask this a few days ago. Do you have Conky or something similar installed to monitor your cpu core use? Or the gpu? I wondered how much cores use went up with flash. Or is it the gpu using the power? My watts and core use went up very closely.

My Norelco 3 head razor uses 2.5 watts. food processor empty and free spinning 180 watts.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby powerhouse on Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:27 pm

homerscousin wrote:Hey, powerhouse, meant to ask this a few days ago. Do you have Conky or something similar installed to monitor your cpu core use? Or the gpu? I wondered how much cores use went up with flash. Or is it the gpu using the power? My watts and core use went up very closely.

My Norelco 3 head razor uses 2.5 watts. food processor empty and free spinning 180 watts.


I constantly monitor core temperatures and they are all lined up in the panel on my screen. This shows me immediately when some cores kick in. System monitor shows that the load is spread over multiple cores, with 2 cores sometimes showing increased usage.

My VGA card is a low-powered AMD 6450 - I think the max power consumption is less than 50-60W. I actually want to replace this card as it really is less than what I hoped for. It has problems displaying a full screen video on my 1900x1200 screen and tearing is a common nuisance. I do use the proprietary AMD fglrx driver, but it seems this card has little to offer.

And yes, Flash (Youtube video) on my system produces a 40-50W increase in power consumption.

I do have a flash blocker installed. I don't know why many (most) Youtube videos still insist on using Flash, though I set html 5 as default.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby justy39 on Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:18 am

I actually like flash. Html5, I do not. The other night someone by the name Chris was on youtube and I walked right on his computer which happened to be using html5 to view videos. It's far from secure as of yet. Html5 also takes far more resources to function with the lack of hardware. While other systems run html5 better.

As for popups, there is always ways around that. You could make html5 popups pop a new window even with a popup blocker enabled in firefox or chrome.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby powerhouse on Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:03 pm

justy39 wrote:I actually like flash. Html5, I do not. The other night someone by the name Chris was on youtube and I walked right on his computer which happened to be using html5 to view videos. It's far from secure as of yet. Html5 also takes far more resources to function with the lack of hardware. While other systems run html5 better.

As for popups, there is always ways around that. You could make html5 popups pop a new window even with a popup blocker enabled in firefox or chrome.


I'm not familiar with the ups and downs of html5, I just know that many websites support iOS devices (Apple iPhone etc.) and it works well without draining the batteries. Steve Jobs refused vehemently to support Flash on Apple's mobile devices (iPhone etc.), because it's a resource hog. As to security, I think Flash hasn't been doing so well either - see for example http://www.informationweek.com/security/application-security/flash-patch-take-three-adobe-issues-new/240149560 for a start.
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Re: Why Flash should be banned

Postby homerscousin on Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:33 pm

I wish someone with an i5 2500 or i7 2700 using the Intel graphics would post some numbers. I wonder if there is a big difference from sandy to ivy? Powerhouse, you're just going to have to buy an ivy-e when they're out.
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