Today marks the 17th anniversary of my joining the SETI@home distributed computing project that uses internet connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Even though now I only tend to crunch in the winter and spring I’m still doing my bit for the cause.
Today I’m the leader of the SETI.UK team, a group of individuals who have banded together crunching work units. With over 1000 members the team has grown beyond my initial hopes and expectations.
I’ve taken the plunge and removed Flash player and Java from my Windows systems completely. To be honest I could have taken the step years ago but I became comfortable with my setup. Aware of security issues I felt reassured with my constant updating of plugins, browser and system software as well as having Firefox set to ‘Ask to Activate’ each time one of the plugins was called on.
The Java plugin I did not see asked for too often and mainly only when I expected it, so I got used to it. Flash on the other hand was at first constantly asking to be activated, on sites from YouTube to BBCiPlayer to sites with flash based advertisements and the such. Over time, I opted into HTML5 trials on multiple websites and over time many sites started offering HTML5 offerings to browsers. The requests to activate became less frequent and again I got used to it.
What Changed my mind?
I came across an article from the Mozilla Firefox Future Releases Blog which made me rethink. With NPAPI plugin support being dropped from Firefox by the end of 2016, why don’t I drop those plugins right now. I removed the software and associated plugins from my systems.
I’m more secure and finally got away from the last of my plugins. HTML5 and native offerings have allowed the escape.
So far I’ve come across just one website still insisting on Flash: Google Play Music through the Firefox browser. The HTML5 audio option is disabled by Google. I know I can use it in Google Chrome but I don’t want to install it for one website. I mainly use Play Music through its Android app with its Chromecast support so this is only a minor inconvenience.
Why did I stick it out so long with Flash player and Java?
I just got used to my setup. Also for many years I used the BBC iplayer Radio website daily through Firefox on the PC. I’ve since switched over to the Android version as my daily driver and the website today has HTML5 offerings.