It's the only way to be sure
Can we please petition for a sub-orbital nuclear bombardment of the Internet Archive's headquarters and storage centre? It's the only way to make sure.
The Internet Archive says it's found a way to preserve content created with Adobe's notoriously insecure Flash tool without risking user safety. Preservation is needed because Adobe will end support for Flash after 31 December. Browsers only grudgingly allow Flash to run today and enthusiastically stop supporting it not long …
As I pen this missive to you, I wonder about inflexibility in language. Can we use nouns as as verbs?
"Levarage" is listed as a verb in OED, Cambridge, Merriam-Webster, Macmillan, Collins, as it has a long history of use in finance, where it means to use funds from an original investment to make more investments. This is analogous to the common IT usage; the prior investment in safety of the modern browser is used to make something new.
Personally, I save my word pedantry ire for "performant". We don't make things "more performant", we make them "increase performance".
PS: pen is a noun that we happily use as a verb. People don't get their knickers in a twist and write articles over this one however, as it sounds old and fancy.
I see people saying that "leverage" is listed as a verb in the OED. Shame on them.
It's like the verb "access" in IT: all it means is "to do with something whatever one does with it". We already have a verb for that: It's "use".
"Using the safety of the modern browser," is still nonsense, but it's more sensible nonsense.
Kudos to all those at the Internet Archive for making this work. There are a lot of cheesy, and sometimes useful, Flash gizmos which it would be a shame to see disappear like the Domesday Project did. A further good reminder of the importance of open standard file formats too.
(Slightly annoying that it loads content from multiple arbitrarily-named hosts of archive.org, which plays havov with my NoScript rules, though… :-/ )
A great deal of electronic literature was created using Flash. That's an important cultural archive.
Some works (Homestuck is a prominent example) were converted to newer technologies, but a lot of what you'd find on, for example, the early anthologies released by the Electronic Literature Organization would effectively be lost without projects like this one.
And, yes, there's a lot of material which may not be quite so literary but have a certain entertainment value, such as the Homestar Runner cartoons.
My wife is a school teacher. She's very worried about the disappearance of Flash because many, many useful educational tools have been made in Flash. The first time she saw a warning on her browser about Flash being decommissioned, she immediately came to ask me about solutions.
At the time, I didn't have any. I told her that, unless the website made an effort to convert the content to HTML5, it was going to be unusable.
Now, there might be a solution for her and her colleagues. I will be following the evolution of this tool closely.
School IT Tech here, the companies have known that Flash is going for years, we've been telling the staff that it's going for years, and 99% of the content that I've seen teachers use is horrific, but they'd rather use these ancient things than find a youtube demonstration that's 100 times better!
I'm not going to comment on Flash, let's face it there is no need.
However I do have an issue with youtube. Its awful and getting worse by the minute and I happily ignore its existence as much as possible.
Unfortunately increasing amount of 'how-to' type stuff these days tends to be a youtube clip rather than good old fashioned page with some select images like how things used to be.
I'm not saying a clip isn't sometimes useful or even a better choice, but more often than not old fashion page would work much better.
Today we read that YouTube stuff will no longer come without advertisements, or am I missing something? Is that appropriate in schools?
I've known teachers and... A technically clunky demonstration on computer can still work to put a point across, if students aren't distracted by the clunkiness. And Flash is nicely interactive and works at your speed, YouTube just plays at you. And, a teacher likes to use material that they've used before and they know. What actual good is it to replace it with newer but different material?
I'm not a fan of WebAssembly, but I'd allow it (temporarily, and restricted to IA servers) for this purpose. Writing the Flash emulator in Rust is a good way to eliminate vast swathes of Flash's vulnerabilities (Rust's Borrow Checker prunes a lot of the attack tree at compile time).
This is a good compromise between keeping Flash generally available, particularly for non-technical users, and losing access to historical Flash-based material.
I thought I'd never play the classic Cursor Thief game again. What a huge relief.
No, I don't mean the flashy Japanese version with the anime protagonist.
This is the *old* one, where the cursor thief chases your mouse cursor, and when he can grab it runs off and dumps it into a pile with all the other mouse cursors he has stolen.
The good one. Cursor Thief. It's the only plausible reason to preserve Flash content.
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