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Flash Can Rob 2 Hours From MacBook Air's Battery Life 509

Posted by timothy
from the less-frantic-scrambling dept.
The lack of Flash in the new MacBook Air may annoy some users, but it has a big upside, too. According to Wired's report (citing Ars Technica) passed on by an anonymous reader, "Having Flash installed can cut battery runtime considerably — as much as 33 percent in our testing. With a handful of websites loaded in Safari, Flash-based ads kept the CPU running far more than seemed necessary, and the best time I recorded with Flash installed was just 4 hours. After deleting Flash, however, the MacBook Air ran for 6:02 — with the exact same set of websites reloaded in Safari, and with static ads replacing the CPU-sucking Flash versions."
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Flash Can Rob 2 Hours From MacBook Air's Battery Life

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  • Not just the Air (Score:5, Informative)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @07:52PM (#34131378)

    Flash will suck the life out of a battery charge on my MacBook Pro, too, as well as every non-Apple laptop that I've owned recently, too. Interestingly, I don't have that issue if I watch a "raw" mp4 via the QuickTime plugin.

  • by drolli (522659) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @07:53PM (#34131384) Journal

    Not blocking it selectively with noscript, flashblock etc. sucks the Battery.

  • news? (Score:4, Informative)

    by bhcompy (1877290) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @07:53PM (#34131392)
    Why is this news? Flash is actively drawn and persistent. It's also known that it is CPU intensive. It's like running a DVD or a videogame. It takes extra CPU cycles and possibly extra components(does Flash utilize a GPU/FPU?) to accomplish these types of things. In a word, duh.
  • Re:No ABP in OSX? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bassman59 (519820) <andy&latke,net> on Thursday November 04, 2010 @07:56PM (#34131424) Homepage

    Why would ANYONE use Safari on Mac when you have FF? ABP and NoScript for the win!

    Ummm, AdBlock is now available for Safari, and Click2Flash neatly dispenses with Flash.

    But, the battery-sucking aspect of Flash is old news [macworld.com].

  • Re:No ABP in OSX? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rewind (138843) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @07:56PM (#34131426) Homepage
    You can get AB and a flash blocker for Safari, among other things. https://extensions.apple.com/ [apple.com]
  • by iksbob (947407) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @08:01PM (#34131480)

    There's a Safari plugin that does just that called ClickToFlash. It handles flash the way browsers handled images in ye olden days - they're replaced with a "flash" box that you click on to let the flash tidbit load and run.

    Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with the makers of ClickToFlash, though I do use it.

  • Re:Not just the Air (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @08:08PM (#34131532)
    Quicktime/iTunes isn't bad when ran on OS X because its pretty much native. Its bloated on Windows because it seems to think that rather than using the things that are already there, you need to install half of OS X to run a program.
  • Re:Not just the Air (Score:4, Informative)

    by aristotle-dude (626586) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @08:10PM (#34131554)

    But then you have Quicktime installed, which means you have iTunes installed. No thanks. And people think Adobe software is bloated

    Quicktime is integrated into OS X. Neither Quicktime player or iTunes such on OS X. They are not that bad either on windows unless if you have a crap load of stuff installed and running in the background.

  • Re:Not just the Air (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @08:17PM (#34131598)
    On my laptop's Windows partition (Turion 64 x2, Windows XP pro installed, 2 GB of RAM) iTunes is nearly unusable and no, I don't have a lot of junk installed, the only thing other than essential Windows processes that was running was iTunes and it is close to unusable. VLC runs just fine on there, Foobar 2000 runs just fine on there, heck, Windows Media Player runs just fine on there but iTunes is a bloated piece of crap. The only reason I have it is that when I first bought my iPod touch it was the only way you could sync things to it. When you buy a song it takes longer to "process" the file than it does to download the song. And no, I'm not playing HD videos or anything through it, just syncing and playing some music. There is -no- excuse to why iTunes is such a piece of crap.
  • Re:No ABP in OSX? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 04, 2010 @08:24PM (#34131648)

    Because firefox is slow and doesn't use the native interface.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @08:28PM (#34131674)

    Yes, because decoding H.264 is so much less CPU intensive...

    You're trying to be facetious, but in my experience that's actually true - and that shows what a dog Flash is.

  • Re:Kill Manually (Score:3, Informative)

    by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @08:43PM (#34131774)

    That's similar to FF's new 'IPC Plugin Container' thing. It launches a second process to run Flash, Silverlight, and other web-media. It's poorly implemented, so it was a relief that you can disable it entirely in about:config. I haven't seen any performance or battery issues on my PC since.

  • by antdude (79039) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @08:57PM (#34131866) Homepage Journal

    V10.1.102.64 to fix security bugs and not the battery life and CPU issue. ;)

  • Re:Not just the Air (Score:3, Informative)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @09:19PM (#34131998)

    Well, I use a Mac for that sort of thing. I avoid it at all costs on Windows because it doesn't work particularly well off of a Mac. It seems to be perfectly well integrated into OS X though, and is quite snappy. However, it makes sense they'd put the effort into it.

  • Re:Kill Manually (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 04, 2010 @09:42PM (#34132128)

    Every time I have used Flash on my Ubuntu, mostly for playing videos, I must manually use the `top` and `kill` command or Chrome's task manager to manually kill the npviewer.bin process. Flash always eats more than 50% of my CPU even long after I have closed all web pages using Flash, only killing it will bring my CPU back to idle and shuts off the noisy laptop fan. There is huge difference in power consumption between an idle CPU and running CPU, that's why for laptop it is best to keep the CPU idle most of the time to save power.

    Now having to kill the Flash process manually is not user friendly at all. I'd imagine that average joes can't do anything on it and have no idea that Flash is the one that causing their laptop fan spinning, heating up, and soaking battery powers.

    If you use Google Chome on Ubuntu, you can turn it off with an addon. Ubuntu is as user friendly as you want it....

  • Re:Not just the Air (Score:3, Informative)

    by mabhatter654 (561290) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @09:49PM (#34132172)

    search the boards, there are a few very common mis-configurations of Windows that cause iTunes to have horrible performance. Often it's a registry key that needs fixed or other program conflicting. On my Acer netbook it happens every 6 months or so.

  • by Arker (91948) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @09:53PM (#34132200) Homepage

    I use NoScript. All Flash is blocked by default. I temporarily whitelist sites where I want something to play, and otherwise it doesnt run. I save the battery, skip the annoying ads, and still get to use YouTube. I paid a lot less for this laptop than I would for a MacBook Air to boot.

    Not that they arent nice. But I think this study, while bringing up a definite truth, is an after-the-fact justification/spin for Apple, who blocked Flash for entirely different reasons.

  • Re:Not just the Air (Score:4, Informative)

    by Esteanil (710082) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @10:23PM (#34132388) Homepage Journal
    Foobar 2000 [foobar2000.org] is what I use. A lil bit of moseying about to set it up, but it's worth it. Recommend this plugin [foobar2000.org] if you're on Vista+. It helpfully kills all other sounds while your music is playing - oh, and it apparently gives bit-exact output as well, although I'm fairly sure nobody can really hear the difference.
  • Re:No ABP in OSX? (Score:5, Informative)

    by pknoll (215959) <[slashdot.pk] [at] [grapefish.org]> on Thursday November 04, 2010 @10:40PM (#34132470)

    Alternatively, just uninstall Flash. You really don't need it for most of the web these days. (On OSX, it lives in /Library/Internet Plug-ins; you'll want to remove Flash Player.plugin, flashplayer.xpt, and the Shockwave file, I don't remember the name.)

    Click2Flash is a great plugin, I used it for months. The problem with it is that it tells sites you have Flash installed; it just takes over for Flash and then releases content to the real plugin when you click on the box. The downside to that is that you prevent the site from sending alternate content which can be sent if your browser reports no Flash plugin.

    For those sites that won't work any other way, load them in Chrome, which has an internal Flash renderer. When you're done you can quit Chrome and go back to your regular browser, with which you can write a note to the admin of the site you just visited asking them to get their head our of their ass and provide alternate content.

  • Re:Not just the Air (Score:3, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @10:45PM (#34132488) Journal

    If you don't mind paying for your software J.River Media Center [jriver.com] is probably the single most powerful iTunes-like media player/organizer for Windows. They also have a free edition [mediajukebox.com], but that only handles music (and not e.g. video).

  • Re:Not just the Air (Score:5, Informative)

    by Johnno74 (252399) on Thursday November 04, 2010 @11:59PM (#34132816)

    Wow, nice straw man. The registry has nothing to do with itunes suckiness. Itunes is bloated and slow. its a what, 100mb download for a fancy media player and organiser. Winamp, foobar2000, mediamonkey and pretty much every other media player I've used over the years are tons lighter, quicker and just plain work better.

    I mean, itunes can't even automatically pick up new media you put in the media folder on your computer.

    FWIW, the registry is NOT slow. And you don't have to "open the database" to get each setting. When you log on your registry hive is loaded into memory, and its pretty quick. However, it does suck having a bunch of programs settings stored in one binary file, and file associations on windows do suck.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @12:09AM (#34132848)

    I have heard this argument about HTML5 being buggy before. Describing a "standard" as being buggy shows a complete lack of understanding of what it actually is. Maybe the Internet Explorer implementation is buggy...

  • by exomondo (1725132) on Friday November 05, 2010 @12:22AM (#34132886)

    Will Adobe ever add assistance like the these examples? Fuck no they won't, they've had 10 years of complete inaction.

    During more than half of that time they didn't even own Flash.

  • by Ster (556540) on Friday November 05, 2010 @01:44AM (#34133160)

    This is also why I love Chrome. It buckets Flash into a separate process, so when Ads start hogging the CPU, I kill the Flash process.

    "Flash Player (Safari Internet plug-in)" is a separate process as of Safari 4 (on OS X at least).

    -Ster

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:47AM (#34136886)

    Please, I have used iTunes on both OS X and windows and although my primary OS at home is currently OS X, I was a windows user exclusively form 1996 until 2002 and I have an actual "paid" job as a software developer on the windows platform.

    Based on my "REAL LIFE" experience with windows over the years including in the Windows XP beta program, I have noticed that the overall performance including boot times does tend to deteriorate over time regardless if you have iTunes installed. iTunes is not the culprit but rather a canary in the coal mine when your registry is corrupt or about to become corrupt. I have been able to improve the performance of my workstation at work by removing cached login profiles as it not only removed the directories but removes the registry trees for those users from your local workstation speeding up boot time and program loading.

    Every time you boot up or every time you load program, windows has to scan the user settings for the currently logged in/logging in user in addition to program specific settings if you are running a program.

    The Registry HIVE is a binary tree (Btrieve) database. Why you might think that it is magic and fairy dust that only loads in a small amount of information, the HIVE database has to be mounted and scanned and it will take considerably more memory and time to perform when you add new programs and/or users to the system.

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