On the 31st of December 2020, we waved our hands and said our last goodbyes to a piece of technology that had been a part of our entire lives: Flash. The soon-to-be 25-year-old piece of antiquated technology was a part of our internet experience.
From Games to Animations, Looking Back at Flash.
Flash was developed by FutureWave Software, Inc. in 1995 in San Diego, CA, US, as FutureSplash Animator. After FutureWave was acquired by Macromedia, it was renamed to how we all know it, Flash. Flash would continue to be a part of Macromedia’s main catalog of software until it was inevitably bought by Adobe Inc. in 2005.
Flash and the internet go hand in hand. In the early days of the internet, 5G and 10 Gigabit Internet connections were unheard of. The internet ran on phone lines during the late 1990s, with Gigabit Ethernet being rolled out in the early 2000s. Laptops started using WiFi in 1999. Slow speeds meant that websites had to be simple. Internet sites in the mid to late 1990s were text-based with low-res images.
Then came Flash. Flash, originally meant for animation, started to be widely used on the internet for its great compression of video and audio media. We could download and play games, videos, and music on the internet faster and easier.
In Korea, the current generation remembers Flash for unique online games. On Junior Naver and Yahoo! Kids, we could play simple Flash games. Children would also install Flash games on school computers to play Immortal Yi Soon Shin and other games of the same caliber.
In 2005, Flash was used to create a video streaming service called YouTube. Undeniably, the internet developed with Flash, and we grew together with the internet.
The Downfall of Flash
As the internet developed and technology advanced, Flash started to become more obsolete. As HTML standards were finalized, and as internet speeds doubled over time, Flash started becoming a nuisance.
In 2010, Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, famously told the tech industry that Flash caused performance problems on mobile devices and that Flash would be obsolete in the future.
Flash was on its way out. Due to the way Flash was coded, it was found that it could be used by hackers to spy on users’ computers if not used correctly. It became so bad that the United States Computer Emergency and Readiness Team (US-CERT) recommended blocking Flash, and Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos told Adobe to discontinue the software entirely.
As a result, Adobe stopped developing Flash in 2015 and announced that it would discontinue the software in 2020.
Flash and the CNU Cyber Campus
For CNU students, Flash has unknowingly been with us to this very day. The CNU Cyber Campus currently runs on a Frankenstein website, where both old school Flash and the new HTML5 is used. Due to this, some old lectures on the Cyber Campus continued to cause problems for both students and professors and created different user experiences within one website.
With the end of Flash in 2020, what will happen to the Cyber Campus? According to the CNU E-Learning Support Team (CeLDC), those who run the CNU Cyber Campus, “lectures made with Flash were made around ten years ago, so professors were asked to transition to video content formats.” When asked if the Cyber Campus website would run without Flash, the CeLDC responded, “the Cyber Campus ran on obsolete software, and, in the future, it may be changed. We are planning on modernizing the website, and we will no longer use Flash-based software after the update.”
The End of an Era, and a Wake-Up Call to Modernization.
Flash was a big part of our lives, and the positive impacts of Flash will greatly outweigh the negative impacts that it had. Without Flash, we may not have today’s internet and all the nostalgic memories that have made us who we are today.
However, things have to move on. With Flash finally being removed from the internet, we can anticipate old, haunted websites to either disappear or be modernized to meet current internet standards. Overall, this will mean a better internet experience in the future and a much less frustrating Cyber Campus experience.
by Quedahm Chin email@example.com
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