Admit it. You feel a tinge of creeping horror when you hear the term “Adobe Flash”. Your eyes glaze over and think about the memory hogging behemoth, the long installation and load times, and the general hassle of not just Reader but many other Adobe installers, most notably Flash. Well, you are not alone, and it looks like Adobe has been listening to its customer base. Adobe’s engineers are saying that things will be different for users of its cloud-based service, Creative Cloud and the beta of Adobe Labs.
Flash has been the whipping boy of many tech bloggers. And for good reason. It has been targeted by many malware authors and cyber criminals because it often acts as the Achilles heel of an otherwise well-protected machine. Why? Its update mechanism can be quite convoluted and pose such a headache and a hassle for PC and Mac owners that many machines with Flash installed don’t get updated. People weigh the benefits of the updating their Flash installation and the hassles and sadly, many opt to not update at all.
This leads to serious security risks. There are so many out of date Flash installations out there that they form a ready made, ready to exploit potential botnet for cybercriminals to wreak havoc on. This vulnerability has not been lost on browsers like Safari which, a few weeks ago, disabled previous versions of Flash. A loud outcry ensued, but it was indicative of the problems Flash poses. To fix this problem, Adobe Labs released a Mac Beta for the Background Update for Flash Player. This software has been out for Windows for quite some time. While this is more straightforward than previous versions of Flash, it does retain some of the hassles of older installers: you have to download the software and keep your system connected to the Internet for a minimum of an hour (yes, really!). To make things even more annoying, the actual application that you need to install is the full version of Adobe Flash Player 11.3 beta 3. However, the page for this software is geared toward all operating systems and can confuse people expecting a Mac installer. Visitors are only clued in on the Mac applicability of the software if they scroll down the page.
Thankfully, Adobe heard the outcry about its arcane and confusing update mechanisms. It has set in place a new Adobe installation process. Using the Creative Cloud service, users need to only download the app manager, install it, log in with your Adobe account ID, click on the apps you want and you’re done. There is no third step. This means saying goodbye to copying and pasting (and risking losing) serials and no endless series of running installers.