“Conservative in what you send…”

Robert Hansen has a paper up at SecTheory… I heard about it from Dan Goodin at The Register, as “Study spanks Adobe Flash for abuses of power”. Robert attempted to measure electrical power consumption of different types of webpages, and found that ad-blocking software reduced battery drain by approximately 25% on his test machine.

(The paper is lengthy, but I don’t think he described how he configured his Adblock Plus, which would have a significant impact on what the final numbers might actually mean.)

It’s certainly possible that ads delivered as SWF could be piggy. Some browsers slow down CPU access by background tabs, in part because of such concerns. Adobe hasn’t installed framerate chokes for the content you make, and advertising publishers have general guidelines for not being piggy. But considering that many popular webpages never stop loading due to the multitude of third-party content requests, it’s definitely possible that some of the advertising on those pages could be increasing your CPU’s general load to measurable degree.

I don’t know how to entice people to follow Postel’s Law, whether in SWF or in text… if you’ve got reactions, thoughts, I’d appreciate hearing them, thanks.

3 Responses to “Conservative in what you send…”

  1. John Dowdell says:

    One of my concerns is that people who already say “flash is evil” may take away the top-level line and say “flash ungreen”. Such bad logic would impose its own environmental costs…. 😉

  2. “The paper is lengthy, but I don’t think he described how he configured his Adblock Plus”

    No need for knowing that: he runs NoScript, which means Flash, Java, Silverlight and other plugin content (plus, of course, JavaScript) are disabled by default, unless explicitly whitelisted. The impact of AdBlock Plus, in this scenario, is probably minimal, limited to static image banners.

  3. John says:

    [jd sez: Off-topic, on an old post, from someone from an Apple-branded domain. (However, if the core is “I’d like more consumer prefs in Player”, then I’ve evangelized the same desire internally, myself.)]
    It’s not rocket science – I can’t believe that Adobe haven’t studied this! Simply connect your PC to a power meter (cost about $20) and browse to one of the offending webpages Make a note of the power consumption of your machine and then right click the banner ad. Choose ‘Low Quality’ and watch the power consumption fall by about 30 watts. Yes, it is VERY measurable. What annoys me is that Adobe fail to provide a facility to make the low quality setting a default. Imagine if Google made their logo a HQ Flash animation, how many more power stations would the world need? Do Adobe even care?