Beggars Banquet

John Nack takes on some of the rougher speech out there about Flash. I’ve printed it out, read it half-a-dozen times already. I think you’ll find it enjoyable too. Go read. 🙂

Two quick points, one about it, one beyond it:

It’s a well-written essay. He has both conversational tone and corporate sensitivity… either is hard. The first screenful of text gives the high-level overview of all the rest. Subjects are blocked out into separate areas. It’s personal, not pompous. The essay is refreshingly accessible.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

Beyond the text, the Player team is doing something phenomenal… hidden in plain sight, but under the popular radar. This past year-plus they’ve been working under the Open Screen Project mandate. The amount of industry-wide cooperation in this is unprecedented… 19 of the Top 20 handset makers, Internet television, other devices. Flash Player Engineering has been uniting these devices, smoothing over the edges — engineering predictable advanced capability despite hardware changes, API changes, schedule changes. No other engineering team has the depth of cross-device knowledge and experience that they have earned. So many moving pieces in this project, and yet the Player team is making it happen. And they’re doing so in an environment of multi-partner cooperative chaos, rather than in a single-vendor controlled stack. Profound ramifications.

“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

More later, but right now, please go read John’s “Sympathy for the Devil”.

4 Responses to Beggars Banquet

  1. John Dowdell says:

    I’m closing out browser windows, and had researched the song before posting… I know the tune well, but wanted to make sure others didn’t have surprising connotations for the meaning! This essay from Jimmy Miller had a striking passage:


    Let’s consider the lyrics next. What are they all about? If you take them at face value, you might consider that Mick Jagger (as lead vocalist and lyricist) is sincerely suggesting that the devil really isn’t such a bad fellow. After all, he says, “every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints,” and it was “you and me” who “killed the Kennedys.” So what’s the difference? We’re all the same, aren’t we? He’s just one of the lads.
    Look more deeply, though, and you will find that this confusion of good and evil, of appearance and reality, is really just a ploy of the evil one. The devil may appear to be a gentleman, “a man of wealth and taste.” He may appear to be polite and a member of good society, approaching you with the words, “Let me please introduce myself,” and “pleased to meet you.” But alongside of this we have a long catalog of some of the worst atrocities of human history, starting with the torture of Christ on the cross, and ending with the modern assassination of the Kennedys (so contemporary, in fact, that the lyrics were changed from “John Kennedy” to “the Kennedys” while the Stones were in the studio recording the song). Along the way we have the Crusades and the Bolshevik revolution in Russia thrown in for good measure. So let there be no mistake: there really is evil in the world.
    This, then, is the real significance of the taunting refrain, “Hope you guess my name, But what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game.” This is not Mick Jagger, saying “hope you can guess that I’m playing the devil in this song.” That’s obvious from the beginning. No, this is the devil saying, “Hope you recognize me when you see me, because I come in many guises. And my game is not to do evil myself, but to trick you into doing it.”
    … What the words seem to be saying is that there is evil in the world, and we need to be on our guard, because evil will not always appear as such, and may often be disguised by those who would wish to deceive us.

  2. alec says:

    Given the recent developments (iPad, Youtube switching to HTML5, etc), Adobe needs to open source Flash Player code (without proprietary H.264), and hand this code to Mozilla foundation. The ability to play SWF content should be then implemented natively by the browser, not as a plug-in.
    Even this move has slim chance of success, however this might be the only remaining option to save Flash. Pay browser makers to add this, if necessary.
    [jd sez: Adobe already gave Mozilla the logic engine, and the upshot of the Tamarin experience was not particularly a happy one. More history here. I’m not sure how the above recommendation is tied to what I or John wrote however.]

  3. ron says:

    justified or not, adobe is getting a lot of heat in recent times (and not just since all the ipad stuff). some mac users in particular can’t wait to dump your software. plus it doesn’t help that your own bloggers recommend clicktoflash when someone whines about performance. [jd sez: You’re distorting the record.]
    sure, sometimes it is not framed nice, see the adobegripes guy for example. but most vocal users (me included) are loud because we care! if we would just move on silently THEN you’d have a problem.
    what am i getting at: you (i mean adobe here) don’t handle criticism well. [jd sez: “ron@mailinator.com” is providing personal judgments here.] if someone isn’t nice all the time hey, you’re adobe, you can be above that. but when someone tries to tell you you have a problem in your product you don’t point fingers elsewhere. you fix the effing problem!
    remember when adobegripes showed the different sliders in photoshop? adobe’s reaction was “apple does this too”, it was not “dang we’d better fix this”. why? even microsoft is way more professional about such things.
    if i were the product manager i’d take adobegripe’s and other’s rss-feeds and plug them straight into the bug tracker. [jd sez: Raw complaints may be turned into productive “bugs”, but are not instrinsically functional.]
    sometimes it is really hard to uphold the flag for your software. and these things sure don’t make it easier.

  4. ron says:

    wow, are you just unprofessional or are you an bleep!!?
    take criticism for what it is, someone who still cares enough to tell you. but don’t publicly post their mail address! and if they’ve burnt before and thus use mailinator or something else dont make fun of it.
    WAY TO GO, bleep!!
    [jd sez: If you want to make personal remarks, start by being a person. (The “bleeps” are substitutions from my browser’s profanity filter.)]