Archives for February 17, 2010


Adobe Flash Roasts My ‘Chestnuts’ w/50% CPU Use

All the brouhaha about no-Flash on the Apple iPad, how great Flash is (by the Adobe folks) and how HTML5 will be the savior of us all is not lost on any of us in the tech community. So having experienced the resource needs of the hungry runtime known as Flash, I decided to do a quick-n-dirty experiment to see just how much CPU is used by the Flash runtime to play a video on my 2.33Ghz, Intel Core2 Duo, 4GB RAM, Macbook Pro.

Kara Swisher of AllThingsD interviewed Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch and posted the video today (in Flash, naturally). I thought it would be ironic to test the CPU use of Flash as a layman — a man who frequently has his “chestnuts” roasted from the nearly open fire of heat on the bottom of my Macbook Pro generated by the CPU being driven really, really hard by Flash — by playing his video in Flash and measuring its CPU utilization vs. a video played in HTML5 (on the YouTube beta site for HTML5 videos).

Bottom line? Flash uses on average 50% of my Macbook Pro CPU to play a video and HTML5 uses “in the teens” (15% – 19%). If you want to see more, watch this VERY rough and quick-n-dirty video (sorry about the cheesy audio) I did to show you why I’m pleased that, either Adobe make Flash awesome, or Apple NOT put it in to the iPad:

UPDATE: If you’d like to read one of the best overviews I’ve seen yet of the controversy — and whether or not the iPad even needs a Flash runtime for video or anything else — see this AppleInsider post entitled, “Inside Apple’s iPad: Adobe Flash“. It’s a three page article so be sure to read all the pages.

UPDATE 2: An Adobe Flash developer on why the iPad can’t use Flash


Food, Inc: I’ll never look at dinner the same way again

One of the benefits of Netflix on-demand streaming is the number of documentaries I’ve had access to and am watching, one of which my daughter and I watched last night called Food, Inc., and the movie troubled both of us and I’m still thinking about it this morning.

I can’t find the reference for the article this morning, but there was a research study I read a few years ago that compared the “cost” of a calorie 200 years ago (what it took to grow, harvest, cook and eat a calorie) vs. the cost in effort and energy today. It was significantly greater in the past, of course, and the other statement that stuck in my mind was that the typical American household had more calories in their cupboards than the typical family ate in a month in 1850 (I’ll keep trying to find the data and do an update).

Watching this movie pointed out that the efficiencies of our industrial food system, combined with farm subsidies that keep costs for commodities at artificially low amounts, have kept costs low throughout the food creation and distribution system. While cheap calories have helped America become the envy of the world as we feed millions of us and others around the world, it has also caused us to opt for processed foods over raw veggies and meals that we have to cook and made half of we Americans fat (and I can attest to that!).

Usually I try not to be an alarmist, but the opacity of the industrial food system has become quite troublesome and this movie pointed it out better than anything I’ve ever watched. This is not my attempt to vilify the food industrial complex, but rather ensure that more of us demand to know what’s happening up the food creation chain so we know what we’re eating. I’ve often said that if people could take one tour of a cow, pig or chicken slaughterhouse we’d have a helluva lot of vegetarians in America, but same goes for the amount of crap that’s in our foods.

Take a peek at this trailer and I’d encourage you to rent it and then you can head over to their Food, Inc. website and take action. If it doesn’t open your eyes and change your habits, I’ll wave when I see you in the supermarket as you buy your big bag of Doritos and Jimmy Dean sausage for supper.