Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vista Flash Odyssey

I still maintain a Vista partition on my PC for my kids stuff or the stuff that they bring back from school to run. These would be educational CDs and stuff. Also it says in my support contract that I have to have Vista there to enjoy their 3 years on-site support (which I have BTW, 2 motherboards replaced FOC). But we use Linux 99% of the time. I figure that if I expose them now, their perception of computers would not be limited to the Microsoft World.
But recognizing the possibility of needing to use Vista for whatever reason, I maintain the partition and I maintain Vista. This means periodically log in an update windows, flash, java, openoffice and the cone / VLC media player. What prompted me this time was that I wanted to move from openoffice to libreoffice. My other Windows PCs have them already so it was more of leveling the playing field, making sure I have similar programs on all of the PCs in the house. It has been a while since I used Vista. So much so I was also installing chrome this time around.
Sometimes I wonder whether I am denying my children access to their educational software by defaulting to Mandriva. There is this great math tutorial program and a interactive language learning kit. If they ask for it, I'll boot up Vista and set things up for them. But they don't mind and I seem to be getting better mileage from Flash demos and YouTube tutorial videos on the Internet anyway.
During the update eveything went well except for updating Flash on IE. I went to the Adobe website and clicked on the button to down load the lastest version of Flash. It downloaded the Adobe downloader, installed it and executed it. It then threw up an error window said the it was unable to get the correct parameters. I figured that the downloader was facing problems with the Internet link. Checked that and it was ok. So I followed the troubleshooting link from Adobe download page.
Basically, it recommended that I stop every single program I can think of that runs flash and then run the uninstaller for Flash. Well, that's great. Even Adobe has little faith in my ability to figure out by looking in the taskbar which apps is using Adobe Flash and locking the flash files. Why? Because it recommended that if it didn't work, try again because I probably missed a program. I humored Adobe for a while and uninstalling and reinstalling the downloader didn't work.
So off to the Internet we go. I found a highly rated advices which advised me to download a file from the Windows Resource Toolkit and a command file for the toolkit to use. That removed or fixes flash related stuff. What is rich is that the command file is from Adobe. So I tried that and yet the dreaded "unable to obtain correct parameter" error came out.
This was getting ridiculous but reminded me of how lucky I am using Linux. Even with flash and it's installation instruction which divert you to the command line, that routine has worked ok for years (don't get me started on the simlar java installation). I realised that my problem wasn't with installing flash, it was the downloader. It was acting as tthe gatekeeper to getting flash. In reality it was nothing but a billboard. So after looking around I found a link to get the installers directly.
The bruhaha in recent years about flash and Apple's refusal to use it (not for technical reasons, I'm sure) seemed to me like case against progression. Not supporting flash is a deal breaker with all sorts of sites using flash to get past the home page. But with Apple's clout and the popularity of ipads amongst senior management, a lot of sites have had to provide flash-free alternatives. After this episode, good riddance to flash and let's move on to HTML5.

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