FlashControl – A Better Way to Surf the Web.

Adobe Flash has allowed for a lot of innovative and interactive web applications over the years – but it can also be a frustration for the web user.

Some sites (including Yahoo) have full page ads that fly out when you load the page. These are extremely annoying and sometimes are difficult to close.

In general, having a site with Flash enabled components on it means that the site is going to take significantly more memory than a “normal” website. If you open tons of tabs simultaneously (e.g. while reading Feedly), the browser oftentimes becomes slow, unusable, and crashes.

Before FlashControl and after. To enable the Flash component, simply click on it.
Before FlashControl and after. To enable the Flash component, simply click on it.

FlashControl is a small and simple Google Chrome extension I stumbled upon that I love. By default it blocks all Flash components on a website – leaving a gray box instead. If I want to view the Flash component, I just click on it.

There is also an icon in the URL bar at the top of the browser which if I click allows me to exempt this specific page from being filtered for Flash or to whitelist/blacklist the entire site.

This significantly improves my web browsing. 90% of the time, I’m not interested in whatever the site wants to show me in Flash. When I am (e.g. Hulu), I can whitelist the site easily and everything works as normal.

I have run into a few small hiccups. For example, on Hulu the ads sometimes don’t work which causes the video to stop – b/c Hulu refuses to return until the ad has played (understandably). I think this is because the site is pulling the Flash video from another site, which has not been whitelisted. In this case, I temporarily disable the FlashControl extension and then reenable once I’m done on the site.

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