I learned something today. It’s nothing earth-shattering. It’s just a tidbit of information that I found useful. I hope that others would find it useful as well.
Unbeknownst to myself, Georgia Power publishes a webpage that is actually quite useful. This webpage displays the current status of outages across the state of Georgia.
For example, at this very moment, I’m looking at an outage on Deans Bridge Road. A few minutes ago, another outage near Old Petersburg Road was visible. That outage has since been removed from the map — Go Georgia Power!
In addition to notating all the current outages, this site also provides the latest status on when the power will be restored. How cool is that! But wait, it even gets better…
Once you register to activate your web account, you can configure alerts to notify you of power outages. Granted, most folks don’t need this — if the TV and lights go out at the same time, guess what? The power is out. However, many folks, such as small business owners and IT managers, would greatly appreciate a heads-up if the power fails at the office. The small print says the alert is triggered once ground crews verify the outage, so, unfortunately, these alerts are not real-time. It’s better than what we have now, which is nothing!
I know you’re dying to take a look, so here’s the URL, outagemap.georgiapower.com. Of course, it’s easier just to Google Georgia Power Outage Map.
Speaking of Google, you may notice that, within your Chrome browser, some ads are not running automatically anymore. You can thank the nice folks at Google for that.
Starting last Tuesday, Google disabled autoplay for all ads created using Adobe Flash. The ads are disabled using a new feature in the latest Chrome update. The Chrome update identifies any Flash running on a page and pauses its execution. The remainder of the page will load as normal.
This action is just the latest in the long string of razor cuts that are slowly and mercilessly exterminating Flash from the Internet. Website usage of Flash has slowly decreased since Apple banned Flash from its platforms. Steve Jobs posted the case against Flash in a well-known manifesto still resident on the Apple website (apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/).
Apple is not alone. Most tech companies have expressed their disdain for Flash — one of the latest being Facebook’s security chief Alex Stamos. He’s calling for Adobe to announce an end-of-life date for the software.
Why all the vitriol toward Flash? After all, the Flash platform has provided streaming services and rich webpage content for the last generation of webpage design. Unfortunately, Flash suffers from a couple of unforgivable ailments.
The first problem is in regards to security. Flash is horrible. Stories about Flash’s security failings go back several years. In 2014, GFI Security reported that Adobe Flash possessed the largest number of high severity vulnerabilities for any non-browser software application.
The second problem is that Flash is a battery killer. In order to support cross-platform operation, Flash renders graphics in software. This method for graphics renders in must less efficient than using dedicated hardware modules. Many tests have demonstrated while using Flash, battery life performance could be reduced by more than half.
Until recently, alternatives to Flash have not been readily available. Albeit inefficient, Flash is very good at doing what it does, and it’s taken a few years for competing technologies such as HTML5 to catch up. It looks like a turning point has been reached this year with Google dropping support for Flash in YouTube and its ad network. Most of the other technology heavyweights are following Google’s lead and finally purging themselves of an albatross.